It looks as if the headaches are going to be around for a little while. The best we can do for her is to give her good drugs to keep her comfortable.
I went in to the hospital yesterday armed with information. I was determined to get to the bottom of a mix of symptoms that didn't fit the possible diagnosis I was being given. Fortunately, for me Dr. Blythe Thompson is who we saw yesterday. She is blunt, to the point, and well known for her intellect.
I didn't have to do much explaining before she confirmed what I was thinking. The headache and other flu like symptoms are not from the spinal tap or the low red blood count. They are caused from the chemo drug she was given earlier in the week called Ara-C. It can cause a cerebral headache and the other symptoms. Unfortunately, it just takes time for it to go away.
Hannah has a good block time from around mid morning to middle of the afternoon where her headache subsides a bit. After that it is intolerable. She sobs, throws up, and begs for more medicine than is allowed to be given. To combat this, Dr. Thompson has instructed that a second medicine be given a half and hour after her narcotic. All by itself this drug doesn't do a whole lot, but the way it interacts with narcotics helps them to work better. So far, it is working.
Giving your child round the clock pain medication feels counterintuitive. Most of the time I am driven to find answers. This "solution" of drugging her through it, is hard to take. However, infinitely better than watching her struggle with pain.
This week has been extremely hard. We have had so many "Are you kidding?" moments. By far, the one that is the most astounding was the ER nurse failed attempt to access Hannah's port on Wednesday night.
In order to draw blood or administer medicine they stick a 20 gauge, 3 quarter inch IV needle in the port that is under the skin of her chest. Typically, a numbing cream is applied an hour before this occurs. In the rush of the ER, a different, fast acting cream was used and applied incorrectly.
The nurse, who doesn't normally work with the cancer patients, stuck the needle in slowly. Hannah's whole body went tense and she was screaming. Clearly, she wasn't numb. I'm telling the nurse to stop. Seriously, this needle is no joke. She was basically slowly stabbing Hannah. She stops and just stares at us. I ask to her remove the needle and then I start interrogating the other nurse as to how/what numbing cream was used. It was not my most eloquent hour.
They got out of there as fast as possible leaving us to reapply the cream and clean up the blood that was now flowing out of the hole she left. I can't believe that Hannah made it through the second attempt.
I still feel agitated by the whole experience. I tried writing this with a nicer tone, but I just don't have it in me right now. When perspective does befall me, I will feel that I should have been more uplifting or kind or something. For now, I am going to add pictures of the good moments we did have during Hannah's hospital stay.
Mackenzie and her adorable baby, Cadence, came by to visit on Thursday. Mac brought me coffee because she loves me ;-) and spent lots of time coloring with Hannah. Hannah normally wants to pretend Cadence is her baby. This day however, she just wanted Mackenzie to herself. Hannah kept asking me if I could take the baby! Ha! It was really kinda funny.