Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Game Day

The physical therapist gave Rick the go-ahead. He was now using the cane.  He was pretty unsteady in the beginning but was getting stronger every day.  Rick even let me walk him up and down our street about four houses to build up his stamina.

I became the nurse extraordinaire, giving him shots, flushing his chemo port and changing his dressing every few days.  Rick was becoming a little more accepting of the medication.  He no longer interrogated me on each dose.  Michael and Jack grew accustomed to this adjusted life.  I kept telling myself that I could continue as long as it took.

People around us continued to support us.  My brothers, Dan and Mike were there to help with whatever came up.  Chris, Dan’s fianc√© was our drugstore connection as a pharmacist.  Rick’s family just came in and did what needed to be done.  We were truly blessed.

I called the Social Security Administration around the end of March to apply for disability benefits.  Talking to that office was like talking to a wall.  The representative first asked for Rick.  I warned her he was very out of it.  He gave his permission for me to speak on his behalf.  She gave me a date for a phone interview and told me what documents I would need to gather.  The phone interview was three weeks later.

She sent a huge stack of forms that needed to be filled out and returned with original documents, birth certificate, social security card, etc.  These would be returned to us after the office processed his claim. The paperwork was tedious and trying but I got on it and put it in the mail and waited for the phone appointment. 

When his appointment rolled around, I was sitting next to the phone waiting for it to ring.  Again, Ricky gave his permission for me to speak.  She had received all of the documents and was ready to submit them.  She couldn’t tell me when we might hear back.  I did find out that if he was awarded benefits, the soonest we would see a check would be around September.  It was frightening to think about but at least the ball was rolling.

Finally, NIH called us with a date for the bone-marrow transplant, May 11th, a little more than two weeks away.  While I was happy to get started on the fight, I was also realistic about his chances.  This bone-marrow transplant would bring him close to death and hopefully, he would be able to fight his way back to us.  I was out of my head with worry.

On Saturday, two weeks before the big day, I brought Rick to the baseball game.   Karen and Paul had brought Jack over with Matt and they were already practicing when we arrived.  Michael Sean was with Karen and Paul in the bleachers. 

We parked in the gravel parking lot and looked at the boys warming up on the field.  My brother came over to carry the chairs.  Rick really didn’t want to be seen and I knew he was dealing with that demon but I got out of the car and came around to help him out.
He was extremely shaky but he got up and started walking with his cane around the outfield by the fence to the area next to the team bench.  It was slow-going and he was really getting winded.  Jack was smiling ear to ear; this is what he had waited a long time for.  His dad was here.  We cheered on the team.  Before the game was over, we started back to the car.  Rick was pretty worn out by then.  The rest of the family followed after the game.  Rick was so proud of Jack and of himself for making the journey.

1 comment:

  1. Damn that Social Security office! I have sworn to never have to use their services as long as I live. Of course, I'll make sure that I collect my social security check when I hit that ripe ole age.

    The part about Rick making it to Jack's game was so sweet. I could picture it all in my mind. It brought tears to my eyes. Rick was an awesome dad! He should have gotten an award for dad of the year!