Here is the unedited, uncut, original version of a future post of mine on the MD Anderson Cancerwise blog site. Sometimes the editing process takes out some of my silly comments and content!
My husband and I arrived in Houston a week early so we could get him moved into an apartment and also because I was scheduled for several tests that week at MD Anderson. One of the most helpful things that happened that week was attending a stem cell pre-admission class. In this class the nurse told us lots of information about our stay in the hospital….everything from the admission to the dismissal. It was every informative. Other appointments that week were a CT scan, anesthesia assessment, transplant coordinator visit, bone marrow biopsy, echocardiogram, subclavian catheter insertion, complete pulmonary function test, social work visit, business office appointment, and appointment with Dr. Hosing, my stem cell transplant Doctor. I was admitted on May 17, 2011.
In the class I mentioned above, we were told to check in later in the afternoon because that is usually when rooms become available. My husband’s mother had passed away 4 days earlier, so he was in San Aangelo with his family. My daughter and granddaughter helped me move into my room. Before we headed for the hospital we stopped to eat my “last meal”. I knew I was about to have dietary restrictions! When we arrived at admissions, everything was ready and it only took a few minutes. Going up the elevator to the 11th floor was a very strange feeling….knowing that I was beginning a very important journey and that it would be several weeks before I would be coming back down the elevator! Plus we had a large suitcase, clothes, and a wheelchair full of pictures and another stuff I needed!
The room was small but nice. It had 2 chairs, a bedside table with drawers, a built in closet with a desk, and most importantly a window! The window and my computer were my links to the outside world! The view outside my window was of St. Luke’s and The Heart Institute. The helicopter landing pad was right across from my room. We watched them bring in many patients and also coolers (?) with organs inside. Memorial Day was the busiest weekend.
Besides the usual pajamas, robes, slippers, and toiletries, I took sweat pants, tee shirts, hoodies, a pair of tennis shoes, my iPod, family pictures, books, my fuzzy blanket, my latest crochet project, my computer, a folding table to set it on, and a folding chair to use with the computer (the chairs already in the room were the reclining type). Please don’t be afraid to bring all of your favorite things! Even though the room is every small, you will find a place for your things. My husband arrived the next day and helped me get everything all set up.
One of the cool programs that I participated in was the M&M exercise program. On the first or second day you are there, you are asked to walk as fast as you can while they time you and measure distance. Every day you are encouraged to walk as much as you can. There are different colored circles cut out of construction paper that you punch into and out of a time clock each time that you walk so that they can keep track of the time you spend walking. You get to tape these colorful paper M&Ms on you door and every week they are picked up and prizes are given out. Dn’t laugh…this is a big deal! I won a bandana, and on the last day before my dismissal I received an M&M tee shirt. They ordered an orange tee shirt just for me since it was my favorite color! This program gets to use the M&M logos and colors, and it’s purpose is to discover the positive effect of exercise on stem cell transplant patients.
The staff was amazing! In a future post I will write about the staff, treatment, transplant, and events leading up to my dismissal. The most important and awesome thing I want to stress now is that I was always treated with the utmost kindness and respect which makes everything so much easier to bear! MD Anderson IS number one!