Early last Thursday morning, my honey awakened me with chills and fever. He was extremely weak and needed help to navigate from the bed to the bathroom. I had also begun to see a pattern of 1,000 mg. of Tylenol having more success with his pain than 4 or 8 mg. of Dilaudid. I was also almost positive that the location of his pain (right, upper back just under his shoulder blade) was probably an indication of what I feared most – pneumonia. Coupled with my fear that he was getting dehydrated and beginning to have kidney problems, there was no doubt we were going to a hospital.
There were two or three hospitals within a 15 – 20 minute drive of our RV Park, but I made the decision to get him back to Hattiesburg, and the hospital where all his medical records exist. In his weakened condition, my concern was whether he could withstand the 1 1/2 hour drive. Friends helped him down the RV steps and into the car (I had barely been able to help him get to the bathroom – so I knew that trying to help him down the narrow RV steps could put us both in the hospital.)
With the flashers going, and my heavy foot (NASCAR drivers would have been so proud), we pulled under the ER canopy in about 45 minutes. Even though the ER waiting room was filled to capacity, he was bumped to the front of the line because of his age and his condition.
My worst fears were soon realized: Pneumonia and Acute Renal Failure. Little did I know that the news would soon get worse. He was moved, not to the Oncology Floor but to the Telemetry Unit (patients that are seriously ill or in danger of developing complications).
The Hospitalist on duty informed me that he was stopping Bob’s Chemo (Revlimid) because his blood counts and platelets were dropping. Just 6 days earlier, his Platelets were 158,000 and now they were 78,000 (two days later, they were 43,000). He would be headed toward a Platelet Infusion and probably a Blood Transfusion, if the numbers didn’t begin to correct. (Note: His last dose of Revlimid was on Thursday morning, prior to our hospital trip, and his Platelets today were 52,000. Still not great, but an improvement.)
On Friday, we were told that he had some type of unidentified blood infection, which is causing chills and fevers (almost on a 12 hour schedule…..usually at 4 p.m. and 4 a.m.). And today, I was told that there is a concern of Acidosis (excessive acids in the body fluids) which is being caused by the deteriorating condition of his lungs and kidneys. The bags of antibiotics and fluids, hanging on the IV pole at his bedside, seem to be having a hard time battling the unknown infection attacking his body.
An Infectious Disease Specialist was called in and has identified the infection as Staph (thank goodness, not MRSA), and added more antibiotics to his IV pole. The origin of the Staph is unknown, but the ID Specialist is leaning toward the Infusa Port (for administration of chemo, etc.) Cultures have been inconclusive.
A Pulmonologist has been consulted and is concerned that very little progress has been made, in treating the pneumonia, (in both the upper and lower lobes of the right lung), even with all the antibiotics. He will perform a Bronchoscopy (use of a flexible fiberoptic tube to view the insides of the lung) and obtain samples, tomorrow morning.
On a positive note, his kidney functions seem to be improving and the stoppage of the Revlimid has allowed his blood counts to begin to correct (some needed to increase and others to decrease). The good Dr. H is having his M-Spike checked……just to keep track of the Myeloma. We pray that it is taking a rest while all the other battles are being waged, in his body.
Needless to say, he is very weak and has begun to sleep much of the time. Just a short walk to the bathroom is tiring.
Thankfully, our daughters are now old enough that they feel they don’t have to listen to me (everytime). Robbie arrived from Texas a little before 10:00 p.m., last night. How wonderful to have support – both physically and mentally. Gale will come, when Robbie has to return home.
We are so thankful for all the calls, text messages, emails, FB postings, visits, cards, and goodies…..and especially for your concern, thoughts, and prayers.
What a journey we’ve been on, this past year. Just when it seemed that we had gotten over the bumps, and around the major roadblocks, it appears there’s a detour……….praying that we get back on the right road…..soon!!