Sunday, April 19, 2009

Have lamp, will the hospital

I'm probably the only person who carries a lamp into the emergency room. Well, I didn't actually carry it. Joe did when he brought me to the hospital last night.

Yes, I'm back in the hospital, I hope for only a couple of days. Diane and David are gone for the weekend, visiting their daughter, Lily, at Macalister College in Minnesota. So Joe came to "babysit" me. He came on Friday after the Red Sox game, and we spent a pleasant Saturday together. He did some reading for school and watched the Celtics game, I sat on the couch and read Zadie Smith's "White Teeth," which I am really enjoying, and we took a walk around the neighborhood.

Then I watched the news while Joe made a good dinner: linguine, chicken and vegetables. Around dinner I started feeling a little sick. Took my temperature: 99.5, no problem. Took it again. 99.9. Then I started shivering and shaking. After I sat down with Joe to watch the Bruins game, I felt that the whole thing had passed because the shivering had stopped. Wrong. It stopped because my temperature had gone as high as it wanted to go: 100.6. They tell you to call at 100.4. I took it again and it was 100.5. "It's going down," I said, ""maybe I don't have to call." Come on, Mom, call," Joe said. He really was babysitting  because I really was acting like a kid. "Do you want to wake up at 2 in the morning with a fever?"

It was the same time last year (Boston Marathon), when I went in for a regular appointment and discovered that I had such low blood counts, plus a fever, that I needed to be admitted. That turned into a pretty long hospital stay during which I discovered I had graft failure. I catastrophized: what if this fever is signaling the same thing? What if somebody up there is playing a big joke on me and making the same thing happen a year apart?

No, no, no. I didn't even feel that sick. Sometimes a bug is just a bug.

I was sorry to lose the extra day with Joe. He had brought some movies, and we were going to take a walk and have dinner (cooked by him again). Still, I knew I should called Dr. Alyea, and, as expected, he said to go to the Emergency Room and then get admitted for a day or two of IV antibiotics. He said they would do blood cultures which would probably reveal nothing, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

I grabbed a few things and put them in a bag, and at the last minute I remembered the lamp. Those hospital rooms are so depressing without that extra touch.

As soon as I got IV fluids in the ER, my temperature went back to normal. But I'm still waiting for the results of the cultures. I'm back on 4c; I waited in an emergency room bed until about 4 a.m. and by the time I got settled in my room, I didn't get to sleep until around 5.

My platelets are befuddling. I had gotten two bags on Friday, so I figured I was all set at least until Monday. But I only had 8. So while I was in the ER, I got a bag of platelets, probably ones donated by my sister. I heard they were washing them, and I got all upset because my doctors and PAs had agreed that when they are matched well with me, the platelets don't need to be washed. (Washing them takes out the impurities but usually dilutes the effect the transfusion will have.)

I was wrong to worry, though. I had 48 platelets this morning. My hematocrit is 23, so I do need some blood, which as of 8:30 p.m. has still not arrived.

Oh well. Small potatoes, and at least I have my lamp.


Susan C said...

It's so interesting to read about what patients bring to their hospital rooms. I wish I could see a picture of the lamp you brought.

I hope you get sprung from the joint real soon

Samantha MacRae said...

Love "White Teeth". Zadie Smith writes a great book and it felt very familiar to me as Graham and I used to live in Willesden Green/Cricklewood in London.

Love the lamp. Hope they have you out soon.

Sam xx

Howard said...

Sorry to hear you lost a day with Joe but really happy to know your counts are good. You sound great Ronni. I trust you'll be home soon.

All the best,

Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Dear Ronni,
Thanks for sharing how it was difficult to do the right thing, but you did the right thing anyway. Been there; done that.
Amazing how human emotions can get in the way of "Healthy Survivorship." That's where practice, having a trusted "other" (in your case this week, your son)to make you accountable, and good physicians make a world of difference.

Sending good wishes from Texas for "negative" cultures, resolution of the fever, stabilization of the blood counts (or improvement, of course!) and some good sleep. Hang in! With hope, Wendy

Anonymous said...

I hope the new blood products make you feel a little better too- somehow they can add a little BOOST! I am so happy you went to the hospital and are safe.

susiegb said...

Sorry to hear you're back in hospital but we all know it's the best place when stuff like this happens. I loved White Teeth too. Like Sam, I also used to live in that area (Willesden Green/Cricklewood/Kilburn) and I felt a real connection with it again. It was so familiar ... :)

Hope they let you out of jail soon!

PJ said...

I love that lamp--so civilized! When I first saw it in your room, I thought maybe the hospital had provided it, that maybe as a frequent "flyer" you'd been upgraded to more posh accessories.

Get out soon!

pam said...

dearest Ronni,

i picture you like a Statue of Liberty Runner-Warrior! bringing light to all...


Nelle said...

I am so sorry you lost that day with Joe. I too have to go to the ER if my temp is over a certain number. What a nuisance. I was so sick three weeks ago and thankful my temp didn't go high enough to require a trip to the ER.