Cancer Chronicles: The Virus & A Vampire
“My cancer’s timeline is oddly parallel to the arrival of this virus. Inexplicably so. Both unnerving and scary with with potential for growth. The world’s making changes -people staying at home- while my viewpoint ranges from brave to alone.
The lens! I can see it. I wear it with awe. Like a framed introspection for life in the raw. My eyes are adjusting to the hues of both threats. So much to conquer, without taking a step.” -Allison2020
I spent the whole day on the phone trying to be an advocate for healthcare providers. Living in the hospital during the ramp up for COVID-19’s big hit is sobering. I’m seeing some very real discrepancies here... It’s obvious from watching the news that the spacesuit-looking hazmat gear in China and the other hard hit parts of the world barely protected the heroes wearing them. So, it boggles my mind that that I keep hearing talk about a shortage of MASKS in the U.S! I’ve called every government number I could find, expressing my concern as a neutropenic patient in order to get our heroes better PPE. I feel tiny and insignificant in this whole thing, but I’d rather use my voice than not. Plus... it only takes one mosquito to be a nuisance!
Originally, I elected not to have any visitors because I believed the threat of COVID-19 to be so real that, if I were to catch it while here at the hospital, I didn’t want my family or friends to have to shoulder the burden of wondering whether or not I'd gotten it from them. Turns out, visitors aren't even an option anymore. So, if I need anything from home, I coordinate a pick up between my husband and the nurses that takes place in the parking lot. These are crazy times!
I noticed the hair that frames my face is starting to thin despite being told by the doctors that I’d get to keep it. Bummer.
I woke up feeling pretty puny, like a healthy person feels when they’re coming down with the pip. My head hurt, I felt groggy, nauseous, and generally unwell. It was NOTHING compared to how I felt when I was suffering from differentiation syndrome, so it was hard to complain. In fact, I didn’t complain. I merely mentioned it when it came time to soak up another human being’s blood. That way, the nurses would know I hadn’t felt great beforehand. That being said, I got my first RED blood transfusion this morning! My red blood cells and hemoglobin count were low.
I’ve have components of blood before, like platelets and fibrinogen, but this is my first drink of recognizably red blood. I was excited about it and took selfies with the stuff because, well, it seems legit. Transfusions don’t feel like true transfusions when they look like frozen pineapple juice.
I told the nurses that I hoped whoever the blood belonged to originally is a kind person and they had the most obvious response that it made my eyes roll. They said, "They donated the blood, of course they’re kind!" Ha! I then moved on to math and numbers - here’s to hoping I inherit even the slightest bit of mathematical know how 😝🤓🤪
P.S. It took long enough, but I've finally figured out the best way to do my hair for this long-term stint in bed. By keeping a braid at either side of my head and a decorative poof on top, I get to feel borderline stylish, while still remaining comfortable. You see, with my hair like this, I can avoid the "ponytail lump" at the back of my head when reclining on my pillow.