Karen's High Dose Chemo Diary
1st Day in the Hospital
To: wellness <
Subject: 1st Day in the Hospital
From: Harry Patterson <
Date: Mon, 01 Feb 1999 22:33:07 -0500
It was a long day for Karen today. Fittingly, it was raining and cold which provided a good reason to stay indoors. At 12:00 noon we arrived at the hospital to check in for a series of procedures. We began with admissions since she would be be admitted for her HDC after receiving her other procedures. In our hands was the Health Care Power of Attorney which they have told us is necessary in North Carolina even if you have one in another state. We might be able to do without it since I am the spouse, but we wanted to ensure all bases were covered. We were told at the clinic to just show the form upon check in and they would produce the Notary Public and the two witnesses to make it legal. The admissions people knew nothing about the process.
After admissions, we went upstairs to where Karen will spend the next 5 days to see if anything needed to be done before her new catheter is put in. They checked her weight and height and then asked if she had on any jewelry. Karen indicated only her wedding band that doesn't come off and they said they would have to cut it off if she couldn't remove it. She was instantly crushed and the look on her face must have told the story because the nurses instantly tried to console her. It seems someone had to have one cut off this morning due to the swelling from all the fluids. We left to go back to Radiology and Karen stopped in the ladies room and with some soapy water and some incentive was able to successfully remove the ring on her own (a feat she has not accomplished in years). After several minutes of calming words and hugs we moved on to the Vascular Radiology department. Two hours later she had finally gotten a chest x-ray and an ultra sound to ensure her clot was not causing problems for the operation. An hour late, we moved to pre-op to find the same crowded small room and the same overworked nurse from two weeks ago. Let's just say Beaufort Memorial should be very proud of their facility and the personal care they provide. No one in Radiology could help with the Health Care Power of Attorney either.
Her operation went much better than the last one and she was quickly admitted up to her new room on the 9th floor. The entrance to the 9200 wing has a series of 3 doors that remind me of the old Get Smart TV series. Each one is opened by a push plate on the wall and are placed every 20 feet or so down a long hallway to help keep out germs. Each room is pressurized so that as the doors open the air escapes out rather than in to help prevent germs. She settled in and was put on whole blood (her first of many, many transfusions). By this time she was a little depressed on how the day was progressing and obviously nervous about the days to come. Her first chemo begins at 8:00 AM tomorrow and will given 24 hours/day for the next 3 days. On the last day she is given a chemo so strong that I am not allowed in the room until 4:00PM so that they can watch her closely. By 4:00 it is all over for treatments and she will supposedly start feeling much better. She will be discharged on Saturday to the Hotel and receive her Stem Cells (bone marrow cells) on Sunday. I left the room at 9:30 with Karen much calmer and the Power of Attorney still on her night table waiting to be notarized, a small thing that just seems more than it is when things seem out of your control.
I'll be in her room by 8:00Am tomorrow. Even though she will sleep most of the day from sedation and treatment, I'll feel better keeping a useless eye on her.
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