Ahhh the holidays…..what better time for…………..the Emergency room :o/

So, it appears Tim really prefers to go to the hospital and get sick on holidays, and always on weekends when going to his primary care doc isn’t an option. He got the flu last Christmas, which Liv and I caught too, so all Christmas plans were cancelled. 2 and 1/2 years ago he came down with shingles on Easter Sunday and we were off to the ER and a 4 day hospital stint. 5 years ago, he got pneumonia for Christmas. The list goes on. Actually, I think all three of us have a habit of getting sick on holidays or vacations. Timing is everything.  Anyhoo, yesterday morning, he woke up and told me, “everything hurts.” He could not find a spot on his body that didn’t ache. Just when I was thanking God on Friday that he never caught the miserable cold I’d had. NOT SO FAST, fate seemed to say. He had things he wanted to get done but wound up on his recliner all day. I knew this meant a fever was probably coming. We went to a Halloween party without him, the thermometer at his side. Liv went off to her second party and I came home by 9 pm to check on him. Still no fever, but, an hour later, the fever came on. 101.6. Dammit. I have to call his doc at that level. So, I call the service and half an hour later, his doc calls back. I knew we were gonna have to go to the ER, but wondered if it had to be right now or in the morning. She said the answer was right now. His neutrophil count was even lower than it usually is at his last appt. 1.3. She said the fever could drive it down lower. She wanted a CBC and chest x-ray to check for pneumonia. She said if he was neutropenic, he had to get IV antibiotics, if not, he could be sent home with oral. Even though we’ve only seen this new doc a few times, I already REALLY like her and she actually remembered that Tim had sepsis when he was dx’ed with MM from just me telling her one time, months ago. So, poor Liv gets home from her party and is barely in the door and I have to tell her that Daddy and I are off to the ER. We were supposed to go to Rowan University for an open house the next day, today, so that went out the window too. So, we go to the ER. I tell Tim, “don’t pick up anything else while we’re here.” We walk in and the receptionist is hacking away sick. Lovely. She has to hand us all this paperwork to sign, put a wristband on him, etc. I suppose it’s hard to make a long story short, but I will try. Urinalysis-fine. Took a bunch of blood and even ran cultures to check for sepsis types. It took a long time to get results and cultures take over a day to come back. His white cells were actually in normal range which is NOT his norm but that is great news. Neutraphils were 3.something. We are waiting for chest x-ray to come back and doc is checking some ear pain he is having. Young doc. I briefed him in the beginning about why we were there and what his doc wants done. Now, he comes up to me and says he’s gonna give him a strong NSAID for his fever and body aches. I’m like, “um, I’d rather you didn’t. He’s not in agony and he’s not supposed to take NSAIDS because they are tough on the kidneys. A Tylenol type thing would be fine.” He says, “OK, Tylenol it is.” Then, a little while later, before we even have his chest x-ray back, he decides he is gonna hit him with a very strong, wide spectrum, IV antibiotic that I have never heard of. I remind him that his doc said IV only if his neutrophils are below 1. Years ago, our main MM guy, and the only one we had when Tim was dx’ed, told me they don’t want him on antibiotics if he doesn’t have to be, especially those “big guns” ones, because there may come a day when he REALLY needs them to work and you don’t want to have built up a tolerance due to over-using them. I ask about his ear pain, which he’d already dx’ed as a swimmer’s ear type thing and he says that has nothing to do with his fever. But, a little while later, he came back, after obviously doing some research, and tells us that it turns out, swimmer’s ear type infections can actually move into the bony areas of the ear in immunocompromised people and apparently, they’ve seen this a few times with MM’ers in that hospital and it causes fevers. RUH ROH. Tim has been having issues with this ear for a few months. His regular doc flushed the wax buildup out of it, it still hurt and another one at that office put him on an antibiotic. It was better, but started hurting again a few days ago. So, he says he’s ordering a head CT scan. I am nervous but not telling Tim. His old boss got in a motorcycle accident years ago and wound up with MRSA on his leg right near where his shin bone was nicked in the crash. He was in the ER for 10 days on IV antibiotic and home with a PICC line and 30 more days of it. His doc said that if the infection went into his bone, he would be sick the rest of his life and wouldn’t live long. UGH, why do I forget SO many things but remember every scary health story I’ve ever heard. I’m silently worrying that maybe Tim has an infection in a bone in his head. I also worry because I know MM’ers can get plasmacytomas in their sinuses and their ear areas. Tim is prone to sinus headaches, but lately they seem pretty frequent. I know that there are a LOT of scary things this CT scan can find. UGH again. Has this been brewing since July in his ear? I think about going to ask the doc what this means if this is what the problem is. I stop myself and say, “no, I am not going to worry about something until it’s actually something. Right now, it’s just a long shot.” He comes in and asks me about his penicillin allergy. He wants to give him that, in case it’s this scary ear thing. I tell him what the allergist/immunologist that challenged the allergy before his SCT in 2007 said to me. He said, “I don’t know why docs ask me to do this. The only illness that responds only to penicillin and nothing else is syphilis. Even though he passed the challenge, he broke out in hives years ago from penicillin and I would still not recommend he get it, especially via IV, as this can cause the most dangerous allergic reaction. If he HAD to get it, he would have to get small doses at a time or go through a desensitization process first.” His final analysis, “don’t get syphilis, don’t take penicillin.” The ER doc walks out saying, “No penicillin for you!” He comes back with a few Cipro tabs and Tim chucks them down. In the end, THANK GOD, his CT scan came out perfect, as did his chest X-ray. By this time, the docs change shifts and the new one is the guy who dx’ed his disseminated shingles that Easter, in the same exact room we’re in, and he knows all Tim’s docs because he told us then, and again last night, that he was treated there 15 years ago for a similar illness. In the end, he came up and said that all the tests looked good, his white cells were great, and we both obviously know what we’re doing with Tim’s health, so he was sending us home with a Cipro script and saying that he is probably coming down with a viral illness, hence the cough. So, at 3:30 am, we are home. Now this morning as I am writing this, my kid comes downstairs sick. Either she and Tim have the same thing or she is responding badly to the flu shot she had yesterday morning. Told me she went to bed freezing and woke up in the night sweating. GREAT. So, Time to play nursemaid to both of them. Comfort food and spoiling coming up. Got a big night this coming Friday. Senior night at the last home football game. We all gotta be WELL by then. I can reschedule the college tour and I did. I can’t reschedule senior night. If I know us, I will get them well and I will be sick as a dog, but, hope abounds and I will think positively that we will all be perfect by Friday.

Onward.