Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Ralph Visit

Nothing deep today. Just a narrative. A day in the life.

My older son and I drove down to Lehigh Valley Hospital this morning for my nadir visit.

The dictionary defines nadir as "the lowest point; point of greatest adversity or despair."

When I hear the term, I think Nader. Ralph Nader, consumer advocate who was always in the news in the 1970's. Didn't he run for President once? I like to think of my nadir visit as my Ralph visit. [It does not have to make sense to you!].

Apparently, today is the point in my chemotherapy cycle at which my body is at its lowest point. It is the day in which my body is most vulnerable. Physically, there is adversity because my red blood cell count has dropped even lower; my white blood cell count is up, but not to the normal level. Thankfully, neither my body nor my soul are in a state of despair!

The nurse talked to me about having a transfusion, but I told her that I would only consent to a blood transfusion if it were absolutely necessary - if my low red blood cell count would interfere with the progress of my treatment.

The good news is that my white blood cell count, even though it is low, does not prohibit me from getting out of the house a bit in the next week and a half. But I need to be careful. No handshakes, hugs or kisses!

There have been times in my life when I would look forward to a day of not leaving the house. As a teacher, snow days were great! These days, I look forward to putting down the laptop, the books, and the crossword puzzles, trading my pajamas for khakis and a sweater, and going out to visit friends.

The drive down this morning was a good lesson for my son in highway driving and driving in inclement weather (freezing rain). The roads were slick, but passable. We did encounter about a dozen wrecks, both cars and tractor trailers. My son did a fine job, but found out how exhausting winter driving can be! He was rewarded with lunch at Chick-Fil-A, one of our favorite fast food restaurants, and a visit to the Guitar Center. With my bald head, I seemed to fit right in with all the young rockers trying out electric guitars that they could never afford to buy!

I am back at home now, laptop on lap, sitting in my recliner, thinking about all the things I would like to do and all the people I would like to see before my next round of chemotherapy. There are choices to be made and precautions to be taken.

But to have choices, that is the thing!

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