Saturday, December 24, 2005

12/19

I received the cytoxan treatment as planned. I went as an outpatient to the hospital, where I received the cytoxan via IV infusion pump for about 6-7 hours. The infusion room is small, nothing remarkable about it. Some of the patients there received the chemotherapy regimen unique to their illness, whereas others were in need of whole blood or platelet tranfusions. Most of the people in the infusion room were elderly. I was the youngest of the patients whom I saw in the room that day. One of the only 2 individuals there, whom looked anywhere close to my age, underwent a stem cell transplant back in June 2005. Interestingly too, he also had relapsed Hodgkin's Disease. We conversed for a while and he offered some helpful advice about the transplant experience.

The infusion of the cytoxan itself was uneventful. There was no drama at the hospital. Some times this is the case. It's not for a day or two afterwards that the patient feels the side effects. My parents accompanied me there and we talked to each other and the other patients during our stay. At about 1 pm, my father left for work, so it was just my mom and me. But before my dad departed, the BMT coordinator, Diane, showed him how to give me the daily Neupogen injections that would be necessary for the next 10 days. My stem cell doctor stopped by the infusion room briefly too and we reviewed the course of treatment and the things to look out for during the week.

The drama didn't start until the evening. At 9pm I received a call from the hospital informing me that the results from today's blood test showed my potassium level was too low and that I needed to take potassium supplements pronto. Bananas, I was told, weren't sufficient. We didn't have any potassium pills at home. If I couldn't find a neighborhood pharmacy that was open, then I had to go to the nearest hospital for a potassium infusion but we knew that would be an all-night affair. So my mom and I started what unknowingly turned into a 2 hour hunt through The Bronx and Manhattan for a pharmacy that was still open at such a late hour. In the end, we found a 24 hour Duane Reade pharmacy on 94th and Broadway, which had potassium pills.

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