I spent way too much time in Harrison Tweet, staring at bottled water. My mind was elsewhere, thinking of my farewell embrace with Andy, only moments earlier. I did my best to not cry when I was with him, but failed. Over priced water was a distraction, but the tears still slipped down my cheeks.
So I did what just about anyone would do – grabbed yogurt pretzels, kombucha, a case of yuppie water and an “I miss you” card, and checked out. 5 minutes later I was back in the apartment with Mom, watching the latest season of Top Chef and eating yogurt pretzels.
Today, distraction was necessary. Otherwise I would have just been a blubbery mess – it’s hard being away from loved ones, especially someone like Andy who brings such light and love to my life.
I know this won’t be forever, this life in Bethesda. Mom will get to return home to Dad, I know they miss each other terribly. I won’t always have to get labs drawn or visit the NIH clinical center. I won’t have to take 14 medications each morning. One day, I’ll be able to wake up in my own bed, walk downstairs and make tea and breakfast while listening to NPR, and continue to live my life – graduate school, exploring the outdoors, backpacking and building a life with Andy. I’ll get to see the kitties – Bananabear, WheezyBear, Ali & Monster – yes, all four of them. And this transplant will no longer be the major focus of my life.
But I’m not there, not just yet.
The next big date is Day +100, but of course I’ll look towards other days as well, in order to make it feel more manageable. It’s that marathon-like mentality of one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. That’s honestly, all I can do.
Tomorrow I’m back to the NIH. As my car is parked in the Patient garage (in order to make space for Andy’s car in the apartment’s garage), I’ll get an early start and walk to the Clinical Center. It’s only a mile or so, as the crow flies. And I’m hearty, from Minnesota, so I can do cold. (I say that now, as I’m warm and comfy and in bed. Tomorrow, I may eat my words). I’m grateful for so much this year, in spite of that whole 2020 thing. And it really was one of the best Christmas gifts, having Andy here.