I just wanted to add a couple items I forgot to add into the "preparing for treatment" post.
Before I left to come to Germany, it has been very apparent that the main illness going around has been H1N1 swine flu. But it has been so damned difficult to get the vaccination and getting sick prior to the transplant would TOTALLY mess up the treatment schedule (can't get the transplant if ill with a cold, flu, or anything else and have to add a waiting time following). But since I have the greatest General Practitioner who happens to also work at Kaiser (Dr. Dale Yamashita), he understands that getting sick prior to a bone marrow transplant is a HUGE problem. He was able to work a miracle and arrange for me to get the H1N1 vaccination a couple weeks before I left for Germany. Thank you Dr. Yamashita, I think you saved my life (again, as-usual!)
Also, I know that before losing all your hair from chemo, you still gotta shave if you don't want to look like a homeless person in the BMT ward. Razors are out of the question because you can't risk even a small laceration. So I bought a Remington rechargeable electric shaver from Target. Cheap ($24) and works great. I might switch to it permanently. Riki thinks I look cool when I use it. At least I think he does.
Before leaving I also purchased several 3M HEPA filter disposable face masks that come with a P100 rated filter (>99.97% particle removal efficiency for particles down to less than a micron). I'm sure the N100 rated filter mask will also work well. I also will bring some blue nitrile gloves I will periodically wear on the airplane (in the lavatory) for the return trip to avoid infectious agent exposure. I imagine I will look pretty scary to the other passengers. I'm sure they are going to think that I am wearing the mask for thier protection (maybe thinking I have tuberculosis or something like that), when in actuality the truth being the other way around. This is what the filter mask looks like. Would you be scared if you sat next to a guy on an airplane wearing this the whole way? (By the way, this mask is well-made and very comfortable to wear for long periods of time and I like it). . . .
This one is the most serious. . . . . . . That Melphalan chemo is pretty much going to gaurantee I'm coming out permanently sterile. Now I know what you're saying. . . . "George, aren't you a little old to be having more kids?" No goshdarnit! I figure Tony Randall had a kid at 77 and Strom Thurmond was 68. Or was that 168? Well, anyway. . . . Yuko and I might want to give Riki a sibling. If so, then I saw fit to work with California Cryo Bank to store sperm samples for a potential future IVF procedure. They were great to take a single one of my samples and segment it into ten individual samples with a few million sperm each. But since an IVF procedure only requires a few swimmers, then I think a million per stored sample has gotta be enough. 10 samples = 10 IVF attempts. The storage fee is less than $700 per year. Free name suggestions included with the price. Last one I got was Hepsaba-Grizelda. Waddaya think if we have a girl? The office is located in Palo Alto, and other major cities. [Post-transplantation note: The banked sperm worked perfectly. We did an IVF procedure and my wife is pregnant with our second child. Projected delivery date Match 10, 2012.]