Yesterday, I felt great. I woke up early, got a bunch of stuff done and felt ready to conquer the world, albeit from my bed. I even did yoga for a few days this week. In the afternoon, I felt a little sleepy, so I took a nap. Then I took another nap. By the time I woke up at 6, I had the chills and felt a little achey.
I took my temperature and it was 100, then 101, so I called the doctor. I had hoped he would just tell me to take more of the antibiotics I had on hand, but the doctor wanted me to come in to urgent care with the possibility of being admitted to the hospital since my white blood cell count is low and I’m at high risk for infection. So I packed up my bags and we headed to the hospital, about a week and a half sooner than I wanted to return.
My white blood cell count was 1 on Monday and now it’s hovering around 0, meaning I am neutropenic and have no immune system to speak of. It’s what they had expected after the augmented ICE, and the shot I was given on Friday hasn’t kicked my white blood cell count back up for some reason.
The good news is that they didn’t detect any virus activity, though I’ve been sniffly the past few days. After waiting in Urgent Care, I finally got an X-ray and got to my room around 1:30 am. I tried to keep in mind it’s always better to wait in Urgent Care than being rushed in as an emergency. My boyfriend offered to stay, but sleeping on an uncomfortable pull-out chair among all-night beeping machines is no way to get proper rest. I sent him home.
This morning, I got the verdict: I probably won’t go home until Sunday, or at least until my blood counts are back up. They don’t want to send me home just to have me return. This is a pretty common thing after augmented ICE chemotherapy, so I just have to bide my time until I can return home. Although I’ll be turning around and coming back here next Friday if everything goes as planned for my second round of augmented ICE.
The hospital is full of surprises. When I took a shower, I came back to find my bed made. It was nice, like going to the bathroom at a restaurant and finding your napkin folded upon your return. Later on, the nurse came in with a Lovenox blood thinner shot and I remembered that it stings a little bit, so that was a less fun surprise.
I like this room better — the bathroom is probably one square foot bigger and it makes all the difference. Also, I’m at a slightly different angle than before — the A side of the room versus the B side, so I have a nice view of the Queensboro bridge. But as I told a friend who stopped by earlier, I think I’m on a less fun floor. My last floor when I was here for the ICE had an activity center with movies, crafts and live entertainment. This floor is quieter, and I don’t think they’re as enthused to have me walk around, since I’m at risk for catching everything. That’s OK — I like my quieter bit of real estate.
The good news is that I will have the opportunity to try the Maryland crabcake and the Nutella and banana crepes during my stay. There’s also a make-your-own sandwich option, and I was going to try to get three fillings and four cheeses on one sandwich or see if the kitchen would make a giant Dagwood, but now I can space out my sandwiches.
I’m on a low microbial diet to avoid any potential pathogens, because of my suppressed immune system. It’s pretty much what I’ve been following while eating outside of my home during chemo: No deli meats or cold cuts, no raw fish and no raw fruits and vegetables (except for self-contained bananas and oranges).
I’m also not supposed to have mold-ripened cheeses, and while I haven’t had any raw cheeses for months, I think I’ve been living dangerously and eating Brie, goat and blue cheese. (Oops.) I’m also apparently not supposed to have frozen yogurt, but it’s not the ’90s, so I should be OK. (People keep telling me that frozen yogurt is making a comeback but I don’t believe it.)
For now, I bide my time and hope for an uneventful stay. I still feel a little sniffly. The internet connection here has been a little spotty, and this prevented me from taking an important Zimbio quiz on which ’90s boyfriend I would have. I will do my best to make it to Sunday in such conditions.