As I mentioned in my last blog post, I was admitted to the hospital for a persistent fever on August 13. They put me in an isolation room (nobody could enter without a gown and gloves) because my blood counts were really low. Since they had no idea what type of infection I had, this was for both my protection and for the protection of staff and visitors.
After my admission, the doctors immediately began drawing blood cultures to try to figure out what was causing my fever. They also gave me a ton of broad-spectrum antibiotics to see if they could kill whatever was causing the fevers.
While trying to keep my fever under control, the doctors kept switching my pain medications because they needed acetaminophen to treat the high fevers; so they had to find pain meds that didn’t include acetaminophen because too much can cause liver damage. So pain control was an ongoing issue throughout my hospital stay.
To make matters worse, between the fevers and the new narcotics, I was beginning to hallucinate, so I started sending garbled text messages to family/friends (or accidentally calling people while dozing off then quickly hanging up when I realized I wasn’t trying to call anyone). Friends and family members were sort of freaking out because I was rarely checking my e-mail, text messages, or Facebook, so they couldn’t reach me. At the same time, they were getting these crazy messages.
Oddly, I knew I was hallucinating most of the time it was happening. Several times, I caught myself having conversations with people who weren’t in the room. It was all a bit bizarre.
While all this was happening, I was having trouble eating, partially because of the pain and partially because dietary kept sending me things I probably shouldn’t have been eating despite specific dietary orders from the doctors. As a result, my doctors were afraid the food might be going into my windpipe instead of into my stomach; so they sent me for a modified barium swallow.
The dietitian who did the test said I failed miserably and recommended I stop eating completely and be put on a feeding tube. I wasn’t sure that was okay with me, although the alternative would have been to quickly put my affairs in order and go home on Hospice. But after going rounds with my husband (who was willing to accept any decision I made but who also wanted me to get the feeding tube), and my doctors (who insisted the tube would only be temporary and we would continue to do the throat surgeries to help re-open my esophagus), I agreed to the surgery. The tube was inserted the next day.
Before all of this was over, I had spent two weeks in the hospital and still had no explanation for what had caused the fevers (my discharge paperwork said, “Small cell crisis”).
Right now, I’m working on follow-ups. As of now, I have throat surgery scheduled for September 9 and chemo scheduled for September 12-14.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading my blog. If you’d like to help me with my battle with cancer, please go to https://www.youcaring.com/julie-mears-henry-495041.