This hospital stay was a nightmare to be blunt. Mathew went in last Tuesday, already delayed a couple of days because of his low blood counts. The chemo started on Wednesday but by the next day, Halloween, he was already feeling ill. We had some trick-o-treaters stop by his room but the C-Difficile precautions were still up when the first visitors stopped by. I didn’t think the gowns would fit over a couple of those costumes so I came out of Mathew’s room to visit.
This dedicated group of women dress up for Halloween every year and it is so much fun to see what will venture out of their door at work. I don’t dress up because my desk is in a public place but these ladies are hidden quite well. I love that these ladies carry the spirit of Halloween with them from year to year!
Another posse from work popped by to cheer us up a little later as well. These ladies work in another area of Canada Border Services Agency (Customs). We work closely together – some of them pay my bills! It was lovely to see them.
In between all the nurses who popped by to drop off treats for Mathew, his cousins stopped by. I saw the purple apparition heading my way in the hallway and to blink a couple of times to really believe what I was seeing….my nephew Ben. What a shock! This is wee Ben, shy quiet Ben of yesteryear? What the hell ~ ?!
This is Meaghan, the oldest grandchild on John’s side of the family. She dazzles in the dress and in person ~ she has a heart of gold and always had time for her younger cousins. Kristen and Mathew loved visiting her when they were very young; she’d disappear with them for our visits and I never knew what getup they’d be in or what latest toy my kids would show me. She always shared every so generously and this continues to this day. Your boyfriend is a lucky guy!
Here come a couple of goofballs cousins, Connor and Sam. Connor is a dreamer dude; you always have to this lovable guy back from wherever his mind drifted off to. Sam used to be the consummate joker and teaser; it was hard to have a straight conversation with him. Sam grew up in the last year or two and now is thoroughly enjoyable to chat with. I will have to ask Same again why he painted his fingernails though…
Connor and Sam showed up shortly after Nana, Aunt Wendy and Ella stopped by. Ella is the female version of Finn (Fiona) from “Adventure Time”. Mathew wasn’t feeling well at all and worried his relatives with his unresponsiveness.
After they left we had Uncle Harry and Aunt Christine visit later that evening and they brought the cutest made-to-order minion from “Despicable Me” which is another favourite movie of Mathew’s. During their visit Mathew was moved to another room so his room could be washed down with bleach; that is protocol once a C-Diff order is lifted off a room. We waited for a couple of hours for the smell of bleach to evaporate to a level that wouldn’t sicken Mathew or us when we went back. Unfortunately Mathew came down with diarrhea during their visit but I felt badly for Mathew. The bathroom he used in the temporary room had a bathtub and he looked so longingly at it and pleaded to be allowed to take a bath. It wasn’t possible of course but I hated telling him so.
This next photo shows Mathew after the vomiting and diarrhea finally stopped. He was very, very tired and still wasn’t eating or drinking. This was before the blood transfusion on Monday.
This photo shows Mathew on Monday during chemo; you can see the line running from the brown plastic bag hanging up. You can also see some of Mathew’s Halloween cards decorating the wall behind him. He loves cards, any kind, but the odder the better and if it has sounds or special effects? Well that’s AWESOME!
Mathew is feeling better. This photo is from Monday but before his blood transfusion. That got underway so late in the day that the second bag finished sometime after midnight. Mathew and I were fast asleep and didn’t hear the nurse come in and take the bag away. Mathew can’t deal with seeing the blood drip into his body very well. He is perfectly fine watching blood being taken from him and he has to watch needles going into him or he freaks out…but this was too much for him. It does look strange seeing blood dripping into a body but I silently thanked whoever donated that blood Mathew needed so much.
I do wonder about something though: Mathew had a transfusion of 2 units about 2 weeks ago (at the most). On Monday he received another 2 units of blood. I noted in an earlier post that each bag is about 300 ml of blood so Mathew had about 2-1/2 cups of blood transfused each time. What happened in 2 short weeks that he needed another 2-1/2 cups of blood? Where did it go? Does the transfusion affect blood pressure? These are questions I still need to ask.
The nurses on the oncology ward are wonderful. They are run off their feet, understaffed (especially at night) but they still smile, laugh and treat the patients kindly. Every night multiple patients vomited, fell, or had something else unfortunate befall them. Those nurses ran, and I mean RAN, every night between all the rooms. I heard them cover each other off, depending on who was doing what. I am grateful that John and I are available to attend to Mathew 24 hours a day no matter where he is. I simply couldn’t imagine him being in his room, with diarrhea and vomiting and waiting for someone, anyone to help him. Someone in the government needs to hire more nurses for our hospitals so our patients get the care the nurses want to give them. I could so easily turn this into a political rant about money and hospital and nurses. I won’t though because that is not what this blog/post is all about. I will point out that no doctors cleaned up after a patient, or remade a bed with new linens. They popped in briefly and disappeared back to wherever they came from. Their jobs are important in that they diagnose and treat the patient but honestly, GOVERNMENT, we need more nurses!
By the way I was definitely in the hospital too long with Mathew. I actually started to EAT THEIR FOOD! I’m not admitting that it tasted great… except a dessert here and there, but when there the cafeteria keeps short hours and there is nowhere else to get food, some of what they brought up was palatable. Oh boy… it was definitely time to get out of there!
Our first full day home and Mathew had a great day. We kept up on the nausea medications and he lounged in bed, happy to be home and feeling fine. He ate more than I’ve seen him do in weeks! So far he drank about 8 glasses of water and 6 glasses of chocolate milk today too ~ funny what makes you happy when the world tips enough to change your perspective about things.
Please, more of the same tomorrow.