At the end of my bed was a white board that you could write on if I was asleep when you were visiting, where my blood counts of the day were written, and on day one a nurse came on shift at six or seven in the morning, and wrote in great big letters:
Right underneath this the nurse wrote my counts...I only remember my white count, it was .4. Someone's usual white count ranges from 4.5 to 10. The rest of my counts were extremely low as well, the chemo and radiation had killed everything. It seemed I had a little climbing to do. I fell asleep, and woke up around 7:30a.m., and was convinced it was day two. But once I could focus there was the "day one" sign still staring back at me. By this time I was constantly sick to my stomach, but my poor Doctor Neville was convinced he was upsetting me in the mornings. He wore these fancy dress shoes with little tassles on them, and when he was coming I could hear his heels click on the floor as he was approaching the door. By the time he reached my door my head would be hanging over the side of the bed, thus, I knew what his shoes looked like. And to be honest, I guess when I heard his approach I would get tense. I was scared of what he would say I would have to do that day, what tests would have to be done, what results he had and if they were good or bad.
He was a "big city" doctor in my eyes, and every time he came into my room he would wonder about the growing number of cards that the nurses and my mother had taken to putting up on the wall. There was no room for them on my window ledge any more. He was amazed at the amount of support I was getting from a place that I described as a small town village on the east coast of Cape Breton. But it was not just my home town of Mabou, it was the surrounding towns of Port Hood, Inverness, Judique and Port Hawkesbury that were sending cards, dropping off meals to my siblings, and putting me on their prayer lines. How lucky was I to be born into such a wonderful part of the world. Doctor Neville would eventually make the trip to Mabou to see what all the fuss was about.
At 10a.m. Doctor Neville came to see how I was doing. He said we would know be watching for rejection or infections. And we would wait for my counts to start to going up. It sounded simple. I fell asleep again.
On Day One something wonderful did start to happen. There was one person who I was missing more than I ever thought possible, my Nanny. She was my father's mother, and she lived just down the lane from me when I was growing up. She had been sending letters with people who came to visit with me, and I had spoke to her once on the phone since leaving the Harbour. In her letters, and her call she kept reminding me of a promise we had made each other years earlier, which I will tell you about in a future blog. But she also kept saying that she was with me in spirit and praying so hard for me. On Day One, Nanny's sister, Jenny, my dear, darling Aunt Jenny came to visit, and she became probably the most frequent visitor I had outside of my parents. Aunt Jenny looked like my Nanny, she talked like my Nanny, she loved me like my Nanny, and she set my priorities straight when I needed it. Aunt Jenny's daughter, Debby had a son named Jason, and he was coming into town to the IWK for cancer treatment, and was a patient there while I was in the VG. I don't think anyone could have kept Jenny away from visiting Jason when he was in the hospital, and I was lucky that she took even more extra time to come see me as well. She perked me up every time, and reminded me every day how lucky I was, she was like Nanny like that too...no complaints, no feeling sorry for yourself. Two of the strongest women I have ever known, and I was lucky enough to be loved by them both. That day Debby had come too, and when I was telling her that I was too sick to watch anything on tv because it made me motion sick, she asked if there was a time of day I could watch something. When I said maybe late at night I could watch something, she went and tracked down a tv and vcr and rolled it into my room. Then she went to the store and bought me a Billy Rae Cyrus concert movie, because we both thought he was hot, and Wayne's World, because I had told her it was the funniest movie of all times. I could see the doubt when I told her that, but she bought it anyway. That was the kind of people they were to me...even though her son Jason was very sick himself, they still reached out to me to try to make me feel better. When I started writing this project, I wondered every day if they were reading it, and I worried about it bringing back too many memories.
On Day One, I fell asleep and woke up about fifteen times, and each and every time I woke up I thought it was a different, new day. At supper time I made Mom ask the nurse to take the offensive words down off the board. I thought that night I would watch one of my newly acquired movies, but that would happen in a few nights, and bring memories to be treasured, which again, I will fill you in on very soon.
After all that waiting Day One was over, and it had some positives, you have to look for the positives right?
I know some of these posts are longer, my time to work on them is limited, so stick with me. Some laughs and more tears, unfortunately to come! Oh, man, you are not going to believe the visitor stories I have in the next few days!