Traditions are meant to be broken, which is why I'm going to eschew (gesundheit!) my usual "Year in Review" post about 365 days of disastrous politics in 2021. And they were disastrous, with Joe Biden and his merry band of Constitution-loathing liberty-rapists doing their best to destroy everything we hold dear. But I'll waste no further time reflecting on those mendacious bastards nor the wretched sway-backed horses they rode in on.
Instead, I'll give you the only thing that I really can - which is an "end of year" medical update on the Jarlsberg family.
For starters, we had an interesting day on Thursday. Following her latest round of chemo, Kathy needs to go into the hospital every 2nd or 3rd day to have a blood sample taken, after which she gets a transfusion of blood and platelets as needed - a process which will continue until her body can start making those things itself. When we went in today, Kathy’s blood test presented us with a new first; rather than just having a low platelet count, she had no detectable platelets at all.
This is not a good thing for two reasons. The first is that if you do any bleeding, it will quickly become a dangerous or even life-threatening event. The second is that pretty much any damn thing will make you bleed. Flossing, a stubbed toe, too vigorous a sneeze, clenching your butt (seriously, they warn you not to), clapping your hands, etc. Basically, you’re a water balloon in a cactus garden.
This being the case, our oncology contact person told Kathy “you’re not going home today” and “we’re going to wrap you in bubble wrap and keep you in a bed” after which they rolled her off in a wheelchair. Did I mention that just walking is too dangerous? Yeah, just walking is too dangerous.
So Kathy was admitted to the hospital and they soon got an intravenous line into her and, by the time I left, she’d already received one bag of platelets which will hopefully be enough to seal the hole they made in her arm just to put the platelets in. Medicine is funny that way.
Her white blood cell count was also preposterously low, though I give our contact person an “A for effort" in trying to put a good spin on it. While a normal white blood cell count should be between 4.5 and 11, Kathy was told “two days ago you only had a 0.1, but today you’re up to 0.7!” (Cue the sound of a lame New Year's Eve party horn). Put another way, Kathy has no immune system working right now, which is another reason for her to stay someplace clean and soft and surrounded by doctors with no risk of tripping over empty scotch bottles on the floor.
Considering all of this, Kathy’s mood is pretty good. It’s never fun to be in the hospital, let alone when you’ve just been told that it’s because you might not survive a day OUTSIDE the hospital, but at least she wasn’t feeling terrible (nor great, but "not terrible" isn't bad these days). And unlike most times she’s been checked into the hospital lately, she won’t be getting bags of poison pumped into her. Rather, she’ll just be getting things intended to make her healthier, safer, stronger, and more...um...clotty.
The goal is still for her to have gall bladder surgery when possible, then hopefully a crucial stem cell transplant when possible. It’s those “when possibles” that are a moving target, but we intend to get there.
Daughter Jarlsberg continues to recover quite nicely from her “giant thing-ectomy.” Yesterday ("a day without a doctor visit is like a day which I can’t even imagine") she had a 2-week follow-up appointment and the doctor was well pleased with how she’s coming along. He also pulled out half the metal staples from her long, long incision and the rest should come out two weeks from now. Or sooner if she doesn't stop picking at them.
Daughter J is still sore, but no longer needs to use a walker to get around. She’s had a backache, though, because her muscles are having to relearn how to balance without that 30-pound weight on her front side - her center of gravity is in a whole new position!
But one way or the other, we’re all staggering toward 2022 as a family, hoping that it will go easier on us than 2021 did. In the meanwhile, best wishes to you and yours and very sincere thanks for your continuing support, good wishes, and prayers!
|Holiday tip: after burning your 2021 calendars, don't forget to sow the ground with salt!|