Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Round 4 and a Better Day

Today we reached the 33% done mark in our radiation schedule and we had a MUCH better day! The new medicine seems to be working well and we both ate well today.

An added bonus today was a personalized tour from Amber, a nurse at UW. She is the sister of my cousin Aaron's fiance, Heather. Is that confusing or what? As a brief detour... My heartiest congratulations to the recently engaged couple!!

Anyways... Heather and my aunt Jolyn put us in touch with Amber, who offered to give us a tour of the oncology floors at UW. Amber works on the 7th floor, which we have heard is the best in the hospital, and the floor that contains the isolation rooms where Tyler will become a bubble boy.

She showed us the two rooms that they use for isolation and it was much different than I imagined. Essentially, Tyler's room would be covered in plastic but not closed off from the hallways. They put a lead shield in the doorway to keep the radiation from escaping and visitors have to stay on the far side of the hall, but his room is almost like another hospital room in other ways. He will have a nice view and, most importantly, internet access while stuck in there. I plan to IM the guy, since that will actually be easier contact than yelling at him from across the hallway.

What is really strange about the isolation rooms is that you see duct tape everywhere. Every surface is covered with plastic or other covering and taped in place. As Amber explained it, Tyler's radioactivity will ony last 5-10 days. The inanimate objects in the room that he has direct contact with would stay radioactive for months. For that reason, they try to keep him from directly touching anything. The floor is covered, the toilet seat is covered, the hospital gauges on the wall are covered... Even the remote control for the tv is covered in a plastic bag.

She told us that anything that goes into Tyler's room will need to stay in there until he leaves. So when he orders his meals, he should probably avoid ordering fish (unless he wants to smell the remains in his trash for the next week or two).

Amber was so amazingly friendly and made me feel so much better about the time that Tyler will spend inpatient at UW. She introduced us to several members of the staff there, although I will not remember them after just the brief meeting. It did make me feel really confident listening to her after hearing how knowledgeable she was about Tyler's protocol and similar treatments for other patients.

After the tour, we headed down to the basement for Tyler's 4th radiation treatment, which seemed to go fairly quickly today. I was listening to a book on my MP3 player, so I don't actually know how long it took, but it felt quick today.

Tyler was feeling so good today, that he wanted to stop by his work and say "hi". So we put in a brief appearance with the Children's crew and got to catch up with them. It was great to see them and let Tyler explain what is going on. It was clear to me that he is well liked and well respected with the people stopping to say hi or ask his opinion.

He got a massage in the evening, with hopes that it will make it easier to lie on the radiation table in the correct position. He says the real test of that is tomorrow when he lays down for his next treatment.

We ended the evening with yummy dinner and a game of Nickel Nickel with Gump, Tud, and Andrea. It was such an improvement over the last few days that I am in great spirits tonight!

We're going to try to copy our day and make tomorrow just as smooth!

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