We formed a community (there is that word again) with the people in the same general radiation time slot. I remember, just a few weeks ago, being the newcomer and wondering how they can speak with such ease as I panicked. Last week there was a newcomer. Her man was being treated and she was crying quietly. I should have had the courage to sit by her and just touch her hand, but I didn't. I thought about her all weekend. Today she was just like the rest of us, finding the solidarity that comes with the illness and the treatment. One of our friends, Tom, got to ring the bell today, his treatment done. He left with all of us promising to stay in touch. As he left he said he loved us. And I know he does, and we him/them. He waited for Pat to finish his treatment so Pat could witness it. They shook hands with tears as men sometimes do, and wished each other good health. I took their photo.
Pat had a rough day today and rough night last night. He developed a fever last night. After an emergency call to the on call oncologist, it was decided that he should go to urgent care in the hospital in the morning. All of his body fluids were taken and tested. He has developed neutropenia. Several of his blood counts have dropped so low and his body has no way to fight off any infection. They are unsure of the source of the infection so are treating him with a wide spectrum antibiotic. He was admitted into the hospital and will stay a day or two. He will most likely receive a blood transfusion. By the end of the day today, he had eaten a bit, taken some drugs and sweet talked a nurse into making him a milkshake (actually she offered, should I be worried?). I do believe he is in good hands.
I go to bed tonight thankful for so much, a couple "I love you"s, caring, tender nurses in urgent care and 4a, a doctor who seeks us out in that great expanse of a hospital, endurance, and human kindness and connection in so many forms.