Friday, February 26, 2010

Medical Adventures of the Extended Chapman Family

(1) Brother-in-law Joe is expected to return home tomorrow from Duke hospital where he had resided for the past couple of weeks, recieving a new pacemaker that hopefully will prevent exciting cardic events like the one that precipitated this hospitalization and the one several years ago at Thanksgiving in Charlottesville, VA.

(2) Last night Jake began to experience falling spells. Several for unclear reasons that seemed to be due to his hind legs collapsing. This morning the dogs and i visited the vet, where both dogs received baths and returned home smelling better. In between baths Jake consulted a vet who thinks his difficulty staying on his feet is probably due to arthritis in his right hip and possibly also a disk problem in his back. He returned home with new pain medicine that is stronger than before and is now sleeping very peacefully, and apparently without discomfort.

(3) Louisa got a phone call in the middle of the vet visit telling her to report to Northside hospital for a type and cross (laboratory testing necessary to match a patient to donated blood to enable a transfusion). Leaving Jake and Balsam in the good hands of the vets and groomers at Vernon Wood Animal Clinic, I did. When I returned the doggie x-rays were finished, the medication perscribed, the baths finished. Balsam, true to form, howled continually whenever he could not see Jake. Fortunately I was mostly at Northside and missed all the fine sound effects.

Tomorrow at 10:30 I return to Northside to actually receive the transfusions. Meanwhile i type despite the multiple little gauze pads taped to my hands bilaterally. Having a port does not always mean people use it for blood drawing, and my veins are not so hot.

Well, tomorrow my hemoglobin (the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen and therefore supplies energy to all cells in your body) will hopefully rise above the 7.7 it was yesterday (about half what it is supposed to be) and based on past experience, I will emerge a new woman with renewed energy. which hopefully will last long enought to allow me to catch up on all my paperwork, filing and bill paying.

Did I mention that I am ready for this to be done? But really I should not complain. Things have gone very well to date and Monday I start the 5th and next to last cycle.

(4) the numbing and tingling in the tips of my fingers and toes suggests that I am beginning to experience some of the peripheral neuropathy (irritation of the nerves at the ends of my limbs) that sometimes accompanies this form of chemotherapy. Usually this goes away when chemo is over. Meanwhile my doc says taking Vitamins B12 and B6 may help.

Did I mention that it is more fun to be a medical provider than to be a medical care recipient? But overall, no complaints. After the visit from the extended Ark Walker clan 2 weekends ago I now have a shorter visit from one sole member of the Ark Walker clan (cousin Robert's son Nathan) who has been wonderful about hauling out my trash, lifting Jake in and out of the car, bringing me Chinese take out food and ice water and other such things. Can't complain about getting waited on hand and foot now can I?


  1. Oh, Louisa. You are being such a heroic good soldier! I am in awe of your fortitude and good cheer during these incredibly trying circumstances. Know that you are constantly in my thoughts.


  2. Gina-

    I am constantly amazed by the information you bring into your blog - most recently the "beading for a cure".

    I have really appreciated your support. Talk about good soldiers...