Saturday, September 17, 2016

Changes part 3

As we continued to go through our daily routines we also continued to wonder where we were going to live. We thought the house on Water Oak, five houses down from Don and Kathy was it but it had already been longer than normal and we were not getting any confirmation that we would get a closing date. As days became weeks and weeks started becoming months we weren't sure what to do. We continued to look at other houses but nothing seemed right. Even though we were comfortable staying with Brian and Diane we felt like gypsies.

We prayed a lot for God's guidance so we wouldn't forget our reasons for moving and maybe settle for the wrong house or location. Finally, after many weeks, we asked our agent to again come up with a list of houses fitting our criteria that we could look at. We spent a full day looking at houses and then she said she had one more that just went on the market that day. She said it was priced a little higher than what we had budgeted but convinced us to take a look at it. This house was also a short sale, like Water Oak, but there was a lawyer handling it so it should move quicker. We were hesitant but figured since we were in the area we might as well take a look.

When we pulled up in front of the house at 148 Nivana Dr we thought we had spotted a little piece of Americana. The house was ten years old, nice lawn, attached garage, shade tree in the front; we were both not sure what to say. Most of the houses we were looking at needed work and we planned to budget extra money to do repairs. We walked into this house and realized it was move in ready. Kim was probably the quietest I had seen her concerning any of the houses we had looked at.

We went home and discussed the houses we had looked at that day. Kim said she was hesitant to say anything about the last house we looked at because she loved it and didn't want to get her hopes up since it was more than we had planned to spend. We needed to give our agent an answer so we prayed, looked at the numbers and decided that since we didn't have to budget much for repairs the price was something we could afford, and we both liked the house, so we made an offer. We signed the contract the next day and continued to pray for God's guidance. We were very excited but a bit apprehensive. Would this turn out to be another long wait?

To shorten what would otherwise be a much longer story, we did get a closing date of October 1 for the house on Nivana. After fourteen weeks of not having our own home, we moved in to our little piece of Americana. It has been almost a year now since we moved in and Kim will still say that she loves our little vanilla house. It isn't perfect and there are still things that need to be done but it is just right for us. We no longer have a pool to take care of, the yard is smaller and we are close to the kids and grand kids. We thank the Lord for His provision.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Changes part 2

The closing on our house was scheduled for Monday June 29. We had a lot of work to do to get everything cleaned and moved. On Saturday June 27 the moving truck and three guys pulled up to the house in the morning. The rest of the day was total chaos; you think everything is ready till moving day arrives. The guys were very efficient and fast. We were moving everything into a storage unit in Crestview except what we were going to move into Brian and Diane's, where we were going to live till we got our house. All of these items were to go on the back of the truck. A few things we needed went to storage anyway but we figured we could get them later.

Brian and Diane were graciously allowing us to have a little suite, composed of two rooms and a bathroom, in their house. The moving truck went to their house first and unloaded the items we were going to use there. After we finished there we headed to Crestview to put everything else into the storage unit. We unloaded everything there and the movers left and I went back to the house. We spent the rest of the weekend cleaning and getting rid of last minute stuff. We spent over twelve years in that house and had a lot of memories. Seeing the empty house and knowing we would be leaving it forever was bittersweet. The buyers came by and inspected the house and we closed the door for the last time and with a tear in our eye drove away to our temporary housing wondering what would happen next.

The closing happened on Monday as scheduled and all went well. Now we had money but no home. Kim spent the next few days setting up our temporary abode, we had a bed, dresser, table, clothes, laptops and other necessities. I continued to go to work and carry on as usual but something was missing. In looking back everything was great, but at the time I was antsy. I spent a lot of time searching to see if God was showing me lessons I needed to learn. Unfortunately I am sometimes a very slow learner. Let the lessons begin!


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Changes

Sunday, April 17, 2016

It has been almost three and a half years since I have written on my blog. A lot has happened since then and I thought i would write them out. I survived my hospital stay and have not needed any treatment so far. We decided last year that it was time for some changes in our life, so after much prayer and discussion we put our house up for sale. It was an older house on a large corner lot with a full size in ground pool. The pool seldom got used any more and it was just a lot of work to maintain.  We had a friend who was a real estate broker and she helped us to sell our house and look for a new place. Let the process begin.

I think it was sometime in April, 2015 that we first put the house on the market. Our agent suggested we start looking right away for a house to buy because she said our house will sell quickly. We were planning to move to Crestview to be closer to family and we could also get more house for our money. We started looking right away but didn't want to commit till we knew our house was sold. We got an offer on our house very quickly and we were getting excited and a little panicky because we didn't have a house to move to. We made an offer on one contingent on selling our house but they would not accept the contingency. We started looking at short term rentals as well as other houses to purchase.

We looked at other houses but nothing that we felt was right. In the meantime the sale of our house fell through. There was a problem with the purchasers finances. We were upset and relieved at the same time. We put the house back on the market for a higher price than we originally had it. We very quickly got an offer for the full price. The only catch was that this was going to be a VA mortgage which has more restrictions. In the mean time we found a house very close to where Don and Kathy lived and we made an offer on it. The problem is that it was a short sale, and i can tell you from experience that there is nothing short about a short sale!

Inspections were being done on our house and there were a couple of issues that needed to be taken care of before the VA would give the buyer a loan. thanks to my son in law Don, with much hard work we accomplished the things that needed to be done. There was still one small problem though. We did not have a home to move to! We were still waiting on the short sale as well as looking at other homes. We had a closing date of June 29 and we prayed a lot about what we should do as far as where to go. We found a short term rental but that was going to be expensive. About the time we got a closing date for the sale of our house Brian and Diane offered to let us stay with them. We really didn't want to impose but accepted figuring it would only be for a couple weeks. Let the process continue.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Lifes Crossroads part 4



I was resigned to the fact that I needed to be in the hospital to get well again, but I was not resigned to how long I would wind up remaining there. This being only my second day I worked to make the best of it. I spent a good deal of my morning answering texts. It was nice to see all the people who cared and I wanted to be sure to communicate with them. I picked what I could from the breakfast tray and then sat in the chair and did some more reading. The days kind of started blurring together and were pretty much the same so some of these recollections may have been the first day and some may have been the last but you’ll get the idea. I didn’t get to many visitors; most people realized I was immune compromised and if they even thought they might be sick they stood away but stood in touch. Kathy took off one day and stayed with me making sure everyone was doing the right thing for her dad. One day someone dropped the ball and did not put in orders for my blood to be drawn. I mentioned this to Kathy when she came by and she went to the nurses’ station to check on why that would have happened and I think before she got back to the room there was a lab tech walking into my room to draw blood for a stat blood test. Kathy actually saved their hide because one of the reasons I was there was for the Dr to monitor my blood levels daily to see what was needed for treatment. I think the staff soon realized that I had a support system here.
            In addition to Kathy’s visits Don was very diligent in making sure he came by to visit regularly, and call or text when he didn’t come by. Even though I often felt alone I was never really alone. Another valuable lesson learned. Of course I got a daily visit from Kim my lovely, tired, stressed out wife. It was really great to see her even though I felt bad for her. Because her co-worker was still out of work Kim was working extra hours and taking care of everything else that needed to be done. A couple of nights she got a sandwich and we had dinner together when my dinner was served. One evening my friend Ken Bristol stopped by with takeout BBQ, saying he figured I was probably getting tired of hospital food. He sure was correct and Kim was tired of sandwiches so I ate the chicken BBQ and she ate the dinner I had ordered and it was a treat for both of us. I also got a visit from my friend Robert and his wife Dawn. That was a surprise visit I did not expect. It is at times like these that you really find out about people. They offered to help in any way possible and I know they meant it.
            During this time I actually didn’t feel to bad so it was hard for me to understand why I needed to be in the hospital. I even asked the Dr and he said I was still very sick as my WBC’s were still at less than 1and my red count was very low. He said he wasn’t sure if it was just IV antibiotic that was keeping me healthy but we needed a few more days to be sure. I did not want to hear that I would be in the hospital a few more days as we were approaching the weekend and I had every intention of being home for the weekend. Ok, now I was starting to get depressed. I did a lot of walking the halls and early on I found out that there was a room that had fresh coffee available. This made my breakfasts more palatable as the coffee they served with breakfast was cold and weak. There you go, another bright spot. Since this was becoming a longer stay than we expected Kim started bringing little things from home that made the stay more bearable. You never know what you are going to miss till you don’t have it. Some were personal items, others special food items, reading material, laptop and things to remind me of home.
            The only good thing about the weekend coming was that Kim would not be working and wouldn’t be as stressed. She was able to do some of the other things she needed to do as well as get some extra sleep. When she came to visit we were more able to actually enjoy each other’s company. By this time in my stay I was finally getting some sleep at night. The nurses kept telling me that the Dr had prescribed a sleep aid for me but I didn’t like all the side effects associated with it. During my stay at this fine establishment I was given antibiotics, IVIG, blood transfusion, saline drip and other things in bags hanging on my pole flowing through tubes attached to my arm. Those I had no say over, but I could say no to a sleeping pill and by golly I did! I figured some of the things I was dealing with could kill me so I trusted the Dr in those matters, but lack of sleep, though physically draining, was not going to kill me.
            With all of these liquids being pumped into my body I experienced two side effects. The first most obvious was that I had to go into the bathroom on a very regular and frequent schedule. This was both day and night so even when I could sleep I couldn’t sleep much. One day I went to put my slippers on and they wouldn’t fit. I looked down at my feet and they looked like they were twice their normal size. Looks like even with all the bathroom visits my feet were not giving up their share of the fluids. I started keeping my feet up more as that seemed to help some and the Dr reduced the amount of fluid dripping into my arm. It took some time but eventually my feet returned to normal. As we got closer to my release date I was able to be freed from my pole since we did not need to have fluids constantly dripping. I still needed to have an antibiotic IV every eight hours, so they would come in, hang the bag and re-hook the tubes to the IV still in my arm. I made sure they had the port capped when not in use, as Maria taught me, and made sure they cleaned it good when they hooked it back up. The procedure took about an hour but it was not without incident. More than once when the infusion was complete and the machine started beeping no one heard it. I would call the nurses’ station to let them know and a couple of times I had to call again since my nurse did not respond. One time it got so bad that I had to call a third time when I saw blood backing out of my vein into the tubing attached to my arm and the machine was beeping incessantly. In a slight panic I told them I needed help quickly. Soon my nurse arrived and said she was never told I called. After a couple of these types of instances I knew that I really needed to get out of there and do my recuperating at home.
            Finally the day came when the Dr agreed with me and said there wasn’t much more they could do for me at the hospital, even though my #’s were still not good, and I could go home. These were probably the best words I had heard in eight days and actually brought tears to my eyes. I called Kim and asked her to come and get me. The nurse took the IV out of my arm and I started gathering my stuff, got dressed and waited for Kim. When Kim arrived the nurse called transport, I sat in my chariot and off we went to the great outdoors. When we got outside I never realized how much I enjoyed fresh air and sunshine. It was beautiful! Kim brought the car to where I was waiting and I practically jumped out of that wheelchair and into the car. She drove me to the far end of the lot where my car had been parked for 8 days and I got in my car and we both started toward home. The sun was shining, the air was warm and I was just thanking God for His mercy and grace. May I never forget the many lessons learned.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Lifes Crossroads part 3



So here I am, sitting in a hospital room with Don by my side, now what? Lying on the end of the bed was the infamous hospital gown. Was I really going to have to wear that thing? My nurse came in and said she was going to insert my IV needle. Since I didn’t bring pajamas with me, only a pair of shorts I normally wear to bed, I grabbed the gown, went into the bath-
room and proceeded to put it on. For those who have never worn one, it is quite a contraption. It has snaps on the sleeves so you can open it up to go over the IV tubes. It has ties around the back of your neck which are to short to be useful and impossible to tie. There are more ties around the back of your waste which are absolutely impossible to see, feel or tie! Once again I had to lean on my son in law to make this contraption at least bearable. Note to self; have someone bring pajamas first on the list. One of the bright spots to this ordeal was the nurses. The nurse on duty when I arrived, Maria, was definitely a gift from God. God blessed me first by having Don there and once again by having just the right nurse during this scary time. She was funny, she was very proficient and she cared. She explained everything to me, she told me what to watch for; she said that if the other nurses didn’t do certain things I was tell them, “Maria said”. It turns out she was well respected by the other nurses and when I did say, “Maria said”, they listened. Now it was time to insert the IV. She had me lay back on the bed with my right arm at my side. She raised the bed to a height that she could work and prepared my arm for the needle. I’m not sure what Don was thinking but he was very quiet. I was thinking, here we go again since I have had more IV’s than I ever wanted. Sometimes they get the vein right away and sometimes they have to poke around. Which one was this going to be? PTL, there was no poking around, in the vein, taped down and ready for the infusions. She told me I needed to be out of there in four days or they would have to remove the needle and insert another since it can only stay in that long. I told her that would definitely be my goal, four days was way to long to be there.
            Alright now what? Don and I talked and watched some TV and wondered what was going to happen next. I don’t remember the exact timing but it was shortly after I arrived; I got my first visitor, Ken Bristol from church. I think the world of Ken and his family and it wasn’t surprising that he would take time in the middle of the day to come see me in the hospital. As usual he was in tune to the needs of others and I was learning more lessons. A little while later our Associate Pastor, Travis Cook, came by to visit. I was already beginning to see the caring coming from my natural family and from my church family and it had only been a few hours. Since I was immune-compromised everyone that came into my room had to wear a mask and if I went out of the room I had to wear a mask. I felt sorry for anyone that visited me for any length of time and had to wear that thing the whole time they were in the room.
            So here I was sitting in a hospital bed, which is very uncomfortable, with tubes running from the IV in my arm up to bags of antibiotics and fluids hanging from a pole and thinking all I want to do is get out of here. I knew I was sick but I didn’t really feel all that bad. Hospitals are full of sick people, was this really going to help me get well? They sent me something for lunch that was supposed to resemble food but I am not sure how. Great, an uncomfortable bed, a pole with fluids next to me that I had to take everywhere I go, sick people all around me, food that was in name only and no idea what was happening.
            God was already starting to show me many lessons and there were many more to come. I was already learning about the caring of others, and I would see a lot more of that, but I was also learning that it can always be worse. I was able to get up and walk around and after a few hours that is what Don and I did. Don removed his mask and I put mine on and I grabbed my pole and we walked the halls. This was the cancer wing and I observed the many signs outside the rooms along the hall showing the needs and limitations of the patients in the rooms. It was depressing but I started counting my blessings and realized how selfish I was feeling sorry for myself. Lest you get the wrong idea I didn’t immediately stop feeling sorry for myself, but lessons were being learned. Later in the afternoon Kathy came to visit and see how I was doing. She talked with the nurse and got a handle on all the technical stuff going on because of course I didn’t have a clue. After awhile Kim was finally able to come and visit. We had been in contact of course so she brought me some things from home including my pajamas. Needless to say, one of the first things I did was get rid of the dreaded hospital gown. Don and Kathy left and Kim and I were able to spend some time together. I felt so bad for her. She had to work extra hours, she was stressed, tired and was visiting her husband in a hospital and would have to return home alone knowing the process would be repeated the rest of the week.
            After Kim left I sat there alone, sort of, since someone was always coming in to check, prod, poke or adjust something. I was getting tired but I was going to learn quickly that you don’t get any rest in the hospital. I watched a little TV and did some reading but all I really wanted was to get some sleep. I lay down in the bed and tried to go to sleep. Between everything that was going through my mind, being in a strange place and someone constantly coming in the room to check, prod or poke sleep was not forthcoming. I tried all night long and around 0430 as I was just starting to drift off, the lights came on and a person carrying a basket set it down, grabbed my arm and said she was going to draw blood for my labs. So much for getting any rest. After she took my blood and slapped gauze on the wound, she turned out the lights and disappeared. Unfortunately I was to find out that she would return like clockwork on a daily basis.
            I laid there again trying to go to sleep but realized that was not going to happen. I figured I might as well get up, get cleaned up and start my day such as it was. I did my version of a sponge bath, still attached to my rolling pole with tubes running into my IV, changed my under-
wear, brushed my teeth and tried to make myself presentable. I sat in the chair next to the bed and started reading my Bible. This was something else I needed to do more of and it looked like now I had the time. Here was another very important lesson being learned. Although I was still in a place I didn’t want to be in, God’s word gave me comfort. It reminded me that I needed to focus on what was really important, I was learning lessons about relationships and how the other stuff was superficial. After having a short time of prayer with my Lord I was feeling a little calmer, albeit still very tired and hazy. Then the reality of where I was came into my room. It was another very nice person bringing me breakfast. I use the word breakfast lightly since the only resemblance to breakfast was that it was served in the morning. It was supposed to be a cheese omelet but it was nasty. Not only was I not going to get any sleep, it looked like I was going to lose more weight. My dear God, help me to learn my lessons quickly.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Lifes Crossroads part 2



My follow up appointment was scheduled for Tuesday November 27 at the Destin office. I was planning on getting my checkup and going to work for awhile. I got up that morning and knew that I wasn’t feeling real good, chills, signs of a cold, not hungry but maybe it was just my imagination. Kim took my temperature and it showed 102, but I told her it was probably just that dollar store thermometer she was using. After trying to eat a little breakfast and then Kim went off to work it was time for me to go for my doctor’s appointment. I arrived there at around 0830 and very shortly went in to have my vitals checked and blood drawn. My temperature was 99.9, told you it was a cheap home thermometer. Anyway that was not a good start and it was only going to get worse. When I got the printed results of the blood test it showed that my WBCs were 0.7. This meant that not only did I have a fever, which showed that there was probably some sort of infection in my body; I also had pretty much no white blood cells to fight the infection. Not wanting to believe what I knew to be true, I waited for the Doctor. He looked at my chart then came into the exam room and said, “You need to go to the hospital immediately”. I’m sure it showed as all the air went out of my lungs and all the color drained from my face. I couldn’t speak, tears came to my eyes; this was going to be the beginning of a very emotional time in my life. The Doctor asked me if I would be able to drive myself to the hospital, I nodded or something and he said he was going to get the admitting papers ready immediately.
I was sixty-five years old and had never been in a hospital except to visit others who were there. Was this for real, was it all just a bad dream, maybe it was from what I had for dinner last night. I didn’t know what to think but I asked the Doctor if there wasn’t something else we could do, if I could go home and rest and take some antibiotics, anything but go to the hospital. Maybe it was the unknown, but I was scared. I wasn’t feeling real bad, why did I need to go to the hospital? The hospital was full of sick people, that couldn’t be good for me. While I waited for the Doctor to finish up the paperwork and I had all these thoughts going through my mind, I called Kim to let her know that I was going to be admitted to the hospital. It was even hard to get out the words to her but she understood. The Doctor finally finished the admitting papers and phone calls he needed to make and he gave me my marching orders telling me it should only be a few days. I left the office, papers in hand, realizing I was about to drive myself to the hospital where I would spend an unknown amount of time away from family and friends. Unknown to me I was also about to learn a number of valuable lessons; may I never forget.
To say I was apprehensive would definitely be an understatement. Instead of heading to work as I had planned that morning, I was heading back home to grab a few things to take with me to the hospital. It seemed very fitting that the weather was cooperating with the circumstances in that it was a very dreary day outside. I arrived home and walked in the door, and there to greet me was my very happy little bundle of fur, Fozzy. As usual he brought a smile to my face and I picked him up and gave him a hug. Unfortunately his happiness wasn’t going to last very long. I went into the other room and got a sort of travel bag and packed some socks, underwear, toiletries and a few things I thought I might need for a short stay in the hospital. I didn’t feel sick, why was I going to the hospital? Looking back I realize I was a whole lot sicker than I thought I was; hopefully I will remember this lesson along with all the others to come.
I grabbed my bag, hugged my little Fozzy, walked out the door and got into my car. I started on the journey that was going to take me down many roads. Remember back in the beginning of this story Kim was not able to be with me when I received the chemo treatment because of her co-worker yet by the grace of God good came out if it. Well, Kim was going to be facing more stress because her co-worker was still out and things were really hectic at work and she was stuck. As I continued driving, thinking about Kim, the weather continued to match the mood, it started raining really hard and the closer I got to the hospital the harder it rained. Oh this was going to be great. I wasn’t even sure where to go for admitting. I pulled into the parking lot in front of the hospital and looked for a parking space. It was raining even harder and the lot was very full. I spotted an empty space and headed toward it while from the other direction a little white Kia whipped into the space before me. I looked some more for an empty space but found none, so I proceeded to the far end of the lot about as far from the entrance as you could get. Oh well, I was here to be admitted to the hospital anyway, what harm could come from a little romp through the puddles on a dreary rainy day? I grabbed my stuff, a small umbrella and ran toward the entrance of the hospital. By the time I got there my jeans were soaked, now what?
I went to the information desk and told them I needed to be admitted, and had all the papers from the Doctor. A very nice lady led me to the opposite end of the hospital to the admitting department. So now I know where I should have come in, hopefully to never need that information again. They called me to the little admitting booth and went over the myriad of paperwork, put a bracelet on my wrist, which clashed with my shirt, and told me to have a seat and someone would be right there to wheel me to my room. I called Kim, barely able to talk, and let her know what was happening. Right about that time my chariot arrived and a sight I didn’t expect; my loving son in law Don walking toward me behind the lady with my wheelchair. Now I really had tears in my eyes. As soon as he found out that I was alone at the hospital he left work and headed to the hospital to be with me. WOW! I couldn’t talk, just gave him a hug. It turns out that he arrived before I did. Remember the little white Kia in the parking lot?
Not knowing that I hadn’t arrived yet, Don started the search to see where I was. He checked information and they told him I was in ICU. He went to ICU and asked for me but was told that I wasn’t there. They said there was another ICU and to check there, which he did but of course I wasn’t there either. He went back to the information desk and told them I wasn’t there so they checked again and told him that I was in room 450. He went to the room, looked in and found it empty but ready for a customer. After a few more inquiries he went to admitting and there I was. Seeing him there sure made an unpleasant experience a little easier to handle. I got up and sat in the wheelchair, Don took my bag and the three of us proceeded toward my room. When we got to the nurses’ station in the section where Don had found my room, the nurses acted like they were waiting for me. I guess news travels fast through these hospital halls. I was taken to my room, 450, climbed out of my chariot and sat on the bed. I was in a haze but someone I loved and who loved me was there by my side. Again timing is everything; perhaps if Kim was able to be with me Don would not have had the opportunity to do something that I believe meant as much to him as it meant to me. Another lesson not to be forgotten!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lifes Crossroads part 1


I am sitting here at home reflecting on one of the most personally emotional, scary, eye opening experiences I can remember in all my sixty five years. It is a long story but so many of my family and friends have been involved in it I felt I needed to tell the whole story in my own words. This particular experience started back in November when I went for my regular oncology check up. The Doctor said he felt it was time for me to begin chemo. Not really what I wanted to hear but I knew it was coming but things started getting complicated right away. I told the Doctor that his partner told me the week before that he also felt I would need chemo real soon which is why I had this appointment only a week after my previous appointment. The doctor last week gave me a prescription for medications to take when it came time for treatment so that I would have them available. This latest appointment was on Thursday November 15 and Doctor wanted to start treatment right away. I told him that I did not start taking the medication yet as the other doctor did not tell me to start taking it but have it available when needed. This doctor was upset that I was not told to start the med and because this medication was used to keep the kidney from shutting down he struggled with whether it would be safe to start treatment immediately. In the end he decided that it would be best not to start treatment but for me to start taking the medication immediately and start treatment the following Monday, November 19. And so it began!
Timing in life is amazing, especially when you look back on it. My loving adoring wife was very stressed and upset because she would not be able to go with me for treatment because we both felt that she needed to be at work. For reasons I won’t go into her co-worker was going out of town this week and Kim was the only one available to do her job. Like all obligations we felt it was important to honor it. Lest anyone think I am saying work is more important than family, you can forget that. If there was no one else available things would have been handled differently, so now for the rest of the story.
Because Kim could not be with me one of my loving daughters, Kathy, was able to change her schedule and take me for treatment. This began a number of eye opening experiences I would witness in the next few weeks. Kathy was a delight to have by my side during a not so pleasant experience. We call her the apple because she is a lot like her father, most good some not so much. One of the similarities is that we both pretty much hold our emotions to ourselves. Spending eight hours together in a chemo room while I was hooked to an IV while they pumped poison into my veins along with 10 or 12 others going through similar procedures changes that.
Since I couldn’t go anywhere, captive audience, we had time to talk, laugh observe each other and just be together. Sometime soon I would like to do that under better circumstances. She would constantly text Kim so she would not feel left out. She would text Kim with something like “dad just went to the bathroom” and similar important updates. She was a delight to watch and I was proud to say this is my daughter. In the chemo room there is always a basket of munchies and I asked Kathy to bring me the basket so I could pick something to munch on. After I picked what I wanted Kathy proceeded to carry that basket around to every person in that room to see if they wanted some munchies also. What a delight to my heart! As the poison was slowly being pumped into my body, Kathy was able to do some work on her laptop along with her time just being my daughter. We were both starting to get a little hungry so she drove up the street and got us both something to eat. We struck up a conversation with a woman who came for treatment a little later in the morning and found that she was a member of First Baptist Church in Niceville. The three of us had some nice conversations and a few laughs. We were wondering who was going to be the last to leave since it was eventually just the three of us and the nurses. Finally they determined that I had enough poison for the day, so they unhooked me and let me go with instructions to go to the hospital first thing in the morning to get a stat blood test to determine that my kidneys were not failing and I could continue with round one Tuesday morning. Kathy drove me home and made sure I was comfortable and returned to her home.
Tuesday morning I awoke early not feeling too bad and went to Twin City Hospital at 0700 to get the stat blood test the Doctor requested. When I went in to do the paperwork the lady and I began to talk and it turned out she was a member of First Baptist Church and I mentioned the woman I met while getting chemo. She said she knew her well and we both agreed she was an inspiration to just about everyone she met. We talked a little about God’s love and grace and when we finished the paperwork I went to the lab to have my blood taken. I left there and drove to the Santa Rosa Beach office to have part B of this first round of chemo since this one normally only takes less than a couple of hours to complete and I had planned to go to work for awhile when I was finished. I arrived around 0830 and went in to have my vitals taken and have the Doctor check the hospital lab results. He said the results were borderline but he felt it was safe to continue. He once again noted that I needed to go to the hospital again first thing Wednesday morning to have them do another kidney test and if there was a problem I could be spending Thanksgiving in the hospital. I really prayed that would not happen and continued to take the medication he prescribed and drink LOTS of fluids.
When this round of chemo was complete I did not feel too badly so I decided that I would go to work. Since this was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I did not have an appointment till the following Tuesday since it takes at least that long to see the results of the chemo. Doctor reminded me though that I must get the blood test done and call his office in the morning to check the results and if anything unusual occurred to call anytime day or night. I still felt pretty good Wednesday morning and I went to the hospital at 0700 to have blood drawn for the kidney test. I went to work and of course was apprehensive waiting to hear the results. Tomorrow was Thanksgiving and I was looking forward to having two days off for the first time in years; would I be spending them in the hospital, Lord please no. I got the call from the Doctor’s office that the results were good, kidneys were normal. I breathed easier and thanked the Lord. The rest of the week was business as usual, work, Thanksgiving, weekend activities all seemed right with the world. This was going to turn out to be another lesson learned; people make you sick, and I mean that in the nicest way. Although I escaped a hospital stay during Thanksgiving, the next couple of weeks would teach me that I am a lot sicker than I thought I was and I would be learning more about my relationship with God, relationships with other people and a lot about love and being loved. This is the beginning of the story and I am going to post it as part one as I continue to write out the rest of the story.