Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day #40. Finished with radiation.

Phil Rings the Bell!

Actually, he rang it three times. 
Once for the wonderful staff at Johns Hopkins.
Once for the friends we made in the radiation waiting room
during these eight weeks, especially one very dedicated volunteer.
And once for a darling young patient
who wears a white knit cap and a pretty smile.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Day #39 of 40: 97.5% complete!


Almost, almost, almost done. Tomorrow is the big day. The nurse told Phil that the side effects (tiredness, hot flashes, chills, etc.) continue after the final radiation treatment and peak on the fifth day. After that, the patient gradually starts feeling normal again. 

This is my favorite photo of all I took during eight weeks of walks in and around the hospital. Notice the reflection of the sunny morning sky in the window. Unfortunately, I also managed to capture the Tree Hugger's arm in the lower left. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Day #38 of 40: 95% there!

Unusual Tilework on a Baltimore Rowhouse

This rowhouse is within a block or two of Johns Hopkins and isn't your usual gentrified dwelling. Perhaps the resident owns one of the nearby Mexican restaurants. 

Only two more days of radiation. He'll return in 6 months to have his PSA level checked. We're hoping for zero. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Day #37 of 40

It's the Tree Hugger's 75th birthday. I didn't go with him today. It's also the last day of school. Our grandson's schoolbus will be at the door around 12:30. Yesterday we didn't get out of the hospital until 12:30, even though Phil's daily appointment with the machine is supposed to be at 9:40. Sometimes we breeze out of there by 10:30, but sometimes the machine gets backed up and everyone's appointments get delayed by an hour or more.  No matter. Thanks to a wonderful volunteer named John, a cancer survivor and story-teller, the patients in the little waiting room have become a community. John brings cookies and conversation. He offers St. Peregrine medals to anyone who wants one. Most people take him up on it. 

There's laughter and tears in that room. We are all in love with a winsome 12-year-old with a rare sarcoma. I didn't know that word until four weeks ago, and wish, pray God, I never had reason to look it up on the Internet. We are told she has a one-in-five chance. We all want so much for her to be the that one.  She's about half way through 54 days of treatment, both radiation and chemo.

Yesterday the rain kept us from our outdoor walk, so we walked indoors. The corridors at Johns Hopkins are lined with artwork, such as this charming piece of needlework. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Day #35 of 40.

Elegant Victorian Lamp with Potted Palm

Five more days to go!

OK, maybe I should have cropped the photo,
but don't you think the fire extinguisher
is elegant in its own way? 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Day #34 of 40

This 10-foot-high statue of "Christus Consolator" stands in the lobby of Billings, the original building at Johns Hopkins. It is a replica of an 1820 work by the Danish sculptor, Bertel Thorvaldsen. People lay flowers at the feet of the statue and touch it as they pass. They write prayers for healing and expressions of gratitude and sorrow in two books near the statue. 

Johns Hopkins, the wealthy Quaker philanthropist who founded the hospital, envisioned a secular institution dedicated to medical science. The hospital is not affiliated with any religious denomination, yet here stands the statue at the entrance to the old hospital, a source of comfort for many patients and their families. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Day #29 of 40

The Zayed Tower houses the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute. The tower was given by his  Highness, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, in memory of his father. We are told that the colors in the tower were inspired by Monet's painting of water lilies. The clear glass windows are stippled with the same water-lily tints, perhaps to discourage birds from crashing into the windows.

Phil said, "Today I am 72.5 percent done with my treatments."  Leave it to a mathematician!

We're not eating as we should. Fresh fruits and vegetables? Whole-grain cereals? Please. On the way home, we stopped at Lexington Market. Phil had a steak-and-cheese sandwich and a beer.  I had a piece of cheesecake. We promised ourselves to get out the juicer as soon as we got home. Our younger daughter lent it to us. She also bought apples, beets, blueberries, carrots, celery and a horse radish root to get us started. She made us promise to at least try it, assuring us that if we did, we would feel so much better and be more energetic. So far, that promise is all that has been extracted. The mere thought of assembling the beast (which will look  like a miniature dinosaur when set up) is exhausting. Still, after our orgy of comfort food at Lexington Market, we came home ready to juice. We lay down for "just 30 minutes" and slept for two hours. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Down to a Dozen

Day # 28 0f 40. Several weeks ago, I took this picture of "Billings," the original building at John Hopkins Hospital. The picture of the historical plaque in front of Billings turned out better. Little did Washington know, when he was inaugurated as president in 1789, that a world-renowned hospital would open its doors in Baltimore one hundred years later.