Red to Go

Get the Hell Out of Here Bieber
Good news today.  So far there hasn’t been any signs of Bieber Fever.  During rounds the morning the attending said I would most likely be discharged tomorrow.  Even if I ran a little bit of a fever the plan would be for discharge.  Reason being is the cultures are still showing negative, so I’ve never had any proof of an infection.  Also, my white counts are starting to come up a bit after being flat for a few days.  This is a sign my bone marrow is recovering.

Filling in The Blanks
A little bit of the story has been left out simply because I haven’t been up to writing on here.  So let me fill in a few blanks.  On Saturday I was in bed most of the day with fatigue.  We had a birthday party for the girls, so I was up and around for some of that, but otherwise I was in my room.  Throughout the day my temp was slowly rising.  My $7.99 Walgreens branded thermometer has consistently displayed 98.1 as my temperature.  Late that morning when it started displaying 99.0, I knew something was going to be up.  99.0 turned into 99.9 which turned into 100.1 for the better part of the afternoon.  Then we hit 100.5.  That was significant because I thought I was supposed to call the doctor for anything over 100.4.  I ignored it for a bit hoping it would go down, but then I eventually dug out my paperwork to get the Hematology on call number.

It was then that I noticed I should only call for anything over 100.8.  Woo-hoo!  I was technically under the limit, which means I didn’t have to call.  Let’s ignore the fact that the thermometer typically was off by around 0.5 degrees.  So I went back to bed.  And my temperature went up again.  The good news here is I was still following the letter of the law.  My temp was only 100.7.  Why bother the nice doctors at the hospital?  If they wanted me to call with a temp of 100.7 they would have put that in the discharge instructions.  If they wanted me to use something other than a $7.99 thermometer they would have given it to me.  But they didn’t.  And I’m a stickler for following instructions (when it suits me).  So I did what any good cancer patient would do when they have a rising temp and implied instructions to be calling in at this point.  I took a nap.

Unfortunately the nap didn’t  cure my fever.  As you might have guessed, my temp went up again.  This time to 101.8. 101.8!!  Now wait a damn minute here, what happened to all those numbers in between?  It was at this point I knew admission was inevitable.  Short of pouring ice in my shorts (which I didn’t think was an option because we had people over earlier for the party and the ice maker probably hadn’t caught up yet) I knew what I had to do.  I found the number to call and talked to Dr. I can’t remember his name who, much to my disappointment, told me to head to the Emergency Room.  He basically said “You have a fever idiot, what were you expecting”.

Sydney Says Goodbye
The kids weren’t very excited that I had to go to the hospital.  Sweet Sydney was the most sad.  Tucker and Natalie gave me hugs, but Sydney was the only one to really protest.  If Sydney ever has an opposite day at school, we’re going to make sure the teacher calls her Grace.  Because she’s kind of the opposite of graceful most of the time.  Sydney is our child who will fall flat on her face while walking on a hard flat surface.  No idea why she finds her self horizontal all of the sudden, she’ll push herself up with a big grin and keep on walking.  It’s interesting because she walked well before Natalie ever did.  But Maybe she should have left the walking skills in the oven to cook a little longer.

Maybe this story is more about bad timing than gracefulness, but it is Sydney we are talking about.  As I was packing my suitcase in the trunk of the car, I didn’t realize Sydney had come outside.  I was eager to leave and get to the hospital.  Sydney was eager to say goodbye to daddy some more.  I began to shut the trunk and took a quick step backwards.  A step that ended landing right on top of my sweet Sydney and knocking her to the ground.  It wasn’t exactly the last impression you want to leave on your young daughter.  It might also explain why she was a bit apprehensive when the girls came to visit on Sunday.  But there poor Sydney was, bawling on the concrete after her daddy just stepped on her leg and knocked her down.  I picked her up and gave her to Lindsey to evaluate.  In hindsight, I guess if she’d broken something we were already heading to the ER so it wouldn’t have been all that inconvenient.  But after a quick inspection inside, Lindsey deemed her to be ok and Lindsey and I headed for the Methodist ER.

The Methodist ER?
Yes, the Methodist ER.  Your first reaction might have been like Lindsey’s, “Why are they having you go to Methodist?”  Methodist has a great ER.  It’s just that when you know you’re going to be admitted to the Simon Cancer Center, why would they send you to one of the only two Level One Trauma centers in the state?  Methodist on a good Saturday night would be overflowing with seriously sick people and a few people that needed to be checked for STDs before hitting the town.  And there was no telling if Saturday was going to be a good night or a bad night.  Previously when I had Neutropenic fever I was sent to the University Hospital ER.  Unfortunately that ER closed awhile back, so the new admission process is to go to Methodist and then have an Ambulance take you to Simon Cancer Center (I know it sounds inefficient, but it’s the best solution in this case).

Just Passing Through
If you saw that title and you’re expecting poop jokes, you’re going, to be disappointed.  Now, I can’t reveal my methods, but I am very thankful to say that a room was waiting for me when I arrived at the Methodist ER.  A quick mention of my name and a few registration labels later, I was heading back to my room.  Within a few minutes I had a resident and nurse in my room.  I feel a bit sorry for the Resident.  She did a great job, but here I am a highly educated patient in a scenario I know well and there she is a very well educated person trying to assess my symptoms and apply her experience to a situation she doesn’t see in an ER all the time.  But hey, I’m a nice guys so I didn’t say anything about what needed to be done.  I answered questions and we moved through the process.  The process being a CBC, CMP, Chest X-ray, Cultures x2, Urine Culture, fluids and antibiotics.  You know, your typical protocol.

The Resident was very on top of it and got my transportation orders in as soon as she left the room.  Knowing I was going to Simon, she didn’t want a usually long process to delay me.  We hung out at Methodist for a few hours and sure enough, my admit orders were written.  Transportation was ready and they loaded me onto the gurney.  I was wheeled through the bowels of Methodist and then out into the ambulance bay where fumes from running engines try to asphyxiate you.  The ambulance drove me to Simon Cancer Center and Lindsey followed behind.  The Ambulance crew handed me over to Nurse Sandy and away they went.

Some Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent
Now seeing as it was 2 in the morning, my main goal at this point was to say goodbye to Lindsey, cover up, and go to sleep.  Nurse Sandy’s main goal was to complete a very thorough admission.  She asked a lot of questions as I faded in and out of sleep.  She was especially thorough on the valuables and belongings section as she ticked off a list of things I might have brought and I had to answer yes or no.  This intrigues me because I’ve been admitted to Simon plenty of times in the past, but I don’t remember ever having to do a valuables and belongings assessment.  Oh well, I guess it’s good to have someone thorough.  Eventually she was done, but I didn’t realize it.  Lindsey woke me up and it was only her and I in the room.  Apparently I had dozed off while Nurse Sandy finished up.  Lindsey and I said goodbye and I went back to sleep.  Well at least until they woke me up a short time later for vitals.

The Next Two Days
The next 2 days in the hospital are kind of a blur.  I was running fevers.  I had very low counts.  And my body was just done.  For a little while one day I just laid my head on Lindsey’s lap and let her hold on to me.  I just wanted to sleep and couldn’t muster the energy for much.  Slowly but surely, things began to improve and I was able to get some energy back.  Not “Hey let’s Jazzercise” kind of energy, but enough energy to walk around the unit one lap and then collapse back into my bed while I tried to catch my breath.  Yesterday I was up to two laps and obviously updated Caringbridge a bit.  Today I walked multiple laps and am able to give a much more detailed update.  Tomorrow…FREEDOM!

And the Powerball Numbers Are:
As previously mentioned, my whites finally started ticking up today.  My hemoglobin was higher after the transfusion and my platelets have been staying in a good range.

WBC- 0.7
Hemoglobin- 7.1
Platelets- 110 (I think)

A Duck Dynasty Prayer
I am grateful I’m feeling better.  I’m thankful to get up and take a walk.  To be able to eat a bit.  And to have some energy.  Let me concentrate on these little victories and this time of rest.  Let me not get distracted by the battle ahead.  The hard times that I know will come.  The debilitating moments where I will be dependent on nutrition through an IV.  Those days will come and I will deal with them.  For now let me rest in you and the grace you have shown me.  Thank you for another day.

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