How will Santa know where to find me?

My one medical update is that I FINALLY was granted the procedure to have a g-tube placed. This is a tube that goes through my stomach that attaches to a small pouch. If I feel as if I am obstructed instead of having to go to the ER and spend months in the hospital on bowel rest, all I need to do is excuse myself and empty my pouch. I will not have to rely so much on uncooperative intestines.

I’m in a lot of pain but have a small pain button that administers IV meds continuously at a very low dose. Every ten minutes it can push a larger dose by patient request (by pressing button). It is also controlled in such a way that patients cannot overdose. No worries, friends! No accidental OD’s here.

So as much as I didn’t want a g-tube this summer, I know that this is necessary and dare I say it-

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I think I’m glad I got one…

 

 

So I thought good and hard about what I wanted to share with you.There are the miserable weeks upon weeks of pain, uncertainty, fear, blood, procedures, guilt, what feels unfair.  I could tell you about how part of me is ready to escape these walls and seek the comfort of Cory and my little house in our little town on our little street.

 

So instead I’m going to share with you how spending EVERY holiday in the hospital didn’t totally suck. I’m not saying that there aren’t better ways to spend your holidays but it’s not all doom and gloom when you’re surrounded by the right people.

 

Christmas

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The nurses decorated my room, hung a stocking, and left two unopened gifts. It turned out to be a fuzzy robe and slippers paying it forward from a previous patient. So nice! The last perfect touch was Maggy’s poinsiettta.

I was truly disappointed not to have “our firsts” together in the new house like our first christmas tree or our first cookie decorating(eating til’ we puke) night. More than anything I was looking forward to watching Christmas Vacation together per our tradition. That said, it will make next year’s Christmas list.

 

New Years 2017

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I expecting a low key night with my handsome fella and Stacey  but I was double surprised when  my other wolf pup sista, Michelle, walked through the door! It was the best surprise. I am sad that I don’t have a pic of all of us and that I felt so crummy around 10:30 forcing myself to bed early. Then again 2016 kinda sucked so I suppose it was fine to bow out of the old year early. Cory, Michelle and Stacey could have been anywhere else with anyone else having a much more exciting night (or at least experienced better people watching. Thanks love buckets 🙂

The next day I experienced some more home town lovin’ from my girl Jaclyn in the afternoon. She hauled her law school hehind down from Boston to check in. Thanks to school her life these days is very often not her own so I was appreciative that homegirl could come.

 

Last but not least,

My 29th Birthday

Before I go into any detail about my actual birthday I must remind those that have infrequent encounters with nurses. These are not just the people that take blood pressure and take your temperature. Nurses are the special breed of super-human, caffeine-driven, part-scientist, part-mathematician, part-mind reader, part-social worker, part -cheerleader, part ass-kicker, will not take no for an answer cherry on top of your day advocate. If anything they are just like you and me but profoundly better in every way.

So it should be no surprise that with my luck, my birthday fell on a day that I’m STILL living in the hospital. I mean, that’s bad enough but I’m also still NPO which means I cannot eat or drink anything besides an occasional ice chip (edit: as of this evening I can have liquids). Emily found a solution for that 😉

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This is how it went down from the real beginning:

12:01am: Entire 3rd shift nursing staff enters my room to sing the Happy Birthday Song (I’m already full of happy tears)

Throughout the next day there seemed to be a never ending supply of gifts and flowers and love! My day nurse luckily only had me at the time and treated me to a gorgeous manicure.

 

 

Even the residents doing their oncology rotation remembered and put together a little hand made card.

 

My parents were here! Just when I though this day couldn’t get any better…

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Oh an Alicia jumped out of a “cake” clothed for the sake of  HR and all that fun stuff haha…

 

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I think this final picture of the gift from the 4th fool holds strongest meaning to me. If you sent me something beautiful that did not make it onto the blog this time please know that I am truly appreciative of your love and know that you are with me in spirit.

 

That’s all I have for you for now.

-NG tube is OUT WOO!

-G tube is IN

-I can now drink  clear and full liquids 🙂

Thanks again for keeping my chin and spirits up over the past weeks. I have never felt alone.

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Remember when Christmas wasn’t ruined? HECK YEAH!

So how is everyone holding up post-Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday madness? We good?

I hope everyone enjoyed some time off, spent quality time with their families, and had a chance to recharge their batteries (or in the case of the Blythe family, got new batteries from Tom Tom).

After my epic, amazing, Hanukkah with family in Connecticut I had to head back to the littlest of Rhodey’s for work on Christmas Eve. Believe it or not I had not one but two student appointments. I was shocked but it certainly helped to move the morning along. Around 11:30am, President Machtley got on the horn and announced that Bryant would be closing at noon (surprise!) and if our supervisors said it was okay, we could leave right then. I’m pretty sure we had the lights off and door locked by 11:32.

Later that evening I was taken in by my second family and spent Christmas Eve with Katie Carlson’s family. Now that I’ve spent Christmas with them, and am basically a cousin, I think it is overdue that I legally change my name to Jessica Gail Sultaire-Blythe-Carlson-Cunha-Hart-O’Hara-Shmase. It has a distinctive ring to it and will secure my place in future secret santa’s. But on a more serious note I am so thrilled to have been included in both the Cunha and Blythe Christmas parties. As always I was made to feel at home like part of the family. I appreciate the warmth and unnecessary gifts (that I love so much!).

Thank you Bear Family!

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The best gift of all was snugs with my love, Major. How hard do you think it is to steal a big, dumb, dog roughly the size of a lion? Hypothetically of course…

I would like to thank everyone else that kindly extended invitations to spend Christmas with them! It was incredibly thoughtful to think of this lil’ jewbie on Christmas.

On Christmas day I turned down the gracious invitations because I had something else in mind. The past two Christmas’ were soured by illness and surgery. I know what it feels like to be in the hospital on Christmas (see last year’s Christmas Entry: Bah Hum Bug). Jewish or not, it sucks. It’s depressing and isolating. So this Christmas I was determined to go back to the hospital so I decided to sled off of my roof…KIDDING!!!!!!! I asked to be a volunteer.

I was hoping to volunteer in women’s oncology but there really was nothing established that I could do. In the future I might try to develop something. This is something I need to remember to tell the oncology advisory council (oh yeah I do that too now. It’s pretty awesome. More on that later). So instead I turned to Dr. Robison and The Izzy Foundation.

The Izzy Foundation built a gorgeous family room on the 5th floor of Hasbro Children’s Hospital that they staff with volunteers regularly for maintenance and periodic activities. My experience there was great but certainly different than I had imagined. There were less children than I anticipated, I only came across 3 in the 4 hours I spent there. It was mostly parents and family that were tired, rundown, and in search of respite (and coffee). I made friends with a 9 year old name Kyle after making him a hot chocolate. He was in and out of the room throughout the day and I was always happy to see him return. He didn’t tell my why he was in the hospital, nor did I ask but it was refreshing to see a smiling face despite his circumstances. Kids are awesome in that way. No matter how sick they are, when push comes to shove they are just kids who laugh and smile and want to play.

Many parents reminded me of my own. Each one was eager to tell their story. They needed to be heard so I listened. Between the burst appendices, mystery diagnoses, flu’s and pneumonia’s, each person had a unique story to share. Each person was stoic and brave for their children but clearly internally exhausted and fearful. I didn’t do anything special that day. I just made sure the room was clean and that patients and families were comfortable but I felt that my time couldn’t possibly be better utilized on that day.

For privacy I did not take photos of the families but I did take some of the room when it wasn’t being used:

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I definitely enjoyed my interactions with the families at Hasbro and certainly intend on volunteering in the Izzy Room for the Izzy Foundation again soon.

On that note I’m off to Connecticut to see a certain, handsome, bearded fellow. Spoiler Alert: It’s Cory. Sorry to everyone that was hoping that I’m secretly dating Gandalf.

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