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» Thursday, January 07, 2021The Lost Christmas
I pulled the lights last night.
Usually I get a little choked up about this. I love Christmas: the colors, the conviviality, giving gifts, the music, the colder weather, the activities. Of course, this year none of the activities happened. There was no "opening volley" like the Georgia Apple Festival or the fall library book sale. I wasn't feeling well for Thanksgiving, so we stayed home for that. No Apple Annie craft show, no Marietta Home Tour, no Candlelight Tour at the Atlanta History Center, and we never even got to the Lights of Life display. The Lawsons cancelled their Christmas party/game night, we missed Christmas dinner at the Butlers, Bill and Caran cancelled their New Year's Eve party which has been going on for years now, and we also cancelled our Twelfth Night party.
But last night I was just numb. I pulled light after light until I was done, shut off the lights out front, and even replaced the candoliers with the welcome lights with little emotion. I feel we lost Christmas. There are decorations still up, but I haven't really taken joy in them in days. Only the tree, shimmering tinsel magnifying the lights, can managed to make me smile.
On New Year's morning James' medication showed up as promised, and I watched the instructional video for the infusion that Coram provides. The actress playing the instructor was very soothing and reassuring, but there are so many ways for this to go wrong. The main way would be a germ getting into the intravenous line, which would happen if I didn't stay sterile enough. There can also be air gaps in the line which could cause an embolism. However, later the nurse (Elisa) showed up and she walked me through everything. I was extremely nervous, but of course James followed along and we did checks and balances on each other later on when we actually did the process (we waited until nine o'clock because it needs to be done every twelve hours). We got through it, but my hands were shaking! And the infusion took so long. It was supposed to take an hour at a 100 "opening" on the flow dial, but it was more like two hours. We were exhausted by the time we got to bed. I called the infusion people back and they said we could up it to whatever opening got us to an hour infusion. Let me tell you, it was never the same time period twice. One day it was forty minutes, another day, on the same setting, it was an hour and twenty minutes. Bizarre.
Of course I've gotten more comfortable with it in the last seven days.
As expected, since James was discharged from the hospital, he now has lots of doctors' appointments. We saw the podiatry doctor on Monday, and he showed James the hospital photos; where the big blister on the arch of his foot looks dreadful to me, all full of fluid and black and blue as if it is bruised, it doesn't look anything like it did in the hospital when it formed. And his toes are definitely more pink than red now. Wednesday we saw another doctor at Cumberland just for a general followup (I'm guessing Dr. Mobley was not available).
Today he had his first checkup at the infusion center at Kaiser TownPark. We got this incredibly cheerful nurse named Susan who really did brighten our day. She (or someone else in infusion) will be changing the dressing on the PICC line once a week and making sure it is working properly. She says I'm doing a good job so I'll take her word for it. (And we felt lucky, as someone was in there getting their chemotherapy. I hope whomever it was does good on it and gets well.)
Last but not least we got a call from the doctor who attended James in the hospital. He said they had identified positively both things that were infecting him: one was strep (which can be hideously dangerous; Jim Henson basically died from streptococcus) and the other was anirobes, which I had never heard of. So they were changing his medication to something that was only to be infused once a day—thank goodness!—and came pre-mixed. He had the first dose of the new medication given to him by the nurse just in case he had an allergic reaction. She was the chirpy type, but very nice, and she showed us, just in case, what to do if he had a very rare reaction on the second dose (basically epinephrine and call 911!). That made me nervous, but the first infusion went off without a hitch. It's also quicker, thirty minutes, it's supposed to be, instead of an hour.
In non-medical news, we had Aaron Lawson come over to help us with some household chores. He is on vacation from his pharmacist college in Wyoming. He put LED lightbulbs in the garage door openers for us (there were "pigtails"—icky compact fluorescents—in there, and James's side was burnt out and mine had a bulb and a half on), and replaced the light bulb that was out in the overhead in our bedroom. (I usually do this, but lately when I put my hands over my head like that I get a little lightheaded.) He also dragged James' old desk chair downstairs for us, and the old microwave cart that was supporting the television and DVD/VCR in the guest room. After he left I set about assembling the new little cart I had bought at Ikea to replace it. It looks so much roomier in there now (the two front bedrooms are pretty small).
Now it's time for me to start taking all of the Christmas things down. I'm not going to hurry. We had hardly enough time to enjoy it...