Happy Birth Day

September 28th – Scott’s original birthday – the day Bonnie brought him into this world 62 years ago.  The first time Scott was born in a small-town hospital, the second child to Gordon and Bonnie.  Dwight Eisenhower was President and Elvis was on his way to becoming “The King” recording hits like “It’s Now or Never” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight”.  Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” tops the Billboard Hot 100 in September of 1960. 

Friends threw Scott a surprise party for his 60th in 2020. This year looks much different.

Fast-forward to Scott’s new or “second” birth day – August 17, 2022.  Born again at the University of Michigan’s C. S. Mott Hospital in Ann Arbor.  Weighing in at 160 pounds and 6’2”; about 60 pounds less and one inch shorter than a year previous.  This time his mother suffering a totally different kind of pain; not being able to see her child for weeks after his re-birth.  Donald Trump and COVID 19 continue to dominate the news until September 8th when the death of Queen Elizabeth II dies at the age of 96. Luke Combs is topping the country charts but a song that resonates for Scott and I is by Cody Johnson and worth a listen; Until you Can’t. Give it a listen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2LixP7n_hM

Nurse Emily transplanting the new stem cells

This time born with regenerating stem cells from his European transplant life-giver.  Born with complications that require him to spend the first 33 days in the hospital.  Rather than starting out on breast milk or formula, he starts with soggy cereal and yogurt.  Eventually adding oatmeal, strawberry Jello, and untoasted bagels.  He enjoys hot tea but no coffee; for an Oswalt, that’s sacrilegious.  Right after the transplant, even the smell of hot food was intolerable.  It was maybe a couple weeks after his transplant that he broke down and ordered something hot off the hospital menu.  It was quickly deemed disgusting and found it’s way to the garbage.   

I think the first day I left the hospital was in search of McDonald’s.  He was certain that while the hospital food was horrible, a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich and hash brown was going to hit the spot.    I was skeptical but got the nurses blessing as long as I was willing to go in and ask that the food be made fresh and not come from the heat lamp warming area.  I did what I was instructed to do, only to have him tell me that it didn’t taste any better than the hospital food and end up in the trash.  After that he went back to cold foods in shades of beige and stayed there until the other day.

Monday on our way back from the hospital he surprised me by asking for an Arby’s roast beef sandwich.  Up until then, the meat-eating man I fell in love with seemed to have died with the transplant.  While he had tried a chicken breast sandwich a couple times in the hospital, red meat didn’t sound good to him at all.  We made the stop and after what seemed like forever, I emerged with a freshly made sandwich and some hot fresh curly fries.  As silly as it seems, I was thrilled to see him enjoy it.  He managed a few fries and ate the entire sandwich.  As a food pusher, it was a huge success.  Baby steps.

Chemo takes it’s toll on your control of bodily functions. There’s a new urgency to going the bathroom and at one point he made me laugh by commenting that if he wasn’t careful he would have to turn in his big boy card. You might find me carrying a urinal in my purse or see one sitting around; don’t worry, I’m going to see that it’s clean but it they provide a good safety net. While in the hospital, the highlight of many days meant a solid bowel movement and admirable urine output. We’re looking forward to a time when that stuff is no longer considered a reportable events; pushed back to the private sector of our lives.

Like any new born baby, people can’t wait to see him and give him hugs.  Like any protective mother, I’m hesitant to let people in.  His immunity system is basically non-existent.   Perhaps one of the hardest part of this is that we aren’t kissing. First his mouth and throat were full of sores and hurt too bad. I masked even while in the room with him. After I finally started leaving the room, I was afraid that I might have been in contact with COVID and didn’t know it so masking was even more important. I think we kissed a couple times and then the next thing I know I start worrying that I might have something that he couldn’t fight so we stopped. A quick hug for our limited visitors is all we can allow for now.

It will be a year before they can give him his childhood immunizations over again.  Even a cold could be devastating for his progress; let alone COVID.  For at least 100 days, he isn’t to be in close contact to young children or pets.  He can’t be around anyone that has recently been given a live vaccine.  He can’t be around live plants or flowers.  There will be no lawn mowing or gardening next year.  Being on the farm near animal waste and dust and dirt will be out of the question for probably a year. 

This year will not be the birthday celebration that we might have wanted for him but it will be a great day to celebrate a life without pain and the promise of a bigger and better celebration next year.  We won’t be going out with friends but hopefully a trip home for a few hours will suffice.  It looks like the weather for the upcoming weekend might be nice so we can imagine ourselves on a vacation adventure while we enjoy the views from our recovery rental home.     

Scott enjoying peaches from our tree; canned by a neighbor

One thought on “Happy Birth Day

  1. Happy Birthday, Scott
    Your card is in the mail, belated it will be.
    This birthday will go down in the books for both of you! Next year, we will throw a big birthday celebration. Friends, family, there may be tequila😊 Sending hugs ❤️


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