It’s been a few weeks since I’ve given you an update on Jody and often no news is good news. June was a rough month for him, spending a lot of time in and out of the hospital or home sick and on IV antibiotics. Typically when Jody finishes up a three week course of these antibiotics (assuming he’s been on the right combination of them), his energy returns and he starts feeling a little better. Usually his PFT’s (lung function studies), improve slightly as well. This go-round was no different. In July, the girls and I appreciated seeing him spend less time in bed sleeping, and more time awake and active (as active as one can be in end stage lung disease where every activity takes your breath away).
One day this month the four of us even spent a relaxing day at a friends in-ground pool. Although Jody was tied to his O2 tank, he could leave it on the side and at least stand in the pool, by the edge, and get wet. The girls enjoyed having him there, even if he couldn’t swim with them, or throw them in the water like old times. That day Jody took his afternoon nap on a lounge chair under an umbrella, while the girls and I enjoyed a rare (as of late), fun summer afternoon. While it seems everyone around us is enjoying summer to the fullest, free and unhindered by disease, we are learning to be thankful for these rare days, hours, and moments when we can forget about the past and future, so full of uncertainties, and focus on the present. Moments like these are good for the soul.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and this is especially true when speaking of Cystic Fibrosis. We’ve noticed a pattern for Jody where after about three weeks of IV antibiotics he starts feeling pretty good, but sadly it only lasts about three or four weeks. Soon “good” turns into “okay,” and okay turns into “lousy,” and lousy turns into a hospitalization. Yesterday Jody had a routine check-up in the CF clinic and we could classify him as being in the “okay” category. He’s been feeling a little more short of breath, his lungs are a tad more junky than normal, and his PFT’s are a little down (not quite as bad as they were in June). If left untreated, the chances are Jody will quickly move from “okay” to “lousy” and I already told you where that will land him. Hoping to prevent this, the doctor ordered oral antibiotics (in addition to the ones he takes daily to hold the chronic bacteria in his lungs at bay). She also wants him to increase his oxygen to 6L with activity (showering, taking care of our girls, climbing steps, etc.). The fact that he is now requiring 6L of O2 should bump up his score on the transplant waiting list. More oxygen requirements also means bigger, less convenient tanks for going out.
We had been hoping to go out for dinner to The Cheesecake Factory at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor following Jody’s appointment, if he felt up to it. The last time we did this was a little over a year ago to celebrate a good appointment. We knew this wouldn’t be a celebration, but rather, one of those rare times when we live in the present, forgetting everything else going on in our lives, and enjoying the simple moments in life. And so we did, big oxygen tank and all! We even took a very short walk after dinner. I have been working on contentment, in suffering and in waiting, and as we stood there, overlooking the harbor, hand in hand, oxygen along side, I felt content. I felt thankful, for the health Jody does have, and for the oxygen tank which allowed us that moment. A positive attitude and contentment in this situation doesn’t come easy; those “lousy” days get the best of me sometimes, but I think it’s those few “good”, I mean really good, days/moments that get us through the bad. It’s also the hope that eventually, after transplant, the lousy days will be few and far between as they are replaced with days filled with pure goodness. Until that time comes, we’ll continue to relish the rare moments in our present life that make it enjoyable and endurable. I hope you will too.