Friday, September 18, 2009

Well, crap...

Ok. So Nick had labs drawn Thursday morning. Earlier in the week, his white cell count was 13 - WAY healthy! By 2:00 Thursday afternoon, it had dropped to .6 and his ANC was ZERO! He stopped by the house to pick up his antibiotics and head out to the Dew Tour with his buddies anyway. He only got as far as Salt Lake City and decided to head back home. He called to tell me he didn't feel too well and didn't want to risk getting an infection before the big trip to Las Vegas on Friday. By 5:00 p.m. he called to let me know he had a low-grade fever - 100.4. Anything above 100.3 is automatic trip to hospital (neutropenic fever is dangerous, let alone not having a spleen). I called Nurse Katie and she said to wait it out a bit and anything over 100.6 with Tylenol or 101.0 without Tylenol should merit a trip to the hospital. At 9:00 p.m. his fever steadily climbed to 101.0. We made the call to Huntsman and the oncologist on-call got a bed ready at our familiar 4th floor second home. While we were packing, commercials aired on tv for the Mayweather vs. Marquez fight in Las Vegas. That knife twisted in the heart for sure.

As we dinked around for the next half hour, his fever dropped to 100.3. Nick decided he would wait it out at home through the night on his own, monitoring his own temp. He called the oncologist at Huntsman, who promptly chuckled at the mere folly of this idea and "highly discourage you from staying at home tonight". The doctor is right, of course - without any white cells to help fight off any infection, Nick could be come ill with a virus that could turn lethal in a very short amount of time. We made it to Huntsman by 11:30 p.m. Thursday night. I swear, as soon as our feet hit the Huntsman property, Nick's fever vanished.

Fast forward 12 hours and Nick is on iv antibiotics; fever is still gone, however his counts are still critical. We got up early in the hospital and he had his regularly scheduled ct scan of his abdomen done. We met with his surgeon, Dr. Mulvihill, who declared Nick's abdomen nice and healthy, ready for radiation treatment next week. He also had to have a chest xray and ekg to rule out pneumonia and heart damage (heart is the first to get weak when an infection shows up). 4th Floor entourage of docs have locked Nick to the hospital and won't even consider letting him go until his counts come up, hopefully by tomorrow morning. Nick is enormously disappointed.

He rebounded fast, though, and I left him a couple of hours ago with him eating pizza with Mark & Ty. His sister Carly and fairy godmother Jennie also visited today.

Before signing off, here are a couple of stories I'd like to share about Nick.

About a month ago, Lee and I were talking to Nick about a workshop exercise where people would take their troubles and deposit them into the middle of the room. They could then come up and pick up someone else's troubles and leave their own behind. Result of exercise is that most people end up picking their own troubles again because they always seem workable when compared to others. Nick commented quickly that he would leave his behind in a heartbeat. He thought it through for a couple more minutes, then he said, "But that would mean someone would have to take mine...I wouldn't want that." This was a proud maternal moment, I have to say.

The second story happened on Monday when he had to get his tummy mapped for radiation. He had to strip from the waist up, lay on a table with his hands over his head and they would place a drop of ink on his tummy where they wanted to pinpoint the radiation beam and pierce his skin with a needle - yep, a radiation tattoo. However, when they were checking out their accuracy and Nick was under the machine from waist up, the young female assistant delicately came over to Nick's side and said, "Nick, sorry but we are going to have to take your pants off." Remember Nick has his hands up over his head with his body in a machine and can't see what is going on. He just replied, "Oh, this is so going in my blog..." The young assistant just giggled and she unbuttoned his pants (undies still on, thank you very much). Nick would holler at her, "Awkward!" Nick told me, "It wasn't good for the self-esteem, Mom, when she giggled." We had to go up to Clinic E and he couldn't wait to talk to his nurse buddies - Vanessa & Kelsey. He asked them, "Hey, is that normal protocol?" and they both vehemently shook their heads, "No, Nick, they aren't supposed to do that!" and then laugh themselves sick, especially when Nick concluded, "I think that girl owes me money!" My goodness...

Stay tuned - pay per view, it looks like. Thank you for the effort, Michael Rouse, you're a great friend! Hope you guys have a blast!

1 comment:

Chris Ulvin said...

Dear Nick,
I enjoyed your company for dinner on Wednesday and at the hospital recovery room Thursday morning after your dad's hernia surgery. In hindsight, places you shouldn't have been with your counts at .6 and ANC at 0. I'm thankful you listened to your body on Thursday afternoon and went home. I give God thanks for His protection over you - 24/7. Especially when your aunt isn't protecting you. Love you much, aunt Chris