Well...well...well...where do I start ! Let me start with -- Happy first day of Spring ! Although looking outside, it still feels like an early January day - cloudy, windy, coat or no coat, kids running out the house to check their own "temperature" (BTW, why do we need weather persons)...
When all these "fine" things settled, elder daughter, Meera, got dropped off at school by mommy and today was special, the younger one Maya had both parents to drop her off at school.
Many of us complain about things that they don't have or would like to have -- let me tell you a small event that has had profound impact on me today -- knowing I was going to check into the hospital and likely going to stay for several weeks, the simple gesture of dropping my 9-year old to school, and giving her a tight hug and a kiss on her cheeks, and she in turn saying "Get well daddy...I love you" was undoubtedly the most significant moment in my life today...
Which made me pause and think -- Why do we not find and enjoy simple pleasures in our lives ? What difference does it make if you drive a 10 year old Toyota versus 6 month old Mercedes that looks immaculate until the first rain and slush ?
Then it was off to my soon-to-be second home. Even the patient registration guy recognized me by name...Indiana University has a flowing water ban -- so, everyone gets to use only bottled water. The registrar proudly offered water to every one seated!
Then my name was called by a familiar nurse -- she has gotten to know me that she insists she will not "torture" when inserting the tube into my Chemo Power Port.
I have endured much more serious pain and let her suck some blood (perhaps I have crossed the magic mark of 100 times my blood has been tested since Jan 2013) sample. Then after checking my weight and pressure, was put away in a windowless room along with my wife.
We knew we had at least 10 minutes before the doc would arrive. Pulled out our laptops and did the customary -- check email, check NYTimes headlines, check FB. By then Dr. Sayar (a brilliant hematologist) arrived.
What followed was a flurry of biology jargons, frankly I couldn't understand. In the back of my mind, I had one burning question -- after all these treatments, will I live or die ?
I couldn't muster enough energy to ask that question. I took one key message from the meeting and from my wife -- let us focus on the next 2 weeks.
So, off we went to our sunny and brightly lit room on the 3rd floors. I must say, these rooms are luxurious. A patient and a spouse/brother/mother could spend the night with the patient.
Ms. Misty the nurse was very pleasant and several other nurses who knew me came to say...at the end, what could they that would be appropriate -- "Glad you are here ?" "Glad to see you", "Have a nice stay" or "Good seeing you"...fortunately, I was at the back of the room talking to the doctor on "duty"...even he had the words "Good seeing you..." then caught himself and said "Suresh, you know what I meant !"
For the patient it is easy -- "Thank you so much".
Then Misty tells me the treatment will begin at 3pm or later. So, I let my wife head to her work and I had a "restricted" low-carb diet. Tried to rest for an hour, only to be woken up twice to check on my vitals -- isn't that the job of the machines ?
Then came a group of nurses carrying various colored bags -- I asked them what the colors indicated...their first response was "I need to google it"...then they hooked me up to saline and this "blue" med.
I was fixated on the noise that each drip made and then dosed off...30 minutes later another bag, this time "light blue" bag was hung. This ran for 20 minutes. And finally a clear bag of fluid was hung and I felt I was finally home...
I was elated when all the meds were over and done with and was hoping the cord that ties me to the 'former girl friend (the IV Pole)" would be disconnected and we could go our separate ways.
Unfortunately, the doctor decided I needed more fluids -- tell that to type-II diabetic, who, normally drinks gallons of water each day. So for then, there was a tug of war between the girlfriend and myself -- who moves first and who follows.
Kept a close eye on my girls since they came home -- phone calls, texts, facetime, emails. What an invention FaceTime is -- if the carriers can upgrade their infrastructure, FaceTime would take off. I have used it sparingly before, but today was my real test and I must say, it is a beautiful piece of software, and so simple to use. Thank you Steve Jobs.
All in all, today was a good start to this new journey. I hope it continues and I want to come out on the other side - pale, thin, bald, hunched over, and many other nuisances - but alive so that I can continue to be the husband, brother, dad to my daughters, and a son to a mom who is enduring so much pain watching one of her sons fighting cancer.
With that I close wishing you all peace & quiet !