Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just Do It


The whole question today was, would the hospital have a bed for Sue to check into on 11 Long? We were to call after 9 a.m. to see. Sue's been increasingly nervous and nauseous thinking about the Melphalan part of the STC.

We ate breakfast at the Reverie coffee shop. Initially I confused the word "reveille" with "reverie." Reveille seems like an appropriate coffee shop name -- the "wake-up bugle call coffee shop." Reverie, it turns out, is even more appropriate to this day. It means "a state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing, e.g. lost in reverie," or "a daydream."

After coffee and eggs at the daydream coffee shop Sue called in to see if she'd get checked in today. The charge nurse was busy, so Sue left a message and we drove to the beach. We walked out on a sandy hill overlooking the breakers and saw two whales spouting off and cruising south to north not more than 50 yards off shore.

We drove back along the south side of Golden Gate Park. Clearly there is a big event going on there today, with traffic controls and staff posted at every entrance and people making their way into the park. All we could make out from the signs was that it would be some kind of a music and art festival. Sue was still nervous so I suggested she call in again. She did and they told her to report to admitting on the first floor.

Admitting was a long process, but now she's in "her" bed, bed number 1 in room 1151. The room has a great view overlooking San Francisco. We can see Golden Gate Park, Presidio Park, the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, the financial district, the bay, the whole caboodle. Sue's got the inside bed, though. She has a room-mate for the next two days, then she'll be moved to a private room.

So far we've met Lindsay (that's Lindsay with Sue), the R.N. assigned to Sue and three other patients for the next four days, and Dr. Joy Hsu, a doctor working with Dr. Wolf's patients and the primary RX administrator. 11 Long has it's own pharmacy. Get this, I calculated this morning at the Reverie that Sue's been taking 54 pills a day!!! A pharmacist's dream. Hsu is prounounced Sue. It's a good omen. Joy Sue. Nice.

While we were out tootling around the hallway we ran into Dr. Wiedewilt, the doctor who first interviewed Sue on her first visit to UCSF. He was making some rounds on 11 Long. Dr. Wolf just popped in a few moments ago. He's working on the calculations for Sue's Melphalan dosage. Sue's nervous and nauseous. She wanted to call one of her friends but she was afraid she'd cry so she didn't do it. That's o.k. The staff here are all very nice.

There have been about 4 or 5 other medical staff in and out of Sue's room -- including an x ray tech who took a chest x ray, and a lady who just came in just to measure Sue's wrist for the calculation of how much Melphalan to administer. The calculation Dr. Wolf is making takes into account height, weight, and apparently wrist circumference.

It's 3:30. Dr. Wolf says they'll start the Melphalan soon. They refer to this moment of administration of the Melphalan as "T minus 2." What that means is, it takes about 2 days for the drug to work itself out of Sue's system, or for her system to work the drugs out. That day is called "day zero" because that's the day they administer the previously-harvested stem cells. The actual time for that is whenever the blood tests show that all the blood cells have died.

From there they count days upward as Sue's body works to heal itself. Well, she's still nervous and nauseous. I guess here's where Mark W's advice kicks in. The best way to accomplish a hard job is to just start it. Or, as Nike puts it: Just Do It.

1 comment:

  1. She looks so blue! Thanks for the thourough update!

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