I’m not sure I can handle another “rest week.” The roller coaster ride continues. Sometimes you are slowly climbing up with a pretty good view of everything around you. Things seem under control and manageable. But you know that a drop may be just over the horizon or just around the turn. I'm not a big fan of roller coasters and on the rare occasion when I have ridden one, I hold on tight and try to focus on what's ahead. It's been that type of week with this "nasty little disease." I'm holding on tight and trying to stay focused.
Sunday afternoon I passed out again. Thankfully Adam was at the house and when I felt I was “losing it,” he "carried" me to the bedroom. He and Patra quickly drove me to Moffitt. I wondered if my "driver" would be my professionally trained son (law enforcement defensive driving courses) or "Danica Patra." Adam deferred to Mom - probably a wise decision. (My eyes were closed because of my condition. I wonder if his eyes were closed during the drive.)
Tests confirmed I was dehydrated and my potassium level was very low. We “closed down” the B.M.T. (Bone Marrow Transplant) Clinic Sunday night about 7:30 p.m.
Monday morning I was still dehydrated so it was back to Moffitt for more fluids, proteins and potassium. It was decided that I should have a PICC line (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter.) The good news is that I no longer have to be stuck with a needle to have I.V. line(s) placed every time I go for blood work, fluids, chemo-therapy, etc. I think my veins join with me in giving thanks for the PICC line.
To keep me hydrated, home health care was brought in and I am receiving I.V. fluids daily. They trained Patra so she is not only my primary care-giver but also my nurse. She gives me I.V. fluids and flushes my PICC line daily. It is amazing how “user friendly” they have made these medical aids and she is doing great keeping me “tuned up.” (She does not have to give me any injections. Thank you, Lord!) A home health nurse or Moffitt nurse will clean and change the dressing on the PICC line. Andrew is pretty excited that Grandpa has his own I.V. pole at the house.
I won’t have my PICC line for long. Next Thursday, I am scheduled for a procedure to insert a port.
As I received my I.V.s Monday and waited for the PICC line to be inserted, I was anxious. Since the end of 2009, Patra and I have made many trips to Moffitt. There are moments in this journey when you can't help but get tired and discouraged. I recently read a biography of Oswald Chambers ("My Utmost for His Highest") and he would often tell the troops he served while in Egypt during the difficult days of World War I “I refuse to worry.” Repeating and thinking about Chambers' saying and Psalms 56:3 "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee" brought me a great deal of comfort and peace. (I am no Oswald Chambers so the words of my prayer were more like "God, I am trying to refuse to worry, but it is really hard. Would you please help me?")
The certified PICC nurse specialist did a wonderful job. Using ultrasound visualization, she located a large vein in my upper arm and inserted a plastic tubing catheter which runs up my arm, across my chest and into the superior vena cava near my heart. A chest x-ray confirmed the correct placement of the PICC line.
Looking at my vein on the ultrasound and realizing that a wire and catheter would thread their way through my vein and stop at a point near my heart, I was thankful for an incredibly wonderful Creator and Designer. Right now, my body is nothing to brag about. My weight is down to 167.5 (that’s high school thin and close to 40 pounds below my "normal" weight.) But I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I was designed by a loving God. Because of God's design, doctors are able to use their training and knowledge to accomplish procedures like installing a PICC line. They can rely on the design of the Great Physician. Laying in the hospital bed I contemplated the amazing way God designed us. Last year I read a book, written by a physician in England, which speaks of the wonder of the human body. When I arrived home, I read again the following portion of the book dealing with the human heart. I thank God for His amazing, incredible, wondrous work of creation.
The heart is an astonishingly powerful pump, capable of propelling the entire volume of the body’s five litres of blood through the ‘pipeline’ of arteries and veins that, stretched end to end, would circle the globe five times – 100,000 miles in all. This ‘pump’ may be no bigger than an orange, nestling in the palm of the hand and weighing just a quarter of a pound, but it generates enough force to propel a fountain of blood against gravity six feet into the air, and in doing so utilizes as much energy as the legs of a marathon runner pounding the pavement…. And for good measure, this masterpiece of engineering efficiency should with luck run the two and a half billion cycles of a lifetime without maintenance or lubrication, or the need to replace its four sets of valves, which open and close four thousand times every hour. James Le Fanu, Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves, p. 121.Have you thought lately about how special you are? You are fearfully and wonderfully made!
Patra and I would appreciate your prayers for our grandson, Andrew (5) and David and Jenny. Andrew is scheduled to have additional MRIs done at All Children's Hospital on Thursday. When I look at him, it is easy to see that he is wonderfully made. What a God we serve!
Until next Friday. God willing.