Two blog posts in one day - wow.
If you are interested in visiting me in the hospital, that would be lovely. I will be admitted, most likely, on March 9th. According to my case manager, people often feel the worst at the end of the 2nd week, probably March 19-21 or so. If you can only come on those dates, check this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how I am feeling? There are no set visitation hours so you can come when you are available (although 2 am might not be a good time).
The BMT is on the 8th floor of LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City (in the avenues area). They have free parking!
Keep in mind two major things: 1) I am sure I will be going up and down on how I feel, how much pain I am in, and (hopefully not) whether or not I have any complications going on; 2) my immune system will be severely compromised.
The following are a set of guidelines handed out by the Bone Marrow Transplant unit (with additional comments of my own). When I talk about food or flowers or balloons or food -- that doesn't mean I expect you to bring ANY of that. I just know that it is common for people to bring something when they visit at the hospital. Your presence and friendship is the main thing I am interested in in any case.
- March 9th will probably be a busy day as they check me in and start the initial intense chemotherapy. I will also have a busy day probably on the 12th as they rescue me with my stem cells (put them back into my body; more cancer-talk). They refer to this as the "2nd birthday", although since I was baptized, I think it should be called my 3rd birthday! They said people often have some small celebrations that day.
- You must wash your hands before you come into my room - don't forget your thumbs (people often forget to wash their thumbs), and the backs of your hands to the wrists. They probably have some of those antibacterial gels etc. on the unit you can use. A good rule is to sing the alphabet song (A, B, C, D, E, F, G......can you hear the melody?) and wash your hands until you finish it. It doesn't take too long.
- I would probably prefer that you don't bring children with you. I like children! But they are exposed to many more things at school, church etc. than adults. They also cannot play in the halls.
- If you have been exposed to chicken pox and you have not had chicken pox before, you are restricted from visiting until 21 days after your exposure.
- You cannot visit with other patients in their rooms - they don't want us sharing infections with each other.
- NO fresh flowers are allowed because live plants often have some degree of mold. Yuck! So, cards are nice! :) If you decide to send silk or plastic flowers, please make sure they are not packed in moss.
- NO latex balloons are allowed. If you want to send or bring a balloon, mylar can be used.
- Food is a bit tricky -- I can't really eat home-made food unless the dietician approves it. I will be eating mostly food that is processed or cooked thoroughly according to safety standards (no fast food or partially cooked foods). No medium steaks for me. No "difficult to clean" raw vegetables like sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, and no grapes (too bad because I like grapes). So, processed foods and candy might be acceptable, although please realize they say my tastebuds may be changing, and I may be nauseated, etc.
- They also say, due to mouth sores and throat pain, I probably won't be drinking a lot of orange or grapefruit juices and probably cannot eat much citrus. Similarly, no spicy or really salty foods.
So, easy, right? I'll talk more about what will happen, the reasons for transplant, etc. later on. Thanks for reading through the list!