Can’t Keep a Good Man Down!
I am happy to say Tom is doing wonderfully, dear friends.
They were able to extubate (take him off the ventilator) a few days ago, and he’s been doing just fine with a little oxygen from a nasal cannula. He started speaking the moment they took the tube out: “We need to have a discussion. I need to come to an understanding. Why have you been withholding ice cream?” It seems his first recollections of the previous 8 days were just a vague awareness that he was trying to ask for ice cream and we were ignoring him. He has later mentioned feeling some terror, and suspecting we were trying to kill him… and how grateful he was to get oriented and discover the opposite was true. I don’t think he remembers the tube itself, or the circumstances that led him to critical care in the first place. Fine by me if he never does…
Tom also instantly started expressing how grateful he was for the support from everyone when he heard how much he’s been through. That’s him alright; facing a scary medical situation and finding cause to be thankful. Over the past few days I’ve been filling him in on all that’s happened, and it’s understandingly a bit overwhelming right now. He is touched by the messages people have shared and the reports of prayers and bone marrow donation registrations in his honor. He’s also had a stream of visitors that leave him happy (and sleepy).
The first round of chemo has finished and neutropenia is here. No fevers, and everything remains in balance. He has some pain from the high volume flushing going on (getting rid of chemo toxins and edema from the cancer), and has been given a dilaudid drip with doses he controls. The nurses are falling in love with him and check in even when they’re not assigned to him. He has started eating (first order: chocolate ice cream; second order: root beer), sitting up in bed, and flexing some muscles. They’ll start neupogen shots tomorrow, which will speed up the arrival of his blessed little neutrophils and shorten this dark and dangerous watch.
I will be so happy to hand over the blog reigns and allow Tom to wax more eloquently than me. He is squeezing a little stress-ball to get his typing dexterity back ASAP. I sincerely hope you’ll be hearing from him next, and soon. Thank you all again for your support through this unimaginably difficult time. It’s hard to accept that our fight has just begun, considering how much we’ve been through so far, but after all this looms his transplant… at least we’ve learned that Tom’s tenacity is not to be underestimated!