Thursday, April 25, 2013

NIGHT FEVER

Better Days - East Coast Summer 2010
A few days after my collapse in the hallway, I developed a bad cough and a high fever.  I went to bed that night hoping that the fever would be gone in the morning.  I’m optimistic most of the time.  Quite positive actually.  I think that’s what really helped me through this up to this point.  Humour also helps and I think the combination of humour and a positive attitude goes a long way when it comes to dealing with crappy situations like cancer and other things.  It certainly can’t hurt and I strongly believe that these two things assist in healing and recovery more than some give it credit for.

So much for the positive vibes because the next morning my fever wasn’t gone.  In fact it was worse.  I was instructed by my oncologist that if I ever got a fever that I had to go directly to emergency at the hospital or to the cancer centre.  I had no choice now so Mike took me to the cancer centre in the morning right after the kids left for school.  I had to get some blood work done to see what was going on.

My Father's Garden - Summer 2005
As it turned out, I had a condition called neutropenia which happens when the body makes too few white blood cells.  This is caused by the drugs being used in chemotherapy to treat the cancer.  It is one of the most serious but common side-effects of chemo.  Basically my neutrophil count (that’s the part of the white blood cell that fights infection) had dropped down very low.  Well okay as low as it gets to a level of 0.0.  That’s pretty low.  I was sent to “stretcher bay” at the cancer centre.  That’s the place where I often saw the “really sick people” when I didn’t look away in time.  I usually put my blinders on at the cancer centre because I just never wanted to look around and see all of the patients that were there in varying stages of various types of cancer.  All ages, shapes, sizes, religions, ethnicity's, etc.  I had become “one of those people” in stretcher bay.  I was in the place I tried so hard to avoid looking at but at the same time my eyes would be drawn there.  Like a car accident when you’re on a road trip.  We never want to see it but we all slow down and look anyway.  Why do we do that?  Do we think – thank God that’s not me??  Yeah now it was me.

The nursed informed me that they had no choice but to admit me to the hospital.  They could not send me home in this state.  Basically I had no ability whatsoever to fight infection and they needed to get me back on track.  This came as somewhat of a shock for me because I only showed up with my little purse assuming that I’d have some tests and then go back home.  When I asked how long I would have to stay in the hospital they figured it would be for several days.  Several days?!?!  What on earth were they talking about?!?  I only had my purse with me for God’s sake!  I wasn’t prepared for this.  What about my kids and my family?  How would they get along without me at home to look after things and keep everyone organized?  I couldn’t just stay here without anything but the clothes on my back and my little purse.  However, I had no choice in the matter.  Plus, I think this was a bit of a relief for Mike because then he could be sure that I was getting the best care possible.

Oh yeah, since I had a cough they were making me wear a mask over my face.  That is the hospital policy since the SARS scare in 2003.  It was really horrible to have to wear a mask and really degrading.  I just wanted to hide from everyone and anyone that might look at me.  Or who tried not to look at me.

Night Fever - The BeeGees

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