Monday, January 17, 2011

First Day Update

Day one of five-day-chemo-hospital-stay two. We felt like old pros at it now. We've been through this part of it before, so we pretty much knew what to expect. Got settled in and Julia was bombarded by the usual deluge of health care professionals. Periodic check-ins by her nurse, psychology visit, dietitian, music therapy, nurse practitioner, and others that I don't recall exactly what the reason was. I'm not really complaining, it's all for Julia's well being, it's just that it's hard to get her to open up in new situations and so with constant new people, she doesn't give much of a response. Still, everyone always has high praise for how things are going and how well Julia handles it all.

Things didn't go quite as smoothly as they could have though. A blood test came back with low hemoglobin: 6.7k rather than the >7k that they want. So that meant Julia got to have her first blood transfusion. Besides the normal screenings that are done on all donated blood, blood for oncology patients is irradiated to blast away any random antibodies or anything else that might offend a weakened immune system. She's finishing up getting the blood as I type.

There are a number of side effects they watch for during the transfusion, including spiking a fever. Interestingly, Julia spiked one before getting any new blood. That's not good, but we were glad it happened then, otherwise it would have been assumed it was a reaction from the blood and that could have clouded the real cause (which is yet unknown). So the 103.5 temperature was a little alarming. She took some Tylenol and it's been down now between 100-101. Some blood was taken and it'll be watched over the next 48 hours to see if anything grows on it. If so, they'll treat her with the needed range of antibiotics. Right now she's already on an broad spectrum antibiotic. Hopefully it's just something that simply goes away. I recall when she got her port installed, the surgeon talking about a chance of infection just because of nature of it, i.e. a piece of hardware installed under the skin. I believe he said about half the people with them will have an infection at some point and most are easily treated while others require a new one put in.

"Took some Tylenol" doesn't really do justice to the process. The very mention of "medicine" triggers tenseness, fear, and a stubborn attitude. She chose mixed with applesauce over liquid or chewables and that still took 20+ minutes of crying and pleading and gagging to get it down. From a parent's point of view it's very frustrating. I think (and by "think," I mean, "scream inside my head") to myself: "Damn it! People stab you in the chest, inject crap in your arm and you grit your teeth and bare it. Someone mentions applesauce mixed with something and you freak out?! Julia, c'mon, you CAN do this!" It's hard on me because I hate seeing her in so much distress.

She ate a decent supper while we watched Despicable Me. It was a pretty funny movie and it was awesome that Julia let out a few bust-out-laughs. I laughed along with her because it made me so happy to hear those sounds come out of her.

Oh, and her room has a better view this time. Rather than just the back of the building, she's overlooking the Minneapolis skyline. She doesn't seem to care one way or the other, but I really like it.

I usually come up with a blog post title that I like by the time I get finished writing it, but I got nothing this time.