Thursday, February 18, 2010
Since it’s been a week since the last chemo session, I had to visit the clinic for blood work. My white blood cell count is again very low. Last time, it took about two weeks to get back into the normal range.
I haven’t been running any chills or fever, which is positive. Just means I have to be careful to avoid picking up a bug while my resistance is low.
As I’m sure happens with lots of folks, it’s hard to get into the full and normal sleep rhythms. I got four hours of solid sleep, then was up in the wee hours of the morning.
Instead of tossing and fighting it, I used the time to read and pray and putter.
Though I wouldn’t want to do it every night, there’s a peaceful reassurance following the monastic practice of praying lauds at 3 a.m. Then, I emptied the dishwasher and sipped a cup of warm milk.
When I got tired again it was back to bed for round two, and everyone is understanding that I’m sleeping in as my body needs to.
One of our newer SCJ Brothers, Clay, joined our St. Joseph staff in January. He just graduated from college and is here for a year’s internship, acting as a support person in the homes. He helps supervise the high school students and does everything from dropping kids off at basketball practice or part-time jobs to helping out with homework.
We had our weekly supervisory meeting to help him adjust and reflect on the experiences here. Sometimes our students inspire him, sometimes they drive him nuts, but that’s pretty normal when working with teenagers.
On the frustrating side, some of the boys have gotten into a game of “chicken” where they dig fingernails into each other to see how long they can tough it out. In contrast, they all banded together and shoveled the sidewalk of one of our staff who just had a bad fall on the ice.
As Brother Clay earns their trust, he hears and understands more of the hardships they’ve faced and are working through. We brainstormed about ways to listen and ask the kind of open-ended, empathetic questions that allow people to share more of their stores as they are ready.