After a 4-1/2 year break, we are back to another treatment season for Wally’s Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, to prevent it from mushrooming again. I’ll write a little post each week about some aspect of it.
HIS APPOINTMENT is 7:30 AM.
He’s told to be there by 7:15.
We agree to leave the hotel at 7:00. It’s a 2-mile drive and the hospital offers valet parking, so we can just pull up and get out.
“Seven is plenty early,”
we repeat before turning out the lights.
But by the time 7 AM rolls around, he’s already wearing a hospital bracelet and we are waiting for an elevator to take us to the 5th floor. It’s just our way. We are morning people. We do not know how to sit still when the sun is rising.
I won’t be reporting all the details of a day, but just to acquaint you with how it goes…
An IV is started. Labs are taken and sent off. There’s a parade of people in and out, one after another: Nurse-practitioner, Clinical trial coordinator, Pharmacist. Lab results come back. He’s approved to start. The investigational drug is requested. We are asked if we need anything. While waiting, we fool around with the buttons on the hospital bed, just like a pair of kids. By the time the drug shows up, and the numbers are checked and double-checked by the nurses, and the infusion is begun, it’s 10:30 AM – a full 3 hours after we arrived in the room, not because of delays but due to procedure. There’s an order in which things must happen.
It’s a long day, the first day, because the infusion is slower, to watch for adverse reactions. None develop.
We get out at 3 PM.
It’s a 4-hour ride back to Louisville and I’ll be driving. A block from the Medical Center, as I sit at a traffic light, waiting to make a left onto the entry ramp for the interstate, he exhales long.
“Ahhh, we did it!” he says. But the hardest part of my day has just begun. 3:00 PM is past peak for a morning person and in another two hours we’ll be passing through Cincinnati at rush hour. I have dreaded this drive for weeks. Only I haven’t mentioned it. And the reason I haven’t mentioned it is where part of my own story lies. I keep meaning to explore that in my journal, but then it would be written down somewhere where someone might read it.
That’s it, rough and unpolished. Off to pick up the dog from the kennel and go to ESL class.