This day starts much the same as yesterday, except this morning they bring me breakfast. My bed tray is covered with pencils, pads and flowers, and I rush to clear it for the food guy.
There is cream of wheat, jello, milk and coffee. I am a little nervous about trying the cream of wheat since I originally thought that I might have a gluten allergy when this whole episode started, but I am SO HUNGRY! I cautiously dig in. I figure what better place to be than a hospital if there is going to be a problem. I dig in, and the food feels so good in my belly. Warm, filling and delicious. Everything goes down and stays down just fine.
My anesthesiologist comes in again for a quick visit, checks out my back and how I am feeling. All is going well.
I take another walk, this time all to the end of the corridor where I peek around the corner. There is a stoplight posted on the corner of this intersection, but it doesn’t seem to be a high traffic area. I’ll be back to check this area out later.
My neighbor Polly comes in early with a smoothy and a muffin from the vegan bakery in my neighborhood, Wildflower. I am not sure whether or not I can have the smoothie, but I start slowly sipping it anyway. It tastes delicious. Steve, who has only left for short intervals is grateful for the muffin. It is so nice to see Polly, and so lovely of her to take the time to stop by. She checks in, makes sure I am doing okay, and we chat about things at home. She is on her way to work, so it is a short visit, but so appreciated.
A dietician comes in to visit me while I am sipping on my smoothie. She is here to tell me about the new diet I need to adopt in order for my body to get used to it’s new digestive detour. The diet is called low residue, and this means only easily digestible, low fiber foods for a while. I can slowly introduce other foods as my body adapts and tolerates things. There are recommendations for producing less gas, and less fragrant bowel movements. It doesn’t seem like it will be too difficult to follow, except that there is no fresh fruit at first. Only canned or cooked. Smoothies are okay, but my usual bowl of strawberries and blueberries with yogurt is out for a while.
Nancy and Kathleen text me to see if I would like visitors. They will stop by before lunch.
My Dad stops in, and shortly after my Mother in Law, Helen and her husband, Ed come by too. We all have a pleasant visit, catching up on the events of the last few weeks. Sometimes things happen so fast, it is hard to keep everyone in the loop.
My Dad mentions he wants me to see Dr Safran too. He has been treated by him and really likes him.
Kathleen and Nancy arrive, and Kathleen, who is a doctor, checks in on how I am doing. She asks me if I would like her to call Dr. Safran for me, and make an appointment. She calls right then from my room. They will call later with a date and time.
Nancy brings me a bag with a prayer shawl in it from the Prayer Shawl Ministry at her mother’s church, St. Brendan’s in Riverside. It is a beautiful blue. We debate about whether or not her mother could have made it, and then spy some less than perfect weaving in of yarn. We agree that this is probably not her work. Still, it is beautiful and warm and I love it. Now the queen has a mantle.
After they leave, lunch comes. I am bumped up to creamy solids. I have some foul smelling, unidentifiable cream soup for lunch. There is also one of those italian ices. I eat the jello and leave the rest. Ayla and Chauncey go to Newport Creamery to get me a coffee cabnet. I feel like I have turned into such a food snob here. I am so hungry you would think anything would taste good. I just astounded that they serve people such unhealthy and gross tasting food in the hospital.
Kaileigh has brought me more sketchbooks, so there are more things for guests to do. I found that making the circles was so time consuming, I started asking friends to make them as well. It turns into a collaborative project.
My friend Tangie stops in on her way to work. She colors a circle while she visits. She gives me a pair of earrings from her trip to Texas. They are the most beautiful blue iridized glass squares. They match my mantle perfectly. I am going to look regal walking through the halls of Roger Williams Hospital. The only thing missing is a tiara.
A woman named Diane comes in who is in charge of teaching me about changing my ostomy bags. She is very nice, and interested in the art we have going on in the room. She has started an art show at the hospital and would like us to consider putting some of our art in it. She promises to bring me more information on it later in the week. She also reviews all the things I have been learning about my colostomy and the changing of the bags. I will have a visiting nurse who will come to my house for a while to help me learn how to change them. I will have to choose a company to order the bags from, and the VN will also help me with that. She goes over the bags she has with me, and tells me how they work. I need to sign papers so that companies can send me samples. Suddenly going to the bathroom seems like a lot more work.
Dr. Lentrichia’s physician’s assistant comes in to visit, and I immediately knock the vase off my table which shatters all over the floor. After finally speaking to the oncologist yesterday (I don’t know how I forgot to mention this,) we are not quite sure what Dr. Lentrichia did on Monday. He clarifies things for us. Somehow the fellow that visited didn’t quite have the story straight. This doesn’t fill me with confidence about the Cancer Center at RWH.
After the doctor leaves, my dinner comes. More foul smelling soup. Steve and Ayla decide to go get me some good soup from Panera Bread. While they are out, I put on my mantel and Kaileigh and I go for a walk. We go all the way to the end of the main corridor and take a right. Are we supposed to do this? We do not know, but we do it anyway.
There is art decorating the walls of these corridors. Most of it seems faded and old. Some of it looks vaguely familiar, but at the same time, not quite. My favorite, just because it is so ridiculous, is a brightly colored watercolor of a golf course. It almost looks like any pastoral scene, but there are these two golfers in the middle of it, in bright golfing attire. It is such a weird picture. I try to imagine how it ended up in these corridors. Is it the favorite of some doctor? Is there a patient who painted it and donated it? Maybe someone brought it home all excited to hang above the sofa and it was nixed by a partner with more refined taste. It makes me laugh everytime I see it.
We arrive back at the room just in time to meet Dave and Dan. I sit down in the chair by the door, because little shards of glass from the vase are still on the floor. I am just about to start putting some red jello into my mouth, when a nurse comes from around the corner. I am scheduled for a ct scan at 9:00pm. No food or drink until after that. As if on cue, Steve and Ayla walk in behind the nurse with my baked potato soup. There goes dinner until after the ct scan.
My friends and family spend another nice evening together talking and drawing. It is so relaxing, it is like I am on vacation, which in a way, I am. Back at home there is still a daycare that is being run, thanks to my sister, Sara and my son, Alex. They work all day, taking care of the children and the families that come to my house, and then stop in to visit me at night. Without them, my business would have to close, and my sister and I would be out of work. I feel so lucky to have family that are willing to do what needs to be done in this crazy, trying time.
As if on cue, everyone leaves just before I need to leave for the ct scan. There is just enough time to go to the bathroom before climbing aboard the stretcher that will take me down to the basement for my scan.
The ct technician is nice, the scan takes very little time, and I have to wait for transport to come wheel me back upstairs. The tech and I chat about the ct scan machine, she tells me how the engineer who services it showed her how it works when she was studying to get certified to run it. I think this is very cool.
When I get to my room, my nurse has already warmed up my potato soup and brings it in to me. It is delicious. After a busy day, I am running a fever of 101. There are a round of tests ordered to try and figure out why. After the phlebotomist comes for my blood, I go to sleep and the nurses don’t bother me much again until 5am. I have a vague memory of hearing the fire alarm go off in the middle of the night. Fire in stairwell two, fire in stairwell two...