Fortunately, or un, I didn't set any new records with this most recent hospital stay. I was in the hospital for about 16 days, four days short of the 20 I was in the first time. But they let me out today! My white blood cell count hopped up to 1.0, and my ANC was 850, as of 6:00 pm last night. ANC stands for absolute neutrophil count. Neutrophils are one type of white blood cells (there are a lot), specifically the ones that fight most nasty little infections. They also determine neutropenia, whch is when your neutrophil count falls below 500. The ANC is really the main determinant for when patients' white cells are showing significant growth. So I'm out, and I'm not neutropenic anymore! You'd better believe the first thing I ate when I got home was a sandwich with tomatoes on it. Mmm, tomatoes. My life is now substantially better.
It is always somewhat of a shock when I get out of the hospital and am reminded that the world kept doing its thing while I was on lock-down. The same thing happened back in January. When I am in the hospital, I have no conception of the weather outside, no means of gaging how the seasons are changing. In January, it might have been 75 degrees or 10, for all I knew. And these past two weeks, I had no idea it was sweltering hot outside -- besides from hearing people gripe about it. I mostly just listened to how I missed a huge heatwave, and wasn't I lucky? Sure, luck; that's what it's called. But there is a mildly acceptable upside: while I've missed over two weeks of sunshine and fresh air, I have also missed the peak of the cicada season. They were extremely noisy when I went in to the hospital, and apparently, they got louder while I was in my confinement. But now, they are much quieter. True, they are now dying all over the place, which is almost as annoying, but they are finally disappearing. It's just strange that they were living, and now they are dying. Everything kept on keeping on while I remained somewhat stagnant. Basically, being stuck inside for so long means that when I finally am released, I appreciate the beauty and mutability of the Outside so much more. Warm breezes ruffling my not-hair, sun burning into my pasty skin, bugs whining and falling and getting crushed underfoot... It's all summer, and it wasn't here two weeks ago. We take it for granted, even curse the heat and humidity and decaying cicada corpses, but really, no one's ever satisfied. It's mostly all we can ask that every once in a while we remember how lucky we are to be stuck in the middle of life and growth and movement. So I am extremely happy and relieved to finally be home and in my own bedroom. We'll see what tomorrow brings; I have a lot of strength to gain back. Otherwise, stop taking summer for granted. Go outside and enjoy the sun while it's around. I sure will be. Peace.