We’re All Learning Together

The Simon Cancer Center is a teaching facility.  This means part of my medical team consists of medical students and residents.  Normally a hospital would have nurses and doctors.  The doctors would write the orders and the nurses would use their experience to make sure the doctors orders were correct and wouldn’t kill you.  Since it is a teaching facility the medical students and residents also get into the mix. This keeps the nurses especially busy.

Medical Student Story #1
Let me preface story #1 by telling you that I chose not to write about it yesterday.  We all make mistakes and since the med student is here to learn, they aren’t going to get it all right.  I like the med student I have and she has been very good to check up on me.  We’ll call her Stu.
Yesterday we were asking what my blood count needs to be to go home.  You might remember that they’ve stopped reporting my ANC since it is so low and that my WBC is 0.5.  Stu took a look at my results and said she would expect my WBC to keep dropping to near 0 and then when it recovered to the level it is at now (0.5) we could talk about going home.  The problem is, as I thought about it later, Stu was confusing my WBC with my ANC.  My WBC may drop to 0.4 but it should bottom out around there.  It’s my ANC they watch and when that is at 0.5 or more, then we can talk about going home.  It’s a small, but important distinction.
Medical Student Story #2
So why is story #1 relevant all of the sudden?  Well because Stu is the one that told me about my Day 14 Bone Marrow aspiration.  She mentioned it yesterday, along with the WBC/ANC information.  I asked about it in rounds this morning and the nurse was a little surprised.  She let me know that I indeed do not get a bone marrow aspiration at day 14 and that I won’t have one until I’m out.  That was my original understanding, so no harm done.  Good learning opportunity for Stu.  The prayer is still for no cancer, it’s just that we’ll have to wait a little longer to know the official result.
Speaking of Nurses
Along with the little bone marrow confusion, I found out that I am getting one more dose of chemo today.  The same nurse, who is the coordinator for the program, explained that I would get a day 11 dose of Vincristine.  Dr. Azar probably mentioned that in his explanation, but it was a lot to take in at the time and I missed it.  So my chemo isn’t quite done yet, but one more dose is completely doable.  It’s the constipation chemo.  Still not sure where to put the ice chips for that.
Mr. Culross, Close Your Gown!
Well the pants lasted all of one day.  Since I have another dose of chemo, that means I will excrete chemo in my sweat.  I’d rather sweat my chemo into the hospital gown and not my own clothes.  It’s a bit more breezy on my walks, but God didn’t create us wearing pants so I figured this look is more in line with how he intended things to be.  I’m also told it’s 100% compliant with the Look of Assurance.  Perhaps they need to update that…
Prayer Walks
Normally I wouldn’t have written about my prayer walks, but I did it for a very intentional purpose last night….now it’s your turn.  It’s such an easy thing to do throughout your day.  It doesn’t have to be a walk.  It could praying for each person you pass by at the grocery store. It could be praying for each person that passes by your cubicle.  It colud be a quick prayer for the person on caller ID before you pick it up.  Try it out.  You won’t regret it.
A Closing Note
I joke a lot on here, and it probably helps to understand some jokes if you work at IU Health.  It’s perfectly acceptable to poke a little fun at med students, residents, and doctors but I also want to say that everyone here is a professional.  I appreciate each person and their role and have a great team.  I also appreciate my coworkers who are clinicians.  It’s a wonderful place to work and to be taken care of.  Especially with so many nurses around to make sure it all runs right.

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