September 8, 2008

So yesterday we touched down at the hospital and got myself admitted. Almost immediately we were told that my floor was still under quarantine for parainfluenza. (I say "stlll" because it had already been under quarantine during our August visit—this is one persistent bug.) That meant I had to say goodbye to my family before I went through the doors.

Observations about my room: My room is only slightly smaller than the rooms I was in before, but the amount of usable space is about the same. The view is great. (The windows face south.) The bed doesn't have as many controls. There's a clock on the wall. There's a slightly beaten-up La-Z-Boy, but also a stool. There's a fridge next to the bed, about 32'' high x 20'' long x 20'' wide. I've got the usual side and night tables. I have my own shower in the bathroom.

The first nurse I had during the day was surprised that my chest catheter was a Broviac (a reaction that has been repeated several times since—they're not that common around here), and changed the claves—the blue rubber caps at the end—so they'd be compatible with their usual method for blood draws and infusions. The new claves are light blue and semi-translucent; very 1990s Macintosh.

I met with one of the attending physicians yesterday and we talked about what still ailed me, plus the medications I've been taking. I also got a binder (I was supposed to get it at our first visit) full of information about what happens before, during and after the transplant. I got about halfway through it before I was visited by one of the pharmacists, who spoke with me in detail about some of the things that are likely to happen to me in the coming weeks. It's interesting to note that the bone marrow transplant programme here is mostly run as an outpatient programme; people who live in the area actually spend most of their time at home. It was repeated several times (including in earlier discussions, and in the binder) that infections typically come from the critters that already live inside our bodies, which can run riot when there's no immune system to hold them in check. So there's little need to stay in hospital for the whole process.

Started the chemo yesterday—my old pal fludarabine—just two hours after I got in. Each dose is about 30 minutes, and I get one a day for four days. Then it's four days of busulphan.

Nothing else exciting about yesterday; got Rogers Portable Internet set up in no time flat, and spent most of the evening going through my e-mail backlog.

Today was similarly dull. I found out early on that my hemoglobins were low (lower than last week) so I got two units of blood (blood transfusions 35 and 36; 48 overall) around lunchtime.

Speaking of lunch, it's hard to say if the food here is better or worse than before. The gravy they put on the meat here is better, but there's still too much; the vegetables aren't overcooked; the mashed potatoes are better; and so on. Here they don't keep kosher, so I have a few more options available to me, like the ham and cheese sandwich I had yesterday. Still, I get the feeling I'm not going to get dishes like Moroccan chicken with couscous here.

One funny thing about the meals here: as before, every meal comes with a sheet of paper describing what's on the tray. This one is reasonably detailed, except for one thing: it never says what the main entrée is, instead listing it just as "main entrée." So it's like a little surprise at every mealtime. Hey, what's under the lid?

Actually, after today there won't be any more surprises, I think. Late this morning my nurse and I planned out all of tomorrow's meals. And by "planned out" I mean that she gave me a series of options for each part of the meal and I picked them, right down to salt and pepper packets. So we'll see if I really should have picked the beef stew over the quiche Lorraine for dinner.

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posted by Emru Townsend at


Blogger Kathy - Eric's Mom said...

Welcome to Ottawa. Sounds like you had a chance to meet with Harry (best Pharmacist ever); he's a great source of information and will keep in close contact with you. Eric is at day +31 and did most of his transplant outpatient. Still visiting daily for hydration and IV antibiotics.

Nice to find another blog from Ottawa 5W!

September 8, 2008 10:36 PM  
Blogger Will Shetterly said...

I did a quick google to see if you were down somewhere as saying "I loathe machinima!" and apparently you aren't, so I thought I would mention moviestorm, a free program that's here:

I've been playing with it, and it fascinates me. But maybe that's because I'm so new to machinima.

Anyway, if it's a useful distraction, I'm glad. And if it's not, pretend this was left anonymously.

September 9, 2008 1:27 AM  
Blogger Barbara Spoerri said...

I am glad you have a nice view ! It sounds though that neither Vicky nor your Mom have been able to stay with you...what a bummer !
thinking of you, keep well & prepare for those house guests.... "that all is well" !
ox Barbara

September 9, 2008 9:48 AM  
Blogger Emru Townsend said...

@Kathy: Yep, it was Harry all right. I liked him right away.

@Will: More animation toys! I loaded Anime Studio 5.5 on my MacBook to experiment with some silhouette animation if I found the time. I'll peep Moviestorm as well I can.

@Barbara: Vicky's visiting later today, my mom probably tomorrow. The quarantine makes these things harder, but not impossible.

September 9, 2008 10:46 AM  
Blogger Will Shetterly said...

Ah, another Mac person! I should warn you that Moviestorm is not quite ready for Macintosh primetime. You have to install CG Toolkit first-- Well, basic info is here:

I'm planning to look into Anime Studio also.

September 9, 2008 11:38 AM  
Blogger Owldaughter said...

Emru, I want you to know that reading your updates means a lot to me, and that your courage and perseverance are inspiring. Ron, Liam, and I are all pulling for you.

~ Arin

September 9, 2008 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Samantha MacRae said...

Dear Emru, All the best for your impending transplant. May it continue to be dull and event free. :)

September 10, 2008 2:43 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Hey Emru! Hope everything goes as well as it can for you. Glad to hear that you brought your own portable internet too! I'm sending good vibes your way.

September 11, 2008 10:18 PM  

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