As I was walking out of the cancer center on Friday, Haley said, “Don’t cause any trouble over at the hospital, Mr. Hague.”
I was tempted to say, “If you didn’t send me to the hospital so often, I would have other places in which to cause trouble.”
Yes, the hospital was beckoning to me again.
Two weeks after my last blood transfusion, I was anemic once more – a new world’s record for me.
No wonder I’ve been feeling like an old dog run over by a semi.
My blood has been struggling to carry oxygen to my body, making my body struggle to do anything but lie in the bed and ask Betsy for a bowl of ice cream.
But only two weeks now between transfusions?
Please, God – mercy.
He smiled and reminded me He loves me.
Then He showed me.
I left the cancer center to go to the hospital to be “typed and crossed.”
This is medical terminology that refers to the process by which “harmful interactions” are prevented between my blood and the blood of the person donating it to me.
This would prevent the disaster of me receiving the blood of a PC user instead of a Mac user, for example.
Arriving there in a funk, they pre-admitted me (code for removing my wallet from my pocket) and then sent me over to the Same Day Surgery (SDS) Center.
The nurses immediately commented on how pale I looked (using the term, “death warmed over,” I believe).
I may have retorted with a comment about how they would also look pale if they had no make-up on.
Remember, I was in a bad mood. Plus, the doctors keep saying I have terminal cancer.
I can get grumpy.
Trying to be cute, I then continued my “make up” comments with a lesson on etymology, explaining that the word “cosmetics” comes from the Greek word “cosmos,” meaning “to bring order out of chaos.”
Have you every offended multiple people at the same time?
Their collective glare will take your breathe away.
Seeing I was scheduled for Monday (no non-emergency transfusions are done over the weekend), I was then informed there was a rash of surgeries that day and they couldn’t possibly fit me in.
This could be related to my cosmetics remarks above, but I’m not sure.
The transfusion would be on Tuesday.
But they couldn’t “type and cross” me then even though I was there because the blood bank wouldn’t reserve my blood that long.
I would have to come back on Monday – and then again on Tuesday.
I stood there looking pitiful (and pale).
I may have said something about being dead by then.
I did not cry – the crying came later.
I played the family card instead.
I explained that my sister and her husband were coming into town to visit me for the weekend.
Seeing me so pale and lifeless would be a shock to her.
If I didn’t move for several seconds, she might even think I was, well . . . you know.
Was there anything they could do to get me some blood (and energy) sooner?
You know what the trouble is with nurses?
They’ve seen it all and are therefore difficult to con (and I’m pretty good at it).
But you can also experience amazing love and compassion from their hearts to yours.
It must have been my day.
Kindness, concern and care filled that busy nursing station.
“Since it’s you, Ed, let’s see if we can’t color outside the box for a minute.”
A war room was created. Flip charts, colored markers, and calendars appeared.
Telegraph wires were strung while strategies were debated:
- I could go to the ER on Saturday and be transfused there (turns out I would have to be in a car wreck for that to happen – I declined).
- I could go to the ER on Saturday where I would then be transferred to an in-patient room where I could then be transfused, probably by Friday of next week (I also declined – I’ve been lost in the prison system before).
While these ideas were being kicked about another nurse walked up.
Excuse me, not just another nurse, but Irene (who rules the transfusion world) appeared – with perfect timing.
After hugging me, she asked what all the excitement was about.
We explained my (minor) dilemma as the wheels turned in her mind (and heart).
She then asked Charlotte (the other amazing infusion nurse) where she would be on Saturday.
She was going to be at the hospital, installing PIC lines (don’t ask – you don’t want one).
- Would Charlotte come down to assist Irene with my infusion (as two nurses are required)?
- Of course, she would be happy to help.
I started blinking my eyes rapidly, holding back the tears.
- Wasn’t the SDS center closed (except for emergencies) tomorrow?
- Yes, so you can have the place to yourself.
- Wasn’t Irene scheduled to be off?
- Yes, but she was on call and would be happy to come in to serve you for the 6 hours the transfusion would take.
- Weren’t only emergency transfusions done on the weekends?
- Yes, but with a phone call, permission was somehow obtained.
I stood at the nurses’ station and wept – all over someone’s chart.
So Saturday, as my sister and brother-in-law were flying in to see me, I was being “tuned-up” by two nurses who went the extra mile to love a patient – because that’s what God wanted them to do that day.
As a final touch, when my lunch tray was brought in, I found this on it:
National Nurse’s Week just ended May 12.
As far as I am concerned, it will never end.
I love these astounding people. What a gift they have been to me in all this.
I must have been dozing a little – they give you Benadryl with the blood.
“Ed, you’re ready for your second unit. And look at you – you’ve already got some color back in your cheeks. You’re responding well.”
Of course I was.
I always respond well to sacrificial love.
© Ed Hague. All rights reserved.