Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Junkie (Politics and Pickles)

November 5, 2008

First of all some lab numbers from Monday:

HGB 10.8 (not bad for a week after chemo)
WBC 8700 (normal)
ANC 7500 (high normal)
PLT 407,000 (also high normal, what's going on here?)

On the whole these took me completely by surprise. I was prepared for anything, even the possibility of transfusions, but instead got really healthy looking numbers. On the other hand, Erin doesn't feel as good as her numbers look. There is so much noise that it really is hard to separate out the side effects of the chemo, the effects of the stomach virus and seasonal allergies, and possible tumor progression. Here is the cast of symptoms: extreme fatigue, headache, overall puniness, congestion, cough, raw throat, and back pain (of course, this is worrisome).

See, it's harder than it sounds to match cause and effect.

Erin returned to school yesterday, medicated with tylenol-3, and when I picked her up she seemed washed out and spent. Oh me of little faith. After a brief rest, she started getting geared up for the evening. She began by flipping through all of the television channels, matching the channel number and the network to the television program guide, thus creating a list of which channels were covering the election at what times.
Then, she found an internet list of states organized by their poll closing time, which she highlighted and marked with various information about whether they were safe, likely, leaning, or toss up states and if there were contested Senate races in them. By 5:30, she had staked out the prime spot on the living room floor. As the first polls closed and the pundits and analysts started chanting over the numbers, Erin had the remote in her hand, surfing channels, while simultaneously clicking through on her laptop to sites like and looking for the freshest returns. Every time a state went in her favor (actually Barack Obama's favor), she headed to the kitchen for a celebratory pickle! I wonder what her sodium and potassium levels will look like when she has her labs drawn tomorrow?

The Tjoelkers joined us for the poll watch (it's hard to believe they leave for six months in Australia in exactly a month. What will we do?), and we all had a later night than we normally would. Chet's race was closer than we had hoped. Erin had a hard time going to bed without knowing the final outcome, but I finally convinced her she would be a zombie today (and so would I) if she didn't go on to bed. Chet did win, and for that we're glad. And Erin was a zombie. She finally pulled the plug on school about 1:30 and came home for some better lunch and a nap. Overall, I think she feels slightly better today than yesterday with slightly less pain medication.

Tomorrow we drive into Houston early for clinic. Here's hoping for safe driving and no hassles.

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