Friday, January 2, 2009

Testing, testing

I was sitting here falling asleep last night while the second of two bags of blood finished. I thought I’d write an update, but I couldn’t concentrate. Today I’m trying again, slogging through a mess of typos of my own doing. My fingers and my mind seem to be suffering from a disconnect. I think it’s the meds: see below.

I’d rather be in the city that never sleeps; here in the hospital that never sleeps, I had 10 vials of blood drawn at 3 a.m. yesterday. These are for pre-transplant testing for insurance purposes. They make you jump through hoops, probably to prove you are strong enough to get through transplant. I also had an echo-cardiagram and, once my pneumonia is under control, will have to pass a series of pulmomary tests.

The verdict on the pneumonia is that it is aspergillus. So I am back on Voriconozle, my old standby. The fevers are coming down, so that’s a good sign the “Vori” is working, although once I start coughing it’s hard to stop, and my ribs are really sore. If everything continues to stabilize, I might go home early next week while we wait for a donor.

I had mentioned that I had a headache, and one of the doctors suggested an MRI “to see if your disease has spread to your brain.” Couldn’t he have found a better way to say it, such as, “We just want to make sure everything’s OK.” I thought I might avoid it because I told them the headaches were better, but this morning while I was half asleep somebody came and took me for the test. It’s loud and jarring; it sounds like someone is drilling into your head. In any case, good news on that front: There is nothing wrong with my brain.

I just came back from ultrasound testing on my legs to rule out a blood clot, because my ankles have remained pretty swollen despite taking a diuretic. The transporters taking you to these tests love to yell ahead, "BMT," "BMT" on six. (As in Bone Marrow Transplant). I'm sure it's the most efficient way to get quick service, but it also makes you feel totally self-conscious. In any case, the doctor who did the test told me the results: no blood clots.

 I’ve been taking lots of drugs – codeine for the cough, Ativan to calm me down, Demerol when I get the shakes as a fever rises, usually once a day. Also every time I turn around they are giving my IV-Benadryl, to head off reaction from platelets or some of the antibiotics I’m still on. Much of the time I’m pretty spaced out, which is fine with me.

My cousin Jeanne took the train up from New York on Tuesday. We’re nine months apart and have always been very close. For some reason when we were kids, we planned that when we grew up, we’d open a pet store in Florida together. Obviously, we didn’t. She works in the advertising business in New York and I’m a reporter in Western Massachusetts. We talked for a long time and then had “cocktail hour.” For ambiance, I turned on the electric candle that Vytas had brought me. We drank two little Cokes and toasted to a happy HEALTHY New Year.

13 comments:

Susan C said...

I'm always happy when I check my "Friend Feed" and see that you've posted.

Keyboard problems (mess. keeps disappearing), so will write more later

PJ said...

I'm glad nothing's wrong with your brain. I hope you get out of jail soon so you can rest up and get strong for transplant. HEALTHY New Year is right!

SRS said...

Hi R -
Your medicated brain may be affecting your dexterity but your prose is still great to read. Nice to hear from you.

claudia said...

I know these past two weeks haven't been the greatest, but the good news is they found the reason for the pneumonia and your brain which we all knew- is fine! Let me know what you need!I'm here!

donna said...

Told ya - ain't nothin' wrong with your brain! Yay! See you Sunday.

Deborah said...

Ronni, I know this is not a laughing matter, but I find myself more amused than disturbed. You should get a medal for keeping your sense of humor, never mind your sanity. BMT scene..."see if your disease has spread"...just too much.

Love, Deborah

Nelle said...

I was wondering if it might be aspergillus. Hope it clears up soon. Glad to hear your brain is fine. I think you proved that with this entry while on all the stuff you are on. Just remember when they yell "BMT" only medical personnel understand. The average person probably thinks you want a BLT for lunch. I have found most people have no medical knowledge at all. We who have been in the patient trenches use these terms so frequently it becomes second nature. I was wondering will they use a previous donor or look for a new one? Keeping my fingers crossed, saying prayers and sending good vibes your way.

Mikha'el said...

Hang in there, look forward to a healthy 2009 and know many are thinking of you. Thanks for the updates.

Jim said...

You have, of course, a great brain and tremendous heart. So many are thinking of you and praying our hearts out for your full recovery. Happy New Year, Ronni.

Mieke said...

Yay for your brain!!! Was there ever a doubt it wasn't
splendid? I'm sorry you have to be around insensitive people all day long, but at least you have your bright spots with friends and family too, seems like those two should balance each other out. Happy healthy new year to you hon.

CLL Spouse said...

Love the paragraph that began "I had mentioned that I had a headache.....". It was powerful - both funny and sobering!

Thanks for the update. Hope you are OUT and about again soon!

PriestessT said...

I'm sorry you have to be there again. I have been fighting a few colds and have been miserable about "just wanting to not be sick for a day." I imagine you are feeling that at times now as well.

Rest and let God carry you through for a while.

Love and prayers.

mikehamel said...

Glad you're feeling well enough to write and sad for all you are going through. Remember, pressing on is better than giving up.