Thanksgiving: Canceled

These last 3 weeks have brought me face to face [yet again] with a reality that I prefer to deny; my stamina, physical, emotional, and mental, takes a hit every time something goes awry within my body’s terrain.

Three weeks ago, my husband was out of town for 10 days on business. I spent every day that on the daybed getting up and out of the house only to drop off, pick up, and feed me and our son. I wasn’t sick per se although in retrospect I now know that I likely was [and] just didn’t know it. I thought it was simply one of those weeks that I needed to clear my calendar of every commitment that wasn’t absolutely essential.

I have weeks like that, do you?

Thankfully, we are parents of a more than capable teenager who can be quite handy, resourceful, helpful, and independent. He can even walk to and from school as we live in the backyard of the high school; however, on weeks like that one I need to get out of the house and carpool serves as anchor points for my days.

Two weeks ago, my husband was home and I was still not 100% though well enough to accomplish at least 1-2 tasks per day in addition to our son’s activities. It helped that I had the extra support and helping hands of my husband.

In some ways, it’s harder when my husband is out of town because I have very few to lean on, but in other ways, it is easier because I know that things depend on me. It’s kind of like being a functional alcoholic only I’m a functioning chronically ill individual if that makes any sense at all.

Last week, I hit a WALL!

My temperature spiked to103.2F, and I could not get enough sleep. I called my internal medicine physician, Kara Pepper, MD. She directed me to the ER to rule out infection as fever is a life-threatening event in a transplant patient until proven otherwise much like a cancer patient who is neutropenic.

I don’t know about you but these events rarely stitch seamlessly into the fabric of my day. In fact, the day seems to unravel if anything: ha!

Here’s what it looked like that Monday morning:

  1. me: no shower driving to the ER with a fever of 101F at O dark hundred during Atlanta’s rush hour
  2. John: scheduled to leave town with 2 hours of packing left to do and our son to get to school; no time to accompany me; we keep in touch by text
  3. Son: disappointed that I was sick, and his dad was headed out for another business trip

This scenario of trips to the hospital is part of transplant life, thus it is part of our family life. That being said, it has only happened 3 times in a decade, so when it does, it unsettles, upsets, and upends us, likely me and son more so than John. John is pretty unflappable.

Long story short, I was admitted to the hospital for a fever of unknown origin: urine and blood were cultured, flu and RSV tests were negative. I met the criteria for the hospital’s sepsis protocol which scored me a ticket to Club Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital.

John arrived at the hospital within an hour though a little disappointed that he wouldn’t be enjoying TX BBQ for dinner that evening. We waited together in the hallway of the ER for a room upstairs.

Once I was settled, John left to get our son, pick some things up at the house for me, then they stopped in for a brief visit because Atlanta traffic is THAT bad! We also decided as a family that it didn’t make sense for them to drive down every. single. day. given the technology available to us.

Thankfully, I am home now finishing up a 14-day course of IV antibiotics as I give thanks that I am a nurse practitioner skilled in IV therapy. I saw home care today for a dressing change, then the line comes out on Monday when I have my follow up visit with my FAVORITE infectious disease physician in the metro Atlanta area, John Maloney, MD.

So where exactly am I going with all of this?!

Thanksgiving, of course.

Our family was hosting a small family gathering for Thanksgiving. Hostessing does not come naturally to me; it never has. I mean I can pull it off, but it’s stressful almost 100% of the time. Suffice it to say, I don’t multi-task well.

In fact, I do not believe that God created us to multi-task the way we define it today. I believe He would call it self-inflicted overwhelm followed by an admonition to take a long look at Mary and Martha. Choose to cultivate Mary not Martha.

Last Wednesday, I did it; I took a stand for my health and wellbeing; I made the call to cancel Thanksgiving and the sky did not fall, the earth did not tremble, and every family member understood.

I mean who is going to blame someone who just got out of the hospital and continues on IV antibiotics at home the week of Thanksgiving for uninviting them, seriously?!

No, seriously, our families understood where a lot of families would not have been so supportive. Their only desire was that I get well.

I am blessed beyond measure.

So, I will have a wonderful Thanksgiving with my husband and our teen-boy, and that’s exactly what the doctor ordered. We have much to be thankful for, and so, we will give thanks.

PS Even if I had not been hospitalized, Thanksgiving was going to be different this year. I had already begun the process of delegating such that I supervised more than anything; I want to be present, to be able to enjoy my family and friends throughout the holidays, but that looks different for me and that’s okay.


I am not ashamed to admit that I ordered an oven roasted ready to serve whole turkey from Honey Baked Ham and will be serving one of each of our favorite comfort foods from our childhood: green bean casserole, potatoes au gratin, and corn.

Easy-peasy; I like SIMPLE!

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