This is it.


...we go to the hospital.

Eight days later I'll be getting my bone marrow transplant.

I am scared to death. Well, I guess I don't want to put it quite that way!

Dani and I have to be at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago at 8:45 Tuesday morning. We have decided it is impossible to get to downtown Chicago at 8:45 in the morning from here. If we leave two hours before, as we usually do, we will get caught in rush hour traffic and the two hour drive will turn into three and we will be an hour late. If we allow an extra hour for the drive, and leave at 5:45, we will miss most of the rush hour traffic, and the two hour drive will end up being more like an hour and forty-five minutes, in which case we will arrive at 7:30 - over an hour early!

You just can't get there at 8:45!

Once I am there, I get a "Triple Lohman Hickman" installed (sounds more like an Olympic high dive!). It's another transfusion "line," whatever that means. And then I start a four day regimen of high dosage Busulfan.

A couple of weeks ago Dr. Traynor gave me a release/consent form to sign. Of course, I didn't read it until I was sitting out in the waiting room waiting to see the doctor on my next visit.

You know how they say you should never sign anything until you have read it? There ARE some exceptions. This being one of them! By the time I finished reading all the horrific things that might happen I was ready to run from the room never to be seen again! Did I really need to know all of that?! What am I going to do? Decide I am not going to do the only thing that can save my life, and not sign the release form?

Anyway, they listed all the drugs that might be used, and their possible side-effects. Very nasty. Hair loss, puking, diarrhea, mental confusion, mouth sores... But I remember one of them sounded particularly unpleasant. It was listed in the "if those other drugs don't work out, we will try these, even nastier, ones" category. "Boy, I sure am glad I won't be getting that one!" I thought to myself (figuring I won't come to that).

It was Busulfan.

The drug I get four days of high doses of. Oh boy. Can't wait.

After that I get two days of Cytoxan. I think they could have come up with a better name for that one. Doesn't '-toxan' sound awfully close to 'toxic'?

Then I get a day of "rest." Somehow I don't think that means I will be laying back, munching on chips and watching "This Old House" on HGTV.

The next day is the actual transplant, which, as far as I know, is basically just a transfusion, like a blood transfusion. Which is a good thing, because I had decided long ago that if I ever had to go in for any sort of surgery I would probably die of sheer panic before they ever got me into the operating room.

And then I could die.

The truth is, I don't see that happening. Probably what is going to happen is, the whole thing will seem so routine I will be vaguely disappointed, scratching my head wondering what the big deal was - and why in the world it cost over a hundred thousand dollars! (which is what my consent form said it likely will!).

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2011 Paul Dallgas-Frey