A Cultured Life…

…stumbling through life with two beautiful daughters – often tripping, sometimes running!!

Day 104, T -10

on July 27, 2021

9.49 pm CST

If I could turn my gaze away from the medical paraphernalia in the room, it felt as if I was unpacking in a hotel room. Crazy thinking – how do I not see what is ALL around me? This is the 18th floor of MD Anderson’s Stem Cell Transplant unit and I have just finished unpacking Swati’s things as we try and get down to the next 30 days – immediate term.

It was perhaps around 330pm in the room, that Srinivas, Swati and I took in the surrounding covertly, each trying to swallow the million questions running amok in our heads. My motif: a duck, serenely gliding in a pond. Oh if you could only look under the water line – the desperate paddling to keep moving. But we don’t really spend the time to put our heads under under the water.

The day nurse came in along with the technician for intake questions. I am stricken by the easy camaraderie they establish with Swati. Every single experience with her health care team has been a meaningful experience and I am so grateful for that. With this crew, the conversations range from cities we have lived in, to mid town New York city, to the Olympics.

My Breaking Bad moment: turns out we are not allowed to have any medication in the room.the nurse counted the pain meds, corroborated by a second nurse, put medicine bottles into sealed baggies and whisked them off. Out goes Swati’s medicine bag contents into the pharmacy vault until discharge 😳

Physical movement is *highly encouraged* and Swati and I decided to get a head start by exploring the floor. Plenty of patient rooms, sophisticated medical environs, a Family room with comfortable couches and vending machines. Swati gets to collect a sticker at the nurses station each time she comes out of her room. collect 15 stickers and you get a prize – ranging from colorful bandana, to hats and ….. (not sure of the complete stash) 😂

By 5.30pm, we are ready for dinner and have fun looking over the menu. I am pretty sure we will try out many of the menu items, and still enjoy a home cooked meal for dinner. After dinner, we went for another walk around the block and at two rotations we saw the IV fluids parked outside our room. Swati hoped (against hope ) she would have one more night untethered. We ducked and avoided the nurse for another two rounds before going back to the room. We can run, but we can’t hide. 👀her body needs to be prepped for the treatment starting tomorrow and is on IV fluids for tonight.

During our walk, I told Swati to give it all she has got. I asked her to draw strength from her innermost recesses to fight through the next 10 days. I know, yet don’t know what each day will bring; just that I have to draw on my wellspring of resilience, some days for me, other days for both of us.

Some of you may have heard me say this – I have this vivid imagery in my head.

I am standing (stranded?) on a nightmarish island and am besieged by most ghoulish, devilish creatures. I crane my head, jump up and down and as far as my eyes can go, I see the people who are supporting me through this difficult time, their presence gives me the impetus to fight.

Fight is not the word I need; Fighting seems futile. Better to Stay the course. I think of this as repayment of dues. And this needs grace in the face of abject despair. This is a parent’s worst nightmare.

Not to this on a despondent note – I am lifted by people, known and unknown, far and near who have chosen to walk this path with me, who have embraced me with kindness and generosity. I share this with Swati and I want her to feel my strength, which stems from you, dear reader.

When Srinivas left us to go home, I could feel his pain, his helplessness. That this is one of the hardest things he has done. But visitation is not as stringent as we were given to believe. He can come back every day between 3-10 pm and spend some time with Swati.

My aunt is flying in from Bethesda, Maryland tomorrow. She has graciously agreed to take on the kitchen responsibilities so that Srinivas an focus on other things. while the MD Anderson menu holds possibilities, nothing beats a home cooked meal and we like a dinner from home 😇

I pray for strength, for Swati and hope you will join me.

Best, Anuradha


One response to “Day 104, T -10

  1. Bharath says:

    Affirmation for Healing by Parmahansa Yogananda –

    God’s perfect health permeates the dark nooks of my bodily sickness. In all my cells His healing light is shining. They are entirely well, for His perfection is in them.

    We are all present for your journey Anu. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. We are praying for the Divine to flood Swati body cells with Light and keep her spirits lifted.

    Liked by 1 person

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