Transplant Day

I have felt overwhelmingly under- prepared to be here.
Most of the first days were like hiking a trail in the High Sierras and asking what I should have in my backpack hours into the hike, in middle of nowhere.
Do I need band aids?
Bug repellent? A map?
There is no store so even if I did I couldn’t get the supplies. I’m so ill prepared it is scary.
Michael stays an extra two nights without a change of clothes or underwear, traveling home in jeans he’d worn for five straight days.
It’s hard to just get up to go to the bathroom. All the lines that attach me to the IV pole are like wrangling a snake.
Plasma, Potassium, blood and Magnesium, fluids to make me better and then the lines that drip the Chemotherapy poison in.
All simultaneous, all cumbersome, all very necessary.
I count the days to transplant in the negative.
The only turban that seems to work is one I bought online and it’s made out of bamboo.
I’ve worn it every night and now it’s stretched.
It comes down over my eyes and slides sideways, the more hair I lose, the more it moves. At night when the nurses come in to get my vitals and change out bags, it’s very handy.
Its like my own version of a blackout curtain.
I do feel a bit silly in the mornings if I have it on when Dr. Burt is doing rounds.
If I nod or move, it’s over my eyes before I can catch it.
I slip it back up into place and try to listen without ego or embarrassment.
Transplant day is day 0 and they call it my birthday.
I am awake a good portion of the night, the night before.
Anxiety, excitement, anticipation, nervous energy, adrenalin, all course through me along with the fluids that drip from the IV pole.
A Chaplin comes into to pray with me and bless my cells as they return into me, cleaned, transformed into my cure.
It’s over and they are in, in less than thirty minutes.
They are the color of my Chanel Rouge Lotus toe nail polish.
They are the color of the convertible I loved.
I take this as a good sign.
Michael calls several times, I cry.
I am trying so hard to be brave but some things are just hard to do alone.

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