I am not talking about the kinds of adventures I had in Europe, but rather about going to Dana-Farber yesterday and to Brigham and Women's hospital today.
There is nothing seriously wrong with me. It's just that I have been haunted by the throwing up sickness for about a week. I called Melissa and she said it did not sound like flu because I have no other symptoms. But I could feel that I was getting dehydrated, and she said to go see her, have some blood work done and get some fluids.
Ativan helps, but I couldn't take it while driving. Joe had an important meeting or he would have taken me. Plus, he knows what it's like for me to throw up in his car...into a plastic bag with a hole in the bottom, no less. I wouldn't have asked anyone else, so I set out yesterday with my plastic bag and some saltines.
I made it in OK and was relieved to see that my labs are fine.
After getting that out of the way, I told Melissa that my reason for coming was really to show her my new Spanish boots. She said that she had noticed them right away, so I was very gratified...although still nauseous.
First in the line of suspects is the Exjade. I didn't take it during my trip and felt just fine. As soon as I took it at home, up it came. I took a break for a couple of days, downed the five pills dissolved in water again, and got sick again. She said to just stop taking it. Free at last!
Since my hematocrit continues to be normal, on my next visit I will schedule a "therapeutic phlebotomy" appointment as another way to get rid of the excess ferritin that accumulated in my liver after multiple blood transfusions.
Dr. Alyea came over while I was in the infusion room and asked if I had watched any of the Australian Open. When he talks tennis I know that I am not making medical history. He was accompanied by another doctor and introduced me as an excellent tennis player. I told him that wouldn't have described me during the past week, and he said we'd get my insides straightened out so I can get back on my game.
He said I should take a booster of increased prednisone for about five days because when you're on a low dose like mine – 5 mgs. a day – your body can forget to produce enough on its own (or something like that) and a booster would help me feel better.
Meanwhile, on to the award for the most annoying nurse of the day:
When she was reviewing my medications before the endoscopy today, she asked why I take the drug Kayexalate. I said I take it because my potassium was high, but with a once-a-week dose it is fine.
"Are you in kidney failure?" she asked. "That's what high potassium means," she said, or something like that.
I told her that I was in kidney failure three-and-a-half years ago but that I am fine now.
She eyed me suspiciously, as though I had no clue whether I was in kidney failure or not.
After the procedure when she was removing my IV, she started in on me again.
"Have you ever seen a nephrologist?" she asked. Since I happen to have seen a nephrologist (a doctor who specializes in kidney care) I knew what that meant, although when I first heard I was seeing one of those, I thought they said I was seeing a necrologist in preparation for my death.
I repeated that my kidneys are FINE.
With that she finished up with my discharge instructions. And wearing the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet sweatpants that I had put on earlier in the morning, I pirouetted out of the hospital.
This blog is about running into Acute Myeloid Leukemia, or AML, after feeling winded while running a 10K race. It is about falling down and getting up, many times over, after two relapses and four bone marrow transplants between 2003 and 2009. I am a writer with three children, Ben, Joe and Katie, and one Labrador retriever, Maddie, short for Madison, as in Madison (Ave.), in honor of my hometown, New York, New York.