The Door Is Now Open

Yesterday we visited Jacq’s OB for a quick check up. Baby and mother are doing A-OK, and I am excited to report that “the door” is now open (for those of you who are a little slow on the uptake, Jacq is now dilating). It could still be a while (she is only 1cm), but at least we are moving in the right direction.

Today we met Lester’s pediatrician, which was very exciting for us, especially since we both got lollipops at the end of the visit.

That’s about all I got for you tonight. An early happy turkey to you all.

Quiet Time… Well, Sort Of

Not much to report other than a quiet weekend at home and our first date out alone together in a long time. Nothing too exciting, but it was great to be out with Jacq without falling asleep after 10 minutes, and no IVs, antibiotics or antiemetics to take. For us it was Chinese food and stadium seating to see The Departed, which was, overall, a disappointing flick. Great first 2/3s of a movie, and then it tanked the last 1/3. Scorcese fell asleep. Tonight, if I think my still hemoglobin depleted body can handle it, we are going to see Borat. I am afraid I’ll laugh so hard I’ll pass out.

A busy week coming up with teaching, writing, and we are hoping, a baby. We’ve still got a few weeks to go, but Lester could arrive any time and we are doing everything within our power to make that happen sooner rather than later, which, I should add, ain’t easy when you’re low on hemoglobin.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Boy is it good to be home!

While I am indebted to the docs and nurses at Penn for taking such good care of me during delymphomatization, there is nothing more therapeutic than being back at home with Jacqui and Otis.

Yesterday I spent half the day at work, but also ran some baby-related errands, picking up the stroller, car seat, and pack-and-play. For those of you who had kids a long time ago, as of yet do not have them, or are like the character at the end of each episode of Scooby Doo who says, “Damn you crazy kids!” the pack-and-play is one of those new baby items that I am told you just can’t do without. It is a portable crib, or what in modern baby lingo is called a play yard, that folds up and fits into a carrying case that in the most advanced versions actually fits in your back pocket.

Shopping for baby stuff has been a learning experience for me. Call me old fashioned, but some of the gadgetry now mandatory for having a baby makes me wonder if my generation was brainwashed by all of those goofy “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a toys-R-us kid” commercials; you know, the ones with the toys-R-us giraffe mascots that ran over and over again in the 1980s. There must have been subliminal messages hidden in those commercials: YOU MUST BUY A PACK-AND-PLAY, YOU MUST BUY AN OVERPRICED BABY MONITOR THAT PICKS UP COMMUNICATION FROM THE SPACE SHUTTLE, YOU MUST BUY AN SUV THAT FITS ALL OF YOUR BABY JUNK AND PUTS A HOLE IN THE OZONE LAYER. Yea, well now that we’ve grown up there are bills to pay and mouths to feed, thank you very much you stupid giraffe.

Kidding aside (mostly), the one thing that I found truly shocking in all of this, was that one salesperson actually tried to sell us a stroller for $900. Seriously, $900. We went into the store and I told her that I wanted the one that was rated as safest and most reliable by Consumer Reports. She looked at me as if I was a communist, poo-pooed that stroller, and told me that we needed the Bugaboo, the Rolls Royce of baby strollers. Out of pure curiosity, I let her show us the stroller, which pretty much looked like any other, except it must have been made from pure gold given its sticker price. She didn’t laugh when I asked her at that price did the stroller also change the baby’s diaper, toilet train it, and convert into my child’s first car?

Despite the superstition of some of my faith, Jacqui and I have begun to set up the baby’s room (furniture arrives Tuesday), and put together the stroller, car seat, and pack-and-play. Given what we have been through these past few months, it feels so good to focus purely on Lester. Last night, with our new video camera in hand, I had our first tape rolling and asked Jacqui what is the first thing she’d like to say to baby Lester (once he or she is old enough to watch the video). Her response took my breath away (which she often does): to our first born she said, “We are probably going to spend the rest of our lives trying to get you to understand what it has meant these last three months to have your birth up and coming, and that hopefully through the love and support we offer you as parents, you come to know a fraction of what we are actually feeling.”

Home

Released at 1pm following a bag of platelets. Did you know that one small bag of platelets is culled from between three and five donors? So if you are not an eligible donor for me, please consider donating blood through your local Red Cross. It is a special gift. This week I received blood and platelets from anonymous donors in Philadelphia, Ohio, and New York.

From the hospital I went home, took a quick shower, and then went to teach for two hours. During break I went to the bathroom and noticed in the mirror that my eyebrows have thinned over the last few weeks. Not a good look, but with a nice break from chemo coming up, they should fill back in quickly. Any stopgap make-up suggestions from the ladies out there?

Otherwise, I am feeling pretty good, and looking forward to some R&R at home with Jacq and Otis.

Tomorrow Lester is 37 weeks and is good to go. Jacq had an appointment yesterday and “the door” is still closed, so we have a weekend of watching comedies and horror movies to try to induce labor and coax the little one out. At her appointment she told the doc that she thought the baby wasn’t kicking as much, so the doc had her do a routine nonstress test. After drinking some cranberry juice, the baby was performing somersaults and karate kicks, given a black belt in karate, and given a clean bill of health. Unfortunately, yesterday was a rough day for me (hemoglobin at 5.4, which is just about in the danger zone, so they had to transfuse me) and I couldn’t be with Jacq. So there she was at one UPenn hospital making sure baby was OK, and there I was at another UPenn hospital with doctors making sure I didn’t stroke out from lack of oxygen to my brain. It was a pretty upsetting situation, but we are all now OK and resting at home. Hats off to all the doctors and nurses at Penn who were in overdrive while all this was going on, pumping me up with blood, and ready to ship me off to Jacq should she have needed to be induced. Thanks docs and nurses on Rhoads 6, you are taking great care of me, and I am always appreciative.

Paging Dr. Cheney, Dr. Cheney You Have A Patient…

I just received the news that my white cells have begun to replenish themselves, and I am now officially on the road to recovery. I have even begun to grow those creepy white hairs on my face that I spoke about in Monday’s blog. Soon enough I’ll be looking like the wolfman.

For a while there I was convinced that last Thursday’s blog, “Morning in America,” (http://www.baldmike.com/2006/11/morning-in-america.asp), in which I make reference to the sitting Vice President in a not so flattering way, had landed me in hot water with the Department of Homeland Security. I feared that as a result of my political statements I had been declared an “enemy combatant” under the terms of the innocuous sounding yet anti-American “Military Commissions Act” (you know, the one that stuck an arrow through the heart of our Constitution by suspending Habeas Corpus for “enemy combatants”, who, in the new law, are defined very loosely and haphazardly and can include U.S. citizens).

As a result of my earlier statement, I feared that I might wake up at Guantanamo, or even worse, stuck with the Cheney’s at their secret, undisclosed location being tortured by having to listen to readings of Lynne Cheney’s non-fiction books and novels (for excerpts from her classic novel of female frontier love, which the NY Times calls “Hilariously tortuous,” see: http://www.whitehouse.org/administration/sisters.asp). But I actually think the Emperor Cheney and his cronies at Homeland Security have instead been hacking into the computer system here at Penn and have been lowering my blood counts to extend my stay here, thereby driving me insane and keeping me from taking good care of Jacqui and Otis. I shared this theory last night with my doctor, and made sure he double encrypted the results from the lab. Sure enough, my counts have risen dramatically, and I should be out of here (that now being the psych ward) tomorrow.

So there you have it folks. Going home soon.