Day +5. Counts are still trending downward (dog), and energy levels are still pretty low. Sass levels on the uptick.
One of the big things I’ve been bugged about during my tenure at 11 Long (going 13 days strong!) has been to get exercise. I know the nurses aren’t targeting me, a *relatively* healthy 26 year old guy who prior to this diagnosis was going to the gym 4-5 times a week, but it’s something they always ask or mention whenever they pop in to take vitals, which btw happens every ~4 hours. (Okay okay fine, I was going to the gym 3-4 times a week. Geez). But I still can’t help but get the feeling that even with their very kind suggestions, they’re targeting me. It’s unfair really.
Truth be told, I don’t get out and walk as much as I should, but I have this lingering paranoia that since I’m neutropenic I’ll get some kind of infection if I take one step outside of my HEPA-filtered, UV-filtered air room! Plus, I have to walk around the floor wearing a mask and it’s cumbersome and it fogs up my glasses when I breathe. Did I forget to mention that there are a bunch of obstacles (e.g. chairs, EMR stations, equipment, other patients etc.) in the hallway that obstruct efficient and easy walking? Basically, I’m just being a whiny baby finding any excuse not to walk around, and I should suck it up and get more exercise in.
Today, I had a consult with the PT on-call Giselle. Interrupting me mid-second movie of the morning (Parallels on Netflix. Look it up), she walked two laps with me (~1/6 mile) and took me to the Solarium (the name of a visiting room on the floor) to show me some easy standing exercises I could do. Not gonna lie, I was getting winded by doing squats, standing calf raises, and step ups. (Err… I need to be exercising more, despite my nurses saying I’ve lost weight). But it was nice to get some movement, especially being guided by a friendly mask-covered face.
We came back to my room and she quickly ran “upstairs” to grab a set of resistance bands. She showed me a good number of exercises I could do using the bed with the bands that are lower-grade, weight-free versions of tricep pull downs, bicep curls, seated row, shoulder extensions, leg extensions, and the like. I wonder if I’ll use these bands so much they snap? *Watch out Total Gym! I’m gonna make my own home fitness machine and call it the Total Hospital Bed!*
I was pretty grateful (though initially annoyed) for Giselle and her simple yet effective in-room exercises she showed me. I was wondering how I was going to maintain my chiseled, rock-hard, gym-toned body while I ate away my feelings in vanilla malt shakes and animal crackers. Now I can have my cake and eat it too!
The days have started to mix together in my mind. Mondays become Tuesdays become Wednesdays and I lose track of time (DST didn’t help). I’ve been making arbitrary check lists for the day just so I can feel like I’ve accomplished something with my life. The real saving grace during this entire stay has been having visitors. Friends from all parts of my life have popped in for a few minutes to a few hours just to say hi. Seriously, seriously. Thank you. I look forward to the times when people say they’ll come visit because that means that’s less time spent perusing the internet or debating which B-list movie to watch. ❤
On some visits, friends will bring little treats and gifts which are always such a pleasant surprise! Like my friend Matt O. brought my sister this past weekend, and my friend Isaac brought me Starbucks Via to feed my caffeine addiction. The best gift anyone can bring me though is their company. Nothing beats any time spent with people that I love and care about. Occasionally someone will bring something extra special though. Like, really, really special that they made by hand. Today was one of those days.
My friend Paul J. or as I like to call him “Tall Paul” swung by for a visit today and brought this little happy gem I like to call leisurely bedtime reading:
It is a special, one-of-a-kind, handcrafted book, which includes a perfect, tasteful collection of cute animal and male fashion pictures, complete with a progressing plot line and speech bubbles. I have to say, I haven’t seen anything this creative in a while and would highly recommend a read. I’m surprised it hasn’t made the NYT best sellers list yet! Granted, there’s only one copy in the whole wide world and it resides in room 1159, but if you can get your hands on the copy, I’d suggest reading it. Thanks a ton Tall Paul! 😀