Roll reversal


Yesterday started right when Sunday ended. The AK Dudley’s including Jim boarding the flight for Seattle about 1230 am. Finn was giddy with excitement for take off. That kid is thrilled with the feeling of acceleration. Liam and Brooke were already half asleep. The flight was a mixture of fitful head bobbing, neck pain, worry of clots, little legs getting near amputated by midnight steward carts and eventually a good morning smack down awaking when the pilot dropped the last 50 or so feet to the deck on landing. After dealing with a lost bag, my freak out over the lack of a rental car agent and a little traffic I still made it in time to start of the yearly follow up.

The number of vials of blood they took from me to start the day (seen above) was a clear indication that protocol trumps all practical thinking in white tower medicine. With a hemoglobin of 9 and a good portion of these labs done in the last month I m pretty sure no one here reviewed my chart other than to say “hey he’s coming, order the panel!” I was able to stand without passing out and ascend to the next level of the building and day for some breakfast and a quick snooze.

I awoke in a sleep deprived, anemic, post prandial haze when I heard my name being shouted. I groogily wiped the drool collected my bag and stumbled towards the name caller. I was through two doors and half a hallway before mind cleared enough to notice the voice talking to me was nurse G (can’t use her real name because I didn’t really tell her I would write this) the best bone marrow collector on earth! No freaking joke!

Immediately my day brightened. Two reasons first she has made getting marrow drawn a pleasant and relatively painless process. Second, she is a great conversationalist. Last time I had a marrow drawn and a skin biopsy she and Jim spent nearly thirty minutes while she held pressure because I would stop bleeding and she wasn’t allowed to place a stitch. Anyone who has held pressure to a bleeding anything knows two minutes feels like an hour and time seems to slow exponentially after that. They were talking about soccer though so maybe that made it easier for them. This being said she is a wonderful nurse and after, I think 9 or 10 marrow aspirations, I should be qualified to select the finest performer of this procedure.

Nurse G had a trainee of the art with her and she was apt at coaching and I can say she now has a worthy pupil. I am now a little sore but I can’t really complain if any pain during or the rest of the day. I don’t even really recall the initial ache when the lidocaine wore off. Maybe part of the lack of pain came from the euphoria my mind felt from lack of sleep but a certain part came from a question Nurse G asked me. She politely asked me if she could ask a medical question. If course I said. Her octogenarian mom who lives alone and is very indecent recently had what sounded like a little transient ischemic attack or TIA. She is fine but like all good daughters, she was a little worried. After some medical facts about mom we had a 20 min talk about what the goals really were with more evaluation, different meds, ultimate objectives we got into the end of life discussion which I feel I have always been decent at discussing. Now I even have some more emotional kick now given my situation. The truth is though I gave her some fairly safe advice about what to look for, think about, and how to move forward in helping her mom. By the time we realized I was a bit late for my next appointment she was thankful to me. A big hug with hoped not to see each other until next year but more importantly a look into the eyes of a person who needed to hear what I told her.

I moved on into my day, tired, literally drained, facing more of my own mortality but I felt truly alive. I hope I helped her a little bit. I want to believe I did. The oddity to the situation is her she was there to help me by doing a rather horrendous procedure, which I choose to do without meds, in the end I feel good not because of her skill but because she trusted me to give her some advice. The role reversal was a bit wild and clearly the fact that I trusted her led to her trusting me which made the whole thing more tolerable despite her pain infliction to me and me to her. I felt that was amazing.

It may have bee the highlight of the day if the sun had not come out and my two little, but growing, boys and wonderful wife had not shown up to get me later after all the appointments. They took me to two different park. We played in the sun had a wonderful dinner with Gen and Avi and eventually crashed to sleep.

Thanks to everyone who was part of my day.

Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.



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