Week 25

The most watched number after the Dow Jones Average might well be Robbie’s white cell count. It was .1 then .2 then .3 before slipping back to .2. We were not giving up and Robbie went to sleep each night willing his body to respond.

Thursday night, though, his back was hurting worse and worse. Finally, the morphine wasn’t solving the pain so pain management came by and it was decided he needed a fresh x-ray at 6 a.m..

Friday, right after friends left from a visit, the Infectious Disease team came by to announce that the new scan showed that some fluid near the bottom of his left lung had grown in volume since the scans earlier in the week. Everyone involved was going to discuss the best options but it was going to involve an ultra-sound followed by either an aspiration by needle or inserting a tube and pumping out the fluid. Either way, removing the fluid would relieve much of the pain and provide the doctors a sample to study so they could more tightly focus Robbie’s medications.

Robbie has been a model patient and the only thing that has troubled him has been any sort of incision (from inserting an IV to implanting his broviac). He was not at all keen on being tapped like a Maple tree and was very vocal on the point. Dr. Pashankar, from the oncology team, came in and reassured him that her study of the CT scan didn’t show enough fluid to require the tube. She then used the room’s white board to diagram what was going on which made him far more comfortable.
.
Soon after, he was taken for the ultra sound and while there, 120 cc’s of fluid was removed for study. He started to feel more comfortable but was on enough medications that he more or less melted under the covers and stayed there the rest of the day. He had a follow-up x-ray which showed a clear lung. It being Kate’s final day with us, we watched comfort videos and brought in take out barbecue.

This morning, Kate was leaving which deserves its own page. As she finished her own preparations, he called with the current count: 1.2. They suspected that one reason his counts were so flat for so long had to do with his body dealing with the infection and they may have been correct. His ANC count is 144, which is well on its way to the 200 minimum he needs for discharge. But, he also needs to hear what has been growing in the lab and how that needs to be treated.

Today, he had a fresh CT scan followed by an MRI which really wasn’t a pleasant experience for him.

Given the anxiety this all caused, he was comforted mainly by the fact that he was being looked after by nurses he felt the most comfortable with. Laura actually fought to get him for Friday and may have come to regret it. Overnight, Nichole provided the tender touch he needed and today Jess was on hand. The entire team has been great with him as this stay has lingered.

His mood has been very improved and he’s delighted at the very tangible signs of progress.