Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Chemo Journey

If you ever wondered what it's like to come get chemo, this is where we start.

This is the cafeteria.  It's the first smell of the hospital.  If it's your first time, it can smell pretty good.  After a few months, if you're getting chemo, it's the first smell to make you nauseous.
This is a common sight in the hallways...mommy or daddy trying to pass the time with a little one.

This is the first stop...Hem/Onc Clinic.  The clinic doors open at 8:00 a.m. and that is when the fun begins for us.  We have to get up at 6:15 a.m. to get here on time.  If you're 5 minutes late, it usually holds up the process by 1/2 hour. 

Here we sit until the nurse is ready to weigh and take vitals.  Jake laughed at the nurse taking his height this time.  "I really don't think I'm growing anymore!"
With his height and weight, they can now order the chemo to be made up.  It takes hours, but that's ok because they have to make sure he is hydrated enough before they can start the chemo.

Then we get to sit in a room like this and ...wait!  On "long" chemo days, the home care nurse has already accessed his port and he has been having saline solution all night.  The nurse will start some more bolus of saline.  A doctor will come in and check on Jake, then we move on to the next room...

This is where we spend most of the day.  We pick a spot and there we stay!  This week we were in station 2.  Jake kinda likes the corner because it's not too bright and close to the bathroom.  They have Wii and Xbox 360, but after a few months of this, it gets old too.  At first, Jake would play the Xbox the whole time.  Now he listens to his music, plays on the laptop or watches movies if there is anything good on.  We watched How to Train a Dragon yesterday.  They change the movies about once a month.  The last two times we were here, we got to leave around 6:15 p.m.

If you're not so lucky to get your chemo done in one day, your are banished to this area of the hospital!  JK  This is where they keep the nicest nursing staff in all the hospital!  The nurses in clinic are pretty nice too!

This is the next stop.  This area of the hospital is filled with children with compromised immune systems, so it is critical that everyone makes a sanitizing stop.  Then you have to lift the phone to gain entrance.

This in the main nurses pod.  There are 4 hallways with additional nurses pods, so there is always a nurse right outside your door.

Dr. Wright, checking on Jake

This is where we spent the night last night.  Luckily, we had a room with a fabulous view.  Unluckily, it is foggy today!  The yellow chair folds out into a bed.  Not the most comfortable, but better than having to sleep in the rocking chair!  Because they continue to hydrate him, there are many trips to the bathroom throughout the night.  Lots of beeping going on, so very hard to get any sleep

I am so grateful we have never had to stay in the hospital more than one night!  Many of the parents here are here for months at a time.  They have showers here and there is a gym across the street, but I have never used them. 

This is the first time I have stayed overnight with Jake.  The other times, it was routine stuff, so I didn't mind leaving him here by himself.  But when his blood pressure dropped to 69/37, I couldn't leave!

I got this pillowcase from the parent craft room.  They have a box that has gifts for the siblings of cancer patients.  Most of the stuff is for the younger kids, but occasionally they have something the older boys like.  I would have ended with just making the pillow case, but whoever made this one, took extra time and care in putting on, not one, but two colorful borders.  I ended up using this pillow case because I can't stand the smell of the hospital bedding.  As I lay there, silently weeping over my child's illness I could feel the love that the maker of this pillowcase offered.  If their intent in donating this pillowcase was to bring some comfort to someone in the hospital, well it did that for me.

As I prayed for Jake that night, I felt all the mother's prayers going up from this hospital into a very nearby heaven.

This is Jake about 5 minutes ago.  He is so puffy from all the fluid they have been pumping into him.  It's about 11:30 A.M.  The doctor just told me he needs to stay for one more round of antibiotics at 4:15, then he can go home.  (big sigh!)


Jill Heaps said...

Just seeing all the pictures makes me cry. It brings everything rushing back. I am so glad he gets to come home. He will heal better at home... :)

Rose said...

I knew this was bring back memories for you, Jill! But you and Emily are my shining light of HOPE at the end of the tunnel! Thanks for being that for us!

Carrie said...

I love the "tour" of jake's chemo treatment routine. It helps me understand what you guys go through so much better. Hang in there, you are doing GREAT! Love you guys!!

Jodi said...

I liked this post, even though it is very heart-wrenching. Keep your chin up Rose! We love your family.

Teeny said...

I remember when my mom had to have radiation and chemo. I had to take care of her when I was 12-19. She moved to California then Idaho after that.She fought cancer and the affects for 30 years. Back then they didn't know what they were doing so much and they over radiated her and caused a big hole in her back. They made her intestines fall out. She had chronic diarrhea. She didn't get to come to my graduation because of it. The biggest lose was her faith in Jesus Christ. It helped me to trust him more. Thanks for sharing about Jake sorry I never noticed this blog before. Love ya Tina Gourley

fern said...

very enlightening update- my week with mel in the hosp. was one of the longest weeks of my life- a mere drop in comparison. you are all in our thoughts and prayers!