Monday, February 18, 2008

Another Monday, Another Treatment

I thought I'd give you a peek into the world of inpatient chemo while we're living it.

Jacob's treatment protocol calls for two weeks in which he receives outpatient chemo followed by one overnight stay. Today is our overnighter. We didn't expect to be here until tomorrow, what with today being President's Day, but they called Friday afternoon and asked if we could come in this morning. Jacob and I stopped at McDonald's for breakfast and were admitted by 9:30.

Admission is to ICS (Immuno-compromised Service) which is where we spent our first four difficult days in January. It's on the 4th floor of the hospital, tucked away with the Infant Surgical Unit and the NICU, safely out of reach of more contagious patients. We feel almost at home now and we're always happy to meet new nurses and doctors and techs.

Admissions always start with accessing the port. Then he's pumped full of fluids until he pees to their satisfaction. Labs are also drawn to make sure his blood counts will support chemo. After four hours (on average), chemo begins. First they give Zofran to prevent nausuea and vomiting. Then they give Vincristine (which is the outpatient drug and is pushed in just a couple of minutes). Normally, this is followed by Dactinomycin, but we're skipping that drug while he's in the midst of radiation. Next is Mensa, a drug to protect his bladder from the effects of Cytoxan.

Right now, 3:30 p.m., he's in the midst of the Cytoxan. That will take an hour or two to administer. Then he'll be given more Mensa and lots more fluids to help move the drugs through his body.

We're actually hoping we might not have to stay here tonight. Because we were here earlier than normal, there's hope that, once the final mensa is given, we can go home. We'll still have to get him up every two hours at home to pee (and make sure he isn't bleeding from the Cytoxan), but Jake would much rather go through that at home than here. I must say I agree. Our fingers are crossed that all will go well and we'll wake up in our beds tomorrow morning.

How do we entertain ourselves, one might ask? Today, it's with the DVD player. First we watched Disturbia, a contemporary teen version of Rear Window. Jake got it for Valentine's Day and was anxious to have me watch it. I liked it. Especially because I watched it in daylight and not in our dark basement. For the last three hours Jake's been watching various episodes of The Supernatural, a contemporary youthful version of The X-Files.

As for me, when Jake isn't sharing his viewing with me, I've got my laptop (obviously), books, and my writing notebook. So I'm good :) Better, in fact, than Chris, who is entertaining the little ones all day. Send a kind thought his way.

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