Week 24.5

Given the changes since Saturday’s report, Deb figured I owed everyone a rare mid-week update.

First of all, Sunday involved a visit from Dr. Massaro that more or less started with her asking, “Are you done with this shit?” He nodded. After all, it’s been nearly six months and here he is, done with the chemo but still in the hospital because of the after-effects.

While the broad spectrum antibiotics seem to have handled the infection that caused the initial fever, it’s a bit unclear what caused the new infection. That started the process of substituting one antibiotic for another and adding an antifungal. Without an immune system, there’s no knowing what actually took hold or where it came from but he developed new fevers and a persistent cough finally prompted them to take an x-ray. Several people reading it later, someone finally determined he had pneumonia.

In the wee hours of Monday morning Deb received a call from Dr. Massaro explaining that he should have a CT scan to confirm the pneumonia and doing it in the middle of the night was better because there would be less time exposed to other parts of the hospital. A debate then started between Dr. Massaro and other doctors resulting in the CT scan occurring after 4:00 AM, not leaving much time for sleep for either Deb or Robbie. Later in the day he then needed a CT scan with contrast which required him to drink some vile liquid (flavoring it with Crystal Light helped a bit). No sooner did we return from the scan than the team to perform an echocardiogram was waiting. Once they left, the oncology team arrived followed by a doctor from the infectious disease department, the ophthalmologists checking to make certain the fungus didn’t work its way into his eyes. I was beginning to think we needed to hand out numbers.

On Tuesday, he woke up feeling a little better, at least in the beginning of the day. The goal was to get him moving, out of bed and exerting himself to expand his lung capacity. He also needed to eat and drink more before nutrition was forced on him. As the day progressed, we learned that the CT scans revealed a little bit of fluid in one lung, and some “stuff” (to be technical) explains the pain he has felt on his left side.

Several doctors came from infectious disease control and told us that the fungus was being treated and the best thing we can do now is wait for the drugs to do their work. As they were talking it also became clear they were expecting him to be here through the weekend if not longer.

He took two walks around the floor to exercise and he figured it might stimulate the production of white cells (that and positive thoughts).

Overnight, though, he woke up with the shakes, a side effect on the anti-fungal medicine so they had to stop it, treat him with steroids and start again at half-speed. Things calmed down and progressed without further incident although it left Deb and Robbie fairly tired.

This morning he woke up to learn he had a white count of .2 which meant things doubled overnight and finally, after a week of being flat, show signs of progress. His spirits are far stronger and he’s been a lot more interactive with both family and the staff.

Bottom line: after a week of generally feeling crappy, he’s finally making progress. He’s in the right place, in the right hands and getting the care he needs to hopefully soon put this behind him.

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