Monday, February 15, 2010

What a difference a day makes!

For those of you who think perhaps I was overdoing it on a hemoglobin of 7 let me clarify - it was the dogs, not me, who were romping in the snow before I departed for the hospital and my transfusion last Friday.

And I was not dizzy walking to the car and once I was sitting behind the wheel was perfectly fine. It does not take so much energy or effort to drive an automatic car through a drive in window and pick up a sandwhich on the way to the hospital in clear weather. So really, I do not think I was a danger to myself or others driving in.

It is true that I seemed to go down hill over the course of the afternoon and probably was having my blood counts continue to drop, and that once I had to leave the car behind in the parking lot the demands on my underpowered oxygen carrying capacity did increase. And probably I should have anticipated this. But in my defense before they decided to keep me overnight and transfuse me I was considering taking a cab home and to return in the morning. and also thinking that since I have been getting weekly steroids IV every Monday since Dec 7 with my chemo, maybe when I see Dr. Green next thursday I should inquire whether dropping BPs on Thursdays and Friday are entirely attributable to red cells or if I needed to worry about adrenal insufficiency developing in response to the chronic steroid use...

Although since I had gotten a speeding ticket on the way to have my blood checked in Gainesville on Thurdays it occurs to me that showing up in court and claiming diminished capacity with my bald head might be a decent defense. All I would have to abandon is a bit of pride and well maybe integrity. The truth is who knew that the speed limit where I routinely enter the I-85 is 55 and does not rise to 65 until I pass I-285? There are speed limit signs, but honestly only 1 between the N Druid Hills entry and I-285 and usually I am too busy tracking traffic to search for them. Plus since I have been repeatedly rear ended during my life in Atlanta but only once rear ended anyone else, I am leery of driving 55 when the prevailing speed of traffic is about 70.

None of these sound like very valid arguments so I guess I will just send the payment in. And hope it does not result in remarkable rises in my car insurance rates. And try to stick to the speed limit on future trips while praying it does not result in me creating a hazard on the highway and getting rear ended AGAIN. Sigh.

So now that for the first time in several weeks my hemoglobin is over 9 I am reveling in the joy of having oxygen carrying capacity. Don't tell her but when my cousin Ruth left me alone to search for tires I snuck into the kitchen and unloaded the dishwasher and folded laundry and tonight while she and the rest of the visiting Arkansas Walker cousins are out cavorting with her daughter Dawn and family I sorted my mail. (the chemo nurse forbade me to cavort with children between 5 and 11 even if they appeared to be perfectly healthy until my white count comes up since they did not transfuse infection fighting cells). All without getting short of breath or dizzy.

It is true. You don't appreciate what you have until something takes it away. then you think 'My it was really nice all those years to do whatever I wanted without having to maintain awareness of the nearest thing to sit on if I suddenly needed to and without taking frequent rest stops". Youth. Wasted on the young. And all that.

Well - thanks to the miracles of modern transfusion medicine I am back in the saddle. And wondering how long it will last. Cousin Robert Walker (not the one who stepped off the first ship in Massachusettes Bay in the 1600s but the one who drove from Arkansas this weekend) says 20 - 90 days depending on how old the individual red blood cells were when they got transfused. Keeping my fingers crossed that this will last for most, maybe all, of the rest of my chemo.

Only 7 more weeks of chemo to go.

AND THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT - especially at the moment Michele, Mehran, and Judson who loaded and unloaded dishwashers, folded and put away laundry, delivered dog food, took out trash, and performed other menial chores cheerfully while I was having difficulty managing it. (And who hovered around waiting to see if I needed pick up service from Northside despite my insistance that they should go home before the snow started).

And to my Ark Cousins who did all manner of things above and beyond providing company, transport to chemo, meals, cleaning my house, hanging things up and bringing back memories of shared Thanksgivings, Christmases, Vacation Bible Schools, making mud pies, daring each other to eat them, Summer evenings chasing lightening flies and maybe waltzing in the mist from the mosquitoe spraying machines that tracked down every road in town periodically despite being strictly forbidden to come close to them by our parents. But more about that in the next blog addition.

And yes Caren, when there are long gaps between postings it does tend to imply that I am using up all available energy on other things. The longer the gap, the shorter the available energy. You know me well.

Although it is also true that having outlined the chemotherapuetic agents and other basis, my life is not always extremely newsworthy these days. Some what short on exciting adventures to report. For example:

Tonight I spend some available energy watching Real HouseWifes of New York, or maybe it was New Jersey. Never haveing had cable until I got my updated electronic entertainment gear post-surgery (thanks to advice and assistance from Dennis, Mehran, Michele and Judson) I am new to the joys of cable television. Who knew people really lived this way - miles removed from my world of people wearing tacky uniforms (sorry PHS, but in your heart you know it is true) instead of $16,000 purses and spending their days worrying about whether they can get clean water to people with gangrene in Haiti and get at risk people with asthma to take their flu vaccine and trying to figure out whether anyone they know can find someone who wants to donate a flight to get Ruth's volunteer orthopedic surgery team to Haiti on March 20 - sometimes for enough hours to smell not so great by the time they go home. And often failing to look so great when they show up for work in the morning. Maybe I missed the boat in chosing my career and location.

Hmmm, have to think about that. Cable also has shows about people who hoard. ("Michele, did you know there are television shows about people who hoard?" "Uh, well, actually YES Louisa, I knew. That's right, you never sprung for cable before, did you?") That inspired me to make more of an effort to clean out those boxes of papers still stacked in the spare bedroom. Maybe Real Housewives should inspire me to consider spending more on my wardrobe - but not $16,000 on one hand bag while the American Red Cross is begging for donations for Haiti and the homeless man who solicits odd jobs in the neighborhood is seeking $20 worth of work in the yard so he can sleep under a roof on this snowy night in Georgia.

Ok resolved - I will read Vogue more often and maybe consider moving that ratty grey sweather with all the holes that match Balsam's teeth into the rag bag, and might even give up some of the T shirts with permenent stains and ragged sleeves no matter how high the sentimental value. And dump any mascara in my collection that exceeds the 3 month limit. while is all of it. Oh and try to lose that extra 20 pounds AFTER I finish chemo when I can afford to consider calories and other strength building things unnecessary luxuries.

that is about as far as I can take it. Well, maybe I could pay a tailor to make some of my clothes fit a bit better. And iron now and then. Perhaps my sister can help with these efforts when she visits early in March. After all, it was she who clued me in that I was the only fifth grader who routinely buttoned every button on all my blouses. Most people left the first 1 - 3 open. (I paid attention at school the next day. She was right. Who knew? Why would they waste resource putting all those buttons on shirts if you were not intended to use them? It defied reason.) MAybe this example, brought up in court, would add creedence to an argument that I was honestly unaware that the speed limit did not rise to 65 for an additional several miles since I never noticed the one speed limit sign that could have cued me in...Oh forgot, I decided just to pay that ticket.

JEepers, cable TV really is educational.

They are soliciting recruits for upcoming Survivor episodes. Shall we get a team up and volunteer? I'll be available anytime after June...


  1. Am I reading your words correctly? You drive from your house to Gainsville every Thursday to leave blood samples for lab work? Tell me it is not so....

  2. Oh, Louisa, you make me laugh and that is a very good thing! Thank you so much for writing about your escapades. I think Mac Today should feature us as "blogettes." What do you think?


  3. I drive to Gainesville, GA, not Gainesville, FL. It is barely 40 minutes door to door and when given the option to instead have the blood drawn locally i find it takes nearly as long in worse traffic to get to the local place (30 minutes or more, worse traffic) and the people who draw the blood usually cannot use my port (the permenent indwelling thing that allows me to receive chemo and draw blood wihtout having to have a new IV started every time). So all in all it is generally easier to just go to Gainesville and beenfit from the skill of excellent chemo nurse Elizabeth. Louisa