Pretty Sick

Posted on May 12th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Back to the hospital today for more tests, namely bloods and chest x-ray. Specialist Brad was on holidays so we were able to see one of his residents who was also superb. My bloods show my platelet count has gone from 40 when I was discharged last week to 120 today. That is great news. When I was on the ward I was receiving platelets because my count was down around 11 or 12. A bit low, really. Good to know I can clot again.

My chest x-ray indicated significant clearing of the infection in my lungs, although it may take a while for it all to disappear. The comparison x-ray taken while an inpatient was obviously a lot worse with heavy patches of compromised lung. Good to have it disappearing.

I asked the doctor again today, “Just how sick was I?”
He was standing up when I asked him, about to listen to my chest. He sat down again, looked at me directly and said “Pretty sick.”

I asked him what constitutes being “Pretty sick” and he went into all the reasons. Having pneumonia caused by an infection along the lines of legionnaires when my neutrophils were zeroed out was a dangerous combination. My lungs were full of infection and it was not easy to identify whether the infection was viral, bacterial or fungal, so they had to treat for all three until something changed. The fact that I am relatively young, with health lungs, and yet the infection was widespread throughout both lungs was apparently also a bad sign. It was hit or miss for quite some time.

The thing is, I have felt sicker. At the end of last year I had another chest infection after being discharged from hospital. I was running a temperature over 39C for at least a week and it got to over 41C for a couple of days. I have never felt as rough, and that is my benchmark for if I am feeling sick or not. So this stint in hospital I obviously underestimated how critical the situation was, purely based on the way that I felt. Even now, it seems like I only spent a week on the ward rather than two because I slept through half of it and was seldom alert during my waking hours.

So now, I am experiencing the lethargy that goes with having your marrow knocked out. I walk at half the normal pace, I talk at half the pace, eat half the amount (I’ve lost 10kg in the last 3wks) but it takes me twice as long and I get tired as soon as I wake up. I was told to expect this so I am not surprised, but it is still very debilitating.

I think I will be in this state for the next couple of weeks, but I am pretty much out of the woods as far as infection is concerned. I am officially within the range of what is normal for guarding against infection. Good to be back in the land of the living.


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