Wednesday, November 2, 2011


At almost exactly 24 hours after my last chemo, I started running a fever.  I always know when I have a fever.  I get chills and I just shiver uncontrollably.  I called my nurse/husband in to take my fever and sure enough it was 99.4.  Not officially a fever, but definitely creeping up.

I know that a fever is one of the main things to look for after chemo - it's a huge risk and can be potentially very dangerous.  I called the Cancer Center right away.  They told me to keep an eye on it and take Tylenol if it got over 100.5.  I instructed the nurse to take my temperature every 30 minutes.

We watched the fever creep higher and higher and the chills got worse and my headache increased.  The fever hit 100.8 at 4:55 p.m.  I called the Cancer Center again, knowing they were about to close for the weekend (though there is always a doctor on call, of course) and they said take the Tylenol and if it didn't come down in 45 minutes, go to the ER.

I had already taken the Tylenol so now all we could do was wait.  We took my temperature every 10-15 minutes and watched the fever get higher.  At an hour later, it hit 102.  It was the Friday night before Halloween and the kids both had activities planned with both friends and were waiting to be picked up.  Greg quickly made arrangements for the kids to stay over at our friend's house and I tried to manage costumes and packing overnight bags from my feverish bed.

Once the kids were picked up by 6:25, Greg helped me get dressed and we headed to the Emergency Room.  I don't remember the drive there at all - there are a lot of things I don't remember from the next 24 hours or so.  We made it to the ER and walked in to be checked in.  Things moved really fast from there.  Telling them you have cancer and are running a fever of 102 gets you a lot of immediate attention.  We barely gave any information before they came to get me in a wheelchair...I think they had asked if I could walk but I couldn't make it anymore so they brought a wheelchair fast.

I don't remember a lot of details from the emergency room, there were a lot of nurses and doctors in and out and a lot of questions.  A lot of the same questions over and over.  They quickly started an IV in my port and there was a lot of taking of blood and giving of drugs.  They were monitoring my blood pressure closely and it was very low.  So low, in fact, that it kept setting off the alarms on the machine.  I remember one reading was 59/33 - that's the lowest I remember seeing.  I remember looking at my husband and thinking he looked worried.  I remember a lot of people walking by and walking in and I remember how thankful I was when they finally gave me a thin sheet (I was freezing because of the fever). At one point, I scarfed down a turkey sandwich I was given - I hadn't eaten all day due to nausea but I was finally starving.

I'm not sure how long exactly we were there, 4-5 hours I think, but they pretty quickly determined that I wasn't going home.  A guy appeared to take me to my room.  I don't know how we ended up there (on the 7th floor - the oncology floor) but we took approximately 13 elevators and went down 35 brightly lit hallways.  My numbers may be a little off, but I'm close.  If there had been a fire at any time during my stay, I would have been in big trouble because I had absolutely no idea where I was or how I got there.  This hospital has recently been remodeled and I was told that I was in the "old tower."  This meant nothing to me.

I made it to my new bed and settled in.  I met my nurse for the night, his name was Ben.

And happened.

My bed MOVED.

I mean, really, it MOVED.  I was sure I was imagining things.  They had put a lot of drugs in my IV, I had a high fever, my blood pressure was low...I was really out of it and now I thought the bed was moving.  Three days before Halloween - a haunted bed.

And then it happened again.  The bed moved.  I was a little more alert that time and waited to see if it would do it again.  And it did!

That's when I said to my husband, "This bed is MOVING!"

He looked at me like he often does - that look that says he thinks I'm a crazy person.  I insisted that the bed was moving and we both waited and watched until it did it again.  This was not okay!  It was really annoying.  About every two minutes (so right when you got comfortable), the bed would shift quite drastically into a different position.  We called the nurse in and he confirmed that the bed moves.  It's for people who can't move on their own so they don't get bed sores or blood clots.

What a great invention!  Now, turn it off!  It was obnoxious.

A hospital bed
Well, it doesn't TURN OFF.  The only way to stop it is to unplug the bed which means you can't adjust it at all.  What good is that?  The only cool thing about a hospital bed is that you can do whatever you want to it - put your head practically on the ground and your feet in the air if that's what floats your boat.  What is the point if it doesn't do that?!

They brought me a new bed.  Well, new to me - but older style.  I didn't care, I was just thankful it didn't MOVE unless I pushed the button.

Sometime soon after, my husband left for the night and I settled in.  I really don't remember anything - I slept on and off, they woke me up constantly to check vitals and give medications.  When morning came, I still felt really sick and out of it.  I was still running a fever but it was much lower.  My blood pressure was coming up but still low.

A couple of different doctors came to see me.  My blood work was looking good but they were still testing.  They were keeping me for another day at least.

One of the movies I watched - Possessing Piper.
It was dumb yet I watched the whole thing.
I settled in for a long day ahead.  I didn't feel like doing much, mostly I slept.  I did manage to find two really bad movies on the Lifetime channel.  Two days before Halloween, they were horror movies of course.  Thankfully neither of them were about haunted hospitals.

My husband brought our daughter to see me (our son was at a sleepover).  When it was time to leave, she cried.  I almost cried too.

I slept most of the night and woke up the next morning feeling....GROSS!  A sure sign you are feeling better is when you start to realize that you really need a shower!  Blech!  Luckily, my room had a shower!  I asked for some towels and hopped in.  It felt so good.

My nurse told me she heard a rumor that I was going home.  The doctor eventually, finally, made it in and all of my blood work looked good.  The diagnosis was that I'd had a severe reaction to the chemo.  Thankfully, it happened on the last dose so we didn't have to worry about next time.  It was over.

While I was waiting to be released, the hospital nutritionist came to see me.  I had been referred by the nurses for not eating.  I don't eat much in the days after chemo because I'm pretty sick to my stomach.  She obviously took one look at me and decided this was a waste of her time and left.  Anyone that knows me knows that I'm not starving by any means.

It took forever to get me released.  Greg and the kids came to pick me up and we waited a long time for the paperwork.  But, finally, it was time to go and I was wheeled down to the exit.  So thankful to go home and so thankful that I was okay.

And most of all thankful that it really is over.

People Outside of my Family Who've Seen my "Boobs": 43

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