March 20, 2009
I was home from the hospital, but unable to get out of bed. I was either extremely hot or cold and unable to stay awake for longer than half an hour at a time. The pain in my rear wasn't getting any better either. Tom was home, thankfully, so whenever I needed anything I would call his cell phone and he would run upstairs with my ginger ale or medication. He kept trying to get me to eat something, but I absolutely couldn't. I figured it was just the pain that was making me feel so sick.
After the third time or so of shaking chills, I decide to take my temperature. When you are receiving chemo they tell you time and again to check for a fever. Chemo meds kill your white blood cells which fight off infection. Without those white blood cells your body has a tough time increasing your body temperature - so when you do get a fever it means something bad could be going on. I believe my doctor told me that a regular person's 100.5 temp is equal to 103 in a cancer patient. With that being said, I was instructed to call the doctor's office anytime my temp hit 100.5 and stayed there for an hour OR call instantly should it get as high as 101.
I took my temperature and it was 100.5. I went downstairs and show Tom the thermometer. He stares speechless at it then goes shuffling around in a cabinet until he finds another thermometer and has me take my temp again. The second reading came back as 100.9. Tom put that thermometer back and decides he liked the first one better. Since I have to wait an hour before taking my temp again, I decide to go back to bed. When I woke up my temperature was 101.2. Time to call the doctor.
I talked to my doctor's partner who gave me an option of going to the emergency room or she could just call in a prescription for an antibiotic. Remember now, I'm nervous girl...I'm scared of making the wrong decision and it affecting the outcome of my life. My LIFE is what I'm dealing with here. I tell the doctor I want to go to the hospital and play it safe - plus, I really did feel awful. And my butt hurt. Unfortunately, Tom disagreed with my decision immensely. I was too tired to fight about it, and just had the doctor call in the prescription while I went back to sleep.
Tom left to go pick up the antibiotic. While he was gone the doctor found my chart and called back. Seems when I left the hospital the day before, they did blood work on me and my white blood cell count was extremely low. Since my white blood cell count was so low and my temp was continuing to rise, she told me I had to go to the ER.
Frustration was written all over Tom's face. I had just been released from the hospital the day before and now here I was about to get admitted again less than 24 hours later. He was tired and this time we didn't have family in town to help out with our children. I let him choose which St Luke's we should go to. He likes the one in Overland Park which is much smaller and much closer to our house, so that is where we went. This time, though, their emergency room was busy and I was sure I was going to have to wait forever to be seen. They checked me in pretty quickly; put a mask over my face; sent me to the waiting room and made me wait almost 5 minutes. I got called back ahead of everyone else in the joint.
Once back in my little patient room I met Jason - another amazingly great nurse at St Luke's Hospital. He was funny, nice, understanding and knew how to use a chemo port. I told Jason about the last time I was in that ER and how my nurse didn't know how to use my port. I said she ended up being made fun of by another nurse. Shortly after telling him this story, the nurse from that night came in my room! She said she saw my name and came running in to tell me hello and share her good news. Last time I was there I had told her about the miracle of my cancer being caught so early. I could tell it kind of freaked her out, because she's the same age as me. She said she had to come in my room when she saw I was back to let me know she went right out and got a mammogram. It came back clear. Praise God!
God has given me a most horrible disease, but by doing so He's led me to meet some of the most wonderful people. Another example would be the doctor who treated me in the ER that night. Her name was Sue (I'm really trying to remember names now.) Sue and I bonded instantly over our displeasure of having to live in a city without a Jack in the Box restaurant. Of course, after that talk, Sue decided she wanted to see what was causing so much pain in my bottom. I'll just say that was an unpleasant exam and leave it at that. It was too painful for me for her to do a full exam, but her best guess was a fissure. And... they were going to have to admit me to the hospital... Sigh.
Part 4 tomorrow...