Today is Tuesday, September 8, 2015, and we've been in the hospital for two weeks and one day now. This is the first opportunity I've had to sit down for a few hours and throw together a blog to keep family and friends updated.
You would think that being in a hospital 24/7, we would have lots of extra time on our hands to write emails, blog, talk to family and friends, etc, but the reality is that we have very little time on our hands these days.
There are constantly doctors and nurses coming and going in and out of our room at all hours of the day and night. We've been lucky enough to have friends and family flying in from around the country to visit us as well, so there has been a steady influx of visitors. We've been moved to 7 different rooms so far between the ER on day 1 to our "home" in the "1 North Wing" to ICU and back down to 1 North again.
We've been seen by 4 oncologists, a dozen or so nurses, an ICU specialist, an Infectious Disease Specialist (who's monitoring Matt closely because he has no white blood cells at the moment and no immune system to fight off any infection, virus or anything else), a "Hospitalist", countless phlebotomists, vascular nurses, lab technicians, and probably half a dozen or so other hospital staff that I can't recall off-hand.
Between hospital staff and visitors, we're almost never alone, and there's never a dull moment as new tests and lab results are constantly rolling in. His daily blood tests tell us whether he needs more blood transfusions, more platelets, more potassium, more (or different) antibiotics, or a dozen or so other things.
He's had several blood transfusions now and a bag or two of platelets. He's gone through a week of "induction chemotherapy". He's had CATscans, x-rays, a PICC line inserted into his left arm, and more drugs than I can count.
In between visits from hospital staff and visitors, we try to get some sleep, but sleep doesn't come easy these days, and the nights are constantly interrupted by fevers of 103-107 degrees F (39-42 degrees C).
I know what you're thinking: "I've never heard of a human having a 107 degree fever and living to tell about it." Yeah, neither had we, and neither had the hospital staff, but Matt managed to battle a persistent 106-107 degree fever for a few days and won the battle! He is seriously the strongest man I've ever known and I've never been more proud of him!
His scary-high fevers landed us in ICU for a few days, where all they could do was pack him from head to toe with ice packs, ice blankets, ice-cold washclothes, IVs, antibiotics, anti-nausea meds, and countless other drugs, where he shivered and gritted his teeth through the fever, fighting as hard as he could and never once complaining.
He's managed to knock the fevers down to a consistent 102-104 degrees! A 102-104 degree fever may not seem like something to celebrate, but when you're facing 107 degree fevers, getting it down to 102-104 is a HUGE success!
He's lost about 15 or 20 pounds since being in the hospital, and he's currently too sick to stand on his own or sit up for more than about 30 minutes at a time. He battles with rigors (violent convulsions from the fevers) and the first day of chemo, his reaction was so bad, they called a code red and the entire emergency response team was in his room in a matter of seconds. That was the first time I wondered if we'd make it through the night.
Last time he tried walking a few steps, he passed out. This was the second time I wondered if we'd make it through the night. I was the most terrified I've ever been in my entire life.
His legs started to give way underneath him, and as I tried to steady him, his eyes rolled back in his head, he fell against the door behind him and slumped to the ground, completely unresponsive. I sat in the bathroom holding him and trying to get him to wake up before running into the hallway and screaming for help. The nurses immediately called in the ICU staff, and the doctors spent the next couple days trying to stabilize him.
Every day is a battle and we never know what the next moment will bring, but he has been fighting through each day with such incredible strength. It's truly awe-inspiring, and I couldn't be prouder to call this man my husband. We know we will get through this, but we know we have a tough road ahead.
Each day we hope for a better day tomorrow, but our motto for the time being is just:
"Each bad day is one step closer to a good day."
We just really wish the good days would hurry up and get here already.