We've had a two weeks home and I am so thankful for that time. This morning Esther spiked a fever, so down to Denver we went. We arrived at the oncology clinic to start some precautionary antibiotics. One huge praise and proud mommy moment was when we accessed her port. Thanks to "Magic Cream" Esther's port site is numbed, but she's still been really scared and vocal. Today she showed self control and didn't scream. She cried a little, but when the nurse actually poked the needle into her port, she was calm and trusting.
We got to our room, she had her antibiotics, we got the news that she's neutropenic (we knew this would be the case) and that she'd need to be admitted. We watched some athletic competition going on...can't remember the name, painted and colored pictures. Esther was really cheerful and happy. Her fever had gone down a little, but was still over 100.
The oncology doctor in the clinic came by to take a look at Esther, commented on her beautiful pictures and then it started. Esther began to shiver a little. Within a couple minutes she was full on shaking. The doctor immediately ordered vital signs and Esther had spiked a 105.8 fever. That's not a typo...
Her heart rate was averaging about 175, going up to almost 190 beats/minute. It should be around 100-110. Her blood pressure was also not looking great. The doctor ordered IV fluids and regular vital sign checks. They gave her another dose of tylenol about 1.5 hrs early than needed to try to get the fever down. It dropped to about 104.6 but not low enough so they gave her motrin as well. Oncology patients can't always take anything with ibuprofen because it messes with their platelets. Thankfully, Esther's platelets were plenty high to handle it.
The doctor consulted a couple other doctors and decided it was best to admit her to the ICU because her blood pressure was not recovering as well as they would like to see and with such a high fever it would be best to monitor her closely overnight. I agreed.
There are very nice doctors down here and they all commented on how special Esther's name is. Yes, indeed. The oncology doctor suspects this fever is nothing that she has "caught" but that sometimes chemotherapy patients' own bacteria can either get out of control or escape into a different part of their bodies causing an infection.
I am humbled by the gravity of this whole journey. Her disease is serious and the treatment is dangerous. I have been somewhat flippant, people get chemo everyday and are just fine. I was overall peaceful this afternoon and thankful to be at the hospital. Even though our time at home was only about 2 weeks, it was a break. A huge break considering we hadn't really been home for almost an entire month before. I feel refreshed by the time at home and peaceful that we are here.
Please pray for grace for today. That we would look toward today and not tomorrow. Pray for Esther to overcome this infection and be herself. I think one of the hardest things about this hand of cancer is how much my little girl isn't herself. I see glimpses when she runs to get her water or her toy or to the bathroom. Esther has always just ran to her next location. When she makes faces as she's talking and has sweet inflections in her voice. But she's not the same, she's fearful and doesn't trust like she used to. I miss that little girl who didn't really have a care, she was secure.
I am reminded, though, of the sweet girl God has made her. Our normal nurse was out for the day, so the other nurses fought over who would get to care for Esther. When we made it down to the ICU she was already charming the nurses, saying thank you and telling them her name and birthdate. At one point she was laying on the bed and the nurse was getting ready to take her vital signs. She laid there and held her arm right up for the blood pressure cuff and then told the nurse "I sorry, I won't take my sticker off again." She has a sticker on her toe to monitor her oxygen, she'd been kicking it off all afternoon. Then she said,"You need my tubey? I get it, it's right here," and she pulled the tube connected to her port from under her dress so the nurse could hook it up to an IV. All so very sweet. I want to see those moments and not get stuck on the struggles.