Well, I'm back in the hospital again. I've had a fever of exactly 102.3 for a few days now, so I feel like it should be my new radio station or something. We checked in last Friday after I had a fever of 103 at home. We even got a pretty swanky room at the hospital this time. The doctor from the Center for Infectious Diseases and Control (cool title) has been running cultures of my blood to see exactly what I'm infected with that's causing the fever.
See, I have absolutely no immune system right now. My white blood cells are pretty much all gone, which means I have no neutrophils, no lymphocytes, no nothing. At least before when I would complain about my neutrophils being low (like 0.2), at least I had *some* neutrophils, and there were at least a few of each of the other types of white blood cells floating around in there as well. But the induction chemo wiped them all out, and until my counts return in a few weeks, I've got nada, zero, zilch. So the doctors pretty much assume you'll get infected with something. I think they just send you home after the induction chemo until you report back with a fever. And I'm not even infected with something external. For example they think I one of my own intestinal bugs is running wild. So they've been treating me with different antibiotics until they know exactly which bug it is.
Being in the hospital used to seem like it might be fun, especially during recovery, since it seemed like there would be a lot of time for personal stuff like reading and watching movies and playing on the computer. I mean, how hard can it be to recover? But you feel like crap so much of the time or nauseous or just plain tired that it doesn't make anything seem very fun at all. Plus, nurses and doctors and technicians and all kinds of other people are constantly coming into your room at all hours of the day and night, so it's hard to even get a few hours of sleep without getting interrupted. For example, every morning at 4:30am someone comes in to draw blood. This isn't so big of a deal with the PICC line, but then at 5am someone else comes in to check my vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, etc). Then at 7am I may hear the alarm on my IV pole beeping (I'm hooked up to the IV pole 24 hours a day for the antibiotics drip and food nutrients), so I have to hit my little nurse button to call someone in to have them see whatever's beeping, which could have been me rolling over on one of the tubes hanging out of my arm, or one of the antibiotics bag going empty, or some other random thing. (In fact, no kidding, while I was writing this paragraph the nurse came into do another blood draw).
But I complain a lot, because it does make me feel good knowing they're actively trying to figure out what's giving me this infection and they seem pretty confident that once they know, they'll have the right antibiotics to kill it. Btw, while I was writing *this* paragraph, the nurse added a new bag of antibiotics to try out on me. I'm also hooked up to the total nutrition diet thing, so technically I don't have to eat which is actually a big relief, since eating is still a major obstacle right now with my mouth and throat and intestinal tract still all wonky. I do crave being able to eat a pizza, or a big cheeseburger or Thai food or a big bowl of Pho, but for now I'm happy to not have to worry about it since the thought of it makes me sick.
I'm also a little bummed since next Wednesday was supposed to be my transplant date before I got sidetracked with all this induction chemo crap. It basically means that I'll be doing this all over again for the transplant in another 6 weeks. So I guess I know what I have to look forward to. But I was kind of hoping to being on the road to recovery for real by next week. Oh well. it will get here soon enough.
over and out,
View from my room