Monday, April 13, 2009

Dear friends,

Greetings from Ellison 14 at MGH; we had a quiet morning at home, and Steve-in his ever practical way-went and got his car inspected so I wouldn’t have to do it while he is in the hospital. The traffic on the Mass Pike was far easier than the elevator traffic within the hospital at noon; but before I get into the update, I do have a few favors to ask you:

1) If you’re really looking for something helpful to do for us right now, PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING PLATELETS or BLOOD. Steve will need many transfusions while he is here, and your platelets, if donated here at MGH, can actually be directed to Steve. The procedure takes about 2 hours, and unlike blood donations, you can donate platelets once per week, and there’s no need to be of the same blood type. (after 4/20 is better for platelet donations, b/c they’re usable within 3 days after cleaning) The number to call for an appointment (required) is: 617-726-8171/8177. . Location is in the Grey/Bigelow part of the hospital

2) If you don’t have two hours to spare, “honorary blood donations” are also helpful; you can just walk in to do that Tuesday-Friday

3) If you come to MGH, please let me know: Depending on the day, what’s going on and how Steve feels, he might be able to see you; he also might not, and I hope you don’t mind that I’ll be fairly strict on this one…

4) Please don’t send cards, flowers or fruit – all forbidden! Steve can’t touch anything from “outside” and will be on a low-bacteria diet.

5) Please do send emails! We’re hoping to update this blog fairly regularly, so please sign up for the automatic updates

6) Steve’s SKYPE address is: smpratt89

Steve has a nice view of Cambridge, the Museum of Science, Longfellow Bridge, the duck tour boats, and even Goddard Chapel (for all my Tufts friends reading this!!) out in Medford. When we arrived, everything needed to be wiped down with a special product. In classic Steve form, the electronics are all set up: webcam, speakers, headphones, laptop and surge protector power strip…

It’s fairly quiet on this ward because there are only 10 marrow transplant rooms (all individual) with filtered air. Given the huge fear of infection, the cleanliness precautions are intense: Steve won’t be using tap water to brush his teeth, is forbidden from picking anything up from the floor, everyone who enters the room will have on gloves/masks, and he will have a designated chair (which will have daily plastic changes)… it’s an even longer list of things but ‘nuff said.

Despite Steve’s double-lumen “port” in his chest, he is also going to need a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter); it’s a bit of a bummer because he’ll be connected to meds and lines on both sides. The four days of chemo start early tomorrow morning. Today is actually “Day 7”, and we’ll be counting down to “Day 0” which is the actual transplant day: God willing next Monday, the day my brother Phil runs the Boston Marathon! And for all you mathematicians out there, Days 1 and 2 are hopefully “rest” days, although given the chemo will be between five and ten times the potency of what Steve has had to date, we’re not expecting any of this to be restful.

So, on a lighter note, Steve spent Easter cooking lamb on the grill (that’ll be forbidden for a few months) and making banana splits with Roddy and Louis; last night, he and I had a quiet night getting ourselves ready for the weeks to come. I must say he is far more ready than I am, although I’m feeling a bit more brave now that we’re here, I see the set up, have met some of the staff, etc. Honestly, he just wants to get this over with - and as the one who has seen him even in the private moments, I can tell you that he is AMAZINGLY strong, focused and positive.

Last Thursday, Steve joined dear friends Ron and Suzanne, and their three adorable boys, for the Red sox game, and I met them all afterward at PF Chang’s. Let me leave you for now with the caption from Steve’s fortune cookie, “Your ability to find the silly in the serious will take you far.”

Tailor-made or what?

THANK YOU for the prayers and thoughts,



Mary said...

We're with you all the way--wish I lived close enough to give some platelets. Virtual ones will have to do!

Anonymous said...

My children go to school with Darcie's and we wanted you to know that we are praying for you.
The Robertson Family

Anonymous said...

Steve, Your nephew Jack is in my class and we are all praying for you. Look for some 2nd grade messages starting tomorrow! Andrea Zurawski

Anonymous said...

From Jack's 2nd grade class--
Uncle Steve, I hope you get better soon! Love, Jack
I hope you feel better and I hope you get out of the hospital soon and whatever is going wrong will go away soon. From,Hailey
I hope you feel better. From, Julia
I am sorry that you are sick. Feel better! From, Leo
Dear Mr. Steve, I hope you feel better. I hope you can get out of the hospital soon. From, Elle
I hope you feel better. We are all praying for you. From, Charlie
I hope you feel better, Mr. Steve. I hope that you get well really soon. From, Aidan

Anonymous said...

More from Jack's 2nd grade class:
I hope you get well soon. From, Ansley
I hope you get better soon. From, Sarah
I hope you feel better. From Natalie
I hope you get well soon. From, Katherine
I really hope you feel better soon. From, Brooke
I hope you feel better very soon. From Madelyn
I hope you feel better and that you come home very soon. From, Christiana
I hope you feel better. From, Andrew
I hope you feel better. I hope you get home soon. From, Ben

SMP said...

thank you all at Jack's school for the amazing and moving words of support. It's all going to be more than ok, have faith!


Mary Wissemann said...

Hi Steve and Kath,

What a ride!!! You are both in my thoughts and prayers. (And you are both an inspiration! I wouldn't think that following someone's cancer treatment would so often make me smile.)

I just called MGH to set a time to donate platelets for Steve. They said I need a consent form signed by him in order for the donation to be directed to him. Any idea how I get this? My appointment is scheduled for Monday at 5:00, but I can easily change it. Let me know what is easiest.

Steve, I'm glad you can see outside. A fabulous day. You will be recuperating at a beautiful time of year!

Mary Wissemann