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Words of Hope – 24 Days in the Hole

June 24th, 2008: Sorry for the long lag in posts.  The lag in time coincides with many long, boring days in the hospital recovering.  I was released from the hospital after spending 24 days inpatient from May 27th through June 19th.  Those 24 days were chock full of little issues; fevers, rashes, GI issues, etc…  I felt like I responded well to the first round of chemo.  I recovered fairly quickly and felt pretty good leaving the hospital in June.  During this first stay I really started to get to know the doctors, nurses, attendants and other staff.  They are all awesome.  God bless the people who had to wake each patient up 3 times a night to capture their vital signs.  The nurses on the leukemia unit are awesome, many of them may be reading this blog. I was friendly with the all of them.  The nurses ran the show and they made 24 days in the hospital tolerable.  My head doctor was Doctor Steven Gore, a good guy, a very smart guy and a very confident guy.  I really appreciated his confidence.  To me, it said I’ve got my sh_t together and we are going to beat this.  I also met Dr. Judy Karp, all 98 lbs of energy and inspiration.  I loved her for many reasons, but the most important was this: Dr. Karp told me very early on that I should keep moving, have a routine, get out of bed, take a shower, do any normal thing you can do…  I got the sense that if I didn’t take this advice that she’d be all over me, and not in a good way.  I chose to follow her advice, I felt like I was one of her favorites…  26 laps around the unit was a mile.  It’s not easy to do a mile on the unit, there are lots of people working in those halls; food carts, other patients, teams of students, nurses and patients…  Additionally, every person that entered my room had to wear a mask, gown and gloves to protect me from infection.  When I left the room, I had to wear the same.  In my gown, mask and gloves I would walk at least 52 laps a day, no matter how lousy I was feeling.  I would pour sweat out of the rubber gloves after I finished.  In addition to walking, there was a treadmill and a stationary bike on the unit.  They were jammed in a room about 12ft x 8ft.  I would use that equipment consistently as well.  I never told anyone I nearly passed out on the treadmill on more than one occasion.  Exercising with blood that doesn’t carry much oxygen can be a bit challenging.   Never the less, I found by keeping moving and keeping a schedule I felt I recovered more quickly.  More importantly, it keep my mind engaged and kept me from getting bored and negative.  Tune in next time and we’ll talk about Hershey Park, blood clots in the jugular vein and relapse…