Friday, February 20, 2009

12 Hours of Not Waiting

Some days things actually get "done" here. Today:

6:45 a.m. arrive for 7:00 a.m. appointment for yet another bone marrow biopsy--#6 since November. I realized last night that my platelets are way low 30,000 (normal being 150,000 or above), and I likely won't be elgible for the biopsy, since platelets are the clotting factor for the blood. So certain am I that I don't take the narcotic this morning that I was sent home with me (fentynal) to be taken 15 to 30 minutes before the biopsy. Why does the patient make this realization? Dont ask me. All it teaches is that you have to be your own advocate. We're told when we get to the clinic that there will be no biopsy because the labs they drew on me yesterday had never been processed but were cancelled---no one knows by whom. They need to know my most recent platelet count before proceeding with the biopsy.

7:00 a.m. back to the infusion room where I cajole one of my favorite nurses to draw my labs, then wait an hour for results--yes, you need platelets as they are now 23,000. Stick around. Platelets are ordered and infused.

9:30 a.m. back to bone marrow for biopsy.

11:00 a.m. back to clinic to receive 2 units of blood, based on this morning's blood draw, some potassium, shot of velcade (chemo drug) and a new chemo bag to carry around for next 14 days.

3:30 p.m. leave infusion room and go home. Decide to take a walk with Susan. During walk she notices rash developing on my face and neck. Call clinic and told to get back there.

5:15 p.m. return to infusion room where six nurses stand around and stare at my face, humming and hawing. Shut down chemo, wait. Reaction begins to subside. Call the doctor and he says he thinks its a reaction to one of the blood products I received. Shoot me up with benadryl and cortizone.

7 p.m. leave infusion room. Rash is gone. Long day.

Highlight of the day was the political argument between Susan (a staunch Democrat) and a patient who had similarly strong views about how every ill this country faces is due to Clinton and Obama. Since he was there because his blood pressure was unduly low I thought Susan was performing a kind of treatment for him, causing his blood pressure to rise. After a long day for everyone, this animated political conversation seemed to lift the spirits of both patients and nurses---all of whom had the wisdom to stay out of the conversation, including me. As we left Susan and the patient both told each other they took none of it personally and rather enjoyed the debate.

Readership on this blog has now ballooned to over 60 visitors a day. Life in Little Rock apparently has some interest for a number of people. How sad. I can see it all now, the new TV reality show: Real Patients of Little Rock (I'm not sure Real Housewives of Little Rock would be a big draw--except for people interested in learning the latest deep frying techniques. Put a southern accent to: "Have you every tasted crispy fried squirrel tail? Why it's delicious.")

We love you all and appreciate your support more than you can imagine.


Kate said...

Dan, you go from bone marrow biopsy to no biopsy, to platelets, to biopsy and blood units to Velcade and a chemo bag to a reaction solved with benadryl, and you carry through it all with such aplomb. What a guy. No wonder we all admire and love you. Enjoy your week-end with Susan and Catherine.

Love, Kathy

Cassie said...

Coming out of hiding to say hello. I first linked over from Nick's blog. My husband was diagnosed with MM 6 months ago at age 28 so we're trying to gather as much info as we can while we're still in the 'watch and wait' phase of things.

I hear great things about where you are, fried vermin aside of course.

All the best to you and your family; I'll continue to pop in to follow your story. Thank you for being willing to share it.