Aug 302016

Julie ENTToo much has happened over the last few weeks to give you a complete update, so I’m just going to do what I can to hit some of the highlights.

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

 Posted by at 6:10 pm

  5 Responses to “Fevers and narcotics do not mix”

  1. I love you no matter what. A few years back I went.through the hallucination thing with my mom. Sometimes I was a child, some times I was an adult and once I was Amish, who know. It was kind of scary to sit next to her and not know who I was going to be to her when she woke up. But the neurologist explained to me that this was a normal function under the circumstances and it was to keep the brain from being damaged whIle she was trying to fight off the infection in her body.

    Still I had the neurologist check when she finally came out of it to make sure there was no brain damage and there wasn’t! Still I am sure it was scary for those who was there with you.

    I also want to thank your sister Theresa who Text me and probably a lot of other people to let us all know what was happening.

    • Yes, Teresa has been a huge help. I had way too much content for this post to include everything she’s done to help. I’m planning a couple of additional follow-up posts as soon as I get the time.

  2. Funny that you were hallucinating yet aware of it. Maybe that’s why you have such a radiant smile in your photo.
    You are incredibly brave. It must be a Kansas City sort of thing. As your sister would say, “What choice do I have?”
    Looking forward to your posts in early September.


  3. I agree with Gina. I love you no matter what! You have been through so much! Big hugs! Renee

  4. […] few days after my last hospitalization, I went in for my 5th surgery to dilate my esophagus so I could get back to eating again. The […]

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