I woke up this morning unable to swallow. No really. Could not swallow on the right side of my throat without a 7 on the pain scale. So, like a good little patient, I took my temp. I don’t understand Celcius to save my life. But considering that my body typically runs cold (96.5-97 F), a 36.7 C seemed a bit high to me. I mean when the day gets that hot, I’m usually sweating. I texted my doctor and told him what was going on and got the text, “Go now to the emergency room and have the doctor call me.” Cool. Mom, sprinted out of bed and got me into an Uber. Let’s put it this way, even though I couldn’t swallow, I was definitely the chill one.
The emergency room at the British Hospital is nothing like the states. It is a beautiful and pleasant and efficient experience, even on a Sunday. The nurse took my temperature and told me that I didn’t have a fever. Then she scooted me over to the adult emergency consultant rooms. Within 10 minutes we were with the doctor. She examined me and ordered some labs. Labs were taken in less than five minutes. Upon our return, we were ushered into this back room with super comfy chairs and a view of the street to wait the 40 minutes for the cultures to grow.
Then the doctor came in and gave me the results: My white blood cell count was extremely low and I was experiencing an infection that my body could not fight. Because my doctor is with his family right now on vacation, he called in a back up. A mask was placed over my face, and I was wheeled to the emergency intake area. Now, I am VERY familiar with this area of the emergency room. This is where I was taken when I got burned. And like then, germs are my biggest enemy now, so they put me in the private intake room at the very back. The same room I was in before. I must have some weird connection to this room because it keeps pulling me back. Let’s hope this is the last time, room, because like a bad relationship I just can’t do it anymore. #byeeeeeeeee
Dr. Silvia Pierre was amazing! Mom was so excited that she could explain everything to her in English. Dr. Pierre gave me options: get a white cell booster shot and stay in the hospital to be monitored. Then another blood test in the morning to see if I need another one. OR get the shot, go home for the evening, and return in the morning. Naturally, I wanted to go home.
A shot of Neupogen to boost the white cells and a script for Levaquin and Fluconazol for the infection.
Now here is the upside: the shot was given in my right shoulder, which is still numb from my biopsy, so I didn’t feel a thing! Silver lining. Plus, Mom also got to experience the splendor that is the British Hospital with the embroidered towels.
I needed a silver lining, badly. Not only was being back in that emergency room a pisser in itself, but as soon as they put that mask over my mouth, I immediately got choked up. This wasn’t supposed to happen yet! I figured that I am young, not thin (by any means), and haven’t been feeling poorly at all since Monday. I thought that this whole white cell mess was way down the chemo road. And here I was in a mask…the first publicly visible sign of being sick. There is nothing worse to me than having to walk into a pharmacy or get into an Uber with a freaking mask on my face. Even my poor doorman was like, “Whoa! What is wrong?!” When we took our students on the 10th grade education without walls trip, we had a young man who wore his medical mask the whole time (given to the kids during the feeding of the animals at Pan de Azucar). He loved this thing! Probably because it made him stand out. Or maybe he wants to be a doctor and is practicing. Sometimes the tenth-grade mind eludes me. I don’t want to stand out. I don’t want to be a patient. I just want to be well again.
So, I am just bummed out. But at least I am home.
Here is hoping my body stays fever free, my white cells stop being privileged little bitches and rise to the occasion, and I get to go mask free by the time chemo number four happens on Thursday.