Friday, February 29, 2008

Thank God for my benefit plan

Left home yesterday in loads of time to get to the hospital a little bit early. Anna had left my car at the gas station, so I walked down there to pick it up. Minus 30ish overnight. Locks on the car were frozen. Walked back home to pick up some lock de-icer. Walked back to the gas station, de-iced the locks, climbed in and drove off, only somewhat late now. Got to the hospital, and into the lab. Waited long enough that the receptionist apologized, saying that she hadn't, "done one of these before." Then off to the oncology room to wait for the results to come in.

It took a good while for the results, and I was starting to get antsy about my timing. Usually if I get to the lab by 8:30, I can get out of the hospital by 4:30. I was a good hour late by this time. Finally the blood test results came in, and they weren't good. My white blood cell and absolute neutrophil counts are low. Lynn tells me though that this is good news, it means that Dr. Herst has me on just the right dose of chemo. If my counts had bottomed out in the first few rounds, that would indicate too high a dose. If they hadn't bottomed out at all, that might indicate too low a dose. So she seems to think that my cancer is having its ass kicked, to which I concur. However, she'd have to call Sudbury to get permission to continue with the treatment.

It took another half hour to get the answer back from Dr. Herst--go ahead with the treatment, but come back in tomorrow for an injection to boost my blood counts. Good news, and time to start the treatment. Not so fast....

Now I had to call my insurance company to make sure they would cover the injection, which apparently is quite expensive. After some backing-and-forthing we found out that the drug is only covered if I give it to myself--not if it's administered in a hospital. Well, for that kind of money, I can surely give myself a shot! I'll have to get a dose of this after each treatment from now on.

Now it was time to start my chemo, at 11:00! I was sure I wouldn't get out before 6.

The treatments went smoothly. My chemo-buddy was there, but he was well ahead of me. I snoozed through lunch due to the Benadryl. After lunch I had a visitor from Temagami, a friend who's wife is dying of cancer. She's in palliative care in another wing of the hospital. I'm glad he dropped in for a chat. Also looked like he needed to get out of her room for a bit, remove himself from that experience for a few moments.

Dr. Pariag came in for a visit in the afternoon. We chatted about my insomnia, and he convinced me to go home with a prescription for a sedative. I picked those pills up today, but am hoping to not have to use them. I've found that curling up to a heating pad puts me right to sleep when I start staring at the ceiling at 3 am.

Lynn did get me out of there by 4:30, I don't know how she did it but it wasn't by running my IVs wide open.

Of course, Anna's in Toronto and doesn't at all like me being alone on chemo days, let alone driving myself home. So she arranged for her friends Jayne and Leslie to carpool me home. Lynn got a chuckle of that, me being picked up by two women while my wife's away in another town! So they brought me home, made me some tea and sought assurances that I wouldn't get up to be a Busy Bob after they left. After finishing the tea it was a simple dinner and off to bed by 9. I had one of the best sleeps I've had in awhile, right through to 7:30, with the exception of an hour of tossing and turning, solved by the aforementioned heating pad.

This morning was spent in household chores. Our neighbour Erin (with the 15-month old twins) called to say she was going up to New Liskeard for some errands, did I want to carpool? Of course I did, so Erin and I were off to the north, with the girls in the back seat for their afternoon nap. Picked up my injection ($2,800!) and headed back to have Lynn instruct me in its use. I asked her, what would happen if someone needed this drug but did not have it covered by insurance? She said that they would get it, eventually, perhaps in a month after having gone through a lot of paperwork. To me, that's not right. If someone needs the drugs today, they should get them today, not in a month!

Lynn monitored me for an hour afterward, to make sure there would be no adverse reaction. All was fine, so we headed south again. Since returning I've simply been futzing away the afternoon. Am hoping for another great night's sleep.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Hi Bob, hope your chemo went well, I feel like I haven't seen you and Anna in forever. Hockey is almost done ( two weeks to go ) when our arena life is done we will have you over for dinner and chicken foot, would love to see you both. Chat with you soon, Kim