Which is where I am, right now. I’ve known for several days that Saturday was probably the day, and had it confirmed by the nurse yesterday afternoon and the doctor last night, but I just couldn’t bring myself to post it. Superstition, mostly, and I didn’t want to bring another big letdown to the Internet if something went wrong at the last minute.
But instead, I returned to my previous upswing, healthwise. Not as dramatic as before, just that my hemoglobin level, which is supposed to be around 12 but can go as low as 9 before they get nervous, had finally stopped dropping – it got to 9.1 on Thursday, and I really thought I was in for yet another delay, another week away, another round of disappointments for everyone involved – and finally, on Friday, started to rise all by itself. Not in a stellar fashion, only to 9.4, but a rise is a rise is a rise, right?
I was, frankly, shocked. I didn’t feel anemic, whatever that might feel like, and so I didn’t know what to watch for, how to make it better, even how to fake better long enough to get them to let me out. I just kept having these bad numbers, and then another round of blood transfusions, and had absolutely no control or even input about whether it got better or worse. Which is the worst thing… I understood that if I wanted my wounds to get better, I had to eat a lot of protein and put up with the dressing changes on a regular basis. I understood that if I wanted to stop getting the nasty burning heparin shots (which, just so’s you know, though I deeply hope none of you ever needs this information, it stings a lot less if you can get the nurse to blow on or fan the site immediately after the injection… no idea why, but it does help), I had to get up and out of bed and do laps around the unit to prove I wasn’t lying there inviting a blood clot and thus an embolism. And so on… there were things I could do. But with this anemia, I just couldn’t seem to affect the outcome in any direction; it just got worse when it wanted to get worse and I didn’t even feel the difference between better and worse.
So I just got in a mindset that it would continue to get worse on its own, woe is me, blah blah. And so, on Thursday night, when I talked to the doctor, we had an agreement that I would go home if the hemoglobin went down by less than a full point, and that I would stay longer and endure more invasive testing if it went down by more than a point. It never occurred to either of us that it might finally actually start to go up on its own – that wasn’t even in our list of possibilities. But there it was, and so without question, home I went.
And I have a baby here, and he is sweet and small and gorgeous, and in time I might actually start to feel like he’s mine instead of someone else’s child that I’m just taking care of. It helps that he’s a mellow kind of guy, happy to snuggle and get to know you, and also that he has a lot of similarities to his brother so there’s that family-ties sense running through it all.
I’m going to go snuggle him until I fall asleep, which won’t take long because he’s already asleep and I challenge you to hold a sleeping baby and not nod off. Plus I had not one, but two VAC dressing encounters today, the first being incredibly painful and the second not so bad but still anxiety-producing… I’m awake right now but am sort of meandering alongside the Cliff of Nap, and could fall over the side at any moment.
So. Yes. Home again. With the VAC, true, and who knows how much longer that will be, but at least it’s small and portable and, in case I forgot to mention, it’s at home.
My big kids are at Jenny’s for the weekend, because once again she is stepping in to help things go as smoothly as possible. They’ll come home tomorrow and raise the general volume and excitement level here. Willem gets home around 9:00 tonight after his trip, which I am so glad he took because he really, really needed something just for himself… it’s a longish story, short version being he took an overnight trip to Los Angeles for a concert; tickets purchased months ago and it took a great deal of convincing for him to still go given the timing of stuff with me, but he went and I hope he had a fabulous time. My dad and stepmom are here to help me and Isaac keep ourselves alive until Willem gets home. My mom is in New York until late tomorrow night. So, people are spread around and about, but it’s all working out.
And you know what? I was worried, that coming home would exhaust me, would make me lots more sore than I already was, would scare and overwhelm me after a month of staring at beige walls and being in near-total control of the stimulation level in the room… just that it would all be so much to handle and I’d be something of a wreck.
And instead… I feel fantastic. Seriously just good. I’m anxious to get hold of Willem because he picked up my various prescriptions during the week and now I can’t find them, and I’d like to know where they are before my back/surgical pain starts really acting up. But right this moment, having been home for about six hours, gone grocery shopping, done some low-level organizing when I emptied out two of my hospital bags, fed and snuggled the baby (with more to come!)… I’m a little tired, but good-tired. Not aching, dragging exhausted, just tired. And otherwise, the rest of me feels truly, unequivocally, honestly good.
I guess Dorothy had it right when she clicked those shoes together. No place like home, indeed.