Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Apheresis - Day One

We arrived at the hospital this morning bright and early for Sean’s apheresis procedure. I knew he was nervous when he read the hospital map wrong – you have to understand my husband has an excellent sense of direction and does not read maps incorrectly. When my extended family went to Paris he single-handedly led us around the entire city, mapped out the correct subway and bus routes and we never got lost. This morning we walked all over the hospital trying to find the right room which we finally did once Sean realized he was holding the map upside down.

The nurse called him back and I had to wait until he was all hooked up before I was allowed to sit with him. The entire time I waited I could hear the nurses and Sean laughing. Once I was allowed to see him his nurse said to me, “You know, he’s not much like an engineer; he has a sense of humor!” Apparently the last engineer she worked with spent the entire time counting the ceiling tiles.

He can’t do anything except sit in the bed. He can move his right arm a bit but his left must stay immobile. I brought movies and books and magazine to help pass the time – he’ll be hooked up for three hours this morning. Repeat for tomorrow.

Everything was going well until about 15 minutes ago when the reality of it all hit and he got a little sick to his stomach. He’s resting now so I’m taking a break from my entertainment duties and figured I'd try to log into the hospital wi-fi.

We’re in the cancer ward and there are two other patients here in the apheresis department. One is donating for himself and the other for his brother. When I walked into the hallway to call the kids a little girl wheeled past me, totally bald from what I assume is cancer treatments. Another wheelchair contained an elderly gentleman being pushed by his elderly wife. There is sickness all around us. How can I be anything but grateful for the health my family is currently experiencing?

Of course, it could all change in a second. I’m sure the parents of the little girl I saw in the hall certainly didn’t plan on trips to the children’s cancer ward when they designed her nursery. And the young man next to us didn’t plan to be hooked up to a blood-sucking machine in his early 20’s; he should be in college or taking a girl on a date. Instead he’s here and his dreams are now of making it another six months instead of planning the next 60 years.

This is a good reminder to hold all things loosely.

Today’s procedure will be finished in about 15 minutes and then he’ll rest for the afternoon. I’m hopeful he’ll feel up for a good dinner this evening. We’ll be back here bright and early again tomorrow for round two. I’m sure we won’t even need the map.

The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God wi
ll stand forever.
Isaiah 40:8

The apheresis machine