When Boring Feels Great

When I decided to participate in a clinical drug trial of ABT-199 for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), I thought there might be some danger; you know, side effects, serious problems, more than usual intrusion into my physical well-being. That sort of stuff. The reality is life is kind of boring here in Houston and MD Anderson.

I now think that boring is a great way to go. I have had NO side effects, not even persistent nausea. The hardest thing I’ve had to endure is the constant urine collection when I am in the hospital – that and the 24 hour collection at the beginning of the program. The inconvenience it causes. Not only does the 24 hour sample have to be collected; it has to be refrigerated or on ice. See what I mean about inconvenient?

Of course, there are some bright spots. The hospital food at MD Anderson is superb. Believe it or not, but the chef and his helpers create fabulous food. From the Cajun soup to the grilled shrimp dinner to the Warm Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce, I have absolutely no complaints – except that I can only get it when I am an inpatient patient. The Anderson Café is not nearly as good, though the smoked brisket is ok (but it is not Roland’s or even McClard’s in Hot Springs).

Another bright spot is the MainStay Suites – Medical Center. Our room is nice containing a small kitchen with two-burner stove, dishwasher, and a full size refrigerator all set in a neat little cubby space. The living area complete with HDTV and cable is separated from the sleeping area by a nice wall. Speaking of TV, I’m back to watching NASCAR on Sundays! I don’t have cable at home, so I have to give it up mid-season when the races move from FOX to ESPN.

The MainStay shuttle is a great benefit. Ed, the driver, is a wonderful person who makes us all feel welcome in his van. He runs a tight ship leaving at exactly the time he says he will and safely delivering us to and from the hospital. He will also take us to either of two Kroger’s. Melanie and I went shopping this morning to refill our grocery stock. He will take us anywhere within a three mile radius of the hotel. That includes Sam’s Club, though we haven’t been there yet.

He will also take us to the Houston Zoo and Herman park. We haven’t been to either yet, but now that I am no longer looking at weekly hospital stays, I’m looking forward to my own personal safari through the wild jungles. I will have my camera and long lenses looking for lions, and tigers, and bears. Oh, my! And many more creatures. I’m not sure Melanie will allow me to go to the snake display.

Well, I guess life is not so boring in Houston after all – at least outside of the medical world. It’s hard to believe a month has passed and only one month remains before we can return to Hot Springs and all of our family and friends and pets – and our own home and bed.

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