Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Neutropenic Hospital Stay

Sorry I have not posted in a while, killing Cancer is a full time job what with all the doctor appointments and medical tests (not to mention feeling poorly or desperately tired 70% of the time).

The most interesting thing that's happened since my last post is that I ended up in the hospital for about three days, a week and a half after my fourth infusion (half way through). It seems I was having a lot of sweats and was running a fever of about 101 degrees or so off and on for several days. When I mentioned it to my doctor's nurse she told me to go to the emergency room at UCSD and tell them I had a Neutropenic fever and that they would probably admit me.

Sure enough, several hours later the ER doctor was explaining that my ANC count was below 500 and that was not a good thing if I had some sort of fever in my body. So they admitted me to my own room (so I didn't catch someone else's kooties) and started pumping me full of antibiotics from Monday evening through late Wednesday afternoon. Sure enough they ended up killing whatever was causing the fever and got my ANC count way up with a couple injections of Neupogen.

Speaking of injections, they also insisted on giving me a shot of Heparin in the stomach (quite unpleasant no matter how pretty the nurse) every eight hours to "prevent blood clots". After a while I figured out that they try to do that with everyone admitted to the hospital and I was not really all that special. When I knew I was getting out on Wednesday I said, "Thanks, but no thanks" on the last couple injections.

One special note is that if you're going to get stuck in a San Diego hospital I highly recommend UCSD's Thorton hospital. It looks like a fancy hotel and as a patient you order your three meals a day from what looks like a hotel room service menu. The food was excellent and it's even served by someone in a room service uniform. (Best thing about it is you don't have to tip them!)

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