“I’M HERE TO WIN.”

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Well, we’re back in Chicago this time, until it’s done! This time I was able to bring Liz and Olivia with me, and that was nice. As soon as we landed, my brother-in-law Leo picked us up and took us back to their place. We were able to take a good nap, and then eat a wonderful dinner. After dinner, they drove us down to our hotel and downtown Chicago, and I was feeling pretty sick, so I went straight to bed. I actually barely remember checking in! I was worried about this, because with chemo in the morning, I didn’t know if they would still go through with it or not if I was sick.

Mobilization Chemo Day:

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Well, it’s finally here! The day that the real stuff starts, and the actual procedure starts to take place. We woke up, crossed the street, and ate a quick breakfast at Dunkin Donuts. Poor Olivia spilled chocolate milk all over her pretty little pink jacket! I felt so sad for her. She had such a sad face. From there, we walked over to Prentice Hospital, which is part of Northwestern Medicine. We went to check in at the front desk, and I told them I was there for chemo. They sent us up to the 4th floor, but when I tried to register there, they had no record that I was supposed to be there, so we went back downstairs to the front desk and tried again. Once they found out that I was going to be staying the night, that changed everything, and so they notified the 16th floor, and we got things moving correctly.

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After awhile, they came and got us, but in the elevator they told us that they were screening the 16th floor for anybody with any kind of sickness or symptoms. Unfortunately, Olivia has had a runny nose all morning, and so I had to say goodbye to Liz and Olivia right there, and they were never able to come to my room with me. This was really a sad moment. I wasn’t expecting to have to say goodbye to them in the hallway, but its only for 24 hours, so it’ll be ok.

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We went through a bunch of locking doors, but needed clearance for opening just to get to my room. The whole floor has to be kept sterile, because all the people who are on chemo, and have little or no immune system. Every time a nurse or doctor enters my room, they need to put on a new gown, mask, and gloves and when they leave, they have to throw them all away. Anyway, once I was in my room, they started taking my blood and doing other tests, because they were worried about the cold I had earlier this week and also because I was still coughing a lot. They even brought in portable x-ray machine and did a chest x-ray, but all things looked good. Oh, almost forgot to mention the swab they put way up my nose and the other one they did on my rectum! (Not the same q-tip!!)

They also have menus, so when I’m hungry, I just call room service and place an order, and they will bring it up. For lunch, I had chicken pot pie and chicken noodle soup and I gotta say for hospital food was great!

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I had a lot of down time waiting for them to start the chemotherapy, so I took a couple naps and watched a little TV. At one point, Dr. Burt came by to say hi for a second, and one of his nurses came in and asked a lot of questions and started me on some antibiotics. My chemo was scheduled to start at 4:00, so they started an IV drip to keep me hydrated at about 2 o’clock, and at 3:30 they started me on another IV that would protect my bladder from the chemo. I guess one of the biggest risks of the chemo is a bladder infection. I also received a lot of medication to keep me from getting nauseous. At 4 o’clock my nurse, Connie, came back in and started the chemotherapy, and it ran over a course of about 2 hours, and so far so good, I have not been nauseous yet. They did give me a diuretic injection right afterwards and I was peeing every 10 minutes for a couple of hours. They really want to make sure you get that chemo out of your system! They came in at 9 o’clock and gave me is a diuretic again that had the same result, but it’s slowing down, so hopefully I can get to sleep soon.

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They told me I will probably get released from here between two and four o’clock tomorrow. The complicated parts are done, and now it’s just a matter of staying hydrated, and making sure that my bladder flushes everything out. Tomorrow, I will start neuprogen shots, which I will be on for 10 days. These shots will drop my stem cells out of my bone marrow and into my bloodstream, so that they can harvest them before the transplant. I need to come up with two million stem cells in order to go through with it.

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I talked to Liz, and it sounds like she and Olivia had a good day at the Children’s Museum and walking to Millenium Park. I’m glad that they have plenty to do while I’m in here. I think it’s a lot more fun out there than it is in here! Anyway, that concludes Mobilization Day One.

11 pm update: I started getting nauseous around 10:45 p.m., so I had the nurse come in and put a shot of Zulfran into my IV, which stopped that, and also they gave me an Ambien, that I took once the last of the diuretic wore off. I slept better than ever, despite them coming in and checking my vitals, and even sticking me with another needle to get some blood. I barely have any memory.  I love Ambien!

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