What a tiring day today was. It was another trip to Hershey Medical Center.
There was lots to do again. John and I met with the psychiatrist. He is going to be checking in on John during his stay. And we met with the head psych nurse. She will be checking in daily. In case John has any stress, anxiety or other problems they will be there. John was told the prednisone would probably make him moody, and they would give him something for it (like an anti depressant). Wow, it is nice to know in this day and age they have something like this in place for a patient.
We also met for awhile with the nurse coordinator Todd. John got a chance to ask all the questions he had on his mind.
He asked about how long the actually transplant would take, which will only be about an hour.
He asked about the central line that will be put in. The stem cells (bone marrow) are going to go in through a central line (chest port) which is going to be in his chest. Before the procedure takes place, an incision will be made in his chest, and tubes will be inserted into his chest. Then when it is time for the cells to be added (when the transplant occurs), they will be added through the tubes. The bag of stem cells will be hung from above the bed and drip down through the tubing into the central line and into John's blood stream. The blood stem cells will go right into the blood stream. Somehow the stem cells know exactly where to go. They will travel to where they are supposed to go. After the procedure, for possibly even weeks or months, the chest port (central line) will be left in John's chest. It will be used to draw blood, give transfusions or boosters, add additional fluids, or whatever will be necessary. It will be important to keep it very sanitary, to make sure he doesn't get an infection. Some people get infections in their chest ports, especially if they still have them in after they have returned home from the hospital.
We also asked for an exact date for the transplant, and he said mid January, and said we would know the date in two or three days. He said the reason it wasn't pinned down yet, is because "a donor often doesn't know when he can get off of work to donate." "For instance, he may have to take two days off of work to donate, and has to work it out with his boss." "And he may be in the military, and not know which two days he can get off yet." I said, "Oh, ok". Very interesting I, thought. Now I am wondering if he is in the military. Todd went on to stress the annonymity factor and that the donor was going to remain anonymous. He said he could tell me the city though. John was out of the room at this time getting bloodwork done and I perked up and said, "Oh, will you tell me what city he is from?". And he said, "I will not." "I will not even tell you what state he is from." "But in one year I will tell you what city he is from." "Ok, I said." I told him the only reason I wanted to know was so that I could pray for him, but it didn't really matter, because I could pray for him just as well without knowing where he is from.
Wow, something just hit me. He is a male from the US, lol. He called him a he for several visits, and said he was from a city and state. And I am wondering if he is in the military. What a marvelous picture that paints. At least I know he is a male from the US. How nice. I don't know why it matters. It just does. He is real now, God bless him a million times over. No, infinity times over.
Next thing we did was an Advanced Directive. Basically a Living Will. John filled out the form, saying what measures he wanted done in case of an emergency and he was incapacitated and not able to tell the doctor. He named me as the person to make decisions on his behalf if he were unable to speak for himself. Valerie was listed as a third person if I was unable to be located at any point.
Finally we went and visited the actual floor where John will stay on when he is hospitalized. This is the first time we visited the actual Transplant Center. We have been visiting the Cancer Unit next to the hospital but have never looked at the actual Transplant Center.
I am glad we went. This took a lot of the mystery out of it for John. And for me also. It was a really nice place. Everybody was so friendly. A nurse showed us around. She explained things. She wanted to show us a room, but they were all full. I peaked in, and they looked quite nice. Each room was single capacity and had a phone, TV and VCR. And a large chair for company. There were a bunch of VCRs in the hallway on a cart. I don't know if John would feel up to watching a movie, but I just mention this to say how thoughtful they were.
When John was leaving a nurse came running up to him and told him she was the head nurse there, and if he had any questions, to phone or email. Any questions at all. She also told him to bring a new pillow from home when he came.
Well, after speaking with her, we said goodbye and took off for home. It took a long time to get back, but it was still early, so we picked up my Mom and went for Chinese. It was good.
When we finally got home, I fell into bed from exhaustion and took a couple hour nap. Funny how these things tire me out physically and emotionally. But I woke up and John and I went out to get that pillow the nurse mentioned, and an electric razor she mentioned (because you can't use the blade kind), and a tape case to hold his tapes during chemo. And a travel kit to hold his toilet articles in. These things must get done before the transplant. So much to do, so little time!
Oh, this entry has gone on too long! I should write more often and then these entries won't be as long. So sorry.
Much love and everything, Krissy :)