After receiving Beth’s bone marrow, I waited. I waited and waited and waited and then waited some more. The really tough physical work was mostly done, albeit far from over, but now the mental work was underway. Until my counts were “normal,” I was unable to be released from the hospital. Red cells, white cells, and platelets – they all had to hit a magic number.
Magic numbers. Time lines. Qualifying times. Man, you’d think I was Swiss instead of Italian. It’s not that I mind a good goal. In fact, that’s funny to say (or type) out loud. What I minded was not being able to do a darn thing to accomplish it any quicker, to get out of that place any sooner. I was stuck and not much was in my control. Admittedly, I’m still not a fan of finding myself in a “nothing I can do about it” situations. But I have come to accept those times more readily and more peacefully, realizing ultimately there is a much bigger plan than any of the ones we think we have all figured out.
Day in and day out, the nurses would take blood for testing. Each time, I’d muster up a little more hope that I would pass the test, arrive at the next level, and finally be able to pack up my male-magnet flannel housecoat and skedaddle.
Hope. It’s a funny thing sometimes. One day, you wake up and think “Today I am going to do this thing!” and the next, you’re deflated because something hasn’t gone exactly according to plan. That pretty much sums up the remaining 17 days in that place. There were several stretches of time when a medicine wouldn’t do what it was supposed to do, or I wouldn’t tolerate it at all. More changeups than Johan Santana has thrown occurred in an effort to make me “normal” again (I know, I know, I’m setting you up nicely with that…)
I had a chart posted on the wall at the end of my bed outlining my counts. My goal was in the room. I had those numbers memorized. They were burned in my head, thankfully replacing all that nonsense Pythagora drummed up. Every night I would look at that chart, say a prayer, sometimes say not so ladylike things, and fall asleep hoping tomorrow would be better than the day before.
And then one day the nurse came in with a HUGE smile on her face. I knew instantly! Without either of us needing to say a word, she calmly walked to the end of my bed, grabbed the marker, and slowly wrote those magic numbers. I cried, she cried, other nurses came in and THEY cried.
I was outta there.
The time had come. We made it. Together.
Just like we’ve almost made it to the end of this 10-week effort together. I’m very excited about this week. The time has come.
4 more days.