Friday, December 11, 2009

Day +2

I still have very low counts and now I'm starting to run fevers. A fever is the body's normal reaction to having no immune system; basically it does whatever it can to keep you from getting sick, like running fevers to cook out any bugs that might (or rather, will) get inside and infect you. When you start running fevers they test for any infections and immediately start antibiotics and antifungals just in case you have caught something and need help getting rid of it. They rarely do find any specific infection, but when there is no immune system, it is much better to be safe and throw broad spectrum treatments at the mystery fever than to just wait around to see if there is actually something there.

Counts:

WBC: 0.6 (this is not an actual increase, probably due to normal variation in the blood sample)
HGB 9
HCT: 26.3%
PLT: 43

There is an Amish family getting treated here. Actually there are apparently two families (according to one nurse who tells me things) but the other family is finishing treatment at the outpatient clinic. I am fascinated by this on so many levels. First of all, just the fact that they are Amish is very interesting. It's a way of life that is completely, radically different from what the vast majority of people in Western, developed nations lead. Imagine cooking without a food processor? Or farming without tractors? Or how dark the house must be in the winter when the sun goes down at 5 PM and you can only use candles for light?

Then of course there is the fact that these poor families have been thrown into a situation where they have to take part in a way of life that is so different from what they are used to. I had to look up what Amish regulations are on the use of modern medical care, and apparently it differs from community to community. I think it's wonderful that these families have chosen to seek modern medicine for their children, but it must be traumatizing on so many levels. First of all, the shock and trauma that comes from having a child with cancer, and secondly going into this world that is completely different from yours. Wow.

When I walk by the room the lights are off and the television is not on (although I heard that the other Amish boy getting treated here was really amazed by the television and turned it on as soon as he was in his room. Kudos to his parents for letting him watch TV!). Interestingly, they are in a double room, and I really couldn't figure out why until today. I mean, you'd think that in the case of an Amish family they would really try to give them a private room because of the cultural problems that might arise from sharing with another family. I think though that I found out why they are in this room. It's a very large room and there are windows all along one entire wall, so there is a lot of light in the room. Of course in the winter that doesn't mean a whole lot after 5 PM but I wonder if they requested a room with good lighting?

During my last transplant I read Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult, which is about an incident in an Amish community, so it's kind of funny that during my second transplant I'm actually with the Amish.

At least I have something to interest myself with while I'm stuck in here, right?

6 comments:

Loislane said...

I read that book! And I love that you managed to write a blog post that provides an update on blood counts as well as highlights the trials and tribulations of the Amish without missing in beat - in under 500 words no less.

---Yael

(PS: I know its kinda weird that this is also signed Loislane - created the account during a superhero fetish a few years back)

Erica said...

This doesn't have much to do with your post (except for the books part):

if you want extra reading materials, we're getting rid of a bunch of books (mainly crime thrillers, but probably other things too). I could ship some of them to you as a present ...

Email me at ejohnson at wickedfrenchkiss dot com if you're interested!

Sevonne said...

I'm a big Jodi Picoult fan in general. Read most of her books though some are definitely better than others. You have to let us know if you learn more about how the Amish get by at the hospital.

Take care of yourself and take all the antibiotics and antifungals they prescribe.

Hang in there!!

Rose said...

Sounds like your body is doing what it's supposed to do to keep you safe. Keep your chin up girlie :) you're awesome.

There is a large Mennonite population in Northern New York. It's a common sight to see a horse and buggy on the road. They have their own school and are occasionally in the news for things like house fires due to no smoke detectors or other "see what happens when you don't embrace the 21st century" judgements. Kind of sad.

au soleil levant said...

Yael - I was wondering who Loislane was! You are sneaky!

Erica - ooh, what a nice offer! Thank you, I will email you at some point (I have very little concentration or patience for emailing these days, so it takes me a while to get to it

Sevonne - I haven't read many of her books, but the ones I've read I've really liked. Which is your favorite?

Rose - that is sad that the local media can't just accept their choice of a different lifestyle. Because we need a little more intolerance in the world.

As always, thanks for all the support.

Zhu said...

I find it great that they are ready to seek modern medicine and leave religious beliefs on the side for the sake of their kids. I'm always mad when I hear about some beliefs which don't allow blood transfusion etc., especially when parents make the decision for their kids.

Haven't read any Jodi Picoult books, although I have heard of her. Do know Marian Keys? She is a great writer, her books are very good to take your mind out of something.