|We like this journey to Tahoe much better than the journey we are currently on.|
This morning, we decided together that we'll put it out there, a more clear picture of how Dominic is doing. You couldn't support us more than you already have, we've been so blessed. And I hate to weigh other people down, especially with family being so far away and feeling a bit helpless. We've struggled to know how much to share and how much to hold back. But, this is where we are. And NOT where we're staying. 😉 We== W
The combination of steroids and pain has ravaged Dom's body. He has lost over 40 pounds since May. He has also lost mobility due to such extreme weight loss and fatigue as well as muscle wasting that is a side effect of the steroids. We left the hospital in a wheel chair that one of our friend nurses found and gave to us. I think someone left it behind as it was missing the foot rests. The day we left, an aide jerry rigged a blanket to hold his feet up. This is in part why my mother's help was so tremendous. Me learning to open and fold a wheel chair and help him out of the car, with a jerry rigged foot rest. Wow! What an adventure I never would have signed up for, but since we're here...I'm all in.
We were given the impression we'd be given a wheel chair when it became apparent he'd need one, and didn't find out until the day we left that insurance wouldn't cover it. I bought one on line that was delivered to our hotel yesterday. So. Now we have 2! The foot rests on the new one fits both chairs, so we can choose whichever is more appropriate. (Different wheels on each). He's talking about taking the big wheeled one outside so he can get an upper body work out.
He also left with a walker, so picture me looking a bit like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins with his one man band set up. I'm totally channeling that chaos energy as we make our visits to the infusion center. (How I wish I had Mary Poppins' bottomless carpet bag. That would solve a lot of problems.) As it is, I pack a bag with all our electronics and things we can't leave in a hotel in addition to files from work. I also pack a bag of necessities for him. I've got bags poking out on all sides and I'm carrying his walker while pushing him in his chair. We bring his walker so he can choose to walk or ride. He usually manages a bit of walking, but it's important to have a fall back. I made quite the entrance to the infusion center this morning with the new foot rest that I promptly rammed into the door jam. Thankfully, no damage done to Dom....but....extra length of chair, noted. I also laugh when I'm embarrassed/shocked/overwhelmed/worried/all of the above. Lots of necks jerked as I nervously giggled my way through the waiting room, literally hearing Bert's flat two note horn punctuate my shame
This is how crazy this whole thing is....before I left the week before to go home and pack, he was being discharged with a cane and a walker just as a precaution. In just one week, he slid back so far as to necessitate the wheel chair and hotel stay. I can't decide if I feel like a frog in slowly heating water, or if I'm shocked from jumping into an ice cold lake. I'm both?
He's very low, as anyone would be who has been through what he has been through. And, of course, the World Cup is over, so I just don't know how to entertain him right now. I'm so glad we're out of the hospital though. I think the anticipation of leaving was giving him anxiety, and bringing him even lower. As I mentioned before, I was also fighting against the nurses compassionately letting him not get up and walk. The prospect of leaving was definitely scary for both of us, as we'd only have ourselves to rely on. He did have a moment in the hospital where he had to be helped up. He couldn't clear a step in the shower and crumbled. We won't have that kind of help in a hotel. I still felt totally ready to get him out of there. I just know that the true healing won't begin until we're home, but being out of the hospital is the first giant step.
There are so many logistics to this situation, sometimes I feel like a dog chasing its tail. For a while, it felt like an option to choose between renting a hotel room or going all the way back home. But, over the course of his last week at the hospital, it became clear that he can't handle the daily commute and a hotel was no longer an option but a necessity. I remembered all the endless searching on airbnb from before and just went straight to a hotel search. (I've since searched airbnb and nothing will work just now.) I am being budget conscious as well as mindful of our needs. We landed at an Extended Stay as it has a kitchenette and I was able to get a room right by a wheel chair ramp. Again...the dog chasing its tail. Things happened fast here and I was making decisions somewhat on the fly. When I made the decision to book at Extended Stay, there was still a possibility that Dominic could walk to and from the car with his walker, just not step over curbs. And I did not yet have an inkling of actually owning a wheel chair. (Let alone two!) Now that we have the chair, it frees me up a little as to where we'll stay. I would have possibly chosen something a little nicer if I was not concerned about long hallways and if he could eat from restaurants. I'd fantasized about room service and a hot tub while he recovered. Coffee in a styrofoam cup is about as luxurious as it gets. No room service, not even housekeeping.
And we are not staying here! I'm so glad I only reserved for 5 days because it is gross! So gross! It was good to land somewhere anonymous. But we've found our way to navigate this new life now. I'm a little bit panicking over germs and have my bleach wipes out all day long. I had some other hotels lined up, but my friend Kim is opening her door to us, and we're moving on Monday. I'm so grateful. I'd been concerned about several things bringing a nearly invalid person into someone's home, but she persuaded us. It will definitely be challenging to show up to someone's home with wheel chairs and walkers etc...but she's already cooking up some broth. So, we're in. And she might be an angel.
I was concerned also that the stomach pain is not going away. It's better, but still hurts. I worried that the treatment wasn't working, but was reassured yesterday that it will take some time before he's feeling better. I mean, that's not a reassurance, I hate that he's in pain, but I don't need to panic over everything right now. It seems by other signs that the ATGAM worked.
It's going to be a looooong road back. Gvhd is no joke. No joke. It's like we're experiencing a whole new disease and prognosis. And it's been the worst part of the whole experience. I guess we got a little too saucy after the transplant and he was walking miles every day.
But we'll get back to that. Little did he know when he married me that I am a task master and there's no fetal position when our future is on the line. We are going to face this newest challenge head on. I have to dig real deep on this one. When I ran out for groceries while my mom stayed with him, I couldn't think straight at all. I was beyond exhausted from lack of sleep and the whole deal. I knew I wanted to make coffee in the room, and there wasn't a coffee maker. I have our aeropress with me, so all we'd need is hot water. I was so hitting a wall that I couldn't think about just boiling water in the microwave. I also didn't realize the hotel would provide a coffee maker. (Ew?) My friend offered to loan a tea kettle, and though she lives literally minutes from the grocery store, I could not even go pick it up. I spent $10 on a really ugly tea kettle because I was just that tired. That's what things are like right now. I'm trying to manage everything and meet our needs and anticipate our needs and it's like a moving goal post. Any extra decision I have to make or logistics can send me over the deep end. And yet, I must make them. I know people will have extra helpings of grace for me just now.
And yes, continue to pray for me!!! I know he's the one who needs all the healing energy. But. The couple across the hall from us was telling their nurse, (loudly enough that I could easily hear) that the wife had been bitten by a brown recluse spider. He was in the hospital receiving treatment, and she woke up in a hospital five days later after passing out from the bite. I guess there's still a huge open wound on her leg. Yikes! What an ordeal. Trying to stay healthy here!
I am getting abs of steel from helping Dom in and out of the car. Seeing as how I have gained approximately what he has lost, I'm happy to feel those muscles again. He doesn't recognize himself right now. I do. I still see him. I can't wait to have him back in all his fullness. I miss him not being in survival mode. Soon, this will be a distant memory. Until then, I am his lifeline. I will eat the chocolate and get things done. (Because I am also doing quarterly taxes for work in the midst of all this.) I will help him with his shoes, until he can do it again himself. I will lovingly prepare the smoothie, even if he just can't drink it all. I will carry the bags and the walker and measure out his prescriptions and do whatever it takes to get him back in the real world again; to get him back in his body and to get us back home, and celebrating with you.
I can do all things.
But I could never claim to do them alone.
I can do all things.
But I could never claim to do them alone.