Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Transplant for the Cure - Angels All Around You

Entrance to the Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic at the
University of Kansas Cancer Center
Karen's schedule was full of appointments for Tuesday and Wednesday, October 20th and 21st.
Our first stop was an out-patient surgery center in Overland Park, Kansas. We made a couple of wrong turns (we got lost) on the way to our destination, so we arrived at the center right at 10:00 am.
Karen would have a tri-line surgically inserted to facilitate the anti-fungal IVs that she would administer each day at home.

They called Karen back to the operating room and said that she would be ready to go in about two hours. I took this opportunity to call my former college suitemate and good friend, Ann Null. I knew she lived in the area, and I hadn't seen her in several years.

Ann and her granddaughter drove over to the surgery center and picked me up for a quick lunch. Since our time was limited, we went to the drive-through at a taco shop and went back to the surgery center to eat in Ann's van. We had a great time catching up and reminiscing with lots of laughter.

I walked back to the surgery center, and a nurse came out looking for me right away. She said Karen was awake and would be ready to go soon. Karen was very alert but was advised not to drive for 24 hours, so I was at the helm when we drove from the surgery center back to the BMT Clinic.

I am not familiar with the streets in the area, but Karen was a good navigator. I drove Karen's car about ten miles without any problems. We pulled into the parking garage at the Cancer Center and proceeded to go up several levels to find a parking space. Just as I was pulling into the parking space, I noticed steam coming from under the hood. Karen opened the hood, and the radiator coolant was spewing out onto the ground.

Karen was already late for her appointment to have another IV anti-fungal treatment. She had not had anything to eat since the night before so we ran down to the snack bar and got a sandwich and back up to the clinic for the treatment.

Karen knew much more about car repair than I did. She thought it might be a leaky hose or a faulty thermostat in the radiator. The first challenge would be to figure out a way to get the car back home or to a nearby repair shop. It was 5:00 pm before Karen completed her IV treatment. She decided to try to get a ride home and deal with getting the car repaired the next morning.

Karen called her long-time friends, Bruce and Linda Barnes, to help us. Linda was out of town, but Bruce volunteered to drive from his home in Blue Springs and pick us up and take us to our home in Higginsville, Missouri. He said that he and Linda had been trying to think of a way they could help Karen.

It was almost dark when we got home. It had been a long day. We were very appreciative that Bruce was willing to take us home.

The next day would bring more challenges and require me to get out of my comfort zone and venture into unknown territory. Looking back on those days, I thought of the old gospel song, "Angels All Around You".

In a world full of trouble we travel along.
God is our Father, we're on our way home.
If forces of evil ever close in on you,
Jesus has promised, this is what He will do.

Put angels all around you to keep you from harm,
To guide and direct you, 'till you're safe in His arms.
With angels all around you, you're never alone
And you'll be protected 'till you make it home.

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