The Unexpected Present

An Archaeological Dig Out of the Jewelry Box

treasure box

Last week was the fifth week after being discharged from the hospital. We’re told it can take five weeks to recover from a one-week hospital stay. That means we have four more five-week recovery components to go. We opted not to follow the ardently recommended long-term acute care facility for an extended period of time, and after much ado with the interns and residents escalating their medical opinions upon us, we escaped surgical intrusion of a feeding tube as well as the Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital (IRF) referrals that were being pushed on us. So happy we stayed strong in our convictions.

HomeCare Rehab works the best although the patient is often impatient after the first Recovery Stage. Yuri regained the ability to use his voice and swallow, his strength is coming back, and mobility and independence are a welcome recurrence after those long periods in a hospital bed. The transition to normal continues to be hard work since the final July 13 physical therapy session, basic things like bending and lifting that we take for granted come after continuous, rigorous efforts. Sometimes things happen that can compound into an overwhelming tsunami of a situation and I transform from Normal to Abby Normal being unduly pumped in an adrenalin overdrive. Maybe it’s the book I’ve been reading, The Perfect Predator, A Scientist’s Race to Save Her Husband From a Deadly Superbug.

Why would I read a thing like that you may ask since recently I read about the superbug bacterias found in the states along the Gulf of Mexico. Even scarier is a superbug bacteria found in aromatherapy sprays at Walmart. The book is a memoir of information and testimony. Other people are going through things similar to our rollercoaster ride. Is that possible? Yes, it is. I just didn’t know them or that they are out there.

During last year’s first season of Yuri’s ICU show, I’d come home from the long drive “comin’ around the mountain, when she comes, when she comes,” (you never knew what to expect coming around the road curves along Bear Mountain) I watched Downton Abbey from the first episode to nonstop weeks of binge-watching. Everything that could possibly happen to people was portrayed on screen. It made me feel others were going through what we were going through. While I felt compelled to document what was happening, I couldn’t turn the camera on. It was so hard to watch day after day, for weeks, months. That’s why I write.

There was a time when I wanted to be an archaeologist. I have a deep fascination with the past. The history. Ancestral history. My history. A forensic detective in all things at estate sales. You never know what you’ll find. And I found a lot in drawers, in boxes, especially my jewelry boxes. So, I brought my one major jewelry box over to my neighbor assessing some things I may not want anymore. An incredible afternoon of delving into an archaeological dig of a woman’s jewelry box. Nowadays, there may not be such as thing as a jewelry box. But the ones that are still around. Well, they hold many secrets. These secrets trigger memories across the decades. My neighbor, a former jewelry store employee and metals aficionado assessed some of my precious metals and the stones I collected. I couldn’t believe how much I have in my jewelry box. After a few glasses of wine, she reminds me to wash my hands.

Human cells and bacteria are left behind on the items made to enhance our personal outward appearance. It woke me up to the present. OMG. The rheumatologist found that the new treatment for Yuri lowered his white blood cell count to a critical level. It means he is extremely vulnerable to infection that could cause another flare-up. The abrasion on Yuri’s wrist from an earlier mishap was not healing as quickly as he normally does. I imagined I brought out a bacteria nestled in the pieces from my past jewelry life waiting for its next victim.

By Sunday, my unfounded fears overwhelmed me, and it felt like a tsunami wave rode over me. I was drowning in tearful doubts over doing the right thing for Yuri who depends on me to organize and handle all elements of his recovery. Fortunately, a lifeline connection brought me back to reality in the parking lot where I go for the morning paper. The conversation goes over the positives. staying positive, bringing more positive to the forefront. I am grateful to those I have come to rely on for unconditional love and support. It keeps me steady and empowers me to keep on keeping on.

This week was loaded with doctor appointments and while long drives there and back exhaust me, it’s well worth it. On Monday the rheumatologist keeping a close eye on Yuri’s lab numbers decides he’s better off with the new treatment. The abrasion is not infected. An X-ray determines the lower back pain is from a fractured vertebra. Plans are in place for a different route for healing and will hopefully end the traditional pharmaceuticals and other intrusive measures.

Yesterday was a great day when the nephrologist agrees Yuri is in recovery albeit he’s not out of the woods yet. He won his freedom from being tethered to spa treatments for his kidney that ought to be knighted for its unwavering duty and life-sustaining commitment towards its human, Yuri Turchyn. We are riding on a high note of the upcoming recovery. Today, I’m doing the happy dance.

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