TB was admitted to the hospital on Monday, November 23. We went to the E.R. rather than to his oncologist because that’s what the oncologist’s nurse suggested after I explained over the phone how the weekend went. Of course, she agreed that he should have gone in over the weekend but with some people like him (stubborn man, grrr…), they won’t go until they’re ready.
I was concerned when the nurse took his blood pressure in the ER, it was 89/65. Yep, you’re reading that correctly. It didn’t surprise me because it was already apparent that he was light headed and feeling faint, but it still concerned me. Plus his pulse was running high.
He was brought to a cubicle and told to put on a gown, he didn’t want to but the nurse told him he had to. She then took a lot of blood, checked his b.p. regularly throughout the E.R. visit and kept on him about providing a urine sample. I think many people don’t have a problem with urinating until someone wants a sample, I swear all the plumbing stops, of course that’s what happened to him! Murphy’s Law. He was finally able to provide a sample after an iv drip of a full bag of saline (a liter) went into his system and he had eaten and drank more fluids. They also took an x-ray of his chest because his breathing wasn’t as deep as it could be on the right side (not a surprise, that’s where they performed a procedure last year called pleurodesis, to drain fluid from the space around his lungs), but they couldn’t say positively whether they were seeing a touch of pneumonia or if it was scar tissue from the procedure. They started an iv of antibiotics while still in the E.R. and would continue them about every six hours throughout his entire stay (they eventually decided to officially admit him and he was brought to a room in the late afternoon).
The doctor who came to his room to review his information and his admission data told us that cancer itself can cause fevers. That was a new one one me and frankly, I think the fevers were due to an infection. She did say he likely had some kind of infection but it was unknown what specifically it was. His calcium level was high too, so he’d be getting something for that as well. When I left he was in the process of ordering dinner and settling down to make phone calls to his friends.
What was odd was that the next day when I talked to him on the phone before going to the hospital, he sounded worse than he did when he went in. In fact, on Monday by the time he was brought to his room, he was sounding downright chipper. So I don’t know if it was the antibiotics or what that changed things. On Wednesday, the day he was discharged, they had to give him a transfusion again so that meant he was anemic. They also gave him medication for the hypercalcemia while he was there but I never got a straight answer on exactly what he was given. Usually he gets Zometa.
He was glad to be home on Wed but he was seriously wiped out just from using the walker to go from his friend’s truck into the house. Then Thanksgiving Day we thought we’d be having a gathering with his daughter and her husband plus TB’s former wife at our house. I had to cancel though because he was simply and thoroughly exhausted. I started thinking he’d have to go back in the hospital but when they discharged him they said “All of his levels, blood cell count, blood pressure, calcium, etc, are normal, there is nothing else we can do here for him so he can leave now and get back to his routine.”, I disagreed but had no justification to argue.
His former wife, B, is a nurse and she agreed to come over on Thanksgiving and see how he was doing. Both to reassure TB and to reassure me. He was running a fever, 100 degrees, and seemed a bit out of it but he asked for some Mountain Dew and he started to wake up more and become more alert. B gave him a bit of a backrub and scalp massage and he really enjoyed that, she also did a little healing touch therapy. He was definitely feeling better when she left.
On Friday TB’s daughter and son-in-law came over with a Christmas tree for us. Our tradition since we met has been to go to a tree farm and cut down our own Christmas tree. K & J were kind enough to get one for us and bring it over. They visited for a while and so did TB’s former wife, B. I left at one point to go shopping for a printer cartridge as I couldn’t print without it and had homework to do, and B gave TB another healing touch therapy session while I was gone.
When I got home TB was napping but woke up and said he felt much improved. Since then he’s been in pretty darn fine form – his appetite has been crazy good (no arguments here!) so the infection must be on its way out.
The sun is out today and the Christmas tree is in the stand in the living room sucking down water like it’s going out of style (that’s a good thing!). I have school this afternoon and TB has a doctor appointment, and when I get some from school I’ll start decorating the house. Beginning with decorating the darn near perfectly shaped Christmas tree. I’ll share a picture here when it’s done.