Mathew kept saying he felt awful and he knew we’d end up back at the hospital
He was right.
Yesterday morning he started vomiting bile around 4 am. By 5:30 am he and I headed out the door to the ER. John didn’t bat an eyelash while we got dressed and left, so deep was he into a blissful sleep. He was SHOCKED when I called him at 7 am to make sure he was up and ready for work.
“Where ARE you?”
“At the hospital”
“WHAT?!!” and so on. He couldn’t believe he slept through it all. He was so tired though that I made no effort to wake him.
Back to the hospital; I thought I was taking Mathew for IV fluids only but he ended up needing a transfusion as well.
I learned more during this hospital visit. Did I mention how much I hate learning things after I really needed to know the information??
So, the ER doctor did bloodwork and returned to tell me his Leukocytes were 0.3 and his hemoglobin was 63. That hemoglobin count is very low. He called Mathew’s oncologist who came down to assess her patient. Mathew, as usual, was overjoyed to see her. He has a tenuous relationship with Dr. Burnell; she gets right in your face if she has to and he dreads that. She also goes after him for not eating enough. Same reaction from him. The ER doctor felt Mathew’s situation was too complicated for him to properly assess and I appreciated his honesty and willingness to get Mathew the proper care he needed.
Dr. Burnell decided Mathew needed 2 units of blood along with hydration. She considered admitting him but in the end let us go. Mathew had to drink an Ensure and keep it down before she let us go. We finally left at 8 pm…yes, we were there for 14 hours and my butt got very sore sitting in that chair for so long.
Blood transfusions are more complicated than you imagine. Mathew’s incoming blood had involved cross-matching and whatever else. Apparently every time someone receives blood there is a greater risk of an adverse reaction because the body builds antibodies at each transfusion. Then, in Mathew’s case with his low white blood cell count, he needed blood that was irradiated and otherwise specially cleaned. A lot of donated blood has little germs and bugs in it that healthy people can receive without a problem. Most of us have those little ickies in our blood to start with. With Mathew’s white cell count being almost nonexistent however, they can’t chance giving him blood with that stuff in it. What wouldn’t affect us normal folk might make Mathew very ill with his current inability to fight off any kind of infection. So they look for the specially cleaned blood which can be harder to track down. The hospital did find 2 bags yesterday which Mathew received without a problem. Who knew?
Another other tidbit Dr. Burnell discussed with me is getting calorie-laden liquids into Mathew. Although water is important to flush the chemo out Mathew needs fluids with calories more. He isn’t getting enough nutrition so needs liquid sustenance like Ensure, chocolate milk, juices, etc. Here we were so proudly writing down the close to 2 litres of water a day he was getting in! Pride keep falling before us with Mathew…. so now the emphasis will be on fluids other than water.
The last bit of information she gave is to keep Mathew medicated for nausea all.the.time. When I expressed frustration that we can’t get him up and back to his happier self, she likened it to pregnancy ~ how some women sail through it gloriously and glowing, while others puke and feel wretched from the word go. Mathew, unfortunately, is one of those people struggling mightily and requiring constant medication. She gave me prescriptions for more under-the-tongue anti-nausea meds and suppositories too (oh yeah). We are also going to try that patch behind the ear that Mathew had during his last hospital stay. That patch in fact, is the over-the-counter seasick patch some people figured it was (where was that stuff when I lived on the sailboat??? I would have used the world’s supply back then ~ I NEEDED it!!). Later today we will get these new goodies for our boy and hope it helps.
The doctor is also going to extend the chemo cycles to 3 weeks instead of the regular 2. Mathew sometimes gets a bit of appetite back towards the end of the cycle and she says to stuff him full of food that last week.
The staff was wonderful during our stay and it was starting to feel like home after 14 hours. Mathew didn’t feel well enough to do anything but vegetate or doze while I was too exhausted for anything but dozing in the chair. Although John asked me several times if we could switch off I didn’t see the point. I wasn’t sure if Mathew was going to be admitted or not until late in the day and by then there was no point in John driving through the bad weather to bring a second vehicle to the hospital. I urged him to stay at home and rest because I was going straight to bed when we returned.
Mathew’s chemo scheduled to start next Monday is delayed. It is being reset for the following Monday. Now that John and I have a clearer path to follow in our efforts to help Mathew, I hope to see some improvement in his stamina and health with these changes.
For now though, Mathew and I are going back to bed for more rest.
We haven’t even started radiation yet…
please excuse any misspellings or other grammatical errors. I am too worn out to vet my own work.