Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Days -6 and -5

All the nurses and doctors refer to days in a stem cell transplant by revolving around the day patients get the clean stem cells back, referred to as 'infusion' and also as 'day zero.'  So since Chris is scheduled to be infused with his stem cells next Monday, that makes yesterday 'day -6' and today 'day -5.'

Day -6 was the first day Chris got the crazy intense chemo. It took allllll day. We show up at the clinic at 7:30am and get a little room/glorified cubicle with 3 walls and a curtain.  There's a nice reclining chair for Chris, his IV machine, the nurse' ns computer, a hospital bed table, a little chair for me and a TV with a DVD player mounted in the corner.

Protocol goes like this:  Nurse checks Chris' trifusion catheter and flushes each line... (Everyone has to wear masks for that part)...then comes the pre chemo drugs - Zofran (twice a day) and Emend (sp?) both of those are for nausea and are given through IV; and two pills of Decadron (steroid).  Then some fluids - two HUGE bags of saline. Then the first chemo drug, Etopaside - which is over an hour, then some Mesna (a side drug that goes with the next chemo drug), then the next chemo drug, a high dose of Cytoxcin - a 2 hour infusion, then more Mesna, and then more fluids. Oh and somewhere in there he gets another drug that is supposed to help draw out all the fluids he's getting...lasics... I think. Oh and some colace.  He has to record and measure everything he drinks and voids to match up his intake and output, even at home and during the night. At some point we get visited by the Nurse Practitioner, and the Doctor, and on the first day we also got a visit from the pharmacist and dietitian. (BTW, I know I've horribly misspelled all the drugs).

Chris and I both were in good spirits in the morning, the nursing staff are all super nice and at times even raucous.  It seems like people enjoy working here and working with each other, in general. Its a nice feel. The patients range from happy, joking with the nurses and smiley to quietly polite and even some just quiet....almost ghost like - shuffling to and fro in their masks and sweatpants.

But by lunch time Chris was feeling super bloated from all the fluids and so tired, almost sick-to-his-stomach tired. He sort of checked out from the world and tried to curl up in his reclining chair, dimmed the lights and pretended to sleep. I didn't expect it to hit him quite so quickly and I was tired and uncomfortable. I found my emotions matched his.  By the end of all of this its about 4:00pm and by the time we get out the door its closer to 5.

After a quick stop to the grocery store we finally came home just before 6 and it was all I could do to heat up the frozen dinners, eat, make sure Chris ate, then we both fell asleep in front of the TV around 7:00. Luckily Chris woke up at 9:30 so we could close up shop properly and sleep in the huge king sized bed.

Unlike the previous night we both slept great. I added another pillow to my sleeping set up, right behind my back and my hips are thanking me.  But at 6:20 my alarm rings and its off to the races again. Same long routine (minus one nausea drug that only happens again on day -3).  Our nurse, Gwendolyn (love the name!) comments on our improved looks (apparently we both left here yesterday looking grey, tired, and for Chris - nauseated too). Our sleep seemed to do the trick and today has not been as gross feeling for Chris as yesterday was. We had a game plan to walk around a bit and try to eat many small meals to keep up his energy but... It didn't really happen. Most of the afternoon he looked like this:

Oh! Our friend Gwendolyn just walked in and told us we can go as soon as Chris gives her a urine sample. So I'm going to post this. 


Heather said...

Isn't it a wonderful blessing to get refreshed with a good night's sleep?? :-)
Sweet quote from Pres. Monson to think on this week:
"Our Heavenly Father…knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass."

amanda said...

Britney! Thanks for posting and keeping us updated. I know I never comment, but I'm praying for you guys often and hoping for strength for both of you during this time.

Also, this is random BUT, I just remembered tonight how we used to carpool to seminary that year when Jordan/Carli/I were all freshmen and you were a senior. I remember using listerine mouthwash that smelled REALLY REALLY minty (9th grade halitosis anxiety and all...), that one time you accidentally backed up into the rock wall of death in my driveway, and just enjoying the small adventures/convos/music on the way to school every day.

Anyway. Love. Just lots of love.