Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Most Frustrating Day

Yesterday was day 1 of the two day festival that is known as Gerry's Day 100 Checkup. It's when we return to the Mayo for testing and a doctor visit to follow up 100 days after his stem cell transplant.

And it was a huge frustration. Thank god I had my new tiny rubber chicken with me. Squeeze it and it lays an egg. I laid a lot of eggs yesterday.

First of all, so there's no worry as you read this, everything with Gerry is FINE! He is recovering as well and and as nicely as anyone can. His numbers are good, his tests were stable (we were told that - especially with the bone scans - no change is good news! "Don't expect improvement, be glad if it's staying constant...")

Basically, Gerry is a textbook case of how a recovery should go.

Now for the frustrations. Which were actually not earth shaking, just - well - nerve wracking...

We arrived at 10:00 for blood tests and then on for full body xrays so they can compare his current state of bone to his previous state of bone.

Then off for the bone marrow biopsy, but for some reason we had to wait over an hour past the appointment time. Everything at Mayo is scheduled, so we were falling farther and farther behind.

And things got a little worse. The woman who checked us in came over to tell us that there had been a problem in X-ray so we had to return to have a shot taken again. No big deal. Not really...


Then it began to snow. Hard.

And everyone who walked into the area we were sitting commented, "Wow, I'd had to have to be driving in THAT!"

With every minute it was getting worse, and we knew we WOULD be driving in it.

And as time was passing we also knew we probably wouldn't be arriving home when we expected (before the kids got home from school) but long AFTER that.

Frantic calls to friends to arrange some kind of backup for childcare - but we're still new enough in town that we just don't have a lot of backup available.

Nothing freaks a mom out like knowing that her 9 & 11 year olds may be home alone, knowing that her husband is going through a painful procedure (but with anesthetic - yay!) and that there is still a 2 hour trip in a driving snow.

I pretty much almost lost it. So many of the nerves of the past year came to a head in that moment - but I was able to walk away and freak quietly by myself. Freak. Me. Out.

When Gerry got back from the biopsy, we STILL had a visit with the kidney doctor - for which we were almost 2 hours late - and which also made both of us uneasy as we thought that Gerry's kidney function numbers were very good and didn't understand WHY we had to go see the nephrologist.

I knew we had to rush - did I mention that in between freaks I had to run up 2 floors to pick up a prescription, run down to the pharmacy to turn it in, then run back up to Gerry? - and I knew that Gerry wasn't in a rushing frame of mind (did I mention he'd been sedated?)

So I innocently suggested that he get IN the wheelchair we'd been using as a walker and I'd PUSH him to the next appt so we could move faster.

And I met with the resistance of a man who's been stripped and poked and prodded - and only has his ability to walk to prop up his pride. And I was about to thrust him into a wheelchair and push him around.

I won.

[side note: Gerry just came downstairs to have me change his biopsy dressing and I threatened to take a snapshot of his backside. Everything is blog fodder, he said as he waved his bottom back and forth.

Okay, so he has the ability to walk AND a sense of humor...]

We got to the appointment, and waited, and waited, and waited. I thought about running over to pick up the prescription for Gerry's pain meds, but I was feeling just pissy enough to actually think, 'Eh, let him stew for another half an hour...'

Don't you wish your girlfriend were a sadist like me?

Then I picked up the St. Paul paper that was laying there and turned to the - of course - obits. And what should I read but a moving paragraph about a 51 year old man who'd lost his 5 year battle with multiple myeloma (and whose funeral is a few blocks from our home later this week.)

Very. Quiet. Freak.
C'est chic.

So I ran over and picked up the drugs. Nothing like an obit to encourage kind thoughts.

We were finally called into the nephrologists office - thank heaven we weren't near a window or I would have been counting snowflakes - and there we (you guessed it) waited.

And waited.

It wasn't their fault, we were SO late for our appt, but it wasn't our fault, either.

And now the knee-slapping, rip-roaring,
HIGH-larious moment of the day...

The doctor walked into the room and basically told us that after chatting with Gerry's doc, he determined that they'd gotten our files mixed up and Gerry didn't have to be there at all.


I think I broke the record for saying good-bye to the doc, thank-you-very-much, wrangling Gerry into the wheelchair and booking to the door.

Booking - it was a very 70's moment.

We decided we'd leave Gerry warm in the lobby while I ran and got the car. Good plan.

And at the car I realized I'd left the keys with Gerry. Good plan which was not well thought out.

What a day, huh?

Suffice to say we got home about 2 minutes after Max, life is good, and today our trip was almost a total reversal.

A pretty day driving home, no blowing snow, lots of blue sky, and our appointments went well. Gorgeous!

We adore our doctor - she's funny and smart and said all the right things without fibbing or glossing over the hard parts. I wish she was a cousin.

And speaking of cousins, today started with an email from my cousin, Jan - who is rather like a sister to me and pretty much the last 'immediate' family member who's still around - that her breast cancer has recurred.

Damn. I'm still trying to process this - I feel that I've almost been living in a state where I'm standing outside myself for much of the past year, and this just isn't sinking in.

So tonight - after taking Hannah and a friend to see The Golden Compass (I promised I'd take her on the first day, we've both read and love the book) I'm home, finally, in my comfy chair and relaxing. I love home.

We may go tubing this weekend (me and the kids, with Gerry watching) out at Green Acres. I think we all deserve a chance to blow off some steam.

On second thought - maybe we'll go on Sunday. I deserve a day off.


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posted by Annie at


Anonymous Lisa in Ann Arbor said...

Annie -- it's good to remember to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! A day off sounds like just the ticket for you.

Lisa in Ann Arbor

December 08, 2007 12:20 AM  
Blogger knitbysue said...

Oh, I'm so sorry you had a frustrating day at Mayo. Unfortunately, delays, late appointments, & changes in plans happen all the time at Mayo. But snow falling heavily doesn't help things. I would have freaked too-- and my knitting gauge would have been WAY off that day.
If you have have more than two appointments at Mayo in a day and everyone is on time you should consider yourself lucky.
I hope you don't have to have more visits to Rochester in
the near future.
The really important thing is that Gerry is doing as well as the docs want and the 100-day check up is in the past.

December 08, 2007 7:48 AM  
Blogger Leslie said...

Thanks for telling us right up front that Gerry is doing well :) But I was sorry to read the second shoe dropping with the news of your cousin. Life can suck at times.

I hope you took the day off for yourself Annie. And congratulations (squared at least!) on not freaking out with all the frustrations that day. I don't know if I could have coped (and I'm known as a good coper) so I'm really impressed!

December 08, 2007 8:52 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Dang....I suppose there was too much going on for you to feel social, but I would have happily come down to sit with you while you did the waiting room thing.

December 08, 2007 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Robin/Indy said...

I know the family history of addiction, but it sounds like a good day for a shot or two of tequilla and a good scream in the pillow.
A big sigh of relief arriving home at same time as Max - Calgon, take me away.
Good Karma day for results on Gerry...
Warm, happy thoughts each step of the way. Robin

December 08, 2007 1:08 PM  
Anonymous kmkat said...

For someone who went through the freak out day of the century, you showed an amazing amount of non-freaked-outedness by saying up front that Gerry is okay. Thank you for that :)

We had one of my older son's birthay parties, maybe the 8th, tubing at Green Acres after everyone pigging out on Godfather's pizza. It was great fun -- hope your day is, too!

December 08, 2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous kristi said...

You need not do anything
Remain sitting at your table and listen
Just wait
And you need not even wait,
just become quiet and still and solitary
And the world will offer itself to you to
be unmasked
It has no choice
It will roll in ecstacy at your feet.

Rainer Maria Rilke

December 08, 2007 3:43 PM  
Blogger Jen G said...

I'm so happy to hear the good results from Gerry's 100 day evaluation!! Stressful enough without the snow added on... I don't know how you held on to any sanity at all.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful news!

December 08, 2007 10:04 PM  
Anonymous Martha said...

Hang in there, Annie. I too had one of those stupid days yesterday where nothing seemed to go as planned. Nothing was major, just evreything slightly screwed-up with residual stress rearing its ugly head. After much more fussing and fuming than I normally do, i caught myself and took a nice deep breath and held it for a long time while i made a mental note to myself that the universe was not conspiring against me. Hope your next week is better. Happy Hanukkah too BTW. Martha

December 08, 2007 10:12 PM  
Blogger Seanna Lea said...

Everything that you and your family are going through is so hard, but that you can keep the sense of humor up and running is a gift for your family and anyone else in this (or similar) situation looking for a bit of guidance.

December 10, 2007 11:24 AM  

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