Friday, February 1, 2013

"The voice in my ear"

We begin the day with mother in law, Linda arriving at our home around 10 am. She and I have an appointment at the VA resource department downtown Asheville, approximately five miles from the Cancer Center. We have had this scheduled for the past three weeks and either her being sick or the weather has forced us to re schedule. She was advised on the phone that we needed to go there, fill out a billion forms, bring in her marriage certificate, Johns death certificate and about ten other forms for them to review.  All of this was for her to receive assistance towards his cremation and a plaque for his grave. Knowing that she may have to stay with us all day, in the event Zack gets blood she simply says "she will agree to be tortured by my presence." We have this wonderful relationship, where we tease each other a lot.

Zack is very quiet today. He is, of course, tired of the travel to and from Asheville, the lab work, the blood, the urine samples, the poking and prodding that is part of the bi weekly examinations.  Linda gets him to talk a bit, but for the most part he just listens to us making fun of each other. We drop him off at the Cancer Center at 11 am and head over to the VA offices. My cute little phone tells me to turn right, then left, then right.. oops I missed the street "at the next intersection, make a legal u turn" is the female voice talking in my blue tooth!! So, turning around, turn right and we are withing 500 feet, so I park at the nearest spot. We put three quarters in the meter and it reads 17 minutes. At this point it is 24 degrees with wind chills of 25 miles an hour making it 0 degrees (or at least it feels that way), so I just leave it and say it will be worth the ticket to get the hell out of the cold. I carry my cute little phone as she continues to talk in my ear, turn right, turn left.... wait a minute... there's a sign pointing to the jail! Linda asks if I'm taking her to jail, and though it is tempting (smile) I stop and tell her we are going in the wrong direction. So, we turn and head back toward the car, the voice in my ear says to turn right and then another right followed by "you have arrived!" YEAH!!!! Here we are!!! We walk into the court house, there are two armed guards standing next to the scanning machine asking Linda to take off our belt and empty our pockets, followed by "please place your purse on the conveyor belt" . Linda teases to the older guard that her pants are going to fall down, he tells her to hold on tight, he doesn't want to have to arrest her for indecent exposure, I then walk through. She puts her belt back on, I grab my purse and start to walk away. Looking around, we see no signs directing us to the VA office. I ask the elder guard where they might be? He says "oh, did you see the construction outside to the right?", "yes" I respond.. he says "you need to walk past there to the next building, but be careful, the sidewalk is closed and you will be walking with traffic." Linda looks at me and says "I thought your little lady in your ear knew what she was doing." Apparently NOT!! I joke with the guard and tell him that was so much fun, we will see him next week. He responds with "same time, same place?" and we exit the building. All of this excitement only to find out later in the day that Linda is only entitled to a tiny little medallion that shows John served in the Marines, which will be mailed to her. Oh well, we had our fun.

We return to Zack within an hour and as I introduce Linda to the staff, we are greeted by one of the nurses who tells me he will receive a double transfusion and platelets. His counts are pretty low and they are already talking about postponing chemo next week. We must wait for his ENC count, which surprisingly enough, I didn't realize until today (or maybe I forgot) is what determines how strong his immune system is. Since it is going to be an all day procedure, we can't expect to be finished until six or seven I offer to bring Linda back to Brevard. She is more than willing to stay with us, but Zack tells us to go as he will be sleeping most of the day. As Linda and I head out, I order hot wings to be delivered to the center for Zack and tell him I will return in a couple of hours.

Linda and I have a nice lunch together (which is when the VA called to tell her the news). On our way home we stop at two thrift stores to break up the drive. I drop off her off at the house and turn right around and head back to Asheville. The traffic is heavier now as the end of the work day nears, but I make it in good time. I try and call Zack but there is no answer, which usually means he is asleep. Sure enough, when I walk back in his room, he had just woken up. He was on his last bag of blood, which would take another hour or so. He complains that they are running it too slow, so I ask the nurse if she can increase the speed. She tells me he chose the IV in his arm rather than the port, so it does go slower, but she can increase it a little. It is now five and Angie is running up and down the hall with a broom, teasing everyone and making us all laugh. She is so full of energy and love. She truly loves what she does and as I watch her, I remember that her own father is dying from cancer and yet she is here every day caring so much for us all. In fact everyone on the pediatric floor are amazing! There is not one who's heart has not touches ours with their compassion, understanding and care.

We find out just as we are getting ready to leave that he can go to the Motocross tomorrow night. He was told earlier that he more than likely would not be able to go. His ENC is over 800 (500 carries a high risk of catching something). They also schedule us for next Wednesday at 8 am for labs, should his numbers come out high, we will then proceed with the next stage of chemotherapy.

As we turn the corner to our driveway, Zack asks if he can go up to Drakes for awhile. Teasing, I tell him I will miss him too much and then send him on his way with a curfew of 10 pm. Frank eats dinner which we picked up on our way home and we sit down to watch a couple of movies. A productive day to say the least. 

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