“Honey, That Is A Girl”

23 Jun

Well look who’s back. Sorry for my hiatus but with Jimmy visiting this past week I don’t think I could concentrate long enough to write a blog post. I’m sure he’s still basking in his self-assumed “I’m the boss” role as caregiver and Dr. Arndt’s comment at an appointment last week that he’s “probably better medicine than we could provide here.” That one sunk into his head pretty deeply.

The biggest health-related news to report is that the Mayo team caught CMV trying to take advantage of my beautiful new immune system. CMV is a virus most of us were exposed to when we were little, but never knew it because it probably manifested as a cold. Both my donor and I were positive for it, so the docs knew to look out for it. For people with itty-bitty immune systems like me, CMV can wreak some pretty serious havoc. The good news is that they now have such sophisticated blood work tests for CMV that they catch and treat it before symptoms appear, which is good, because the symptoms don’t sound all that great. So now I have to go back to the hospital twice a day to receive an anti-viral IV infusion for at least a few weeks. No big deal considering the alternative.

Oh, and did I mention I’m sprouting neutrophils like it’s nobody’s business? I’m now almost to 2,500. Just waiting for the rest of that immune system to prop itself up. I’ve had trouble jumping on the platelet-growing train, but at least I’m holding in the 20s. That means I’m at least making some on my own and haven’t needed a transfusion, just not nearly enough to start my usual acrobatics or wrestling.

My kidneys have also taken a pretty serious hit with all these knock-‘em-dead medications (plus I didn’t exactly go into this with shiny new chemo-free kidneys), so I’m trying to help them by drinking as much as I imagine I would if I was walking across the Sahara.

As for Jimmy, his favorite new development is that kids are now afraid of me. I’d be scared too passing someone with a bald head, glasses and a lower face-covering mask. Walking on the other side of your mom, staring and pointing, and whispering to your dad after I walk by are totally normal reactions, kids. But Jimmy’s favorite? It went something like this:

After several seconds of staring: “Mom, why is there a boy in the girls bathroom?”

Whispers, no eye contact with me: “Honey, that is a girl.”

Pensively: “Then why doesn’t she have any hair?”

I proceed to explain to the girl that I used to have long red hair and it will grow back. She didn’t believe me.

Otherwise, Jimmy and I did everything you would expect a retired couple to do:

We drank Ensure together

He filled my pill box

We rocked in rocking chairs reading, watching traffic, and talking for hours

Of course he had most of the older women here – and men, for that matter – wrapped around his finger by the time he left. I must admit he was a wonderful caregiver, even if he insisted I call him Student Doctor Vancura. He’s earned it by now.

Me and Jimmy

P.S. I finally updated photos of the Gift of Life Transplant House to my post We Made It (Four Blocks) if you want to check them out.

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15 Responses to ““Honey, That Is A Girl””

  1. Heather Cable June 23, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    You guys make a beautiful old couple! 🙂 The Ensure looks tasty. So glad to read about the latest and greatest on your road to recovery. Keep on sprouting them neutrophils and platelets!

  2. Jonathan June 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    Jimmy seems to be a stand up guy! So glad you’re doing well Jenna – just got to take it one moment at a time and keep drinking!

  3. Annette Rhein June 23, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    Hang in there Jenna, we continue to pray for our recovery, and Jimmy sounds too good to be true, hang on to him!!

  4. Kim Hutchinson June 23, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    I’m keeping you in my thoughts Jenna for a speedy recovery! ❤
    Glad you've got Jimmy on your journey. He's a keeper 🙂

  5. Katie Lloyd June 23, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Where can I get me a Jimmy? 😉

    It’s so great to see you doing better. Can’t wait to visit next weekend.

  6. Ann Tucker June 23, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    Jimmy sure seems to love that Ensure. I wonder if he added any extra special ingredients to his…anyway, congratulations on all your new cells!

  7. Bob Brody June 24, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Hi, Jenna,

    I’m thinking about you and wishing you well. I’m also wondering whether you’re interested in writing about your experiences beyond your blog. If you are, I’ll be glad to help. Health Affairs has a “Narrative Matters” feature that could be just right for you. As it happens, I know editor-in-chief Susan Dentzer and you could go through me.


  8. Carly June 24, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    The picture of you two drinking Ensure is one of my favorite pictures of all time. Glad to hear that Student Doctor Vancura did a good job taking care of you!!

  9. Catherine June 24, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    I am soooo glad it is going sooo well. You and Jimmy are just adorable and perfect together. You are in my daily prayers.


  10. One Chicklette June 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    Love this post! Your sense of humor is serving you well, not to mention us, your readers. Congrats on the progress you are making.

  11. Brittany Rask June 25, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    omg you two are so darn adorable.

  12. Katie Porter June 25, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Jenna girl (as Candy used to call you)! You rock my socks off with your hilarity and I’m so glad to see that some great things never change. Sounds like you have the most amazing man, and those past times are unbeatable! You’re gorgeous as ever, praying for you and thinking of you often!

  13. Rose Forst June 26, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    Hey Jenna,

    What a great update. You two are so cute together as an old retired couple! Next time you will be filling his pill box! Keep up the good work. We are all pulling for you. Thinking of you often,

  14. Suzanne Lindley July 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    I love this update!! Nothing like Ensure milkshakes and Rocking Chair Days! So glad that you had a good dose of Jimmy. Thinking of you often and sending lots of energy your way!


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