Saturday, April 14, 2007

Times, they are a'changin...

It is almost time to go back to my real life. It's funny, but I hardly remember what it was like. It's not that my "real life" was bad in any way, I've lived a very pleasant existence, but for over a month my reality has been; go see Dale, work from the hospital, come home to hang out with Wolf, work some more, go to bed, try to sleep, rinse and repeat. It sounds kind of nuts, but I've enjoyed it very much. Of course if Dale's outcome had been different, I would not be able to say that.

Sure, the traffic is crazy, my car was broken in to, I'm spending nearly every day at the hospital, I'm sleeping on the couch and the neighbors upstairs have lousy taste in music (can you say "turn down the base"?)...but still, I've rarely, if ever, felt more fulfilled or happy.

Why is that, I keep asking myself?

I've come to a several conclusions:
  1. I am helping my cousin, who is a really good person in need of assistance. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to help him, even a little bit, in his time of need. I help people in my work every day and it is extremely fulfilling, but this is different. Entirely different.
  2. I've gotten to know Cousin Dale better than I ever expected to. I've always adored him, and we've always been able to talk for hours, but now I know what is in his heart, and it's a very good heart.
  3. I have been spending time with my son. Since he moved away several years ago, we've not had nearly enough time together. My trips here and his trips back to Montana have usually been short, hurried affairs, and it never felt like I had enough time to spend with him. On this trip we've had a lot of quality time together. I've seen the person he's become and I am very happy, proud and pleased.
  4. I have spent countless hours donating blood products on this trip. I've given every blood product imaginable, as often as I was allowed to. If you are a healthy person, age 17 or over, and weigh 110# or more, please consider donating. The need is staggering. Every 3 seconds, someone needs blood. About 60 percent of the population are eligible to donate blood, yet less than five percent do. Whole blood can be given every 56 days, but you can donate platelets as often as twice a week. Platelet donation is relatively simple and painless and accomplished through Apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis) which is a special kind of blood donation where blood is drawn from your arm through sterile tubing into a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the blood to separate the components, which vary in weight and density. A port is opened along the spinning tubing at the level containing platelets. These platelets are drawn up into a collection bag, while the remaining blood components (red cells and plasma) are returned to you. Platelets are only viable for 5 days, so if you consider that a heart surgery patient requires 6 units of platelets and the average bone marrow transplant patient needs 120, you'll see that the need for donations is vast and continuous. So please, step up and help to save a life. Please, I beg of you, click here for more information.
  5. And finally, I have learned a lot about myself on this trip. I'm a lot more self-confident these days, for one reason or another. I've learned to (don't laugh) navigate the big city (with help from my Virtual Navigator Lady) and managed to thwart a potential mugging (or worse). I've learned that car windows are just car windows and stereos are just stereos. Losing them, while frustrating, is not very important in the grand scheme of things. I've learned that a task that may seem overwhelming at first can usually be accomplished by taking it step by step. I've overcome my fear of hospitals, my fear of needles and my fear of escalators (don't ask). I've learned that the world is a big and often beautiful place and I think I'd like to explore more of it.
So now I am preparing to leave Denver and go back to my real life. Dale is doing well (see future post) and my presence here is no longer needed. I will probably leave on Monday morning to go back to eastern Montana. But I'm not the person I was when I left there. I've changed, in a great many ways. I am starting to see the big picture, now, and I know that I will never be the same.

Times, they are a changin'.

Update: Dale has had a setback, hopefully minor, and he is back in the hospital. I will be staying on for at least a few more days to be sure he is alright. I will keep you posted.


Anvilcloud said...

It's quite a thing that you have done, so I'm glad you feel that it was so worth it.

Courtney said...

Why do anything if the experience doesn't make us better, or at the very least a little smarter?

I'm very glad that, while the circumstances are far from ideal/positive, this last month has changed you for the better (not that there was anything wrong with you before).

Not to mention, do have a running tally of how many of us have signed up to be a bone marrow donor, or at least consider it if we're not eligible? That's nothing but a good thing.

(By the way, I'm not so good at sensitivity, so I hope that all didn't come out wrong.)

Cathy said...

Laurie -

This is so wonderful - a tale of challenges faced and surmounted - My heart is singing for you, Dale and Wolf. I feel as though in a small way I've shared your voyage and as you turn toward home - like you, I feel the tug at the heart that will accompany your departure. Safe travels dear lady.

Laurie said...

AC, thank you.

Courtney, it came out just right and thank you. Who says you aren't good at sensitivity? I don't know if anyone has signed up to be a donor...I hope some of you have. :)

Cathy, thanks so much for sharing the journey, so far. Things have changed, though. Dale got pretty sick today and they put him back in the hospital. They are running some tests and we should know something Monday or Tuesday. It may not be serious, but this soon after transplant, they aren't taking any chances.

My departure has been delayed for the time being.

MsLittlePea said...

oh Laurie! I felt like crying. I felt the exact same way after my own 'health stuff'. It's good to remember the important things and to look into the good heart of someone you love. I'm so happy for you all that Dale is doing well.

I tried to donate blood once but they told me I didn't weigh enough. Felt like a total loser ;O)

Mary said...

Laurie, you have had quite a journey and a good one. I admire your dedication to Dale and from that, you are more enriched and ready to face anything! A few scares and inconveniences was worth the time to celebrate and enjoy some quality time with your son. Wow. I understand the need to have that time. For many years, I had the same type of visits with my daughter. It was heart-wrenching.

I think you have always been a fantastic person but you just didn't know it until now.

I love reading your posts - you write so well and shed light on what's important in life.

Enjoy your return to life as usual. Drive safely... Look forward to hearing from you again. You are a dear person.

LauraHinNJ said...

I'm sure I've read lots of things that carry the same message as this post, but you've expressed it so well. Helping others and stepping outside our comfort zone is where we grow as people, don't you think?

I'm glad for the changes you've found through being there for Dale, as I'm sure he must also be!

I'd bet the challenge will be to feel as inspired when you go back to *the daily grind*.

Laurie said...

Mspea, but you tried to donate, and that is what is important!

Mary, I have enjoyed the time with my son more than words can express. And my time with Dale has been priceless as well. Thank you, so much.

Laura, Thank you for your kind words. I know you are right about the return to daily life. It will be a challenge to stay focused, but I will do my best.

Within Without said...

Hopefully, as you said, the setback with Dale is only a minor complication or something.

You have done an amazing thing and when people do amazing things, their lives change.

Different environments, challenges and relationships also can bring about a new perspective.

You're an incredibly strong and caring person. Be safe on the ride home, when you do leave.

And take all of this lovely stuff from your adventure with you when you go. :-)

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

If I know you at all, I'm sire you'll have a full life no matter where you are and what you're doing.

My prayers continue for Dale.

Laurie said...

WW, We hope this is just a small setback in an otherwise remarkable recovery. I will definitely be taking all of my lovely "stuff" (especially my new perspective) with me when I do finally go back. Thank you. :-)

Nick, thanks for the vote of confidence and the prayers. You are a sweetheart.

Anonymous said...

Little setbacks are fairly common in procedures like this. I'm confident it will work itself out.

You are in my thoughts.

Thailand Gal said...

These things seem to come into our lives for so many reasons. You not only have an opportunity to help Dale , but to grow and change yourself. It's a good thing when it turns out that way.

I hope Dale's setback has turned around by the time you read this.



Cathy said...

Laurie - I imagine setbacks are not uncommon as his body adjusts and heals. Sending good wishes and hugs.

KGMom said...

Let's hope the setback for Dale is very minor and very temporary.
And let's hope that your growth, good experience, and new found travel skills are very permanent.

Cuppa said...

Thanks for sharing the "silver lining" you found in this cloud. One is always there, some are just harder to find.

After I read your five conclusions I couldn't help but think of Wolf's license plate and all the guesses as to what it might mean. Part of Bonita's answer really stood out -

"5th Dimensional language is also a medium used to enhance a sharper sense of seeing "beyond the canvas".

What might appear as one image, unfolds into more of an expanded observation if one takes the time to look closer and deeper into the content. The paintings are created in a manner where the images become gateways into another world of interpretation."

You saw beyond the "canvas" of this illness and used it as a "gateway" to these lessons learned.

Laurie said...

Thomas, thank you, my reading on the subject has led me to the same conclusion. It's not at all uncommon for this type of thing to happen. Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts.

Chani, I feel very fortunate that the flexibility in my job and my life have allowed me the time to be here with Dale. I truly believe I have gotten more out of the experience than I've put in. I believe with all my heart that Dale's setback will be short and he will be back on the road to recovery soon. Thanks, Chani.

Cathy, you are right, it is to be expected with this type of treatment. Thanks for the hugs and wishes.

KG, this soon after a transplant, they treat everything as a complication whether it is or isn't. I'm hoping this isn't. But if it is, I have great confidence in the medical staff at St. Luke's and Dale's will is strong and his attitude is wonderful, he will persevere!. And I intend to hang on to my newfound attitude for life, remind me if I don't, OK? Thanks so much.

Cuppa, I was fascinated by Bonita's answer when I read it, but would never have thought to associate it to this post as you have. You are so insightful and such a lovely person. Thank you.

Pam said...

A journey of love, courage and enlightenment.
May Dale's setback be minor and easily remidied, I keep him in my thoughts each day.

jen said...

and you've taken us on your journey with you, which has been an honor.

sad about the last part of your post...i hope things continue to improve.

Carol said...

You've done an amazing thing, Laurie. I'll be thinking of you and hoping that the setback is only minor ...

Cathy said...

More hugs, Laurie. Please tell Dale we are holding him in our thoughts and prayers and know that he'll soon be righted and moving ahead.

Ur-spo said...

you are one marvelous woman.

Laurie said...

Pam, thank you so much for that. It means the world to us.

Jen, it's been good having you along. I hope and pray that things improve for Dale soon.

Carol, it's not really that amazing, but thank you. I honestly think I've gotten more out of it than I've put in.

Cathy, we all very much appreciate your kindness. Dale is overwhelmed by the love and support he's gotten from people that he doesn't even know. He treasures the printouts I give him. Thank you so much.

Ur-spo, thank you (but I'm not).

Cathy said...

I just read Cuppa's wonderful application of Bonita's 5th Dimension commentary to your experience with Dale and Wolf in Denver. Wow.

More hugs, Laurie. More prayers. I see that the weather is a little cloudy and cool, but promising to improve in a couple days. Hang in there.

Mary said...

I've been behind on reading blogs and I'm sorry about Dale's setback. I guess that's to be expected. I'm still thinking of both of you. Hang in there.

steve'swhirlyworld said...

I'm proud of you Laurie - change and learning are good. My prayers go out to Dale - I hope the setback is temporary.

Laurie said...

Cathy, all of the comments have been very meaningful. I can't believe how kind and supportive everyone has been. We are truly blessed.

Mary, thanks for your thoughts and good wishes. I hope you have been doing something very fun this weekend!

Steve, you are very kind. We will know more this afternoon and I'll keep you all posted. Thank you.

Dave said...

I will send out a distant Reiki healing to you and your family. May the energy be received and used to for highest good.

Gina said...

I hope his setback is resolved soon, and it sounds as if you have been on a fascinating journey.

Laurie said...

Dave, thank you so much.

Gina, it has been quite a trip. Thank you.