As we near 30 days in Scott’s all-inclusive resort aka Mott Children’s Hospital I find myself reflecting. I think maybe I’ve grown as much as Scott’s cells have. As you can imagine, having so much time on my hands has been very difficult. Wanting to help and having Scott not be receptive is a hardship.
I’m navigating I-94 alone without fear. I’m finding my way back to my hotel making the 10-turn journey without the help of my GPS. I can get to and from all parking garages at any time of day or night without getting lost. I must be exuding confidence because not a day goes by that I don’t find myself giving out directions to lost souls. All I need is a different badge and a maybe a smock! I am much better at reacting to unexpected bodily functions without feeling ill myself. I can pause the IV machine to stop the incessant beeping until nurses get there, and I feel confident enough to administer his IV infusions and care for his Hickman catheter when he is released.
Despite the temptations of all the snacks people have blessed us with; I have limited my weight gain to a couple pounds by making a concentrated effort at watching my intake and burning calories by walking with my new friend Nicole. Without realizing it, she has pushed me to walk the equivalent of a 5k almost every day without passing out. Sadly, Scott hasn’t been able to venture farther than the adjoining hallways for the past 30 days.
The hospital insisted that I book a place when they started talking about letting him out last Friday. Thankfully the gifts of money we have received are covering the cost of the hotel but in hindsight, it’s an expense we could have avoided. It has been nice to leave at the end of the day and return to the private space. It’s still a shared space with the giants stomping around in the room above me but at least there aren’t people coming in and out of the room all hours of the night. While Scott has been confined to the horrible hospital bed or over-sized recliner, I’ve slept in my own bed four nights (which is also kind of scary), the hotel for five nights and 21 nights on a well-worn hospital couch; but who’s counting.
Before arriving, I mentioned in my blog my desire to find new friendships while in Ann Arbor. That prayer was answered when we met Steve and Nicole in the sunny common area one day. Steve also suffers from a rare form of cancer that is treatable with stem cell therapy. Thankfully for them, Steve was sprung Wednesday. Not before she and I were able to spend hours sharing stories and providing each other with a much-needed understanding ear. Having someone that shares the process and the new terminology we’ve learned has been priceless. She checked in with me yesterday already and it was nice to call her back and let her know that Scott’s ANC had reached a 1 and his platelets had risen to 17. Whoop! Whoop! Try as they may, friends and family are not in a place to know what in the world that means. There’s something really bonding about going through this process together.
Not realizing we needed to reset our devices DAILY to use the hospital network caused us to burn through our data plan in record time; requiring us to purchase additional data but not before our phones got shut off. Another learning curve under my tool belt. In looking over my Verizon account the other day I was shocked to see that I had sent and received 969 texts in 20 days. Guess that tells you how I spend a lot of my free time!
Scott keeps busy with naps, walking the halls when he’s not taking in or expelling too much blood, and watching Andy Griffith and Everyone Loves Raymond marathons. He’s been dealing with bloody nose issues for the last couple days so that has limited his mobility. Just a year ago he was working 16-hour days for a month straight pushing silage; the annual stockpiling of feed for the winter. His absence has created a hole at the farm. Brother Steve has realized that their unspoken brotherly connection is something not easily replaced. I always knew that they were remarkable in the way they always just knew what the other was going to do and worked independently as a team without talking about it. I can’t imagine the amount of instruction and thinking out loud that training Scott’s replacements is taking. We can’t begin to thank him enough for all that he has been forced to manage during Scott’s absence.
We are so grateful for the people that have risen to the occasion and stepped in to help us. Family members stepping up in so many ways and gifts of money from all directions. We have neighbors mowing our lawn and canning our peaches. Raising my butterflies and just keeping an eye on things. Several people are helping at the farm to make sure business continues there. Employees at my store are taking on more hours and responsibilities to ensure the store continues to be successful. Scott and I aren’t the only ones growing and coping. I’ve learned that in the midst of uncertainty many stars are born. While the last year has been difficult at best, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more capable. Living proof that adversity leads to growth and truth to “What doesn’t kill you girl makes you stronger”.