Ya, it happened again. Fever, Emergency, Hospital, Tests, All Clear, Home.
On Monday 25th, Rachana’s temperature hit 101 after a few days of hovering around 99. The usual protocol is to go to the ER at 100.5 but we had an appointment at the clinic and so were told to go to the clinic instead. At the clinic, they did xrays and blood work and we were told to go to the hospital to be under observations for a few days and get IV antibiotics. Before leaving us from the clinic they did a final vitals check and the nurse found things getting worse – temperature of 102, very low blood pressure and a much higher heart rate. This combination of things kicked in their protocol to call for an ambulance to shift us to the hospital immediately. So we had a little drama with the 911 style ambulance, a couple of guys with a stretcher and they took Rachana with lights blazing to the emergency. In hindsight I’m talking about this casually because things ended well and there was nothing crazy. The protocols call for these urgent measures because as one of the doctors explained, the concern is having a bacterial infection in the blood which can be fatal if it’s not dealt with urgently, especially because her immunity is low and the body cannot fight anything. The doctors have to urgently substitute the body’s infection control system which is down because to the chemos. In most cases, these fevers are due to a small undetectable infection which goes away with a round of antibiotics. Rachana’s blood cultures were watched for 48 hrs and they didn’t show any detectable infections.
In the hospital they gave her steroids to assist her body to fight back sooner. Maybe it helped but one of its side effects, swelling, troubled her for a few days. Rachana’s weight jumped up by 8-10 pounds almost overnight. We came back home on Thursday but the swelling increased at home. Almost her entire body was swollen. We spoke with the nurse at the clinic and they advised us to go to the emergency if it results in shortness of breath. On Saturday we called the clinic again and spoke to a doctor who advised that this is a known side effect and we can go to the emergency if it’s getting worse. He also advised to reduce salt intake as that can increase water retention which increases swelling. Reduced salt and using ice packs helped and the swelling finally reduced this morning after a few days of aches and discomfort. This afternoon she was normal enough to cleanup the kids closet and make her signature chicken biryani.
Tomorrow is day 21 of phase 3 and she has a scheduled chemo. She’ll receive a cocktail of two drugs and another nasty one on Tuesday. These chemo drugs usually take a few days to bring her counts down and the rollercoaster will start over again.