Today was the day that I left Moscow, Russia to head for home. It was the day that I had my final meeting with Dr. Fedorenko, the man who has literally given me a second chance at life, the man to me is a hero.
Dr. Fedorenko popped in the room this morning around 9:00am and told me he’d be in around 11:00am to do our final chat, he just need to finish up getting all my paperwork ready prior to that. And the man like always, right on time. He pulled a chair up over to the bed, broke out all the paperwork, discussed the entire procedure, all my medical records, went over the month of anti-virals he wants me on, gave me his rules and restrictions, discussed everything imaginable, and then opened it up for questions. The whole time he was just beaming and so happy. And he also always says that it wasn’t me as a doctor that gets rid of the MS, we are a team, and to really focus on a healthy life, no stress, etc. in the future to get the best results and improvements. The advice he gives each person on exercise, rehab, and other things when you get back home vary from person to person, so what pertains to me, will not necessarily pertain to others. But it was so great having such an open chat with a doctor and of course it ended with a huge hug, it was incredible and beyond words. Dr. F also sent me home with my official packet of information in English that contains all my medical records, treatment protocol, etc. He gives 3 copies, one for the person themselves, one for their doctor, and one either for an additional doctor or as an extra copy along with a digital copy of the MRI scans done there. And then he also gives you the giant bag of actual MRI scans themselves, which not gonna lie when he handed them over I was thinking, shit now I have to figure out how to get this in my tightly packed suitcase, but I got them in!!!!
After the meeting Dr. F did bring me in 2 types of pain meds to take with me on the flight home. One a bit more potent than the other, both approved for hand luggage on the planes. He said it is good to have, especially on long flights in case bone pain starts, headaches, etc. I was getting a mild headache before leaving so opted to pop one of the more potent pills and it kicked in rather fast.
Dr. F had actually removed my neck bandage earlier in the day when he first popped in to chat and then a bit later on the nurse came in with some green antibiotic type goo to rub on the wound to protect it from infection on the flight home, added precaution. Some people will have this done, others will still have the bandage on when home, all depends on when your line was pulled, flight times, etc.
Well after the final meeting things got incredibly crazy really fast. Initially Anastasia said the driver would be there at 2:00pm at the earliest, so when I finished with Dr. F I headed down to chat with my Norwegian stemmie sister for a bit to let her know the time for the driver. Then I headed across the hall to hang out with the guy from the USA who was going to be getting his stem cells reinfused a bit later in the day, I wanted to chat and say goodbye before he got all hooked up for that. Then the Norwegian gal that is in his group popped in and we chatted for a bit, until Anastasia frantically grabbed me for the nurse to give me my final belly jab of the anti-clotting meds for the flight and said the driver will be here in 10 minutes because of bad traffic. So she started wheeling out my bags, and it was a frantic rush to finish up goodbyes, get my travel shoes on, and get out the door!!!! But I did luck out and I did get to say goodbye to a great gal from the USA who is there as a carer, I was a bit concerned there at the end that I’d miss her, but I got to say goodbye and give her a hug before leaving. Hugs for everyone. Bummed I had to miss the stemmie birthday party for the 2 patients today, but was there in spirit. And in the end I managed to encounter my favorite nurse there, she wouldn’t do a picture but she would at least give me a big hug, so that made my day. So another emotional day saying goodbye to Dr. Fedorenko, Anastasia, the wonderful nurses, and more friends that I made while there.
So then it became the mad rush to get to the airport and between traffic, construction, and accidents it was a long drive. 2 1/2 hours to get there, so good thing we left at 1:00pm and showed up around 3:30pm. The hospital driver took both me, my Norwegian stemmie sister, and her hubby to the airport together. Amazingly all our luggage fit quite well in the vehicle. Our flights left within 15 minutes of each other at the same airport, so just made sense to ride together. And since we had 2 1/2 hours in the car together, a good opportunity to have some good conversations on the way there. Once inside the airport, the driver took us each up to the counter in case we needed help translating and stayed with us until we got our plane tickets and bags checked, then he was on his way. And on the plus side the gal checked my bag all the way to Boise even with my long layover, so no dealing with that in Paris!!! At that time I said my final goodbyes to my Norwegian friends and we went our separate ways. We flew out of the same terminal, but different airlines, so different gate sections.
And so my journey in Moscow ends and my new life begins back at home. From start to finish I have a little over 36 hours in flights and layover. Moscow to Paris, a 4 hour flight. 13 hour layover in Paris. Paris to Minneapolis-St.Paul, a 10 1/2 hour flight. 7 hour layover in Minnesota. 4 hour flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Boise. Arrive home at a little after 10:00pm on Thursday, then another 2 hour drive home after that. I will sleep well, but cannot wait to see my hubby and my girls at the airport. It’ll be an emotional reunion that is for sure and I can’t wait.