Today is the 5th day following the stem cell infusion. The last few days have been spent enduring and waiting. He will have to wait a few more days for his blood counts to begin rising. The stem cells will eventually make their way back to the bone marrow and then start producing cells. This is called engraftment. It can take about 10 days for this to happen. The average time for patients to go home is 14 days after the stem cells are given back.
He has had some problems with fevers but they haven’t found any infection to be concerned about yet. Unless something manifests itself, it is assumed the fevers are just from the treatments. Each day the nurse draws blood and runs blood cultures. They check the stool for bacteria and he gets a chest x-ray every few days to make sure they don’t miss the beginnings of pneumonia. He is feeling really weak from the combination of low blood counts and fevers. His hematocrit is 25, white blood count .1, nutriphils 0, and platelets about 20. He has recieved platelets 3 or 4 times. Over the weekend he had a bloody nose that was difficult to stop but recieving platelets took care of that. His excitement for today was passing out when they tried to get his chest x-ray. Luckily the technition was standing right behind him and caught him.
All of these things are ‘normal’ for a patient in his situation. No red flags are flying, he just needs time to let his body recover. The days are slowly going by. The other night he was getting ready for bed and I asked him why he was so anxious to get in bed and get to sleep. “It means another day has gone by” he said. And that is how it is, one day at a time and pretty soon he will get to go home. It sure would help if the Jazz would give him something to cheer about! Maybe tonight will be the night! (we won’t hold our breath) Here are a few pictures Sarah took of hospital life.