Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chemo, Week 12

The van came to pick us up at about 9:15 this morning for our appointment at the Valerie Fund Center. The Wife went to services this morning while we went to the hospital. My father and niece met The Boy and I at the center; they arrived about 15 minutes before we did. We arrived at the Center at 9:45-ish.

They took The Boy's vitals (temperature, blood pressure, weight - 23 pounds, 15 ounces) and hooked up to an IV fluid and Zofran, which is The Boy's anti-nausea medication. They took some blood to get his counts as they accessed his port to get the IV started.

It's kind of interesting, actually. When I take The Boy into the examination room, he starts to panic a little bit. He knows what usually happens there. The playroom is fun, and he has no problem whatsoever when he's in there. (As a matter of fact, it was quite amusing. He was a one-man wrecking crew in there; no toy was un-played with by the end of the day. And, the cute wooden toy train playset was completely demolished as in a Godzilla-attacking-Tokyo manner.) But, when we enter the exam room, he gets clingy and grumpy. When the nurse comes in, he starts to panic, and when he gets laid down on the exam bed, he freaks out entirely.

This, I'm not happy about. He starts screaming, crying, drooling and snotting. It's really quite difficult for all of us; the natural human response to a crying baby is to pick him up and soothe him. The response in that situation is to hold him down and stick a needle inside his body. This is not fun. We access the port with the needle, the nurse sticks in saline solution and works it in and out of the body (until a solid blood flow is created), takes two things of blood and attaches an IV tube. The tube gets taped to his body at the source and pinned to the inside of his shirt.

We went back inside and played for a while as we waited for the blood counts to come back. This took about an hour or so. As it turned out, his blood counts were still quite low. His hemoglobin and platelets were fine, more or less. His white counts were lower than they wanted, but the doctor decided to go along with the chemo. The "big" drug (the dactinomycin) does not suppress the white cells at all, and the chemo winds up being once every three weeks from this point forward. So, once the drugs arrived from the pharmacy (they don't order the drugs from the pharmacy until the counts come back, because the drugs are so potent and dangerous), they gave it to him.

The shuttle was an hours' wait from that point, which was annoying. But, he played for a while and snuggled for a while. The chemo drugs start to slow him down almost immediately, so he did a lot of slow moving stuff during that time. When the shuttle came, we loaded up and went home, and he slept for a few hours once we got home.

It's a long, hard day, to be honest. It's difficult to be there for him the whole time and to be strong for him. I wish that I could get through this without the amount of stress that I'm having.


Diaper Hell tonight. We're on "even plus 30" - next change at 12:30.

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