Day -3: Contractions

Today started very differently than yesterday…

Just as the clock became aware of Monday, the night nurse (Mike) came into our room and woke us up. Before I’m even able to realize I’m awake, he starts apologizing. He said he “hate[d] to do this, but [he was] going to have to move [us].” Wha? He said there was a lady that had been in ICU all day and was very confused; she needed to be admitted to an ICU room near the nurses’ station – which we had. We would be moving to the other end of the hall.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Now, I understand the lady couldn’t help she was in ICU and it was not her fault that this pudgy nurse-man disturbed my sleep. What angered me was that, in my half-conciousness, I couldn’t understand what they hoped to gain by making us pack our three-months-worth of belongings, shuffling us down the hall, and then cleaning our room. (They surely wouldn’t be saving any time…they allot 45 minutes for housekeeping to clean, not to mention packing, etc.) The room we’d be moving to was also ICU equipped, so the only real difference is proximity to the nurses station. The part that irked me the most, was the fact that our nurse had to have volunteered us to move. In my mind, I could picture conversation with the doctor. The doctor updates the nurses on her condition, background. Perhaps he then mentions that it would be nice if this lady could be near the nurses station. “Oh!” says, Mike, “I have a patient in 06 that’s feeling well; we could move him.’ Then he wakes us without considering all that we have with us, or how M will be feeling in the near future, or the fact that it’s midnight and we are in no shape to hop up and move.

At least, that’s the scene that plays out in my head.

We did NOT have to move, however. One of the other nurses came in to help us move, and I suppose he saw all we had. Or maybe he saw how tired/upset I was, or perhaps how much time they would actually save if they just wheeled her into the other room. Or maybe Jesus heard my frantic prayers that we could stay. Regardless, he told us to hold up from packing for a minute and left. The charge nurse came in shortly thereafter and apologized and told us we would not have to move.

We went back to sleep.

(For the record, I’m not normally that crabby…nor am I opposed to others getting the care they deserve. I just expect a little common sense and courtesy.)

This morning, M woke up with vertigo – he felt off-balance and his eyes weren’t focusing just right. He would see double. It really hit him when he would get out of bed. That was too much; it made him nauseous. This all happened before he got any cytoxan, so I assume it’s the busulfan finally rearing it’s ugly head.

He’s had several meds to combat the nausea, as well as several pre-meds for the study drug he started today: US-ATG-F. It’s a medicine that basically fights off his T-cells, which cause GvHD when/if they attack the new stem cells. We’ve been told by several doctors and nurses that it’s a good study. I’ve looked into it as well; it’s an advanced study, so it’s been well researched and is on its way to becoming standard of care. At any rate, all the drugs he’s been given have kept him pretty out of the loop. He’s slept most of the day. Honestly, I’d rather that be the case than for him to be awake and miserable.

Because he is in the study, they have him hooked up to all kinds of machinery. They’re monitoring heart rate, pulse, and blood pressure. Sleeping with all of those wires and cords would typically be a nightmare, but since he’s drugged, he doesn’t seem to mind it much.

I look at him and I recall other instances of his needing to be hooked up before now. I remember how frantic, and worried, and frazzled I felt. I can look at him now and know that this is OK. I know this is all just a precaution, to make sure nothing goes awry. More than that, I trust these nurses and doctors. I mean, completely trust them. I couldn’t say that before. They’ve treated us like people – people that are going to get better. They’ve explained everything completely and tactfully (with the exception of night-nurse-Mike who chose to say that the cytoxan could “eat at your kidneys…” As a nurse, NEVER say something is going to “eat at” your patient’s body. Geez. Katy explained it better this morning – she used the word “irritate.” I like it better.) They come when we buzz them, they talk to us about things other than our disease (one nurse is a Ram’s fan, another a devout musician, another likes how closely she lives so she can walk to work…). We’ve been here almost a week and we’ve walked laps every day – and every single time we’ve had at least three nurses say hello and give an encouraging word. I know I’ve doted on this place plenty, but I can’t seem to stop. We’re in the right place and I am grateful for the Spirit and that we listened as He led us here.

Tomorrow is another day…we’ll keep on truckin’. These are (as one sweet, wise, beautiful woman said to me) the “labor pains” of our new life together. It will be sweet. It will be good. It will be worth it.


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