Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Day +3 – Surprise Visitors

Thursday July 19, 2012
Quail Run Lot 15
Moffitt Cancer Center Room 3715


It is 74 when I go out to run this morning at 7am.  No rain yesterday for the first time in a long time makes it a tad easier since I don’t have to dodge all the puddles.  But at 74 degrees, that’s only a tad.

After all the stretching and weights and shower and breakfast, I get the clothing organized to take down to the laundry building.  I brought some of David’s clothing home yesterday so I strip my bed and take the clothing from the dirty clothes bag all in my cool little red cart and leave them in a couple of washers for 30 minutes.

I come back and make myself some couscous to take for lunch, wash the dishes then it’s time to walk back down to put the clothing in the dryer.

After a fairly long phone call with a friend having multiple problems in her life, I get the clothes folded, pack David’s things, my things, my lunch, my dinner and head for the hospital.


Day  3 001


When I get to his room,  he is on another saline drip.  He says his sleep was no better last night so there is another sleeping medication ordered for tonight.  He has a small incident of vomiting at lunch and is given zofran to protect against that at dinner.  I suggest that he please be proactive and get this 8 hour nausea med at 11am before lunch since that seems to be the time of most of his nausea.  I find it interesting that he doesn’t seem to have a problem with breakfast.


Day  3 006


Since he is comfortable in the recliner, I decide to turn the sofa around so that I can see him and put out the “footstool” because otherwise it is uncomfortable for me to sit on.  It is too deep and if I sit all the way back in order to give my back some support, my legs dangle in the air.  Ah the really great things about being short!




David points out his new mattress, well mattress topper.  I give it a try and it feels like lying on air.  I wonder if this will help his sleep at all?


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Day  3 004


We settle in for a quiet afternoon kind of waiting for the harpist.  His nurse Mike comes in to take him off the saline drip.  All of these things, the saline, the blood draws, any other infusions are done through the central line.  I know he’s very glad to be finished, for at least a while, with being a pin cushion.


Day  3 011


There is a knock on the door, we are expecting the harpist, David says come on in, and I am totally surprised to see our friends Jo Beth and Catherine. Maybe you know them or have read their blog RV Crazy Travel Journal.  Isn’t that a great title?

I actually say, “It’s Jo Beth and Catherine!  It’s Jo Beth and Catherine!”  Wow!   They have definitely succeeded in surprising us! 

They had been helping Jo Beth’s mother in New Mexico, went back to their new home base in Texas and have just come this past week to pick up their new full timing rig, a 40’ 2011 Phaeton motor home, aptly name Phiona, at Lazy Days.  It’s just amazing to look up and see people we actually know at his door.  This is a good time for them to visit since in the up coming days he may not feel as much like company.

Day  3 021

Just after they come in, the harpist shows up so we make an audience of 4 for her beautiful music.  She tells us that her lap harp has 3 octaves and also stops to use for playing sharps and flats.  It only weighs 7 pounds which is not much heavier than my 3 year old laptop.  She also has a larger harp with  7.5 octaves which she obviously can’t carry around with her.

The sound is so soothing.  She plays 4 lovely songs and goes on to her next appointment.  She says she needs her tuning key because the higher register is playing sharp. She has it tuned to the key of C. None of us has noticed any sharpness.  It has sounded just lovely.



The view from the patient’s recliner.Day  3 019



Day  3 018A


After she leaves, Jo Beth and Catherine stay and we talk about their new home, Jo Beth’s mother’s situation, David’s numbers and the country’s problems with fear of socialism among other topics.  They have come bearing gifts.  They brought David a bottle of Biotene a dry mouth oral rinse that Catherine says she had great luck with when she had to undergo radiation for throat cancer 9 years ago.  It helped with the mouth sores.  What a great gift!!  They also brought some hand made vegan treats that I can hardly wait to call my dessert for dinner.  None for David until he comes home IF I’m willing to freeze any for him.  I may need them all to keep my strength up.  J


Day  3 022A


Another knock on the door is his case worker.  Jo Beth and Catherine have to go so I give them hugs good by.  No hugging David.  He takes our picture. What a treat to have them come.


The case worker is in charge of dealing with all the insurance issues and she has just come to say everything seems in order and to find out what we intend to do when he’s discharged.  (Cindy that will not be next week but the week after hopefully.)  We are still hoping for the 31st and that we will be able to go to the Marriott Residence Inn for a week or 10 days while he has to come into the BMT Clinic daily before moving back to Winnona.   She also wants to set up where his medication prescriptions will be filled during the time at the half way hotel.


Time for the walk around the park.  As you can see his numbers have dropped again.  Particularly the white cell count.  While we are walking, I I ask how he feels, he replies “Not normal”.  Well no I guess not.  But he is still able to go for 6 laps although a bit slower today.  He is a little more fatigued.  I suspect if all I did was mostly sit around in this hospital room my energy would flag too.  The hourly interruption to his sleep is also definitely not helping.


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Day  3 003


He takes a short nap around 5pm but is unfortunately awakened at 5:20 when his nurse comes around to see how he’s doing.  I sure wish they would open up those small window blinds into the hall way that you can see in the far wall of this picture before they “check to see if he needs anything”.  They can put those blinds up from outside his room and look in. What he needs is sleep.   His dinner is delivered 20 minutes later so he’s had two 20 minute naps when what he needs is at least 2 hours.

Day  3 015

After dinner I begin reading our new book, also one I’ve already read and loved.  It’s The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kid.  The last two books we read took place in Florida.  This one in South Carolina.

I read until the comics come on and leave for home at 8:00.  He begins taking his last walk of the night and walks with me to the double doors, as far as he is allowed to go. I go through them, he turns around and goes back down the hallway.  I hope it’s not another long night for him.


  1. The old joke about hospital nurses coming around during the night to wake you up and give you a sleeping pill isn't far off the mark!

  2. Do I get the delight of being the first person to comment on this post?? Oh, I do hope so! Anyway, I bet I know who you were talking to on the phone before coming to the hospital ;) Sounds like you had a few nice surprises today -how very excellent! I like your shirt in that picture - what if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?! That shirt made me smile - as did the harpist. I do hope the 'sleep on air' mattress cover will help Dad to sleep - the nights must seem so long. How many times have you read "Secret Life of Bees" - must be 3 by now... :) Good book choice!

  3. Hopefully the sleeping meds and the new mattress will work it's magic and provide David some steady sleep tonight. Nice that you had visitors and that they came bearing such a thoughtful gift. Glad to see david is still eating fairly well. Blessing to you both..thinking of you.

  4. So glad to see Catherine and Jo Beth got to visit and really made you SMILE:o)) Hope the mattress and sleeping medication helps David get the good sleep he needs. Just know we think of you both everyday...

  5. Wow, how nice of Jo Beth and Catherine to drop by and with goodies, too! Maybe when David gets home, he will be lucky and get a few crumbs that you might leave behind.

    Even though all of us can't be there physically as much as we'd like to be, remember we're with you in spirit and prayers.

  6. Fingers crossed for that mattress thingie.

    How great for friends to stop in! And, a couple of women in a huge motorhome, no less! Do they blog?

    You asked me about juicing, and I forgot to say "yes, one meal a day." But, if we're hungry we eat, so three meals a day isn't really us.

  7. It's really great to see these daily posts from you. Thanks for keeping us all in the loop. Yay for visitors, and with thoughtful gifts, too!

    Loved the Secret Life of Bees!

  8. Here's hoping he gets a good night's sleep. I am sure 'not normal' is a huge understatement... those numbers are steadily dropping, which is what you want, right? But on the other hand what's happening inside his body must make him feel so tired.

    It is really great that the harpist and massage therapist and the art therapis come to patients' rooms. You said they get paid, which is great.

    Enjoy your vegan treats!

  9. I think of you both often (I had such a good time with you in Iowa City) and wish there was something I could do for you. You are both taking good care of each other, but still ...

    Listening to the radio this morning I heard something you may enjoy. Iowa is getting ready for RAGBRAI, the annual bike ride across Iowa for 20,000 best friends from all over the world (http://ragbrai.com/galleries/ragbrai-2011-on-monday/?show=slide).

    Chuck Offenburger -- fondly known by his longtime Des Moines Register column title, "Iowa Boy" was interviewed. He was instrumental to the growth of RAGBRAI. He told the interviewer that doctors told him that biking probably saved his life, because the years of riding kept him strong. When he had a stem cell transplant in late 2010 he came through with flying colors and now is preparing to ride part of RAGBRAI this year. Here's a link to his cancer update blog: http://www.offenburger.com/copingwithcancer.asp

    Chuck is a beloved Iowan, we all feel as if he's our neighbor, I hope you find comfort in his story. Here's the link to his main page: http://www.offenburger.com/default.asp

    Keep up the good work caring for each other and know I'm sending my best wishes for a great outcome!


  10. great that Jo Beth and Catherine stopped by... we met them in Las Cruces when we accidentally camped right next to them...

  11. Don't you just love surprises?! How nice of Jo Beth and Catherine to surprise you guys, and to come bearing gifts no less! Surely must've been a welcome sight to see friendly familiar faces.

    Hopeful that David gets some much needed sleep tonight.

  12. Great for you both to have visitors! What a wonderful surprise...Lovely that the hospital provides a harpist. Something to look forward to other than nurses coming to poke and prod and interrupt sleep!

  13. You look good in the photo, I know all this must be hard on you too. David looks perky! Keep us posted on what is going on. I sure hope David gets some sleep so he can heal.

  14. A good nights sleep may be the best thing for David, but familiar faces must be the next best thing! So nice of JB&C to drop in on you. I'm sure that was refreshing.

  15. How nice of JoBeth and Catherine to surprise you. I passed on the information about the Biotene for the mouth sores. We have a friend who also has throat cancer and is suffering horribly from mouth sores.

    So sorry David still hasn't been able to sleep. Could you put a sign on the door reminding the nurses and staff that he is having a sleep problem and to take that into consideration. Surely some of these visits could be put off in the interest of him getting some much needed rest.

    Hang in there David!

  16. How wonderful to have friends visit and how very thoughtful of them. Wish I could pop in and say hello and blow David a kiss. Here's to his being able to get some sleep -- at least once you're out of the hospital there won't be all the interruptions. By the way, you look great Sherry. Thanks for keeping us so well informed. Love you both.

  17. What a special day - a harpist no less Just about any music is beautiful and soothing on a harp. I can relate to the constant interruptions of sleep - I had the same experience when I was stuck in the hospital for a few days. Why do they have to wake you up so often? So glad friends stopped by. What a nice treat. Hope the bed helps his sleeping - it's a real annoyance to not be able to get enough sleep. Will keep praying for strength and healing.

  18. Maybe you could make a little sign to put on the door that says "Shhh! David is FINALLY sleeping!" It might help as long as you took it down when he woke up so they could come do their thing :)
    How wonderful the JB & Catherine surprised you! I'm surprised they allow outside visitors into the rooms even at this stage. Glad for you both that they do!

  19. A harpist and surprise visitors bearing treats? RV friends are the best in the world. 'Nuff said. Hope the mattress helps the sleep problems.

  20. So glad you and David had some company to enjoy the harpist. Biotene was very good when I was on a medication that made it very difficult to swallow because my mouth was so dry. I hope it helps David or, better yet, that he has no use for it.

    Thinking of you and I am in awe of how you hit the floor running (not in the exercise sense of the word). So organized the way you knock things off your "To Do List". I used to find I was far more organized when I was busy, working, and of course, traveling. Now, there's always time to procrastinate.

    Hope David gets a good night sleep, at last.


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