“The only thing that matters is who you are now.” Po in Kung Fu Panda

This is what Alex told me the other day. Alex has such an old soul. My visits to Hoag were something that I wanted to block out. I did not want to be among the sick (even though I am one of the “sick”). I knew when I woke up with a bloody nose that this was not a good sign. I tried to ignore it, but that night Jim noticed my hands and feet were too cold. Another sign that I could not ignore. My only thought was that I had to make sure I made it to Sofia’s performance at the Orange County Performing Art Center. Now Hoag has become the closet that I don’t want to visit. The colors were looking more dingy, but it was not the wall colors. The faces of grey, withered bodies, too weak to walk from the close quarters to the bathroom without help were something I wanted to ignore. I took a deep breath of ocean air (at least this is one good thing about Hoag Newport). I scanned the area for my favorite nurses, but did not see one of them. Yes, this was the holiday crew. Uh oh! They placed me in the room next to the tv. Unfortunately, I was battling the high volume of my partner next door with the soccer match.  I countered this with the high volume of Wimbledon. This may be good with the added grunts from the returns of these serves to avoid the whining and complaining from these patients. Where were my cancer buddy warriors? This group was downright depressing. Too much whining, too smelly, too loud, and just annoying. You cannot have visitors in this closet when it is packed. Yes, I needed platelets. Nothing surprising. I called my doctor to tell him I was mad and he just said over and over that he was sorry. I know he felt bad, but there was nothing he could do.  So, I kept Jim busy by texting him non stop. My nurse had issues with finding a vein, so I cried especially when she said she was going to “shove the IV in”. I kept telling her it was burning, but she said as long as it did not swell, it was FINE!?!  I looked at the clock and asked when I was going to get these platelets. Time was ticking and had to get to the OCPAC. My platelets were from Newport Beach. Jim sent me a text asking if this meant I was going to apply for OC Housewives. Was I going to all of a sudden demand botox and new boobs? Diamonds? Martinis? Either way, I had to get out of the place fast. Jim was sitting outside and he said he never saw me run so fast. It was definitely the adrenalin since my red count was not that great (hopefully the shot will kick in soon). We hurried to lunch and made it to Sofia’s performance. When I got into the car, I cried. It was too much seeing the sickness and the reminder that I am “sick”. Sofia opened the show with a brilliant song and I cried again. Jim asked me why I was crying and I said, “she is beautiful and her voice is amazing.”

The next day, back to the Hoag closet and thank goodness my favorite nurse was there. She must have read my mind and received my telepathic message. She put me in an area away from the sickness. She told me that she had a good feeling that I would not need another bag of platelets. She was right. My platelet number quadrupled! Safe, but no playing with knives, swords, or crazy sky diving. My red count was still low, but it should pick up any day. A great 4th of July gift! 4 times for the 4th! I have all the windows open at home to smell the summer air! I am off to hang with my family, the best gift of all. Enjoy the sunshine…I know I will!

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