Sunday, November 14, 2004

Chemo - Day 5

Well, it looks like I'll have to come up with some new post titles as my first round of chemotherapy is finishing up. I'm on the tail end of my last 24 hour dose of 5 FU.

Today was a good day. I sponged myself off, shaved and changed into some clean loungewear. Around 10:30 am, my IV tower and I made our way down to the chapel for 11:00 mass. I was a little fearful of a solo trip, but all went well.

I can't seem to sing at all or to speak very well. I don't know whether it is the chemo or some other drug, or if it is, as I suspect, the pressure of my hematoma on my trachea. Dr. Rowles is optimistic that the effect will likely be temporary, but that I may need some retraining. That could take a lot of Guinness.

I ate part of my lunch, and dinner is already here, somewhat accusatory. I've got cans of unopened Boost stacked up around the room and more comes with every meal. I wonder what that's costing me?

Here's the plan for tomorrow:

  1. CT scan - early, to see what's up.
  2. Boost of antibiotics to get me through to Tuesday.
  3. Meet with Dr. Evers at hospital so he can read CT scan and write me walking papers.
  4. Get the hell out of the hospital.
  5. Swing by Dr. Evers' office at the Virginia Cancer Institute to get a groovy shot of some drug that is supposed to boost my white blood cell count for 10 days and which, for reasons not at all clear to me, cannot be administered in the hospital because it is only available on an oupatient, not an inpatient basis.
  6. Go home.

It's a good plan. I'm growing attached to it. I'm incautiously optimistic.

Had some excitement this afternoon when I dislodged my IV while brushing my teeth. The IV slipped out of the vein, but not out of my arm, and started dispensing fluids into my arm tissue, distending the site. I pushed the nurse alarm button on my bed and my mother ran down to the nurses station to get help. Mom and I were both disappointed that alarms didn't start flashing, klaxons whooping and scads of medical personnel shouting "stat" and other dramatic medical terms didn't appear. Instead, my duty nurse calmly strolled into the room, removed the dislodged IV, gave me a warm wet washcloth for my arm and called the IV team. After a while the IV nurse came and put a new IV in my other arm with a minimum of fuss, and all was well.

More visitors this afternoon. Some repeats, some new. Delighted to see all.

Also, I'm embarassed by the generosity of the noble friends who were at my house today doing my winterizing chores (better than I'd have done myself) while I lolligaged around the hospital watching TV and receiving visitors. You guys are angels. I love you forever.


Blogger Tom Wolf said...

Jim, I enjoyed working around your house on this incredibly beautiful day. It almost inspired me to work around my own house, but I was afraid that the shock of seeing me do chores might be too much stress for Carol.

I finally got your green mower started, but quickly concluded that the smoke from it would set off the alarm inside your house, as well as your neighbors'. So we got the red one started, and Jethon took it home to mow our grass. Your grass didn't need it.

I will definitely be over to play some music with you this week if you feel up to it.

Love, Tom

6:50 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...


Your IV story got me nostalgic for my days working on the floor. Yep, there is not a whole lot of pomp and circumstance when an IV falls out anymore. I hope your arm wasn't too painful (that infiltration can hurt like a motha). Hey, at MCV, we didn't have an IV team- we put the IVs back in ourselves, so that made for even less fanfare. Glad to hear that you're going home soon!

7:09 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Go Home Jim Guy. Go Home!

7:27 PM  
Blogger UisceBaGirl said...

"There's no place like home..." In my limited experience with hospitals, feeling sick at home is way better than feeling sick in a hospital.

I hope you get to head home this morning and that the change of venue leaves you feeling much much better.


9:03 AM  
Blogger vkenny said...

My hope is that you made it over the wall and are home
where you should be, as I said before hospitals are no place for sick people. I'm glad the first round is over the rest should be a piece of cake. The prayers are still coming daily and hopefully you will feel like your "old self" in no time.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Judy A said...

Just caught up with all this, Jim. We were out of town for the weekend -- sounds like some improvement. Hope to see you back home (next door) soon! We are thinking of you.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Tom Nicholson said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Nicholson said...

Dear Jim,

After learning about your situation from Mary Mc. yesterday, I spent this morning checking out your blog and the posts from all of your friends and loved ones (not necessarily mutually exclusive categories). I then posted a response of my own, and promptly managed to delete it by accident (I guess I needed to listen to my parents' admonitions not to touch things that I don't understand!). Perhaps you can give us neophytes a BLOG 101 lesson!

Jim, I want to join my voice in prayer for you, with you, and with everyone else who is praying for you. I offer the following, adapted from a prayer attributed to Father John A. Lubey, a Roman Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC from 1943 to 1999. It has been said of Fr. Lubey that "[s]ometimes Our Lord chooses and uses certain people as instruments of his special gifts and blessings. Father John A. Lubey was one such person--having received the Gift of Healing from Our Lord in 1972."

May Fr. Lubey's intercession be added to our own, trusting and rejoicing even as we pray that our prayers are being answered!

Peace and blessings,

A Healing Prayer

We come to You, Lord, in prayer, faith, and trust, and ask that You minister to our brother Jim in all his needs. Place Your loving, healing hands upon Jim, Lord, and let that sign be Your desire to give him all the blessings You have in store for him. Let him feel the warmth of Your presence and the warmth of Your love, as it enters his whole being.

Give Jim the gift of Your peace, Lord. Give him the gift of trusting more and more in Your goodness and mercy, even as we seek these gifts for ourselves.

Pour forth upon him now, that gift of Your Divine Healing in every area of his life. Wherever there is sickness, illness, weakness, or distress, wherever there is any hurt, anxiety, fear, or worry, we ask You to pour forth the special power of Your Divine Healing into his mind, his heart, his soul, and his whole being.

Lord, fill Jim with the fullness of Your vibrant, joyful, loving life that is given, without reservation, in the Sacraments and in prayer.

We thank you, Lord, for this prayer. We thank You for answering this prayer. We thank You for all Your blessings, graces, and strength.

In the name of Jesus, be healed. In the name of Jesus, be at peace.


3:34 PM  
Blogger Jyothi said...

Jim, I found this website interviewing Dr. Naomi Remen, M.D. who works with cancer patients and their families. She wrote Kitchen Table Wisdom. God bless you.

5:36 PM  

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