Sunday, February 26, 2012

What the Hell Happened

Last Tuesday night may have been one of the worst of my life. Soaking my feet in ice water had stopped being effective for a couple of days, but I still did it, mostly to try and numb the constant burning and throbbing that radiated up from my feet and hands and was gradually spreading up my limbs.

Minute by agonizing minute, the night ticked by. I’d drift off to sleep for twenty minutes until a twitch or jerk would send a fresh ripple of pain. Just the weight of the blankets was painful.

The wife finally came in around six am to check on me and quickly noticed that I’d soaked the sheets in sweat. She ran out to get the thermometer and it wasn’t long after that I was bundled in the car and headed to the hospital.

Chemo kicks the crap out your white blood cells, which help you fight off disease. This leaves you very vulnerable to infection and all chemo patients have this card that tells you what to do in case of fever. If you have to go to an ER, you present this card and they don’t make you wait for 6 hours in a room full of infectious sick people. Luckily, we didn’t have to go to the ER this time; we had called ahead and were rushed right up to oncology where they checked me out and the next thing I knew I was admitted.

Since we’d gone in such a rush, I had nothing but the clothes on my back and my e-reader. I also spent my few days in the transplant ward (also a place where infection is very dangerous) which didn’t have wifi.

Quick run down on the medical stuff. One blood transfusion later and my blood counts are slowly rising plus I haven’t had a fever in a couple of days. And in a development that made me freakin’ ecstatic, this morning they gave me a break from the IV for the first time in four days! It is amazing how much you come to loath those dragging those things around.

The silver lining to all this is that while they have to deal with the fever, they have also been looking into the hand and foot pain. They were pretty dismissive when the pain first started and tried to blame it on my Crohn’s, but the problem with that hypothesis is that chemo is usually beneficial for Auto-Immune Disease patients and I’m still taking steroids, both of which would fight any symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I saw my GI doc on my own while I was bumped to and cleared by Rheumatology. Then they tried Infectious Disease just to make sure I didn’t have meningitis, hepatitis or transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. My next stop is Neurology on Monday, but the old Infectious Disease doc probably summed it up best with, “All your Doctors are twenty years old, they haven’t seen shit. Its one of the chemo drugs, you’re just having a bad reaction.” Then again, he also tried to test the reflexes of my ankles by grabbing them real hard and whacking them with a hammer. He thought my reflexes were a little slow, as they might be since I was arched over backwards in pain at the time.

On Monday I have an appointment with my main Doctor (who was on a deserved vacation last week) and will be looked over by Neurology. Hopefully they will clear me as well and we can get back to figuring out which drug is boiling my feet in acid. My real hope however is that they let me go home for a day or two this week. My next five-day round of Chemo is due to start Thursday.

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