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[personal profile] desperance
So every forty-eight hours, Karen gets blood tests and a consult with the haemologist. (I kinda want to say haemiatrician, but I know that's wrong.) Two days ago, her white bloodcell count was 800, and she was officially in neutropenia; today it was 400, so we are double or half or whatever. Twice as sunk. This is all to the good, because what's dying off is the bad immune system that was eating her alive; hopefully at some point we turn this around, and she starts growing a new one that won't be doing that. The stem cells that were transplanted into her are supposed to help that process. I still don't quite understand why they put those stem cells back into her while the chemo was still actively killing things, but I guess they know what they're doing. I guess we'll find out, at any rate.

Statistically, this process helps 80% of patients. I think that's why they divide us into groups of four; if there were five, we'd all be eyeing each other and wondering who was going to be the one who failed. Four goes into eighty so conveniently, we can all be confident of coming through.

Except that unhappily one of our four never got this far. She just wasn't generating enough stem cells to harvest, despite all the drugs they have to encourage it; apparently that's the first time this has happened, in the nearly-500 patients they've treated here. She goes home tomorrow (and the worst of it is, she had the worst reaction to the first round of chemo when we first arrived; all the nausea and diarrhoea and everything, plus her hair's all gone. Which hasn't yet happened to anybody else, although Karen says she sees more in the shower every morning).

Meanwhile, this morning Karen told the doctor that she still felt nausea, and he said that shouldn't be happening because medication, and we pointed out that the anti-nausea meds were stopped a couple of days ago, and he said that shouldn't have happened, and now we have them again, so that's good. We're very much in control of our own meds here, an array of pills to be taken at prescribed intervals. Luckily Karen's long used to this, and so I guess is every patient in the programme.

What more? I dunno. I feel stiff and sore, and a little bit sullen and stupid. Still not trying to work. Reading Kipling and drinking wine. I'm surprised we're not watching more Netflix, but Karen doesn't have much brainspace still. She spends most of the day either napping or trying to nap (there is major construction work going on immediately adjacent, where they're throwing up another apartment block, and that is not a quiet process), and she's in bed by eight every night. With me let's be honest not that far behind her. We do have to be up early (a doctor comes by with a stem-cell-stimulating injection between 7 and 9 every morning), but there is something extraordinarily exhausting about this whole process, for all that I basically sit around all day and barely do a thing.

Ten days to go. I really, really want to go home right now.
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