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Isolation

Efforts to boost Ed's immune system begin to work.
PUBLISHED April 10, 2017
Edward D. McClain retired from the U. S. Department of Commerce in 1995 and has been living in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, since 1996. Ed likes to work for his church, hunt, fish and collect rare firearms. He enjoys professional football, cooking shows and action TV shows/films but will not watch game shows nor talk shows. Ed is a two-time survivor of CLL, by the Grace of God.
After eight hours on a gurney in the emergency room, Ed’s fever began to drop from 105.3 to 101.5. A temporary room became available and Ed was moved to a room with only one bed. He was given a light supper and fruit juice as the IV continued. Having settled in, it had been a long day for both of them and Ed encouraged Pattie to go home get some dinner and rest. He was receiving good care.  

After Pattie left, Ed faded into a deep sleep only to be awakened at 4 a.m. He was being moved to the next floor up and placed in the isolation ward. His new room was big and contained only one bed. One wall was all glass with sliding doors giving visibility between him and the nursing station. The Nurses, at first were coming and going wearing surgical masks as they prepped and tended to Ed. Now he was getting a second antibiotic orally and a third antibiotic intravenously. More blood samples were taken and Ed was by now wide awake. Finally, he received a light breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast with juice and coffee. It was now 7 a.m. and he began to think of Pattie and new she would be coming to check on him soon. The nursing shift just changed and a day nurse came in to introduce herself and asked if he needed anything. Ed requested she call Pattie and give her his new room number, which she was most happy to do.   

Before Pattie arrived, Elizabeth Wilson, the nurse practitioner, came in to check on Ed and said, “The antibiotics would continue until Ed’s white blood cell count came up to a satisfactory level and Dr. Asif’s office would be checking in regularly.”   

Ed was becoming drowsy and began to doze off as Pattie arrived, bright, smiling, cheerful and pretty as ever. She wanted to have an immediate update.  

“My fever is down to 100 degrees now and these antibiotics are giving me diarrhea,” Ed responded.  

“Just the thing I wanted to hear right off the bat this morning” retorted Pattie with a chuckle.  

Ed continued to relate the happenings during the night and this morning. As Ed began to slip into much needed sleep, Pattie stayed with him setting next to his bed. She stayed until late afternoon when Ed encouraged her to go home and get some rest. The last 24 hours had not been easy on her either.   

Ed remained in the hospital for six more days before the oncologist was satisfied his fever was gone and his white cell count had improved to 7,500. During the week, Doctor Nataliya Melnyk, one of the oncologists at Tunnel Cancer Center, visited almost daily and prescribed at least two Neulasta shots to encourage Ed’s bone marrow to produce more white cells. Now, in addition to sore hemorrhoids from the diarrhea induced by the antibiotics, his bones ached. First his thighs, then his pelvis followed by his ribs and shoulders. Ed requested some Advil from the nurses and they checked with the doctor on duty who approved the medication to give Ed some relief from his aching bones.   

Pattie was in during the day or evening depending on her schedule managing a fragrance outlet store in the local factory outlets mall, but was free all day Sunday which would be Ed’s last day in the hospital. He would be released on Monday. Ed’s room had a tiny screen TV on a multiple articulating arm that allowed positioning so Ed and Pattie could watch, together, the Redskins play the Giants.   

Ed’s fever had been down to 98.1 for the last four days and so he was discharged from the hospital. Pattie picked him up and they stopped at Burger King for breakfast sandwiches and took them home. It was good to be back home watching a large screen TV. Although Pattie had to go to work, she called for a report hourly.   

Ed was still concerned about his pending heart surgery and wondered if his immune system would soon bounce back enough for him to go ahead with planning for the surgery. Dr. Asif wanted to wait two more weeks and perform a bone marrow biopsy.   

Dr. Sunnergren, Ed’s cardiologist was talking with Ed about an experimental procedure that would be less invasive than open heart surgery to replace Ed’s leaking aortic heart valve. It would be a transcatheter implant of a mechanical valve basically stuffed into the old valve via a catheter. Since it is experimental, Ed would need to be evaluated at Washington Hospital Center Med Star for approval. Dr. Sunnergren felt Ed was a viable candidate since he presented immune system complications. Dr. Asif liked the idea, but wanted to do the bone marrow biopsy first.   

Faith and hope and Pattie had carried Ed this far and he looked forward to having the bone marrow biopsy completed within two weeks.   

Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. Psalm 16:1
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