Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day +77 - Brief visit to hospital, gut bug gone

It's day 77, and the stomach cramps and frequent trips to the restroom have finally gone away. Whew. What a relief. We don't know yet whether it was a stomach virus or a brief onset of GVH of the gut, but the cramping and diarrhea stopped Saturday and I'm just happy to be feeling better again. Bring on the coffee and spicy food again!

Then, early Sunday morning brought Johanna and I to the emergency room for a brief visit. It started Saturday afternoon. I developed a bad case of sinus congestion and was blowing my nose almost every five minutes. That night I had a hard time sleeping since I couldn't breathe through my nose and I was feeling sort of sick. It was around 3 am when I started getting the chills, and I said, "Uh oh", and curled up into a ball to get warm. An hour later I was sweating. I knew what this meant. I took my temperature and had a fever of 100.3. Not a high fever, but the first fever I've had since I left the hospital. Any fever means you have some kind of infection. It was high enough to meet the criteria for calling the nurse. Johanna originally thought I had said "one hundred and three" so she was out of bed in 5 seconds. So we called the nurse, the nurse said come on down, and we packed and hopped in the car, since we didn't know whether I'd be returning that night, staying overnight, or staying for several days.

We were told to go to the 8th floor at UWMC, which is the floor right above where I had my transplant, so it brought back memories. The nurse at the front desk was expecting us and showed us to my room, and I had a bunch of blood cultures and labs taken, then was sent down for an x-ray. The on-call doctor checked me out and since my fever had gone down, decided to send us home. All in all it was pretty satisfying to see how fast they reacted and how fast we were in and out of there. We were able to bypass the emergency room without having to check in or wait around, and we were back home by 6 am. Johanna munched on a breakfast burrito I had made the day before when we got home, and we went back to bed feeling a lot better.

That was Sunday morning, and I felt great all day Sunday. In fact I'm feeling great today as well. Almost all my symptoms have finally cleared up, except for a bit of a stuffy nose, which I can deal with. I also got notification from my nurse that my last snot sample with the "snot guy" tested negative for the cold virus I had a few weeks earlier. This means I'm no longer in respiratory isolation and can finally enter the SCCA clinic without a mask! Woohoo! I can feel like a *normal* patient again! It's also nice since now the nurses don't have to gown up with gloves and masks either. Good all around.

It's Tuesday now, and since we're nearing my discharge date, I've got a few tests lined up today starting at noon, including a MUGA test and a bone density test to see how much bone mass I've lost since the transplant. The MUGA test involves an injection of "tagging agents", radioactive markers that can be detected by x-rays and are used to see how well the various chambers in the heart are functioning. So I'll be radioactive for a couple of days. Last time they did this, they gave me a special card to show at the airport since apparently people who have undergone MUGA tests can set off detectors used to check for nuclear components. Weird. Then I have a clinic visit later on today.

Wish me luck!

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