Article Talk: Cancer and Hurricane Preparedness: A Survivor\'s PerspectiveArticle Talk: Cancer and Hurricane Preparedness: A Survivor's Perspective

Started by mvanhouten, September 06, 2017
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558 Posts
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September 06, 2017
Tamera, thank you for your very current, informative article. I find by sharing experiences we can learn so much from each other. In 2005 I was a newly diagnosed Triple Neg Stage 2B breast cancer patient, in active treatment. I am an RN & had been at work coordinating care for federal employees who were injured on the job. When i got back to my office i noticed a head ache and some fatigue. I was exactly one week from my first ACT dose dense chemo. I ignored it at first but finally decided to go home a bit early and take a Tylenol. When i got home something told me to take my temp and found it to be 101.2. The chemo class i had taken instructed us to call our Oncologist when temp reached 101, so I did. It was now nearing 5pm and the office told me to \"come right over\" to the Oncology office. When i arrived they immediately did a finger stick. My WBC\'s were 0.1 \"critical low\". I was told i had Neutropenic Fever and was to walk over to the Enmergency room of the hospital next to my Dr\'s office. When i arrived i was told i would need to wait as the dr had asked for admission but there were no beds available. My fever was going up and suddenly i started uncontrollable shaking. i tried to stop the shaking but i realized it was beyond my control. the man in the bed right next to me was vomiting. i told the Nurse i would like to have a mask since i was immuno compromised. It helps to be an RN but sometimes it is upsetting when your own profession doesnt live up to expectations. My Dr told me i should be in isolation but the Nurse didnt seem to have \"orders\" for that. I called my Onc office and spoke to another Oncologist. i told her i was going to anothe3r hospital. She called first and found an available bed. \r\n\r\nThe next day i had antibiotics running and nothing to do but watch TV. Then I learned the trop storm called Katrina had turned into a Hurricane heading toward Miami. The following evening it was upon us. i was sitting up in my hospital bed watching constant TV about the storm, and the electric went out. my IV pump beeped and some very dim lighting appeared near the wall. I called my husband and told him i was stuck in the upright position and really wanted to get some rest for the night. Then i learned the Red outlet was for emergency electric. I could unplug my IV and plug my bed in to operate the head to get it down to reasonalbe sleeping position. Then i heard the sound of breaking glass as the windows in the hospital broke across the hall from me. an announcement was made to request all visitors leave the building immediately. i remember feeling the hot humid outside air as it made its way through the open windows.\r\n\r\nBeing in treatment and going through the aftermath at home was not easy as the power was out. Looking back i learned i could have stayed an extra day or two in the hospital if i had appealed to my insurance company.\r\n\r\nGoing through cancer treatment can be tough. Going through treatment in a weather emergency can make it very difficult but not impossible! \r\nView Original Post

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