Aug 15, 2022 – Rather than wake to the sounds of Scott shuffling around at 6:30 a.m. and the smell of freshly brewing coffee, I woke abruptly to the sound that I have been dreading. The sound of vomiting. Since I was a child, the sound of vomiting has been extremely disturbing; maybe it is for everyone. But nothing prepares you for a bowl of green to black liquids; the reality that the medicines they are pumping through his veins are lethal. You see the nurses handle the triple bagged products while wearing gowns, double gloves and disposable eye glasses; telling signs of the seriousness of what he is taking in.
Last night I reached a point where I felt comfortable leaving him watch television; figured I would get a little exercise and fresh air. I headed to the courtyard and phoned a couple friends. Returning to Seven West, refreshed and baring gifts of Raisin Bran and instant oatmeal, I find the room a flurry of activity. In the 30-40 minutes I was gone, his temperature had spiked. Combined with a sore throat and climbing blood pressure they felt cultures and a chest ex-ray were necessary to make sure that his lungs were staying clear. That led to him nearly passing out and having severe abdominal pains while in ex-ray. The doctor was called and did an assessment and he went to bed with a few more medications. All things they claim are very common and part of the process. As the chemo attacks the cancer it causes different flair ups for each person. They do consider him orthostatic which means that his blood pressure changes (in his case increases) greatly when he changes positions – stands up – so they label him as a risk for falling and don’t want him moving around without assistance.
The nurses have been great and mixed in all the seriousness and caring we have managed a few laughs. As the masked nurse was just doing her handoff this morning, she asked if there was anything else she could do for him and Scott heard something more like was his diaper ok. Obviously, somewhere in the back of his mind he must be fearing the need to wear a diaper before this is over. You probably had to be there to appreciate it. It was a pleasant change from the last 12 or so hours before.
To help combat the restlessness and feel like I am making a difference, I agreed to take part in a caregiver study while I’m here. It will consist of taking some surveys and wearing a Fitbit, which I can keep. They are studying the effects of positive reinforcement for the caregiver as it relates to the patient’s recovery. One group will basically get the Fitbit and be left alone and the other group will take part in activities. Guess which one I am hoping for? I’ll learn more about this tomorrow when they officially get me signed up.