Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hospital Stay part 1

We stayed one night in the hotel, the night that switched Chris from Day 1 to Day 2 (in stem cell transplant schedule dialogue).  Pardon my negativity for a moment but I slept horribly. The temperature unit below the window either blasted out heat or cold air... I kept having to switch it back and forth to try and maintain a good temperature. I woke up with my hips and shoulders just aching and before looking at my watch I wished it would read 6:00am....I started crying to find it was only 1:30am. I sat up and looked at facebook/read scriptures for a couple of hours before I laid down again to try and sleep. There was so much noise from neighboring hotel guests and/or people outside, one gentleman was particularly loud and we could almost make out every word he said.  Even Chris commented about it...which is saying a lot since he's been in his own little survival zone, not even living in a flea infested apartment got any complaint from him.  (But he's usually not one to complain much anyway). On our way out the door in the morning we see a couple cigarette butts dropped on the hallway carpet outside the door across from ours. The grab n' go breakfast was mostly coffee and they didn't have any shampoo.

But the hotel was free and I didn't have to find it and it was still close to Vanderbilt two of the pillows felt like they were stuffed with real feathers. Oh! and the chair at the desk was a really comfortable one on wheels.

We went to the clinic, as usual, and his counts were really low. Chris is hanging in there but its all getting to him. He's beyond exhausted, still getting tons of fluid that makes him get up and pee every hour or two, and has stomach cramps. He barely says a word but at some point looks over at me with tears in his eyes and says he's not sure how much longer he can do this. People have told us he starts to feel better between Day 10 and 14....its only Day 2, and that thought depresses him.  I'm tired too and its so HARD being right next to him all the time, seeing what he goes through and not being able to really DO anything to make him feel better. Him and I both shed some tears, and I try hard not to make a scene because my ability to compose myself after I start crying has just disappeared in the past couple of months. Its just better not to start, unless I have guaranteed solitude for a couple of hours.

It was really nice, though, to bring him back to the hotel room and get comfortable laying down in a king-sized bed with more than 1 pillow and a heater blasting next to him. He felt quite chilled from the walk out of the clinic to the car, and car to the hotel room.  I discovered the nice desk chair and got myself set up for some scripture/journal time and some time to work on my quilting blocks. I really enjoyed those two hours and was grateful for the private, quiet, hotel room with a little half kitchen place for me to make rice-a-roni. That quiet time was a nice blessing since things were going to go back downhill very shortly.

Chris woke up from his nap and ate some rice but as I got close I could sense he was hot.  I took his temperature... a couple of times...and tried to keep my voice completely calm as I told him he had a fever that warranted calling the hospital (anything over 100.4 is cause to come in and he was at 101.8). I didn't want him to flip out but I'm glad he didn't let me reason away the temperature by stating the fact that he was under blankets with a sweatshirt on and a heater right next to him. I called the emergency number we were given and within an hour we were headed back to the clinic (thankfully it was just BARELY before they closed at 5) so we could be admitted straight from the clinic and not have to bother with the general or emergency hospital admissions.  They took his temperature and it only read 99.something! But because he looked clammy and pale and because it was so high at home they decided it was better to admit him since it was likely he would just spike a higher fever later in the night so they started the paperwork and ordered some blood and urine cultures.

Good thing they did because just an hour later when we were moved up to the 'penthouse' suites on the top floor of the Critical Care Tower (a special wing for transplant patients with pressurized rooms the size of our California EV apartment!) his temperature was 102.something. They started him on antibiotics and more fluids but other than monitoring him, they couldn't really give him anything to mask or lower the fever since they needed any information his body could tell them about whats going on inside.  He slept feverishly when he could...still having to get up to go the bathroom every few hours, getting meds, taking vitals, etc.  There was a little chair thing that pulled out flat to serve as a bed for me and the kind 'patient care representative' hooked me up with 4 pillows! I actually slept better than I did at the hotel. I think being completely exhausted helped somewhat.

Chris' fever broke in the night and he hasn't had any of the other problems they keep asking him about. No painful mouth sores, no bleeding or pain during urination, no vomiting or diarrhea, no unexplained bleeding or fluid in his lungs.  I had to check us out of the hotel room the next day and after waiting to see the doctors (they came in a pack of 6 at a time :)..)  look at and talk with Chris I barely made it to the hotel with 45 min to shower (still with no shampoo) eat breakfast, pack up all our stuff and check out).

Proud of myself that I made it all and even found a cart to carry the bags down to the car on (so my mom wouldn't scold me for lifting all the bags) I decided to try and park closer to the hospital tower. Long story short (because this post is long enough!!) I somehow parked and got lost in a completely different hospital. A nice lady saw my obviously pregnant self carrying bags of clothes and frozen goods with a lost expression on my face. She informed me that I was in the Veterans hospital (what?? ) and led me out a restricted access door and past some dumpsters. With a sympathetic but cheery attitude, a hug and kiss on the cheek she pointed to wear the Vanderbilt hospital was and sent me on my way. By the time I got up to Chris' 10th floor room, my hands and shoulders were red, swollen, numb and I was once again, on the verge of another crying was only noon on Day 3.


Donna said...

Hang in there!

Aaron, Cera, Jaylen and Gavin said...

Oh Brittney, you're my thoughts and prayers. You will come out of this a much strong person, I know it! Hang in there. You guys are amazing!