When The Hospital Becomes The Hotel California

I’m glad I started this blog because it gives me a space to vent. I knew this journey would be long and unpredictable, and I want to capture all the ups and downs, highs and lows. I was getting ready to publish a sweet post about someone who means the world to me, but it would be disingenuous to share something so happy when I’m feeling so sad. When the sun comes out (it always does), I will post that and warm your heart once again. But right now, as I’m arriving home from my third stint in the hospital and concluding my first cycle of chemotherapy, I’m feeling a bit breathless.

For the first time, the hospital is starting to feel like the Hotel California. Let’s revisit the lyrics, in case the Eagles didn’t make it to your Spotify playlist:

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
‘Relax’ said the night man
‘We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave!

I’m also reminded of the classic Twilight Zone episode where five characters can’t find an exit because they’re trapped in a big box. Excuse the hyperbole, but sometimes I feel like I’m never ever, ever, ever going to be done with chemo.

If you’ve read my earlier posts, you may remember that there are countless doctors, nurses, and medical professionals involved in my case — too many to name, in fact. Every morning I talk to several oncologists and pain management specialists. They all seem kind and competent enough, but the real MVPs are the nurses and patient care associates who do the dirtiest of jobs without complaint. Conspicuously absent from all this face time, though, has been my orthopedist (or anyone from his team.)

The last time I saw him, he was telling me I had cancer. So you can imagine my surprise when he popped up in my hospital room last night, as I was leaving to go home, to deliver some more surprising news. He informed me matter-of-factly that while my fracture has started to heal, I’ll need one or two more cycles of chemo before we can consider removing my cast and scheduling surgery. That means more months of wearing a cast, laying in a hospital bed, and pumping my body full of poison than initially expected. He also threw in a few “amputation”-bombs to remind me of the worst-case scenario outcome for leg surgery.

In less than five minutes, I had tears streaming down my face. Bedside manner not being this particular doctor’s strong suit, another doctor from his team followed up to tell me how strong I was and how well I’d handled a very difficult situation thus far. I appreciated that. I’m also thankful my mother was there to soften the blow, console me and bring me back to a positive headspace. My dad also gave me a pep talk I will remember for a long time — a little love goes a long way.

I spent today, my first day back from the hospital, with my grandmother. She suggested we catch up on our daily devotionals. If you need an example of why I love Jesus, here’s what it said:

Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come. One of the main ways I assert My sovereignty is in the timing of events. If you want to stay close to Me and do things My way, ask me to show you the path forward moment by moment. Instead of dashing headlong toward your goal, let me set the pace…
“For nothing is impossible with God.” — Luke 1:37

Needless to say, I’m feeling better today than yesterday because I remember who’s in control. I’ve come too far to lose my faith now. I may not always trust everyone (especially if they haven’t earned it), but I trust Jesus.

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