We’re Back in VA!! :)

Written by JKM on January 17th, 2009

Heeeeelllooooo there!!!

My mom and I arrived home safely last night after an uneventful flight.  I slept most of the time…well, you know, an airplane sleep, which is never quite fulfilling or comfortable.  :)  It was wonderful that we were able to find a free flight through Angel Flight West, although it’s too bad Corporate Angel Network wasn’t able to find anything because we wouldn’t have to deal with security and there wouldn’t be as many people on the flight.  It’s funny….once you have any problem with immune suppression, you wouldn’t believe how many people you notice coughing, sneezing and hacking up nastiness, doing so without regard for anyone around them, some of the time without even covering their mouths.  That is NOT OK!!!!  I was constantly using my antibacterial lotion, and I changed my mask about 10 times on the flight (they told us they’re only effective for about 30 minutes–once they’re damp from your breath, they’re no longer useful).  Also, most people doubt the effectiveness of masks in general, but at least people wouldn’t want to be near me, thinking perhaps I was contagious!!

Just a little note to all of you out there (especially during flu season):  wash your hands frequently, don’t rub your eyes or touch your nose or mouth, and when you don’t have soap around, use the antibacterial stuff.  This is my simplification of what they said out in Seattle.  :)  I did the best I could to protect myself on the plane, but that doesn’t mean that one of those people in the airport/on the plane, someone who was in line behind me or hacking a couple rows ahead of me passed on those germs, germs that I can’t really fight right now.  My white count is much lower than it’s been for a while, hopefully due to the Bactrim, as I mentioned before.  Pass it on to all your friends……don’t be a hacker or sneezer without cover-up!!!  It’s gross and it can be very dangerous for anyone who has a compromised immune system.  I consider it my job to get the word out!!!!  :)

OK, no more germs preaching.  Moving on, Thursday morning we were busy finalizing everything and getting ready to go, so I had no time to think about leaving Seattle.  I went to the clinic one final time to take all my Hickman care products (apparently they give them to patients in need or Doctors without Borders–everything is still sealed, but the homecare company won’t accept them if you try to send them back).  When I walked out of the clinic, I had a moment of sadness when I thought about the signicifance of the SCCA in my life, but I didn’t have any time to dwell on it, which I guess was probably good, ’cause we still had errands to run!  It was a go-go-go type of morning.  An SCCA volunteer drove us to the airport, and he was really nice.  We spent the next hour or so checking our luggage and going through security.  We had just enough time to grab some food (yummy chicken teriyaki) and get on the plane!  Too bad for anyone who’s bothered by strong smells.  :)  If they can cough and spread their gross germs everywhere, then I can at least enjoy a good meal.

When we got to Reagan, we discovered they lost my mom’s luggage….great…we’re exhausted as it is, Laura’s waiting for us, and they have no idea where her suitcase is.  The man who helped her was none too friendly, and all they could say was “It will be there no earlier than 5 PM tomorrow”…that was helpful!!!  Anyway, it just got here (it’s 11:30 pm on Friday).  I’m always intrigued to know how they lose luggage and how they find it again.  My two bags and my mom’s were all checked at the same time, and we certainly arrived early enough for the flight!  Do they just grab some and keep them behind just for fun to do a study on passenger stress or something?  It’s ridiculous.  I know accidents happen, but we’ve (as in anyone who came to visit us) had so many airline problems while I’ve been out in Seattle that it seems you never have a trip go without some sort of problem.  Geez….I feel like I’m complaining about nothing considering what happened yesterday.  Cheers to the pilot who did such a wonderful job in turning a possibly horrible situation into an inspiring story with a real-life hero.  I’m so glad everyone was OK.  I have to say though, it’s weird to hear about a plane crash while you’re in the airport getting ready to board a plane.

Anyway, what was I saying before I started complaining?!  So, Laura picked us up and drove us home which was very nice, especially considering it was late and she had to work today.  When we entered our neighborhood, there were fresh ribbons on the pillars at the front of the neighborhood, and yellow ribbons on many mailboxes…several neighbors added notes that said “Welcome home, Julie”.  The Dowdys really made me smile because they had hula hoops along with yellow ribbons and a sign welcoming me home…that was so creative!!!  Thank you to all of you for the ribbons, signs (there was also a big sign by our house).  I think I forgot to write above that ribbons were not only on mailboxes, but also on some fences and trees.

We pulled into the driveway, and I knew the best part of coming home was just ahead, greeting the dogs!!!  They wiggled and wagged, whimpered and kissed, and we got it all on video!!  Katie is going to work her magic and make a video that I’ll put on the blog…I know, you can’t wait!!!  Patience, my friends.  My mom and I entered separately, and Jameson and Guinness were exhausted at the end of all the greetings!  To my surprise, Laura had balloons, cards, champagne and a delicious chocolate cake waiting.  My dad had fixed up one of his famous fires (in the fireplace) :) , and he was also excited to welcome us home (he didn’t wag his tail or anything, but he was happy!).

I only had a small sip of champagne, by the way…I figured a sip wouldn’t hurt.  I would have loved to finish it because it tasted so good!  In time though.  As you can tell, they gave me a wonderful welcome home!!!  Thank you to Laura, Dad, and all of our wonderful neighbors!!!  Katie is here with me now–she got in just a little while ago, and Ronnie and Kathy will be home tomorrow.  Tiso stopped by to say hi, and it was nice to see him, of course.  It will be wonderful to have the family all together again!

Bella, on the other hand, could have cared less.  I wondered if she would respond in any way, but when I went out there to get her some new water, she didn’t do anything!!!  She even backed away from me when I pet her.  There’s your difference between cats and dogs!!  I guess I do need affirmation that my pets love me because I enjoy all the wags and wiggles, whimpers and kisses…physical evidence that they’re happy to see me!!  And to think that I saved Bella’s life twice and that’s the appreciation I get!!!  :)  I’ll let her off since she’s still feral at heart, but I’m pissed, Bella!!!

Let’s see…what else?  I’m feeling good, and I’m glad to be back in VA!  I slept about 12 hours last night, and it was a good sleep.  Jameson and Guinness stayed with me on the couches next to my bed in the living room.  I was so sound-asleep, I didn’t even hear the dog-walker when she arrived!!  The dogs went out with her, played and came back to sleep in the room with me…my loyal guardians.  They were very happy to see me unpacking my suitcases today!

By the way, “Frasier” is on now, and it’s bringing back good memories of sitting with Mom in our cozy living room at the Pete Gross House, laughing and going from episode to episode.  No Seattle skyline behind the tv tonight, but I am sitting here with Jameson at my feet and Guinness in his chair.  Katie’s sleeping in the chair next to me.  Although I miss the skyline and the city life, this is where I belong.  Home with the family.  It helps to know I will be in Seattle in October, and I can always visit.  When I looked around outside today, I thought, it’s so bare here!  I guess I’m missing those evergreens I thought I would hate.  :)  It’s beautiful though.  I love the look of a cold winter day, although I wish there were some snow with it!

Well, It feels good to be home, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone.  The healing process for the transplant is far from being over, mostly because of my immunosuppression, but little by little I’ll build it back up with the help of Laura’s strong cells, and the support of all of you.  I can never explain how essential and how touching your support was and is for our family.  We feel lucky to have you.

Goodnight from 7907 Oakshire!!



9 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jan
    Dorothy Dowdy

    Julie and Carol, We’re thrilled you’re back!!Know you’ll be missed in Seattle as the best patient and mother-daughter team they’d ever had!
    Dorothy and Bill Dowdy

  2. Jan
    Jim, Linda, & Shannon McGaughey

    Welcome home Julie and Carol. It is great to have you here and to know that things went so well in Seattle. We enjoyed keeping up with you on the blog and yes, we enjoyed all the pictures. Our good thoughts and prayers will continue.

    Jim, Linda & Shannon

  3. Jan
    Mama Nakamura

    WELCOME HOME, JULIE AND CAROL!! We’re so happy to have you back in our midst and look forward to seeing your smiling faces soon! Mama and Papa Nakamura

  4. Jan
    Laura (AKA the donor) ;)


    WELCOME HOME! :) :) :) We are all VERY happy to have you & Carol-ee home safe & sound! :)

    As for Bella…don’t dwell on her lack of affection, just remember CATS SUCK…sorry to all you cat people out there who claim they are better than dogs…they’re not!

    Love you!

  5. Jan
    Cami K

    Welcome home Julie and Mrs. Matthews!! I’m happy to hear you made it home safely with an uneventful flight. (except for the gross sick people) My Nana also wanted me to say that she is happy to hear your are getting better and welcome home!

  6. Jan

    I’m glad you’re home and ready to watch silly tv documentaries about sex during the Civil War and creepy travel destinations. :)

    I have never understood people that cough without covering their mouths! So gross. Although I do have a hard time remembering not to rub my eyes and what not.

    Bella shows her love for you, just in different ways. Cats don’t suck and I think Laura secretly loves them. :). I just caught Bella looking at me in the study and I think she was looking for you, bc she’s so excited you’re back. ;)

    How did Cami get her photo up like that?

  7. Jan
    Aunt Bitsy

    Well Princess, you better put IHOP on alert to increase their pancake mix because we will be “having pancakes in the morning” soon!
    Love ya.

  8. Jan

    I’m so glad you’re home with your dogs and the family! Cats sometimes take a little while to readjust, but Bella will come around and be friendly again soon!

    I love that your neighborhood is so friendly and supportive! I know you must have been so relieved and joyful to get home and feel the love. :)

    I wish people would be more considerate of their germs, too! It’s so disgusting when people hack away without covering their mouths. My dad does a lot of work with the CDC, and he made it a point last year to tell the family that the CDC says the proper way to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze is to do so with the inside of your elbow. If you cough on your hands, the germs just end up there and subsequently reach everything you touch. Interesting, huh?

  9. Jan

    That is a great tip from Susan. I’m going to try to remember that and always use my inner elbow.

    Welcome home! Your neighbors positively rock — I’m sure all the ribbons and signs and hoops brought huge smiles to your faces :) And it sounds like Laura made a lovely celebration for you, too, on Thursday night!

    Can’t wait to see ya!

    P.S.- A note to you and Aunt Bitsy: IHOP currently has all-you-can-eat pancakes :)

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