Saturday, January 19, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

I experienced something weird yesterday. All day I'd been pining for home, desperately waiting for confirmation I'd be able to leave the hospital. I honestly don't know what I would have done if they'd told me I had to stay there another night. When I crossed the threshold into the house I was incredibly happy, but about an hour later I experienced a weird sort of panic attack: the house was too big, and there was too much stuff around. For a few minutes, I desperately wanted the comfort and routine of my 12' x 8' (or whatever) room, where everything was self-contained and had structure.

Now I begin to understand why ex-cons have a hard time adjusting.

I'm still a little overwhelmed at times, but overall the feeling that it's good to be home hasn't wavered. And I certainly can't complain about having a bed where I can stretch out. (Although it doesn't transform. That was cool.)

Anyway, the important thing to mention: I've been really wiped out for the last four days. I have tiny bursts of (limited) activity, then I rest or snooze. For that reason, phone calls and visits have to be limited. I've learned over the last two weeks that even though visits don't seem all that demanding—I'm sitting in a chair or lying in bed, after all—they do take a physical toll. (I will no longer shake my head at the doctors who shoo visitors out on TV.) Phone calls can also be an effort. So for the first week, I'm asking for a moratorium on calls and visits as I rest up and settle in.

Quick replies to a few FAQs and repeated comments:

1. It must be nice to get real food instead of hospital food!

Generally, yeah. But oddly enough I was occasionally getting some great dishes during the last two weeks. The pinnacle was one day last week, when lunch was Moroccan chicken over couscous, and dinner was baked sole in a tomato & leek sauce. Both of these are alternate dishes that I only got because I said I couldn't or wouldn't eat certain other meals. Moral: Sometimes it pays to grouse politely.

2. Does being home mean your immune system is back online?

Not really. I was released because (among other things) I'm not severely neutropenic. I'm still moderately neutropenic, however (which is why I have to poke myself with a needle every day), and can't tolerate visitors who have colds or whatever. I also can't go out in crowds, shake hands, kiss, or hug people.

3. Stop typing and get some rest!

I'm going to do that right now.

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