When I left you, Rachel and Kevin had left to go see wound care specialists and hopefully head to the hospital to have his blood checked for platelet counts, etc. Unfortunately they had to wait until tomorrow. So they headed home and Rachel and Kevin both took a nap. I cleaned the house, organized his pills, and worked on getting a hospital bed for him. When Rachel woke she went out to Trader Joe’s and shopped for the highest calorie foods she could find and came home with a bag full of some of Kevin’s favorites. She woke him to take his pills and then attempt some peanut butter cups (which by the way folks, 3 of those TJs dark chocolate peanut butter cups are 200 calories!!!). While chewing one Kevin halfway choked on it. And it scared the crap out of us. Rachel felt terrible that she was pushing food on him so hard and Kevin, in his amazingly sweet and supportive way said, “It’s ok. It is. You can do this. You can keep encouraging me. You can do this.”
Rachel and Kevin talked a while about going for a walk and then settled on going to see the kids at Paul and Lila Vornbrock’s house before they left for a sleep over with some friends. Lila and Paul graciously made us dinner, Rae and I played with the kids and we all watched a little TV. It was a really lovely time with family. Kevin rested and nibbled on food. When Evie coaxed him, “Daddy you gotta drink you milk” he took a few more swallows.
We headed back to the house where I got Rachel to eat a little more (she hadn’t really eaten much at dinner), got Kevin all snuggled in for the night and then finished cleaning the house and the dishes. While I helped Kevin take off his jacket, pulled back his covers, propped his pillows just the way he liked it, he said, “Oh wow. This is awesome, having someone to do all of this.”. Made me feel like a million bucks. Rachel headed to bed as well after finishing some notes of things she needed to do tomorrow and I completed the paperwork to apple for a free hospital bed rental and passed out.
At 3:00 am I heard Kevin up again. I found him in the living room contemplating how he’d get what he wanted to drink, get the TV on and get cozy in his favorite recliner. I got him settled and grabbed his requested drink, pulled a blanket over him and told him to call for me when he was ready to get back up and into bed. Again, he was so kind and appreciative.
At 5:30 am I heard Kevin attempting to get back out of bed and so I went to help him up. But after 3 attempts, he still wasn’t out of the chair and almost fell to the ground on one knee. But then, he pushed with his legs and was all the way up. I was impressed that he’d gotten up. He was mad that he almost didn’t make it. We got him snuggled in again and I awaited Paul who was coming to bring donuts and Kevin’s cell phone (which I’d left at the house the night before).
At 6:30 I got Rachel up and Kevin got out of bed and sat on the couch for breakfast. I made Rachel’s coffee and Kevin’s oatmeal and took a shower while she helped him eat all of his oatmeal – which is an impressive feat, honestly. He had the strength get cleaned up, change clothes, get a dressing change on his facial tumors as well as on his bile drain and walk to the car. I was extremely impressed. He was extremely exhausted.
At the doctor’s office to get his blood counts checked, Kevin dozed a good bit. The PA for Kevin’s oncologist, came in and sweetly, yet condescendingly greeted us and asked how he was doing. (Rae and Kevin had felt that the PA and Kevin’s oncologist – were somewhat pandering to their hopes and weren’t expecting much more for Kevin than to make him comfortable, not that he would get better). She allowed the nurse to come in and take a vial of blood and shortly came back with his results. And they were up. Just a little bit, but they were up. And so were the PA’s spirits. Her tone was no longer condescending. Her body language had changed. Not much, but a little. She examined his mouth and how the thrush was improving and asked about how his shingles and pneumonia had improved as well as went over medications with Rachel. Then they sent us all down for platelets and blood. We were optimistic and Rae was practically giddy with the improvement.
I stayed with Kevin while he got his infusion and Rachel went to complete the arrangements for the hospital bed (which will be delivered on Tuesday!). That evening, while Kevin’s buddies hang out with him at the house, Rachel and I were invited to join friends of Rachel’s at at Ladies Christmas Tea at Calvary Church. It was a lovely evening of friends and talking and tea and yummy food. We were so grateful for a night out.
When we got home and said good bye to Kevin’s friend Ian, Eric (a dear man who has chosen to be the hands and feet for pretty much ANYTHING that Rachel and Kevin need) offered to stay and help. Kevin, who had been snoozing, woke up. We told him how friends had come by while he was in the hospital and dropped off food. He asked, “What kind of food?” (he hadn’t really expressed interest in food in the last few days, even though we had been attempting to tempt him with all kinds for the last few days). Once we told him that we had caesar salad his face lite up. “Caesar salad?! I’d love some caesar salad?” He then got out of his arm chair, walked to the dining room table and, praise the Lord, ate dinner!!! Rachel and Kevin enjoyed a few moments of dinner together while Eric and I exclaimed awe and amazement at the strength and determination of this man.
Eric then helped me get the kitchen clean and get Kevin’s liver drain dressing changed. We got both Rachel and Kevin snuggled in bed and said good night. Eric is one of those rare people who feels God’s calling to do whatever it takes to care for this family. I’m in awe. I went to bed so very blessed by God’s provision and Kevin’s improvement. It wasn’t a huge improvement, but it was little. And every little bit counts. Every little bit of food, every little bit of sleep, every little bit of hope and encouragement counts.
Kevin has received LOTS of blood products over the course of his treatment and, as I’ve said, every little bit counts. I know that I have asked for prayers, monetary donations, and many other things to support the Hills. Now, I have a different kind of request. One to help Kevin AND the millions of people across our country who are fighting hard to stay alive. Whether it’s cancer or another illness, many people from the very young to the very sick are in need of blood and platelets. Unfortunately there is a shortage of these products all the time. But you can help to ensure that Kevin, and others, always have access to the treatments and blood products they need. Please contact your local blood bank this coming week and donate on Kevin’s behalf. And when you donate, we invite you to change your FaceBook status to, “Today I gave blood for Kevin Hill. Every little bit counts.”