After the Friday chemo session, where I was lethargic, I got a fever. At home we measured anywhere from 100.2-100.8 on our home thermometer, so took a shower, took my temperature again (just to be sure) and headed to the hospital emergency room around 6:30pm. When I checked in a few weeks before, they only put “rash” on my symptoms, and I was skipped over by the nurse judging the severity of the cases (the intake lady refused to write leukemia and just said to tell the nurse). So, this time, I had them write “leukemia chemo fever” to be sure I got the appropriate attention, and they suggested I wait in the (empty) pediatric waiting area. Thankfully, it was maybe 15 minutes before I went back to one of the ER rooms (no nurse intake station before going back).
Once back, they took my vitals and pretty much started me on sepsis protocol. Don’t google it, you’ll think you’re set to die at the hospital based on a bacteria infection in the blood. Now, I told everyone I just finished chemo, I have leukemia, yada yada and this is the best the ER doctor on a Friday night could come up with, so everyone went with it. Also had a temp of 101.8 in the ER too. Pumped full of antibiotics and slow drip of fluids when not getting antibiotics until Tuesday afternoon when they changed my meds. The various sepsis medications gave me fevers and were later changed to see if they went away, which they did.
I kept asking them to notify my oncologist, but kept getting the run around (nurse: the doctor needs to consult them; answering service: the doctor or nurse needs to call so we can notify the on call doctor). Saturday around lunch I listened to my voicemail, which thankfully one of the doctors from the oncology practice left her personal cell phone for me and I called her to let her know I was admitted to the hospital. Within two hours (finally), a doctor from the oncology practice came by, saw me, and had Neupogen shot ordered to my daily regimen. The shot is supposed to help my white blood cells recover from the chemo – if I was supposed to be low for 20-days, this would make it only 10-days. Problem is, no one knows how many days you’ll be low [right now, I’m on day 10 now and still scheduled for shots this week].
The week went by relatively uneventful, various doctors filing in and out (oncology, hospitalist, infectious disease, etc). By Tuesday evening, they changed my medication and my fevers finally stopped. Wednesday I was feeling better and finally on Thursday I was starting to ask more questions. I asked the oncologist, if I didn’t have a fever, would my regular oncologist have sent me to the hospital with my (expected) low blood counts? Since I still hadn’t had any fevers, on Friday, my blood work still was wavering but didn’t seem to be going any lower, and I got the OK to release me. Glorious words since I could be sitting around at home, but do admit I needed to be there the first few days. A short 5-hours later, I was finally released, and took the most refreshing shower in my own house!