Monday, May 26, 2008

Following Orders

Yesterday morning, after my 8:30am radiation treatment, young Dr. Loiselle, the resident on call (who we found out today is 32, which doesn’t make either of us feel like quite the underachievers 38-year-old head-of-the-department Jason Rockhill does), came to check on me and see how I was doing.

I explained that I’d had one of my Zofran when I woke at 4am—I’d felt a bit oogy in the tummy—but it seemed in keeping with the slight discomforts I’d expect from my current regimen so I wasn’t worried. “Okay,” he said, “that’s fine. But what would you do if you threw up this evening?”

“Um . . .” I said. “Well, usually I just throw up in the morning, and usually it’s just kind of bile . . .”

“But if you were to throw up this evening, what would you do?”

I looked at him blankly for a minute. Then suddenly something dawned. “Oh!” I said, “I’d call you, then go to the ER.”

“Right,” he replied. “Very good. It was a test. Anything unusual, you call me and go directly to the ER, and I will make sure they’re expecting you.”

So this morning, even though I had a Zofran at 6am when I woke, I still felt a little nauseas at 7:30, and I was, sadly, unable to avoid a somewhat lavish puking then, right when I was planning to take a shower and ease into my morning before my 10:00am radiation.

“Ian,” I called from the bathroom, “get Dr. Loiselle on the phone. We have to go to the ER.”

The concern, of course, with an unexpected puking, is that one of the tumors in my head is swelling a little and could put me at more risk of serious things than I am in already, or that I will need a shunt from my pate to my abdomen, because the ductwork already in my skull isn’t sufficient to reduce all the extra liquid. But as it turned out, the extra brain CT was no less normal than before (radiation has a cumulative effect, so I’ll get another diagnostic test in about a month and expect some significant changes then), and my responses to the varying choices of the neurological test (“Squeeze my fingers. Stand on your toes. Follow my finger with your eyes, without moving your head.”) were as fine as usual. I’ve been eating lots of rich food this weekend, with a house full of excellent cooks who have all made themselves conveniently—blessedly—at home, and yesterday I started up quite the regimen of stool softening, so it seems likely that I was merely experiencing some guts response as opposed to a brain response. At any rate, Dr Loiselle pointed out that we are playing with fire here, and it was good to be near the fire extinguisher, and he complimented us on our excellent following of directions.

It is nice to live 7 minutes from the hospital, and it was glorious to arrive back home at 10:20am, after my morning’s radiation, to a living room full of dear friends (some of whom have left now, alas), and a table laden with doughnuts and fruit salad. I’m not sure Top Pot is really what I need—physically—in my current state, but boy did it hit the spot.

1 comment:

Sassy Glasses Girl said...

Top Pot Doughnuts???!!!! That does it. I'm coming over!