Medical term of the day: Neutropenia. This condition basically means that a person does not have enough of a certain type of white blood cell (neutrophils) that fight off infections. If your count is below 500 then you have severe neutropenia. On Wednesday my count was at 400.
After the blood transfusion we were monitoring my temperature because it was a little bit higher than normal. When you are neutropenic this is dangerous because it basically means that you have some sort of infection and your body has no way in itself to fight it off. In my case it was a sore throat. As we kept track of my temperature it kept going up until it hit 101 and they sent us to the ER. After a long wait there they finally got a room cleared on the 16th floor of the NYU Hospital, where I was when I had my first round of chemo, and admitted me to the hospital. It’s pretty crazy that simply getting a sore throat can put you in the hospital for several days, but that’s where we are with my white counts so low! They are pumping me full of antibiotics to make sure that the infection doesn’t spread, because with counts so low something like a sore throat can be dangerous enough to spread infection throughout your body and send you into shock.
It’s funny being back on the 16th floor. We made a lot of connections with the nurses here and had some fun even though I was on chemo. Several people have dropped by the room just to say they saw my name on the chart and wanted to say hi and that they hope I feel better soon. My nurse that did a blood draw this morning said “Weren’t you the guy with the big screen TV in your room a little while back that always had the football games on and stuff? I kept wanting to come by, but never got assigned to you!” We definitely made the most out of that visit, despite spilling a little chemo here and there! Haha.
Waking up this morning, my throat still hurts, but it is a good bit better than it has been in the past few days. Hopefully that means these antibiotics are starting to take hold. I just got off the phone with Dr. Rosen and he said my blood counts from this morning are still just at 500, so I might be getting another blood transfusion and have to stay here in the hospital until early next week. I hate to spend the final days of Ashley’s visit cooped up in the hospital, but it’s still nice having her here, regardless of where we are spending our time. Hopefully on her next visit we’ll actually be able to get out and see a bit more of the city though!