Today is the 8th day following the transplant. The last few days have been rough. To give you an idea, I’ll just list a few things that he has had: blood transfusions, platelet infusions, bloody noses, a constant fever hovering between 101 and 103, nausea and upset digestive system, rashes, lots of blood cultures and tests, chest x-rays, a chest CT scan, shots, oxygen, antibiotics, antifungals, antinausea meds, pain meds, well…you get the idea. Just a lot going on to maintain his body while we wait for the cells to begin producing.
He is experiencing what is called Engraftment Syndrome. A few lucky people have these symptoms during the phase when the engraftment of the stem cells is taking place. The main markers of this syndrome are the high, unexplained, fevers and a skin rash that is similar to graft vs host disease. On the bright side, it means that the cells are starting to do their job. Nutraphils should be arriving soon. Stephen has been very tough and handled it well. He is good at suffering silently. If it were me, there would be wailing and moaning coming from the room! I’m sure in the future we will look back at this type of treatment as barbaric but for now, it’s what we have. I just spoke with Stephen on the phone(Jeff is staying with him tonight) and he said that he feels a little bit better tonight. Hopefully it is going to get better each day from here.
Jeff, Sarah or I stay with him at the hospital during the night. There is a couch that folds out into a decent bed. During the day, my dad, my mom, me, Jeff, Sarah, and Jennie take turns staying with him. I’ve been taking one to two days a week off. Jeff’s consulting job is flexible so he can be there a lot of the time. The nursing staff does a great job, but he really needs someone there to help him out with little things and to give emotional support.
Sometimes you just have to laugh rather than cry. Stephen laughs at himself too. Sarah was staying with Stephen a couple days ago and she decided to help him reply to some emails. She got him in his chair and set the computer up on his lap. She put ice behind his neck and a washrag on his head to keep him cool. By the time he was all set up…he fell asleep! I don’t think he did too much emailing or if you did get an email from him that day, it might have been a very interesting one. As Sarah said, “Oh well, we get an ‘A’ for effort.”
Thanks for all the texts, messages, cards, food, and hugs.