For a Multiple Myeloma patient, there is no such thing as a simple cold. Even a simple cold can turn into a life threatening situation. This was something that I was to find out this past week.

A week ago on Thursday, Mr. B started feeling a pressure in his chest that reminded him of when he had the blood clots in his lungs. He also had a very deep crackly kind of cough that sounded very bronchial. The next day he contacted his cancer care nurse who advised him to go straight to the hospital. She didn't want to take any chances after his last bout with blood clots. After a long eight hour wait in the emergency waiting room we were finally seen by a doctor. X-rays and a CT scan were quickly completed and evaluated. The results - both were clear of any new blood clots. So we were sent home with no answers. Mr. B continued to feel worse over the next few days. We decided that he must have a cold and with his compromised immune system, wasn't able to fight it very well. 

On Tuesday evening I noticed that his breathing was starting to sound very labored. I was speaking with my sister on the phone at the time and stopped talking to ask him if he was having problems breathing. He just nodded so I quickly got off the phone. I asked him if I should call an ambulance. All that he could get out was, "Call 911". Well, you didn't have to tell me twice. Even though my heart was racing a million miles an hour, I kept my voice calm to relay the information to the 911 operator. Mr. B was very frightened. And what does he do? Get up to use the bathroom. Then I started to panic a little. I had visions of him collapsing in the bathroom before the paramedics got there. On the way back from the bathroom, he asked for a blanket to cover up because he was so very cold.

The paramedics were excellent. They assessed Mr. B very quickly and found his temperature had spiked. I was shocked since Mr. B had just taken his temperature a few hours earlier. This is part of the regular regiment that I have him do on an almost daily basis. I have him track his blood pressure, weight, temperature and pain medications taken. The ambulance ride was pretty brutal for him though since his back was in a lot of pain. At every bump in the road, he cried out in pain. I could tell that the ambulance driver was feeling very sorry for him, as he slowed down for the areas of the road that had large bumps.

Now it's 3 days later and Mr. B is still in the hospital. The nurses did step down his oxygen and by suppertime had removed it completely. He still needed assistance to use the washroom as he was very unsteady on his feet. I hope they don't release him too soon and he suffers a relapse. His chemo treatment has been cancelled for Monday until he has re-cooperated.

Which brings me to another subject. Mr. B has really been struggling since he started the new more aggressive chemo drug. The first week he was so nauseated that he hardly ate or drank anything. He lost 5 pounds that week. The second week, he seemed to do better but the next two weeks he was suffering with lots of bone pain. He was very discouraged. I spoke with his cancer care nurse to let her know Mr. B was in the hospital with pneumonia and she was very upset that we had not informed her about these other things. I totally lost it and started to cry. So very often I feel like I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. Mr. B does not like it when I call the nurse. Yet I feel that I need to trust my spidey instincts many times and let her know that he's suffering. It's hard to satisfy everyone. I feel that I need to let Mr. B have some control over what happens. He already feels like he has no say in anything.

Today at the hospital, Mr. B was very depressed. I was visiting with his very talkative roommate and I guess what we said would overwhelm him and he would start to cry. His roommate is in his late 60's and also has pneumonia. He lost his wife to pneumonia a year ago and is very, very lonely. He talked my ear off. It was so cute. But he also touched on some very sensitive issues like dying and losing his wife. I'm guessing it wasn't the topic that we should have been discussing since Mr. B was already in a downer state. :-(

But the night ended on a positive note. His niece came to visit. A little while later our daughter and son-in-law came to visit also so the 5 of us had a very good time with lots of laughter. I saw Mr. B lift out of his depression almost right away. Laughter truly is good for the soul.

Keep laughing. Keep dancing. Keep smiling. Look at the small pleasures in life as though it might be the last time you enjoy them. And most of all....don't forget to breathe. 

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