Shifting Gears: This Time of Year

Shifting Gears: This Time of Year

There’s something about this time of year. While it is beautiful, the weather is warm or hot even, the days are long and lots of friends are home from away. The “something” about this time of year I’m talking about is my tendency to gravitate towards the hospital in late July and August. And it has been happening every second year for too long now, though I will say that so far this year we have made a nice adjustment in the reasons why I’m required at the hospital.

I was originally diagnosed in the Fall of 1998, and the summer of 99 saw me spend 41 days in hospital between the Intensive Care Unit and 4 North A. I was placed in a coma and on life-support and upon waking one of the things I wondered about was “what happened to the George Street Festival and the Regatta?” That year I was in the ICU for the events.

The following year, 2000, I enjoyed both events as I had in the past. For those not familiar with these events… The Festival happens in the 5-6 days leading up to the Regatta, which is North America’s oldest sporting event. The Regatta most often takes place on the first Wednesday in August, weather permitting, and the two events are pretty significant happenings in St. John’s. 10’s of thousands will attend each event every year.

Then in 2001 I learned my Leukemia had relapsed in late July, thus I was in hospital having chemotherapy during both events. Start of something funny.

And it was only a couple of weeks ago that I started to think about this time of year and I realized that this was my “off” year to have something happen in the summer. Determined as I was to stop this from happening I spent most of a week in bed, two weeks ago, trying to fend off something that was brewing in my lungs. That was followed by next to all of the next week in bed as this “thing” in my lungs progressed and my condition worsened. That was last week, and to complement my sickness I lost my voice. So after spending all of last week in bed trying to get this thing under control Sunday night I did something I have never done in almost 5 years of being a Leukemia Patient.

I called my special specialist Doctor at home.

I called her because I really wasn’t getting any better and inside there was some small part of me grasping at the notion that I might still accompany my buddies on our planned golf trip the next day. That was two days ago and I didn’t make the trip.

I went to the ER that night, a place that I have not visited for quite some time. I had extensive blood tests and a chest x-ray done and was sent home to rest. I once again had to forfeit something I so badly wanted to do, and it frustrated me a lot this time. Every now and then I feel like I want to step back into my old shoes, and some times I’m able, but so many times I’m not. So many times it happens with this drama of an infection and the reality or possibility of me getting really sick. I haven’t sat with that frustration enough yet, but it will not go neglected.

So I missed my golfing trip, and I have spent more time at the hospital. My blood tests indicate there is definitely something wrong, i.e. I’m fighting an infection of some kind, and I have had an IV antibiotic added to the pills I’m taking at home. My chest x-ray looked like there might be some pneumonia there but upon review of another taken today my Docs are confident I’m ok. However I have been unofficially given 24 hours to make some improvement. I’m due back at the hospital tomorrow at 12 and if things aren’t progressing I may be admitted. Not something I’ll accept easily but if it’s the right thing to do then that’s what I’ll do.

As this night has progressed I haven’t had the spikes in temperatures or fits of coughing that I have in the past few. All of which are good signs. Either way my gut is telling me this may need some attention, maybe even some hospital attention. It has kept me from the George Street Festival again and will most definitely keep me from the Regatta but it’s not going to stop me in my tracks. I will keep you updated on tomorrow’s news, take care and happy Regatta Day!

Live life. Love life.


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