When I said that I got the worst blood counts of my entire life on Friday, that's because it wasn't today yet. I spent last night in the hospital, was feeling all "yeah! I can do this!," when the AM nurse walked in and said quite nonchalantly, "We got your counts back...etc..etc..and your neutrophils are 37..." (Normal is 1000+; Almost certain death by sneeze is 0). As horrifying as it was, it was also quite funny (in that Joe Pesci Goodfellas "Am I here for your amusement?!" way) because I was hooked up to the heartrate monitor so my rapid stress increase was audible:
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, just a little taken aback by the low number." BeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeep!!!!!
She managed to get me off the cardiac ledge by telling me they see lots of people with really low numbers, so not to worry too much about my sad-assed 37. Regardless of how many people have been at 37 and below, and notwithstanding the nice nurse's attempt to have me not code on her watch, this is clearly not a good development. The one thing I do have going for me is that I have no fever, so at least I'm not sick with only my 37 little immune fighters to do battle. But I'm wearing a mask 24/7 and eating zone bars only for fear of contracting anything at all to change that circumstance.
So I was in the hospital all freaking out, trying to call upon every piece of "don't give up" claptrap to keep my head in the game (the Torah, Ecclesiastes, Tony Robbins, Mr. T, ee cummings, Sergeant Slaughter, you name it), when the doctor walks in and says cheerily, "Well, you're on the launchpad!" I was like, "is that what the citizens of Crazy Doctorland call dying?! What is this man saying to me?!" My confusion was (apparently) apparent when he said, "Launchpad...Launchpad! Going home! Discharge!" To which I replied, "Have you seen my blood counts?" After being reminded that the worst place for a person with no immune system to be is in a hospital, I agreed and started packing up my sh*t post haste.
So I'm home. In my mask. Nervous as all hell, to be honest. Bambina is cool with the mask as long as I let her put her feet on it at bedtime while we sing our night-night songs. I'm sure there's something disparaging in the No Neutrophils Manual about toddler feet on mask exteriors, but I have decided--now that my head is indeed back in the game--that survival means a lot more than just continuing to breathe. It also means living all the days of our lives in a way that is meaningful. And having my Bambina pressed against me--albeit with feet on (admittedly soon-to-be-changed) mask--as I sing her to sleep pretty much sums up what matters to me most. And there are no blood counts that can change that.