So Mathew ended up at the ER on Thursday then back to the Chemo Clinic on Friday.
Last Wednesday night Mathew’s nose started trickling. It started about 2 am and by 10 am, when I learned that Extra Mural didn’t have Mathew scheduled for blood work that day, I called the Chemo Room and let them know I was bringing Mathew in to the ER. It wasn’t just his nose bleeding by this time (and ew, the blood clots…*ack*, gag!!) and it wasn’t stopping. Thursday was right on par with the other cycles and it was clear his platelets were low again.
John met us at the ER because I was sick and just couldn’t muster enough energy to do much. Even the thought of leaving the house was too much but the ER is such a ….a… fun (NOT) place to be. This time the triage nurse took him right in after seeing his bloody nose and stuck a medical clothespin on his nose. It pinched, Mathew didn’t like it, but it did the trick.
The nurse found Mathew a bed right away which was fortunate as an “Over-Capacity in the ER” was announced over the intercom shortly after. While the doctor was pleasant he just didn’t seem to take us seriously and he concentrated on the Mathew’s nose; which was trickling not gushing. The doctor ended up putting some solution on some cotton balls and pushing them up the offending nostril. Whatever he used it did work and it was nice to see the bleeding finally stop. It did take him about 2-1/2 to 3 hours to consider the bloodwork. I’d stopped asking by that time and so John point-blanked asked the doctor if he planned to draw blood. By then I was worried Mathew would be sent home after stopping the nosebleed and I could feel my sarcastic, cranky side pushing front and centre.
Matters weren’t helped when Mathew indicated he needed to use the restroom and the doctor directed him to one of the ER’s restrooms. Incredulously I told the doctor that Mathew’s immune system was comprised and he can’t use common bathroom facilities – the ER is full of ill people and not all of them are keenly sensitive to robust personal health care procedures (don’t wash hands, etc). Germs are easily transmitted and that can be disastrous to someone with a suppressed immune system.
The doctor acknowledged there would be blood work next. When the nurse came in with her tray we reminded them (again) about the power port so the IV team was called. Apparently not many patients have power ports and even the IV team may see only two a month. Only select nurses are trained to access the power port. Even though it requires extra fussing at the beginning of any access the power port is worth it. Mathew’s had his for 2-1/2 years and when it isn’t accessed he is free to do anything he wants including swimming. With a PICC line the patient can’t submerse or get it wet since the line is half in and half out of the body. Mathew’s port is underneath his right collar bone and the needle breaks the skin to access the port underneath. Once it is accessed though great care is taken because the port has a line connected to the artery going straight to Mathew’s heart.
Once the bloodwork was done the platelets came back at a mere 7. That sombered the doctor’s mood a bit. He also mentioned that the white cell count was 0.3…and yes, I resisted the urge to stick out my tongue. At age 51 that isn’t becoming anymore! Eventually by consulting with Dr. Burnell Mathew received his much-needed transfusion and home we went.
The next day Oncology called and requested Mathew come in to the chemo room for repeated blood work. There was a winter storm warning which lessened our enthusiasm even further… but going to the Chemo Room was so much better than the ER.
We hung out in the chemo room and heard Mathew needed 2 units of blood. For the first time this protocol his hemoglobin dropped below the cut-off level of 80. You can actually see the transfusion working; Mathew’s freckles reappeared and his lips got some colour back! The second bag squeaked in just by 5 pm which is quitting time downstairs in the chemo room. Due to the storm most everything had already shut down and it was a ghost town leaving the hospital. On this day I told John not to come to the hospital but just go home after work. He had to snowblow the driveway and by the time everyone was settled at home…we all settled in for a long winter’s nap!
I continued to recover over the weekend and am feeling much better. Colds tend to go straight to my lungs these days but I get through it with my puffers and medications for asthma. It just sets off the asthma and subsequent coughing fits and that makes me unfit to go out. I did make a run to Sobey’s for milk, etc and the phlegmy coughing fit I ended up having in aisle 8 grossed everyone out, myself included.
The weekend passed quietly and now I am waiting for ExtraMural to come and draw some blood work. Mathew is exhausted right now which could be from his counts bottoming out or maybe he needs another transfusion or two.