Body Betrayed | Body Disabled

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Weekend in Nashville -- Cathy's Blog

We have been in Nashville since Wednesday. My last plasma exchange will be on
Monday, followed by Chemo. Then we get to come home! By Monday, they will have exchanged 31 liters of plasma in and out of my body. What fun!

Cathy's Blog 

Wednesday--December 04, 2013

Hello from Vanderbilt! It has been another long day. It was a very foggy drive and there was a horrible accident that blocked all lanes of the opposite side of the interstate–a car drove under a tractor trailer that was parked on the shoulder of the road.

When we finally arrived at Vanderbilt, we had to drive around the parking garage several times to locate a parking place. We do not valet park when we are here for the week, since I make daily trips to the car for supplies. We found a place in basement parking; Iwould rather have ground level. I moved the car several hours later to a better location.

Our first stop was Endocrinology for an 8:30 AM appointment. Kerry was scheduled with Dr. A.U. next week, but since we were coming this week she wanted to test blood that had not been “plexed.” Our second stop was admissions. The clerk did not give Kerry an arm band, stating, “I will send it on up to dialysis,” which made no sense since he was being admitted. Kerry told her he was heading to radiology for a procedure and asked, “Don't I need the arm band?” She said “no.” When we arrived at radiology, the clerk asked, “Where is your arm band?” Kerry said, “they sent it upstairs.” So, he sent me to admissions to get the arm band. The clerk also came up there to make sure they gave it to me. Inner office confusion I guess.

They finally took him around 2:00 PM to insert the vascular catheter. The ten minute procedure took longer than usual because they could not use the vein on the right side of his neck. The vein was scarred and narrowed from past surgeries and was a little “wonkie,” (medical word meaning not straight). At this turn of events they had to rearrange the operating room, moving the tables, and x-ray machine to his left side. He now has his first vascular catheter on the left side of his neck.

He arrived in dialysis and plasma exchange was started at 3:00 PM. The process took a little over three hours. The Dialysis department has been moved to the seventh floor and each patient is in a semi-private room. The tenth floor dialysis room was like a ward, big and open, which I think most of the workers liked best. I liked it as well. Our room is on the seventh floor and is a short walk from dialysis. The room is in the organ transplant area and is a great room. The Lord was very gracious to us, since the room is large for a hospital room and I have a chair bed instead of a lounge chair to sleep in.

Those who follow Kerry's blog, will remember the chemotherapy (with some modifications) has kept the anti-body that his body keeps producing, somewhat at bay. Which means he has not been admitted to the hospital for almost one year–a blessing from the Lord. It was becoming more and more apparent to Kerry and myself that he needed more plasma exchange. The doctor wanted to wait until after the November chemotherapy to see if he that would get him over the hump. Kerry also wanted to wait until after Thanksgiving as well. The November treatment did not have the results we wanted. Kerry likes to wait as long as possible before he schedules a plasma exchange, but we both knew that waiting any longer was not really an option. Putting off a treatment too long just makes him feel worse during the exchange process. Chemotherapy is scheduled before we leave the hospital so he will not miss his December chemotherapy.

We learned the hard way to bring his medication with us each trip. He can use his medication until the pharmacy gets the medication order from the doctor. If it is a really busy time, it can take awhile to get the medicine to the floor. Getting his medications set up at the hospital is lots of fun for the hospital staff since he has so many medications.

Thursday—December 05, 2013
This was first time Kerry has ever been accused of looking like a model! As they were rolling him to dialysis he was propped up on one elbow and had one leg crossed over the other. The nurse said, “You look like a super model propped up like that.” We all got a good laugh. Tuesday morning Kerry returned from dialysis around 11:20 AM. During the plasma exchange, the neurology team made rounds, performed the usual test and asked the usual questions.

There are premedication orders for zofran and Benadryl at the beginning of each plasma exchange. Sometimes Kerry needs extra nausea medicine during the treatment. Today, was one of those days, but it was not on order. In the past it was a standard order. Sometimes the doctors do not order nausea medication, because they do not expect him to need it. Just because it may be ordered one day, doesn't mean it is available for the next. The nurse called to get permission to give the medication.

After we returned to the room, he sat up in the lounge chair to rest, since lying in the bed all the time is tiring. He was not feeling well, and had a headache and felt feverish. These symptoms can be typical for him after a plasma exchange. The doctor ordered an intravenous “migraine cocktail” for his headache and he began to feel better. During the night he had some chills and slight fever.

Friday—December 06, 2013
Kerry has completed his treatment for Friday and things went well. He had a good bit of swelling in his legs and in three days has lost ten pounds due to the exchanges. The nurse came in and commented that the room smelled like Christmas. I guess it was the orange he ate before lunch. He finally received a dinner tray at 1:10 and it looks fairly good. Doctors are happy with his improvement at this point. Kerry's breathing is a little better, but he gives out of breath just walking to the bathroom. His headaches are still an issue. Dr. C.L. thinks we may need to look at nerve block injections for the headaches if they do not resolve in a few weeks. The current plans are for plasma exchange on Saturday, rest on Sunday, then plasma exchange and chemotherapy on Monday before heading home.

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