Forth in-patient chemo experience

One of my frustrations with the in-patient chemo is that after a few days in the hospital, I start to forget everything that has happened. I'm not saying that a lot happens, but I forget who my visitors are, and I forget whether I have biked, etc. Not important, but the end effect is that I feel I lost a week in my life. This log might be more detailed in an effect to regain that week.

9/16/02: We got the call to come in at 1:30 (they said that they left a message on Sunday, but we didn't get it). Jeff brought me in and stayed with we until they brought me down for radiation therapy at 4:50. I have been playing with the idea of writing a book about my cancer experience, so talked about what a novel would need to be interesting; we aren't sure if I have something to say that would be interesting. There aren't enough people with rare cancers for it to be about a rare cancer. There aren't enough young adults with cancer for it to be about that either. And, there's always a book about cycling and cancer :) So, I think the current idea is a mostly non-fiction novel-type of book.

They started my hydration at 7, and chemo a bit after 10pm.

Tom visited in the evening for an hour. Valerie, a friend I haven't seen in many years, visited until 11. She bought me dinner because the hospital forgot to feed me.

9/17/02: I woke up before 6, but didn't have much of a reason to move around until the nurse came at 6 to take my vitals. The chemo nurse came by to check the urine output, and was disappointed that I didn't go during the night. So, I went on demand. :) The nurse dropped off my blood work; I always ask for it 'cause I want to know what is going on. I was very surprised that I had almost all zeros for the eltrolights, so I asked the nurse. She looked at the values and said "There's obviously something wrong; with these values, you would be dead." Of course, this became a trigger for a patient-doctor talk. So, when my oncologist came in to talk to me, I asked her about the counts; she responded the same way "With values like these, you would be dead." We also spoke (me initiating) about whether it will hurt to die from lung mets; she said no. At some point, I would go on oxygen.

I don't feel as perky as yesterday, but I'm doing well. My typing has decreased in accuracy.

Mom visited for a number of hours. (Mom's notes of the visit.) I napped during part of the visit. Before she left, I started my bike ride. She wanted to leave before the parking fee increased, so I was still on the bike when she left.

A social worker dropped by and told me about the young adults meeting on Friday. An artist stopped by and we did an art project together. I made a box for my bedroom: blue and yellow. Wee Teck and Jan and Susanne stopped by, each with food. We ate in the phone lounge; Wee Teck brought some food, and Susanne brought pizza from Hoboken. I had some of both. I don't know what time they left, but Tom was tucking me into bed. (Wee Teck's notes of the visit, Susanne's notes of the visit.)

9/18/02: I was moved to a new room sometime today; the phone number is one less than before. The room number is 325. My previous roommate had a blood infection, so I was happy to leave. Plus, she didn't seem like a nice person; very tied up in her own affairs. Everyone heard multiple times about how she cannot pay her rent.

Leanne came at 10, right as I was getting back from from RT. She stayed until 11:30. Leanne's notes on our visit. Dina got here at 1:30 and stayed until 5. We discussed the use of bed pans over commodes when you have no pubic hair. We discussed a number of other cancer lifestyle changes. The conversation probably wasn't the most interesting for Lisa, who stopped by to visit for a few hours. Lisa discussed again about redoing her kitchen. Tom and I plan to lay a new floor next week. Once Lisa left, we played cards. Dina's notes on our visit. Lisa's notes on our visit.

I vomited. No recent meal, and no trigger. It was kind of weird. Tom shaved my head; the hair was following out too quickly. I was hoping for something other than a bald head, but that's what I got.

9/19/02: I napped most of the morning; RT took 4 hours due to a flood on the floor. Tom came by after work. Dad, Mom and Grandma visited after seeing Miles. Mom's notes on our visit. Nick, Jenny and Brian visited around 7. Nick's notes on our visit.

9/20/02: I met with Dr. Schiff this am; he thinks that either the radiation therapy or my biking has been reducing the incision scar tissue. Dr. Keohan mentioned that she recently spoke with Dr. McKhann, the neurosurgeon, who mentioned that he might drop by. She made it sound like he would be dropping by that day; maybe, he did and I forgot.

Karen visited, and we talked about her recent interviewing. She is not sure if she should be a get a full time job, or a part-time one.

We left the hospital at 10:45 or so. I was quite wobbly on my feet; I'm surprised they let me walk out. On the way home, I had my first hallucination. I pretended that I was asleep 'cause I thought if I told Tom, he would turn around and bring me back to the hospital. I saw aliens driving in the cars beside us (which, in itself is weird since I'm night blind). Since I knew that we had an alien problem, I spent the 40 minute drive developing mental lists of important things to do when there are aliens in your neighborhood.

Copyright 2003 The Shriver Family: Last modified: 01/06/04.