Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Five Thoughts from Someone Else's Hospital Bed

I'm going to try something new. Rather than write, edit, revise offline and then post online, I'm just going to write, directly into the post and see what happens.

Let's call this one: Random observations from a hospital bed.... not mine.

Well, the observations are mine but the bed isn't. I'm sitting in Boston Children's Hospital while my son recovers from elbow reconstruction - an old broken elbow that never healed properly. While he sleeps, I think.

  •  I was walking back to the hospital after grabbing a quick dinner and I passed by a nurse who was headed home, and I thought, what an emotionally difficult job it must be to be a nurse. To come in each day and be such a positive force for these sick kids, and then to go home and to try not to worry about all those kids, and then to come back the next day and do it again, and again, and again. And then I imagined what it must be like for pediatric oncology nurses who take care of some of the sickest kids, day in, day out. Wow.
  • I think I'm finally over my scan results, and all it took was one Facebook post. (In that post, a woman was celebrating that her scans showed her tumors had waxed and waned to nothing.) Well, that helped, but so did a good therapy session, a talk with Stacy and a little time. The thing is: I was kind of expecting perfect scans which showed no growth at all. And when that didn't happen, it upset my universe -- or at least my solar system. And it took a little while for the planets to realign.

    See, I had decided that I'd make it through my 50s without any more treatment. And when the scans showed a little growth, this brought the possibility of treatment back into the picture, and I'm nowhere near 60. But I realize now that trying to make it through my 50s is about as wrong a plan as I could have. At best, it sets me up for disappointment; at worst it turns me into a calendar watcher, wishing and coaxing the years away for what? To hit some random goal? Sure, I hope the next scans show nothing, but if that's not the case, we'll deal with it then. In the meantime, I'm not going to wish for that day to get here any sooner. The future will be here soon enough.
  • How do you know if a teenager is feeling better? He asks for his phone.
  • Sometimes life is not about getting things done; it's about letting things happen. I thought this the other day when I was getting irritated at the general lack of productivity in my house. I don't do well sitting around doing nothing -- no surprise to anyone who knows me. And the aggregate amount of sitting around in the Buller household that day was reaching epic proportions; it was driving me crazy. But then this idea popped into my head. Well, actually, Stacy talked me into going for a run, which I did, and then after I did that, then the idea popped into my head. Still, the point is, at work, productivity may matter a lot.  But at home, it's okay sometimes if stuff doesn't get done.
  • My dual identities of Dana-Farber patient and Dana-Faber employee may converge. We are beginning a podcast where cancer survivors talk about different post-diagnosis issues and I believe I'm going to be the host of it. I've been back and forth with the prospect of being so open about my dual identities but I think it will be good - both for us and for me.