My, oh, my, how things can turn on a dime. Yesterday, things are humming along, with all of my testing done but two which were to be completed today. I was on the fast track to approval and commencement of stimulation injections, which is the first phase of the stem cell transplant process. I felt like a million bucks and was over the moon about hanging out with Team USA (Jeff & Tammy). I come back to my room, had a fab talk with Dr. Fedorenko, he leaves, and it all went down hill from there…
First, came the scratchy throat, then, the stuffy nose, then, the sore throat and ear, then, difficulty swallowing, then, the cough. I managed to sleep from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.. When I woke up, I was in a hurt locker and was soooo thirsty. I go out to the water cooler by the nurse’s station only to find that it was empty and there wasn’t any available on other floors. You can’t drink the water out of the tap until you reside on the isolation floor where all of the taps are on a filtration system. I had a headache and felt like my scalp was inflamed. No problem! I’ll just take some Tylenol. With what?!! My spit?!! Yes, I could have tried to swallow them without any liquid, but, it would be just my luck that I would choke on them and they wouldn’t find me until the next morning. I can see the headlines, now…”Pennsylvania Native Travels to Russia for Stem Cell Transplant, Only to Die from Tylenol Overdose!!” So, I thought I would just suck it up until the morning, which I did. Well, by daybreak, not only did I have all of the aforementioned symptoms, but, at that point, the lymph nodes in my neck were sore, my jaw bones were sore and my teeth. Yes, my teeth. Did anybody see a bus with a big dent in the front of it that strangely resembles the shape of my form??!! That was me…roadkill!! It’s important to note that the last time that I was sick (with the exact same thing), was a little over three years ago, and, then, maybe four years before that. I RARELY get sick. I messaged Tammy who is upstairs in the isolation rooms and who is more in tune with Dr. Fedorenko’s schedule. I asked her if she thought I should send him an e-mail to let him know that I’m sick and to see if he could check in with me sooner rather than later (not that it’s ever later…the man always seems to show up at the right time). It just so happens that he stopped off to see Tammy when he got to the hospital and she put up the smoke signal for her ailing American comrade and the next thing you know the good doc is standing in my doorway with a mask on and his stethoscope in hand to listen to my breathing (it was normal). It was obvious from the hoarse sound of my voice, stuffy nose and visible weakness that something was up. Good news?!! I did not have a fever. Bad news? He had to cancel my “breathing” tests for today, as they would not be accurate. He said that it was something bacterial and proceeded to give me a box of pills to take immediately, tonight, and tomorrow morning. He said that I would have to take them for the next 2-4 days. Of course, in the back of my mind, I’m terrified that this would lead to me being disqualified from treatment. I just kept saying “I’m so sorry…I’m so sorry”. He’s a man on a mission, and, like me, he likes to stick to a schedule. He was very understanding and said that none of us can predict our health, and not to worry about it. He continued the conversation by saying that “When you get up to Jeff’s room…” (I will be staying in the same room that he did). When he said that, it made me think that short of the two tests that I have left to take, and kicking this nasty little medical roadblock, that is was very promising that I would get the green light. He did not come right out and say that, but technically, he’s really not supposed to. A girl’s allowed to dream, right?!
Mom visited today, armed with paper towels, napkins, Kleenex (my nose was already raw from the TP), and wash cloths (they are not provided here), and, of course, a Coke. It’s 6:36 p.m., here, now and I’m feeling a lot better. BTW, the doc attributed my abrupt decline in health to lack of sleep and the stress of traveling. I’ve made a decision to completely turn my phone off during my sleeping hours. I usually put it on vibrate and then lay it on my bed, however, I have it set to tell me if you’re flipping a light switch on in Arkansas, so it makes for a very disruptive night. I can’t help it! I don’t want to miss anything or anyone!!
Before I sign off, I wanted to share something cool from today. When the nurse came in to give me my pillbox and thermometer, and get my height and weight (I’ve lost three lbs.), her phone rang. Her ringtone was “Whistle” by Flo Rida. Crack me up!
It’s time for me to get to bed and for you all to let me sleep on it…baby, baby, let me sleep on it. 🙂 Oh, here’s a pic of my pillbox. I’m assuming that’s my name written on it. I think it looks fierce! 🙂