Friday, November 19, 2010

Home is the sailor, home from sea

update:  The doctors discharged Tom yesterday, having found nothing on the many high-tech tests they ran.  No cardiac problem, no evidence of stroke.  Then why did he not remember falling down Tuesday, and why was he dazed for half an hour afterward?  Well, seizure is still a possibility, they say.  On the other hand, if you fall and strike your head just right, around the temple, it can be this traumatic.  Now we are waiting to hear from the doctor as to whether the discharge instructions are right - no driving.

The fall was Tuesday afternoon, then there was ER until 1:00 a.m.  Then Wednesday, me driving for the first time since my transplant.  Thursday, fear and exhaustion switched me into running on adrenaline.  I avoid making that self public.  Here's where some practice in self-discipline comes in handy:  when the doctor comes in, not pausing to use the hand sterilizer that is inside every patient room, and extends his hand to shake yours, you don't snarl.

I said, not for the first or last time, "Sorry, I'm immuno-suppressed."  Umm, yes.  And it turned out he did know I was post-transplant, by the way.  I hate to do this.  People seem to feel hurt, that they've made a mistake.  The alternative is to carry hand sterilizer, which I do, and meticulously not touch your face until you use it . . . As it was, I was acutely aware that I was in a hospital, the source of MERSA, and not wearing a mask as long as I was in Tom's room.  A mistake, I think, since hospital people are constantly in and out.  (Follow this link to see how serious MERSA is - you are virtually thrown back into the pre-antibiotic era. Be glad every day that you don't have it.)

All this made me acutely aware that you can lose someone you love - or your health - or anything, in a flash.

On a much lighter note
I had spread the news of Tom's hospitalization through a brief status update on facebook.  Good friends came forward right away, sitting with us in the ER, offering healing energy and rides, bringing Tom flowers at the hospital, calling him.  And a woman we know socially through church specifically offered food, asking if we had any dietary restrictions. Six hours later, home from the hospital, exhausted, we opened the front door to find she had left us six servings of a wonderful, nourishing soup, and a loaf of ciabatta bread as well. Again and again, since Laurie offered the kidney, gifts have come from unexpected places.  And what I realized from this, as I ate the soup with great enjoyment, was how much gratitude is like love, thus what good karma generosity creates for the giver.

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