Week 24

After each round of chemo, Robbie walks out determined not to be back in between. The doctors nod and smile knowing the odds are against him. After all, as he leaves, his immune system is evaporating so any little thing could cause a fever and infection brining him back. That he didn’t return between round two and three was actually an impressive feat.

Since then, though, he has been back with infections, the last two times were nine days apiece. When we had our big party and farewell two weeks ago, he once again was determined not to get a fever.

Unfortunately, the odds won and on Sunday he woke up late and had that look in his eyes. As I checked his forehead, it felt a little warm. Later, he passed the 100.4 threshold which meant an automatic admission. We’ve gotten way too good at this and were out the door, fully packed, within 20 minutes. His fever reached 103 as the day progressed and he was definitely not feeling well. Once we were told his bed was ready on 7-West, I went to get his things and went straight up. The nurses were surprised to see me since they hadn’t checked the computer in a while. Fortunately, we had our pick of rooms and we settled him in quickly.

We only lasted for a few hours as his blood pressure got lower and lower requiring more intense monitoring. He was transferred to the ICU and he told the resident he preferred epinephrine for the condition. Fortunately, the drug helped and by Tuesday he was ready to be returned to 7-West.

His fever had been on and off for those first few days and he was definitely not feeling well. By being silent and remaining relatively still in bed, everyone from the oncology team to the nursing staff knew something was wrong. Fortunately, on Thursday, he woke up in terrific spirits and everyone smiled, recognizing that Robbie was back.

Since then, he’s been playing games, attending play group, eating, and bantering.

He’s been fever free since Tuesday and his blood pressure is fine without the drugs. The trick now is getting his blood counts higher. They’ve been flat for days despite receiving platelets and red blood cells every few days. We’re definitely looking at nine days if not longer. The hope is to have him home before July 4 but there’s no knowing. This morning Dr. Beardsley greeted me with, “His counts are boring.”

The issue hovering on his mind is Shore Leave. If his counts don’t recover and rebound fast enough, he will have to miss it for the second year in a row. This will be emotionally difficult for him especially since the con is running a special bone marrow registry drive in his honor. Should he have to stay behind, it’s been decided I will still attend for professional reasons.

His spirits remain strong despite this cloud on the horizon. He’s not overly thrilled about being back but is trying to make the best of the situation.