Embracing the unexpected

I came to the hospital for “routine” outpatient surgery last Thursday to place two port-a-caths so that chemotherapy can begin next week. One of the risks of placing an IV port-a-cath is the possibility of getting an air bubble around a lung. This happened to me so I was kept overnight for observation.

I woke up Friday morning and although I could feel a difference in breathing, I had very little pain. My oxygen levels were good so I grabbed my IV pole and strolled the hallways. After my morning x-ray, I learned that I had a collapsed lung. My outpatient surgery became a weekend stay instead.

As I sit in my hospital bed during this unexpected stay, I look out my window and I can see the snow-capped peak of Mt. Washington in the distance. I never expected to be in the cancer wing of a hospital and be able to see another state. Literally. This beautiful view is one of many “unexpecteds” that I have embraced this weekend.

Mt. Washington is way out there - smack-dab in the middle of the photo

Although my stay was not planned, I have made the best of it. My doctors and nurses were amazed that I was walking around with good oxygen levels and a collapsed lung. They continue to be pleasantly surprised that I have been wandering the hallways while carrying a portable lung vacuum with me.

I was supposed to have the chest tube removed today but since that didn’t happen, I couldn’t take the shower that I had been looking forward to for the last couple of days. I managed to wash my hair in the bathroom sink with the help of my sweetheart. He washed and rinsed for me and then he helped me shave and get cleaned up. He brought me pajamas from home as well as a Starbucks iced coffee drink which had been previously approved by my oncologist. My son brought his iPad for me to borrow which is what I am using to write this post.

To me, this is life and this is what I do — I “go with the flow” because lots of things in life are unexpected. This includes my cancer diagnosis. If I embrace the unexpectedness rather than fight it, I am able to appreciate some things that other people may take for granted — clean hair, a clean body, comfy pajamas, a decadent iced coffee drink, and seeing another beautiful state from my hospital window.

Sunset outside my hospital window

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