|a pebble on the beach||
On June 2 & 3, Mr. B had a very rough time. He was not eating or drinking and felt very nauseated. After spending those two days in bed, I asked him if he had taken his temperature at all during this time. His answer was no so I ran for the thermometer. His temperature was 102F. I told him that we needed to go to the hospital and since he knew he was in no shape to sit for 5 or more hours in the ER waiting room, he asked me to call for an ambulance. I had also called the oncall hematologist and was told that she would call ahead to the hospital. When we arrived, they put him in a reverse isolation room and within an hour or so, he was seen by a doctor. The plan was to start him on an IV antibiotic. By 3 am they still had not started the IV so I decided to go home since I was confident he was in good hands. I crawled into bed at 4 am and at 8 am the phone rang waking me up. It was Mr. B. The hospital had released him since his fever was down and he was given oral antibiotics. Now he needed a ride home. I was shocked since I still felt he was not doing very well but what can you do? It doesn't help to argue with the hospital.
On the same day, he had a blood transfusion and chemo treatment scheduled. I called his nurse to let her know that he was on antibiotics. She said that they would cancel his chemo but he should still go for the blood transfusion. So a few hours later we headed to Cancer Care for his blood transfusion. Mr. B looked terrible and for the first time since this whole nightmare started on Jan 5, he asked me to get a wheelchair to take him to the treatment room. So I knew that he was definitely not feeling well. When the transfusion was started he was warned that he might feel cold from the blood because it was kept cold. Mr. B was more than cold, he was actually shaking. The nurse had to provide him with warmed blankets. He was also extremely nauseated and the nurse had to provide him with anti nausea drugs. She even had a doctor call in a prescription for a stronger anti nausea drug. Then part way through the second unit of blood, Mr. B had to use the washroom. He was so weak that both myself and the nurse had to help him to get there. After the transfusion was over, the nurse wheeled him down to the car and told both of us that we should not be afraid to go back to the hospital. But we went home instead. I had a horrible night with him. I told him that he was not supposed to get up to go to the washroom unless I was with him. He got up 3 or 4 times and each time I was terrified that he was going to collapse and break some bones.
On Tuesday morning, June 5, I got up with him. I got him to take his anti nausea pill and tried to get him to eat a few crackers so that he could take his antibiotic. He actually kept falling asleep while he was eating the cracker. I decided that he was in very bad shape and I told him that I was going to call for an ambulance. He asked me not to do that and I burst into tears. I knew I had to do it and yet I hated going against what he wanted. After the paramedics had loaded him on the stretcher, he started complaining of chest pain. I was surprised since he had not mentioned it to me at all.
At the hospital, the doctors took all of the information down and did some blood tests. The result? Sepsis or infection in the blood, a very serious condition. The doctor felt that his previous bout with pneumonia was never cleared up and now had moved to his blood stream. He was one very sick man. Once he was moved to a ward, they started doing tests to find out why he was having pain in his chest. It took until Friday afternoon when a bone scan was done to determine that Mr. B had two fractured ribs. Likely the result of being moved from our couch to the stretcher by the paramedics. It was not that they were rough with him, but that his bones were so weak and fragile that something as minor as a chest compression could break a rib.
Mr. B's recovery time in the hospital was very slow. For two weeks he received IV antibiotics and high levels of Fentynal and morphine for the pain. At one point they changed from morphine to a drug called Diluadid. Those 3 days were horrible for Mr. B. He had a severe reaction to this pain med and was agitated, extremely emotional, hallucinating, and seeing visual disturbances. He was miserable but once they switched him back to morphine, his mind returned to normal.
During this time in the hospital, we had to meet with so many people. I tried to be at the hospital in the morning so that I could be there when the doctors and students did their rounds. I found that it was a good way to keep up to date on Mr. B's condition right from the source instead of asking the nurses. We also had to meet with the physical therapist, the occupational therapist and the home care coordinator. After Mr. B had been in the hospital for 2 weeks, we also had to meet with a kidney doctor because his kidney function had diminished to only 40%. She said that if he was not able to continue on with the chemo treatments we would have to consider dialysis treatments soon. Poor Mr. B was devastated.
On June 20, Mr. B was discharged from the hospital. Before he came home I had asked for a hospital bed and a wheelchair. What a difference having a hospital bed was!! I had barely put the sheets on the mattress and he went for a 3 hour nap. Mr. B had not sleep in our bed since mid January when his back and rib pain started. Now that his pain was under control with proper pain meds and he had a bed that he could adjust to be at the proper angle, he was again enjoying a good night's sleep.
Being hospitalized this time took a lot out of Mr. B. Now I would have to consider him as an invalid. No longer can I trust him to be alone for fear of him having a fall. He now needs a walker to get around even in our home. For longer distances, he will need a wheelchair. Something as simple as having a shower totally wears him out. I worry about him constan