Returning to Colorado on Tuesday 2/21 was supposed to be simple and it turned out to be anything but. That day we packed, straighten up the condo (or at least Rocky straighten up and I pointed a lot), and grabbed a car to O’hare to fly straight home. It’s was raining and anyone from Chicago knows a little rain makes all traffic come to a stand still. Tuesday’s driving conditions were no different. Took a long time to get to O’hare.
Once at the airport, curbside service was absolute perfection and we wandered inside to see about getting me a lift to the gate area also known as a wheelchair. You see that airport is flippin huge and I was beat, totally beat. It was super simple to get a wheelchair and even set one up for when we landed in a few hours in Denver. I was happy to save the steps and let someone else get me there. Off we went. We were wiping through TSA precheck security just when I got the first notice, flight delayed. Not a shocker but a bummer, oh well an hour and 15 is not so bad.
We decided to head to the Red Carpet Club and try to relax and wait out the delay. What was just over an hour became close to 4. The wait was manageable but I was getting more and more exhausted by the second. Also for some reason the Red Carpet Club became much more like a local child care center with families with 4 and 5 kiddos kept rolling in. Each and every one of those young kiddos I looked at like they could give me the cold, flu or sickness that I simply could not afford. I kept moving away from them but it truly became a game of wack a mole. As soon as I got away from these 3 then 2 more would pop up right next to me.
We finally got on the plane and as we climbed to cursing altitude I got ill and spet the entire flight from Chicago to Denver with my head in a bag. Landed in Denver after midnight, rolled to baggage claim, grabbed bags, car and headed to the mountains I call home. Getting to bed by 3 AM was not a great thing for me either.
The next day, I was given this amazing gift from the great folks I get to work with on a daily basis……What an amazingly thoughtful gift I am saving for Aprils’ phase 2 adventure.
By Wednesday night it turns out I had full blown hypoxia that felt exactly like a heart attack. All the same symptoms, indicators and warning signs were present and man was I feeling horrible.
Amazingly, Dr Richard Burt was covering the call that night when Rocky called and this amazing doctor I am trusting with my stem cell transplant took the call, encouraged us to go to the ER and check out what was happening. Then 30 minutes later he called back tell Rocky he just went into all my records and really thought my heart was OK but, still to get checked out. Then at 5AM our time he called Rocky one more time to check on me. He cares her really really is one of the good ones.
When I got to the ER my pulse ox was between 68-70. Not good but helpful to know what was the problem and what the answer would and could be. I spent Wednesday night in the hospital, getting admitted after 3AM, catching 2 hours of sleep but being able to rest knowing what was the medical challenge I was facing, why and what was the solution. Simple oxygen. Lots and lots of yummy, healing, necessary oxygen from a machine until my body could bounce back from the Tuesday from hell and make all the oxygen it needs without a plug.
Here’s is the icing on the cake…..While in the hospital (on day 14 since the chemo I got in Chicago as part of the mobilization and harvest for stem cells), my hair started to fall out. I was on a race to check out of the hospital so I could go home and shave my head. I swear I love God’s timing because if I have 3 things to focus on than no one thing becomes that big of a deal. I needed a haircut, oxygen and sleep in some sort of urgent and major way. I got all 3.
Today is Sunday. I have been hooked up to a breathing tub for 4 days now. My pulse ox is almost normal all on its own, my hair is almost all gone and man have I slept! Yesterday, Jennifer and Liz came up to clean the house and get the dust out for me. So thankful for the help. That’s the real help I needed with re-entry. Others provided meals (despite me saying we didn’t need them) food is love and I appreciate the love. Puzzles, books and electronics are keeping me busy and very much entertained. I am being loved, feed and cared for beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
Thanks to you folks who donated to the gofundme for me I was able to purchase a portable oxygen machine for use here while home when needed, on the plane back to Chicago for Phase 2 in April, while in Chicago in April and early May and then when I return home. We are not broke folks, we are blessed with great jobs, careers, a thriving company and many extras but the costs of this process are huge. Thank you to those that have selflessly assisted to make that burden a little lighter. We have eaten, taxied, paid thousands in co-payments, and travel thanks to this gofundme already.
I will be posting/blogging only weekly at most until I return to Chicago for Phase 2 beginning April 3rd. Until then I have full immunity back, the folks at Northwestern want me to take care of myself but NOT to live in a bubble as I need some defense system functioning before I start then next phase. Looking forward to food, work and my life here in Colorado for the next month.
All the very best folks, love to you All! Bets