Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Night

It's Sunday night. Susan has left for the night and only has the parking garage to deal with before she heads to her brother's house. The parking garage is no small endeavor. It took me 3 days to find the closest garage and then to decipher the "yellow chip" payment system here. This medical center is very impressive. It includes at least 4 hospitals, 2 medical schools, and numerous other medical facilities. A small city in the heart of Houston. I have one of the better rooms; on the 11th floor, with a view of the medical center. I also am able to capture the sunsets from my window. Small perks go a long way when you're looking at a month's stay.

Chemo started on Saturday morning and continues through St. Patrick's day. Will I get green chemo that day? Perhaps not, but the luck of the Irish will surely be with me. I get 4 days of fludorabine; coupled with 2 days of melphalan. Then a day's rest and on March 19th Mike's cells are infused. Mike's 60th birthday is March 24th so we're getting all the high points with this schedule. So far the chemo has gone fairly well, other than the massive amounts of fluids. Let me trace it this way: The chemo hits the kidneys quite hard so to reduce the stress on the kidneys they have me on a constant infusion of saline solution. I'm not moving the fluids fast enough (I gained 7 pounds in one day!); so they give me lasix which unleashes the fluids and keeps me close to home, so to speak. The fluids also "fluidize" my blood--their word, not mine. So my white count and red cells are diluted and thus, very low, resulting in my having 2 transfusions so far. Ah, the wonders of modern medicine.

I've walked a mile each day. Although I'm confined to the 11th floor, 5 times around the floor is a mile. Susan (who walks 5 miles or more each day) makes sure I get my butt out there walking. All visitors are required to wear masks and gloves when coming in a patient's room. The contrast with Arkansas is striking. Whereas in Arkansas all transplants are done on an outpatient basis (requiring daily visits to the clinic), here at M.D. Anderson all transplants are in patient. Different strokes. I am impressed with the focus on hygiene here. It would be interesting to learn whether there are differences in rates of infection based on the different approaches to infection control.

So that's the state of affairs. So far I feel like I'm managing well. I do know that the side effects of the high dose chemo may take a few days or week to set in. But so far so good.

Thank you everyone for your good wishes, thoughts and prayers. They are much appreciated.
Love,
Dan

10 comments:

B.J. said...

And indeed you're off. Wishing you continued strength, love, and clear skies ahead!
BJD

Ermintrude said...

You're on my intention and prayer list for daily action. Like the native americans sending smoke signals up into the sky, I am puffing little clouds of good wishes up to be added to the others... next time you are looking out the window, notice how many clouds there are and just know that those are all the people praying for your success in this.

Brother Ted said...

Glad to hear(see?) that the insurance company, in its infinite wisdom, decided that the treatment plan met with all the highest standards of medical practice. That is the reason they were slow in approving your entry into the hospital, isn't it? There is not a one of us, who haven't gone through these rounds of chemo and transplant cycles that can even imagine what it is like for you and Susan. I am just so glad that you have Susan there, taking those walks, giving you the loving support and sharing those days up on the 11th floor. I am also glad that you are in such a great hospital environment and that you have great doctors and nurses charting your progress. If moments in our thoughts had any curative powers you would be out of there in 24 hours because there sure are a lot of us out here that have your and your welfare on our minds 24/7. On a lighter note, in solidarity with your chemo/transplant therapy, I began, on Saturday, with the St. Patrick's Day parade, consuming large quantities of green beer along with Bushmill supplements. I will continue this until Wednesday evening. I doubt that it will do either of us any good but what the heck. Peace and Grace my friend.

Steven L. Ritter said...

Glad to hear your off and running/walking so to speak!!! I'll add a mile to my bike ride in your honor today... I'll use that time for prayer for you and your wife and for an easy chemo for you. Keep us informed.

kathy phillips said...

Hi Cousin Dan,

We read your blog often. Just to let you know we're thinking of you and praying all goes well.
Take care and love to you both.

Cousin Kathy and Don

dan patterson said...

Kathy and Don,
OMG. How long has it been? For the blogging public's information, Kathy and Don saved me during law school by having me out to their house for dinner, for lunch, or just to get away from the madness of school. How many years ago was that?! And now you're grandparents. Please say hi to all the CA cousins and also to your mom and dad.
Love,
Dan

sigun said...

Dear Dan,

Green chemo -- I love the fact that you are keeping your sense of humor! We'll be saying an extra prayer on April 19. Bises, Sigun.

Kate said...

Aye, I be thinking o' you today. And a Happy St. Paddy's Day to ye now.

May your day be touched
by a bit of Irish luck,
brightened by a song in your heart,
and warmed by the smiles
of the people you love.

Love, Kathleen O'Scheeler

kathy phillips said...

Love your wonderful Irish spirit. Happy St. Paddy's Day to you.

Stay well.

Love, Kathy ( the CA. cousin)
P.S. It has been hundreds of years ago. Kelly Ann is turning 45 in May. Still can't figure out how Don got this old???!!

KT said...

Dan,
which MD Anderson, is it Houston? I think if I have to get another SCT I might consider going there, its only 4 or 5 hours away (we are outside of Dallas now). Best wishes with it all. Are you going to post pictures, because of course I would be especially curious!

KT