After a couple of days of pumping me full of antibiotics and fluids they decided that whatever had caused the fever had passed and the sent me home.
The rest of the week was about learning the message of pain management. I’m used to thinking of pain as a transient phenomenon that will go away in some relatively short time. But in my current situation the pain will not go away until the treatment is over, so the trick is to learn how to live with it. The combination of narcotics (oxycodone in my case) and topical anesthetic mouth rinses every few hours make it possible to keep the pain at bay, at the cost of being rather spaced out (the docs made a strong point of telling me no driving while using oxycodone).
Yesterday (Sunday) I checked back into the hospital for the third week of the combined chemo/radiation treatment (out of five total – getting there!). I wasn’t feeling great when I checked in, and sure enough it turned out that I had a fever again, along with some low blood counts. I spent last night getting pumped full of more antibiotics, idly
watching snoozing through the Oscars (Billy Crystal again?), and once the fever had come done they started giving me a couple units of blood. This is the first time I’ve ever had a transfusion – there’s something a little creepy about the idea, in a vampirish sort of way, but I’m trying not to dwell on that!
Hopefully they’ll get me back within normal ranges this morning so they can start the chemo and radiation today. And I’m hoping that having missed a night of chemo doesn’t mean I have to spend an extra night in the hospital before going home at the end of the week. In the meantime, I’ve got some work to do, season 1 of Portlandia to watch (as well as the season finale of Downton Abbey which I missed while in the ER), and some new tunes to listen to (Miguel Zenon’s Alma Adentro, Oz Noy’s Twisted Blues, and Lee Morgan’s Cornbread).