Thursday, August 6, 2009
Rough. That's the word. I would say that our day has been a rough one.
They gave Tanner a dose of melphalan yesterday and it was really rough on him. He's been sick to his stomach and vomitting (and has had hiccups all day). It was not good timing for him to have to endure the placement of the line in his chest but they inserted it this afternoon. So now, not only is he sick and hurting in his right hip from the bone marrow the other day, he's also now hurting in his chest.
Both of these initial doses -- the valcade and the melphalan -- have just been trial doses to see how Tanner's marrow reacts to the drugs. The real chemotherapy begins tomorrow.
We are going to start the day with another bone marrow aspiration at 8:30 a.m., followed by chemotherapy, followed by the appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. I just hope he's not throwing up again. It's not fun for him to be wheeled around in his wheel chair having to stop so that he can be sick, much less the time spent in waiting rooms.
We have been told that the chemotherapy that Tanner is going to undergo is one where they will hook a satchel of the drugs up to one of his lines and he will wear it for 24 hours. The nurses assure us that this will be less stressful on Tanner's body than having it dripped into him via IV over a period of 5-6 hours at the infusion center.
This week has been pretty stressful with the fact that the doctor's office hasn't been communicating with us what our appointments for each day are going to be. Tanner and I will go to the hospital for what we think is going to be one or two appointments, only to have a nurse at the hospital tell us we have other procedurs that Tanner needs to do. Then they have to call the doctor's office and check and then we spend hours (I mean anywhere from four to six hours) waiting on the doctor's office to get the correct orders over to the hospital.
I don't know what is going on with this lack of communication. By today, Tanner and I both were expressing our frustration to the nuses at the infustion center that we have been the ones who have had to ask the doctor's office what has been planned every day - and then have to wait on them to get it ordered - rather than the doctor's office ordering the tests and procedures and letting us know the schedule.
The nurse at the doctor's office called me this evening and told me she had heard we have had a bad day and wanted me to know that after this week, things won't be so hectic and they will have Tanner on a schedule. I truly hope so.
She went on to ask about his nausea and told me that she would call him in some nausea medications and wanted to know where I wanted to pick them up. I told her since I was grocery shopping (for bland food) at WalMart, could she call it in there. She said she would and wanted to know which one. I told her the cross streets of the WalMart close to the apartment and she called back and left a message that the meds had been ordered. I went to the pharmacy and they said no meds had been called in and that she must have called it in to the WalMart about ten miles down the road. I went to that WalMart and still no prescriptions. They got on the computer and said they couldn't find a prescription for Tanner at any of the Little Rock WalMarts.
The PA at Dr. Barlogie's office gave me his cell phone number and by this time I was in tears and called and left a message informing him that Tanner is throwing up and had been all day and I don't know what pharmacy they have called Tanner's medications to. Of course, I haven't heard back from anyone and now Tanner is just going to have to make it through the night without the nausea meds. We do have some Ativan which, though a nerve pill, does help with nausea. He took one before bed so hopefully he will have a good night.
You can already see the "look" on Tanner's face (if you click on Tanner's picture above, you can see the look I'm talking about). That look you see on the other chemotherapy patient's faces all over the hospital, and he's only been given the trial doses of medication so far. I can only imagine how hard this is going to be on him. Luckily, he is keeping his good spirits and told me that he knows he's going to have to hurt before he gets better.
After the initial round of vomitting in the parking garage this morning, he put his head on my shoulder and cried. He knows that worse is to come.
He told me just wait until we see Dr. Barlogie again. He wants to tell him that they need to work on their communication skills because their lack has caused what was already going to be a stressful week, to be much worse than it had to be. I know that they have a huge load, but you would think they would have a more efficient system in place.
Anyway, it's getting late and we have a full day tomorrow so I'm going to try and get some rest. I will check back in tomorrow to let you know how things are progressing.