Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day one & two of Chemo 1.4

So runs chemo stage one, cycle 4. This is a carboplatin (the one he gets over six hours) chemo on Friday and Saturday, and etoposide on those days and Sunday inclusive. Etoposide is the drug that requires blood pressure checks every fifteen minutes because it can cause a serious drop in blood pressure. That hasn't been a problem yet, even though The Boy is still on his blood pressure medications.

So far, it has been a pretty uneventful chemo for him and for me. I dropped them off at the hospital on Friday morning - I sacrificed my now-normal Friday morning practice time to go to breakfast at the diner. That was annoying because I actually had to get up to get another cup of coffee - a major no-no when you want a nice tip from Musical Daddy. I drove them to the hospital at that point, which was a mistake because I wound up being late to school. Next time, I think we'll have breakfast in the hospital cafeteria. That way, I can leave the hospital fifteen minutes earlier and make it to school on time. They checked in without major incident and got settled in room 4201.

I hate room 4201 as much as I hate ... um... I think it's 4210, the room next to the other door to the step-down wing. I hate those rooms because of the sound of the doors opening and closing at all hours of the day and night - and the doors to the outside are LOUD. Particularly if the departing party isn't smart enough to have the nurses let them out. Then, a loud alarm sounds and a voice says, "Door will open in 30 seconds. An alarm has been sounded and security has been notified." They have that, I suppose, because - even though the kids are supposed to be secure - emergencies happen. The nurses will rarely close the doors to the rooms, which means that these sounds echo through everything that happens.

I arrived at the hospital at around 5:30, roughly at the same time as my wife's parents. I was delayed because of impromptu meeting / conversations with my supervisor and colleagues at school. Grandma was bustling about, doing the Grandma thing, and Grandpa was doing the Grandpa thing.

I definitely appreciate and am continually amazed at the level of support and help that my wife's parents give us. Don't get me wrong. I love it and appreciate it more than words can say. But, when there are four adults and one toddler, I really feel superfluous. I know that The Boy loves me, and I know that he knows that I think he's the greatest guy in the history of the world not named Joe DiMaggio. I treasure all the time that I can spend with him, but there's only so much that can be done in a small hospital room, already crowded with an adult-sized bed and a hospital crib, with four adults.

So, I stuck around until a little after 8 o'clock. I played with him for a while, ate dinner with him and shared a treat or three. (Yesterday, I took off from recording my food in the food diary, and I'm reasonably sure that I hit the no-no mark of 3,000 calories without breaking stride.) I did get to see him push himself up to standing without grabbing onto anything, which was awesome. I got to see him do some coloring, which is always cool.

The first day of chemo, for obvious reasons, is always the easiest. He's not bored of the hospital yet, and he's not bored with his hospital toys. He's excited to see Grandma and Grandpa and not angry at the nurses yet. The drugs aren't affecting him yet. No problems were reported.

The Wife and I left at around 8 o'clock and went home for the evening. I exercised, then we watched Battlestar Galactica. Best show on television, without a doubt.

This morning, I went to region band auditions. The region band consists of grade 6-8 players from central New Jersey. They audition on scales, a prepared piece and sight-reading. The best players are selected to form a band, which meets four or five times under the auspices of a great conductor and educator. The concert is a fun cap for a great educational experience. I had six students audition today. The directors help out at the auditions to make the process work. I arrived there at 7:45AM and left at around 1:30. I went home to shower (lots of sick and coughing people) and change clothes, then I headed to the hospital.

Wanna hear something weird? The Starbucks in Millburn doesn't brew decaf after 12:00PM unless specifically asked to do so by a customer. I am not a Starbucks fan, but I have, like, $75 in gift cards from students and friends, so I am temporarily a Starbucks fan. Besides, I can speak Starbucks when I order - "Venti half-caf with room for milk" means half regular-half decaf, large coffee, with a half-inch of room at the rop. I would stop at the Millburn Starbucks instead of the Springfield one because it's a more convenient location; but, the four minutes that it takes to order (plus the inconvenient walk from the nearby parking lot to the store), makes it too much of a time-waster.

I arrived at the hospital at about quarter to three, and The Boy and I enjoyed a snack of "ips" and "dip." I know I'm not supposed to encourage "ips" instead of "chips," but it is SO darn cute! Kind of like my niece, "J" - she used to say "Pasketti" instead of spaghetti. It's very funny to watch The Boy get a chip out of the Pringles can - he reaches in up to his shoulder to reach the bottom of the can. After our snack, we enjoyed some crazy baby time while I chatted up the Chai Lifeline volunteer, R. She's nice and The Boy seems to like her. The Boy finally settled down around 4 for a nap, and everyone but me left. I napped with him until 5.

Neat feature of the new iPod: it's got a mini speaker inside of it, so no headphones are needed to watch a television show at a low volume. I watched the end of an episode of "Legend of the Seeker" and the recap episode of "Lost" that ran two weeks ago. At this point, The Boy woke up and Grandma and Grandpa came back.

He saw his dinner (no comments about the ineptitude of the dining services person who couldn't pull the table bottom out without wrecking stuff AND THEN walked all over The Boy's playmat) and wanted some, but freaked out and pushed it away when we served it to him. Now is the point that he's getting nauseous - it's Day Two of chemo, after all, and carboplatin is nasty stuff. Grandpa and I cleaned the playmat where the idiot walked on it (okay, I lied about the comment bit), then the two of us left.

Grandma reported that he threw up a bit while taking his medicine, which wasn't a shock. He sometimes does that when he's NOT feeling nauseous already. I did a couple hours of schoolwork, then run some and blogged. I'm going to be asleep by midnight, I hope. See you more tomorrow.

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