Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dor's HAZMAT team

What a roller coaster the last 24 hours has been. Mom was taken to the University of Washington Medical Center last night and is still there . After almost six hours in the Emergency Room, she was admitted and taken to her room in the cancer ward a little after midnight. Her friend Cathy volunteered to sleep in her room so the family could get a little bit of rest at home. My dad stayed at a hotel near the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance so he would be close to the hospital for his chemo this morning. Prior to all of the family leaving the hospital last night we were already notified that my mom would not be allowed to participate in her clinical trial today. Her temperature was hovering around 102 for most of the evening and her coughing was causing a lot of pain thru her ribs. She was having a tough time breathing so they put her on oxygen and that seemed to help.

Mom called me this morning around 6:30 and she sounded great. I felt much more optimistic after the call. While mom continued to rest at UW with Cathy, I joined my dad at SCCA for his medical appointment and chemo. When his chemo started, he immediately fell asleep. I went over to the other hospital to check on my mom and I was shocked to see her looking so bad again. Her temperature was back up around 102 and she was struggling with her coughing.

The doctors seemed a little bit surprised by her symptoms because her blood work was within the normal range and her chest X-ray looked fine, but her coughing and fever were both unusual. After being in the room with mom all day the doctor's came in with the results of her blood work. They were in masks, rubber gloves, and protective gowns. They told us mom had a contagious virus called RSV. They made us put on the suits which we like to refer to as our "hazmat suits". Her virus is rare and usually only effects infants, elderly people, and people with compromised immune systems. As long as a person has a normally functioning immune system, they are unlikely to be effected by the RSV virus. We put on the suits like they told us to, but after cuddling with her for 6 or more hours in the ER last night and sitting next to her bed all day today, we have obviously been exposed to it.

Cathy drove my dad home after his chemo because they both needed a good night of rest and he certainly didn't need to be around a contagious virus more than he already had been. Kim Boyer drove to Seattle this evening so she can stay at the hospital with mom tonight. Sleeping in a hospital chair is not pleasant (you can ask Cathy if you don't believe me) but for Kim to sleep in a hospital chair tonight... in a hazmat suit... she deserves a gold star.

If mom continues to be stable over night she will be released in the morning. She will need to rest at home and beat this virus on her own, without medicine. Like most other viruses, there is not a "medicine" to cure this so she will need to rest and get lots of fluids.

Obviously Dor will want to see people, but please be prepared to wear a mask if you stop by their house. Also, I think it goes without saying that there shouldn't be any children at their house for a week or two. If you have a cold, or don't feel well for any reason, please pick up the phone to say hello instead of stopping by the house.

I am attaching a few photos from this evening at the hospital. As you can see, Dor had a very supportive "Hazmat" team.

Thanks to everyone for the nice phone calls and emails today. A special thanks to Cathy and Kim for dropping everything and sleeping with Dor at the hospital so the rest of the family could go home and rest. You guys are life-savers.

Dreaming Big-


Lynn said...

Thank you Amy for keeping us all up to date. It's my daily dose to check in everyday to see how you are all doing. Please give your mom a heartfelt hug from me and tell her hi...may the sun shining kiss your days for a long time to come my friend...

Anonymous said...

You are all in my thoughts and prayers!
Rose Goulet

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness - I am so sorry I hadn't been checking in on your mom daily as I had no idea she was going through all this.

Jeesh - tell her she really didn't have to put on that big of a production for the camera's! Seriously though, I can't imagine how worriesome this was for everyone. I'm glad your dad managed to get his treatment and is resting when he needs to.

Please give her a big Canadian hug from me and tell her I'll be keeping her in my prayers to feel much better soon.

Luv, Linda

Lynn/Alex B. said...

God bless all of you and for your tremendous support. We are certainly praying Doreen gets better soon. I'm sure the Academy Awards of Haz Mat teams will be honoring you all soon!