Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 10

Another relatively dull day where things went exactly as they are supposed to. My marrow is failing and I needed a blood transfusion (if my marrow didn't fail the chemo would not be working so this is good news). Terry came to visit me and I walked a mile with him. I got lots of nice phone calls and what I think of as "opportunity visits" from people who were up here anyway. Both Gerry (who sees me frequently in Manch and saw me last Tuesday) and Terry who sees a lot of me tell me I look better than when I came in, except for being really pale. For some reason, I can't get photo booth to work and I forgot to bring the cable to download my iphone pictures to my computer and I am not set up with the cloud so... I'll have to get some help before you can see for yourself. I have not lost my hair yet. Gina tells me that usually one's scalp hurts first so maybe not tomorrow either as it is not sore. Cara, Terry and Gerry have recent pictures of me on their phones so if you want to see for yourself, ask them.

(trigger warning for mildly morose thoughts)
I was thinking today about my legions of doctors and as this is a teaching institution, I have them in all ages and stages. More on that a different day. Some of them are much more satisfactory to interact with than others and it occurs to me that part of that is that some of them love me and some don't. Not the kind of love one feels for one's family or one's close friends, in fact, that would be creepy and anti-productive, but there is a kind of love or maybe it's engagement that one needs to feel in order to be attached. This is probably not true in all medicine; I bet one can take out gall bladders or do colonoscopies almost as effectively without it as with it, but for most of internal medicine and certainly for hospice and palliative care, if you don't have it, it's clear. I realized something like this as a doctor, but what I realize as a patient that I did not see as a doctor is how much courage it takes to do. To be able to attach to people over and over who may have bad outcomes no matter how skillful you are (and none of us is 100% all of the time). To have a patient die and then to attach to the next anyway, knowing it will happen again and again is a little act of courage every time one does it. One can be a doctor and just not attach without being an emotional cripple, still being a doctor who appears to function. So every time we do it, it is a choice. Thank you to the docs who have done it with me.
(end of morose thoughts)

My counts are down hemoglobin 6.9 (although I had a unit of beautiful red blood cells so now it's higher--thank you kind donor), platelets 33, white count parked at 0.3, ANC 10. My hair is in place although I do think my part is wider.

Fun news about Ellie is that she did her first day of official work today. A friend of Terry's is moving to Kansas (for real, Dorothy) and has a five year old daughter. Ellie's job was to play with the daughter while the mom packed/worked. She was there for five hours and came home feeling really tired and extremely proud, as she should.

Here in Lebanon, at the end of the day the sun dipped below the trees and finally came out. It reminded me of living in the Bay Area when the sun would finally dip low enough to be under the fog that stretched out from the land over the ocean and because Berkeley was right across from the Golden Gate, there was nothing blocking it. There would be a few minutes of this fabulous golden, warm light that would sweep across the hills then fizzle out.

I hope there is warm light and attachment for you today, as there is for me.


  1. Oh and BTW there are many who have learned that attachment from you. You teach by example.