Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Siege Begins

The photo above was taken earlier today.

A normal enough start to our day. Gil was reading the NYT on the computer. I was "making coffee" which consists of boiling 8 cups of water in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave at the nursing station for 10 minutes and pouring it into the French press filled with Starbucks' Cafe Estima blend. This was all happening at 5:30 am this morning.

By 5:30 pm, everything had changed.

Gil spiked his first fever of this hospitalization. A temperature high of 102 degrees and shaking chills triggered blood cultures and a chest xray. Shaking chills like his earlier experience during induction chemotherapy has kept him uncomfortable and exhausted. His prophylactic antibiotics were all changed.

His mouth and throat are really sore and he can't swallow. He's getting pain meds IV every 2 hours to keep the pain at a tolerable level. His diet has changed from regular to Ensure. (He had a full breakfast of pancakes without any trouble.)

The worst of it is that all this was expected. And it's going to continue (they tell us) for the better part of the next week. We're not looking forward to it because we know what's in store.

WBCs are down to 0.3 and hemoglobin is at 8.3 after getting packed cells yesterday. He got a unit of platelets today for a platelet count of 9.

All this is caused by engraftment (the process of transplanted stem cells reproducing new cells) and a negligible white blood cell count.

Our doctors tell us that even as the counts recover to normal levels, the sore mouth/throat/gut and fevers will continue for awhile.

I'm so glad that I can be here to provide the comfort measures that will accompany the medical therapy Gil is receiving.


Yesterday was good
What a difference a day makes.
Keep moving forward.

1 comment:

  1. You've made it through this fever and low WBCs before and you'll do it again...hang in there, you are in our thoughts. I sent you an article from the Times today on Hockney...would love to know what you think of his latest work. I think it's great...