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Back in the hospital

NikiMo's picture
Posts: 347
Joined: Jul 2011

Hi again friends,

So we made it 9 hours before having to go back to the hospital. If anyone ever questions if they should go to a major cancer center over a community hospital, always go to the big guys! Jeff was originally at a community hospital near our home as it was the closest ER. As you know Jeff was neutropenic and had an infection. The small hospital found nothing in his blood cultures, they gave him a course of antibiotics and sent him home. We had a nice day and Jeff felt good, we started his daily hydration around 8 pm, by 9 he was having chills and his temp was rising. I got on the phone with the home infusion team of the University of Pennsylvania (the major cancer center where he is being treated for EC). They forwarded me to the pharmacist. She spoke with the oncologist and they thought it was the neupogen, but wanted me to call them at 10 with his temp. Well at 10 it spiked to 102!! The pharmacist told me to make the 35-40 min trip to UofP, he needed to be seen by the folks that know his history. Jeff and I piled in the car and off we went. By the time we got to the city he was not doing well. By the time I found the ER I had to help him in. I went psycho caregiver and jumped in front of a bunch of people that didn't really look sick. Told the lady at the desk that he was neutropenic with a high fever. They saw him immediately, his BP was 70/40 and his heart rate was 130, he was in trouble! Things moved fast and furious from there. They took new blood Cultures and started massive amounts of fluids. I started praying hard! The BP slowly came up into the 90s and heart rate came down to low 100s. He was admitted to the ICU, I was out of my mind scared but I kept it together for him, pretty sure I was in shock. The ICU stabilized him, I owe a debt of gratitude to those folks. They did grow up a bug in his blood culture, he has a blood stream infection. I explained how Jeff had been in the other hospital, and when I told them about the episode of violent shakes he had there the ICU doc said "that's rigors, he definitely has a blood stream infection" that was before he saw the cultures! The level of care here is 100x better. They are bewildered as to why the other hospital discharged him. I am just thankful that we are mow at UofP. Jeff is now on an oncology floor. They think he will be ok, but he will be on antibiotics for awhile and the port might have to come out. Not sure if we will proceed with more Chemo we need to speak with his onc. I want them to explain risks vs benefits at this point.

Prayers are still appreciated, I am hoping and praying that we are out of the scary part!


TerryV's picture
Posts: 916
Joined: Jul 2011


We are here with you. Wish I could be there to give you and Jeff hugs.

So glad you went to the big Cancer Center over the community hospital this time. It's a shame that care levels aren't the same at hospitals. You're in the right place now - move forward.

Prayers & many, many positive thoughts for you both. Heal quickly, Jeff! I want that picture of the Saab :)

Love & Hugs to you both!


Posts: 137
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi Niki,
OMG, that is so scary. Sounds like they have it under control now so remember to breath.
Prayers for a speedy recovery.


JReed's picture
Posts: 463
Joined: Nov 2011


So sorry to hear you had to go through this but so glad you got him back to UPMC. He will be in good hands there and sounds like quite an improvement already. You had to have been so scared.

Our prayers and thoughts are with you and Jeff - stay strong - we have your back!


chemosmoker's picture
Posts: 524
Joined: Aug 2011

OMG. I think yopu handeled yourself so well! You didn't PANIC in caregiver mode, you DID caregiver mode. My hats are off to you for excellent care and saving a life if you asked me.

All OF OUR Prayers are headed your way...

fredswilma's picture
Posts: 196
Joined: Mar 2011

Know that you and Jeff are in my thoughts and prayers, thank goodness you tokk him to the right place and he is now getting the care that he needs.
Keep your chin up, you are not alone.

Heeran's picture
Posts: 173
Joined: Aug 2011

My heart is racing as I'm reading your post. How frightening. He's so lucky to have you as a caregiver. You took the right actions and did them quickly Good work. I'll pray for him that everything turns out well.

Wife of patient...
Posts: 129
Joined: Oct 2011

You are in my thoughts & prayers. I am so sorry........ I hope you guys are out of the scary part too.
You have my prayers.

AngieD's picture
Posts: 504
Joined: Sep 2011

Oh, Niki, my pulse is racing just reading your post! Prayers going up for both of you. Awesome job! How terrifying, but you did all the exactly right things and sounds like all is on the mend. Keep us posted.

paul61's picture
Posts: 1329
Joined: Apr 2010


I am glad you got to the right hospital. Kind of scary that the first hospital did not find anything in the cultures they ran. Hope things improve quickly.


Paul Adams
McCormick, South Carolina

Donna70's picture
Posts: 921
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Nikki,
When you said he was discharged so soon at the 1st hospital, I began to wonder how?? I was in for 8 days when I had the neutropenic fever and that included maybe 20 bags of antibiotics and 2 blood transfusions. Glad you took him to the hospital with his history and the bigger better one. It is scary and will keep him in my thoughts and prayers that he gets over this hurdle. You two have been thru the wringer for sure. My hopes he gets all the care he needs and comes home soon but only when it is cleared. take care,

ritawaite13's picture
Posts: 249
Joined: Aug 2011

I loved the psycho caregiver line and it sounds like that's exactly what Jeff needed from you. You got the job done and kuddos to you for that!! It sounds to me like you just may have saved Jeff's life by taking such fast action. It's always amazing to me that there can be such a wide variety of quality care at different facilities. Prayers and hugs for you both!

Janet Runge
Posts: 37
Joined: Aug 2011

Does Jeff have the jtube still in? My husband on his last chemo before surgery had similar episode and it was infection around the jtube.
Charlie's post op chemo was the worst. He could not have gone for more than 2 rounds due to so many hydration issues.
My thoughts are with you and when I read your post I am reliving August and September.

Cora11's picture
Posts: 177
Joined: Sep 2011

You are absolutely right Nikki that he should be in the academic setting. He was septic- given his rigors, low BP, temp, But... the community hospital my husband works in as an ER dr. would not have let that go past them either. Their is a big national push called surviving sepsis and it's all about what happens in that first 30-60 minutes of treatment. So your instincts have been right on- especially when you pushed ahead and told them about all his symptoms. You saved Jeff for sure in this circumstance. So so scary for you both. My heart goes out to you. Keep up the great caretaking and instincts. I can tell you as a nurse in these situations it's ALWAYS about getting prompt and emergent response to these situations. A little bug can get in the bloodstream in minutes.
You did everything by the book!


Posts: 80
Joined: Jul 2011


Sending prayers to you and Jeff!


Ericalynn's picture
Posts: 207
Joined: Jun 2011

All I can say (everyone else has pretty much said it all) is when I read your post I "see" LOVE. Love of a wife for her husband. You are intelligent, and as Cora said your instincts took over but I see LOVE. You and Jeff have been through so much but LOVE is keeping you and Jeff going. Keep loving each other and taking care of each other and you and Jeff with come out on the other side of this. We are all going to drink umbrella drinks TOGETHER (even if it is on the phone)!
Love to you both

Cora11's picture
Posts: 177
Joined: Sep 2011

I second that which Erica said- Your love for Jeff is palpable.

And sending love your way to stay strong


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