Monday, August 5, 2013

Emerald City of quiet confinement: day 17

When you walk into my hospital room, you have to push hard against the latch. It is loud and requires just enough to be too much force. My bed is in some weird combination of up legs, raised head, something that looks like contortion rehearsal unless I am trying to sleep, in which case it is as flat as a regular bed because I only like sitting folded in half. Flat almost lets me lay on my stomach, with pillows bolstering me at odd angles so the clips and end caps and tubes snaking out of my chest or worn like a lanyard don't dig too savagely into my skin.

There is a giant window past my bed, from which I can see Lake something and the new Husky stadium being built. The sun streams in all day, and I rarely have to turn on an overhead light. The window is so large, I have to make sure to close the blinds before I go to sleep or I will wake up at the crack of dawn with morning light all over my face. Between the bed and the window is a fold-down chair for visitors to sit or sleep; a small dresser nightstand in which I keep my spare pajamas, art supplies, and soft hats; a bedside table that spits out a dining tray table with a push of a button and a shove, which is currently home to my water pitcher, Kindle, writing paper, lotions, lip balm, and case of DVDs. There is a cork board directly opposite the visitor chair to which I have pinned the cards some of you have sent, beautiful photos my elder brother took at Mt. Tabor Park, the chart that tracks how many laps I have walked around the ward (10-ish is a mile and for every mile one walks here, one receives a footprint sticker on the door of one's room), and the chart that tracks my blood cell levels. Today was an up/down day: my white blood cell count doubled, but my neutrophils tanked again and hematocrit and platelets are down. This is normal behavior, but I wish my neutrophils would hurry up and propagate. There is a calendar on the cork board, but the days that concern me are the days written on the white board on the opposite end of the wall. That is where we count what day since cell day it is currently, today being Day 17(!!!). I'm betting I will be discharged Friday or Saturday, otherwise known as Days 21(!!!) or 22(!!!). In between the cork boards is the info-input computer the nurses and techs use and above that a flat-screen television with built-in DVD player. I have been watching a lot of "Gilmore Girls."

Next to my bed is the restroom where I shower sitting down and use the toilet into little "hats" so the staff can monitor my output. Closer still to the bed is the sink and mirror. I do my hand washing, tooth brushing, and hair missing here. If my hair would all fall out at once, I wouldn't be so dismayed to look at my reflection, but right now I am patchy all over my head and frankly look too much like a cancer patient for my taste. My eyes are still bright, though, so that counts for something.

It's 11:30, almost Day 18. Cross your fingers my counts are way up.

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