This is all trickle down effects of the chemo. I still don’t feel any cancer, which is fine with me. As far as we can tell the cancer is under enough control that we can afford to liberally spend our time on dealing with my infection, and it was effects from the infection that put me here on Monday evening.
I’m allowed to walk around the floor now. I wear a mask because my white blood cell count is low. That’s probably the effect of the chemo, and with the lower white blood cell count came an opportunity for the infection to grow a lot and put me here.
Cancer > chemo > white blood cell reduction > good environment for bacteria > me sick as a dog. I have a term for what those chills are now too. It’s called “rigors” and I was “rigoring”. That’s where the body reacts to the bacteria in the blood to try and kill them, and that always starts with a fever. But if you’re at a normal temperature and the bacteria count spikes how do you think the body will raise your temperature enough to fight the bugs? By shivering violently, often with vomiting. Every one of my “rigors” had to do with a spike in the bacteria count in my blood. It’s actually not that uncommon. It does mean that if someone near you starts shivering uncontrollable and all the other stuff, check their temperature. You should see a spike at least to 100-102 degrees F. Take them to the hospital.
We also know more about the abscess. The bacteria has been identified and a likely antibiotic has been matched to it. The good news for that is that it’s an oral antibiotic so I won’t have the fuss & muss of keeping an IV going at home. Remember, because it’s an abscess the treatment has to be stupid long. Way more than for a simple non-abscess infection. Kids with repeated tonsillitis usually have an abscess, and since they are so easy to reach, they are removed. Mine’s behind the liver, hiding like a slimy, low-life coward, so we have to go after it the hard way.
I’ll be here until Saturday probably. They want to cut the bacteria load significantly before sending home. Fine with me. This is a good hospital with good people and my room is enormous.
They’re look for certain other low probability side effect too, just in case. Getting good blood measurements is getting complicated. My platelet count appeared very low this morning but that may have been caused by the heparin they put in the power port after access to keep it from getting clotted up with blood, so we just took another one after a couple of saline flushes. They are also watching my power port to see that it isn’t a source of infection either. Yesterday they drew blood for culturing from a vein in my left hand, far away from the power port. That should show a difference if the port is infected itself.
My blood pressure has been pretty low that last couple of days too. Likely due to dehydration. They’ve pushed 4 “boluses” into me in the past 24 hours plus I’ve been sipping ice water at a rate of at least 2 liters per day. It goes down so well! Since I’ve started walking again things should firm up in that area soon enough. Apparently I didn’t have enough potassium either, so just took a few supplements and reminded myself to have a few bananas.
I feel like I was working out with weights today also. Those rigors are a pretty full workout. Glad they seem to be over.