This week’s adventure in cancer treatment involved a fever. When Joyce, my oncology nurse, did her teaching session with me before I started chemo she really emphasized that if I had a fever of 100.5 (or higher) I was to call the triage nurse right away. Monday afternoon I was feeling cold all afternoon, and that evening when I checked my temperature it was 99.1. Nothing to worry about yet, but keep an eye on things…
Tuesday my temp started out at 99 at 7 a.m. and was up to 101 at 3:45 pm. So I called the triage nurse – left a message. She called back at about 4:15. Please come in right away and get labs drawn. So Kevin and I hopped in the truck (since the car is still in the shop – did I mention that our car’s check engine light came on last week and it’s now spending time in the shop with its Subaru friends while waiting for a part?). At NorthStar they tried drawing through my port without success. So instead they drew labs from both arms (I have bruises to prove it). They drew blood for cultures, to see if I have an infection, and they drew the usual labs (blood counts, etc.). The usual labs are processed very quickly – and the nurse was able to tell me that there was nothing concerning with those labs that would make them start me on antibiotics right away. The blood cultures take up to 5 days to grow, but as of today (Saturday – day 4) nothing has shown up there.
So Tuesday evening, after having my labs drawn and a brief assessment, my nurse said to take Tylenol for my fever, stay hydrated, and come in tomorrow for chemo, unless I heard otherwise (Wednesday was to be my chemo day this week, since Monday was a holiday). Other than feeling chilled I didn’t have any other illness symptoms… no cough, no snot, no rash.
Wednesday my temperature at my afternoon chemo appointment was only 99.3, so I had my chemo infusion. By the time I got home it was supper time and then I went straight to bed because I was SO sleepy (from the Benadryl). Thursday I felt good… really, really good. I worked all day and didn’t get tired. And I didn’t have a fever at all. Yesterday I was good for most of the day, but when I checked my temp at bedtime it was 99.6. This morning it was 99.4 and by noon 100.6 … so I took some Tylenol and called the on call oncologist (haha… on call oncologist… that’s a funny set of words) – She called back and said to just keep an eye on things for now.
So that’s the excitement this week. Chemo is serious stuff, and so we take fevers seriously. If I were just a normal human and had a low-grade fever like this, I’d probably just take my Tylenol and keep on doing what I do. I sure do appreciate the availability of the triage nurse and the on call oncologist (tee-hee… I just had to say it one more time).