Dan and Emily Go to the ER

Dan and Emily Go to the ER

Old Me used to leave the hospital with a piece of gauze and some tape and think, “Geez. That’s kind of overkill for a little speck of blood, isn’t it?”

But Current Me takes chemo. And chemo makes your bone marrow go on vacation. And platelets don’t get made when your bone marrow is on vacation. And platelets are kind of important for stemming bleeding.

Anyway, I got my gauze and bandage and discharge papers after spending yesterday in the ER due to some wicked dehydration. Then Dan drove me home.

I looked down at my hand while climbing out of the car, and something looked off. It took me a second to catch on.

“Gah!” I shrieked. The gauze was soaked and oozing red. I lifted the back of my left hand to Dan’s face.


The ER doctors are always fascinated by my story. Once they find out I have a brain tumor, they check All the Things™.

So I go in asking for IV fluids and they’re all, “Well, just to be safe…”

It’s like asking for an oil change and being talked into adding on the 27-point inspection. The doctor this time ordered a chest x-ray, 6 blood tests, urinalysis, an EKG, and conducted the standard physical examination.

“You dizzy? Have vertigo?” he asked, shining a light in my eyes and watching my pupils.

When I answered affirmatively, he wondered if I knew what he meant by vertigo.

“I have nystagmus,” I replied. “Me and vertigo are like this.” I crossed my index and middle finger.

That piqued his interest. So he had me track his finger with my eyes, and when they fluttered like I promised they would he seemed satisfied.

“Yep. That confirms there’s something wrong in central processing.”

Dan and I thought him a little quirky compared to today’s colder, more aloof doctors. A country doctor in a college town ER.

He was good. I told Dan, “I always prepare to fight for a second bag of fluids. He just offered.”


At home in the recliner I asked Dan to hunt for a clean bandage. He returned with one from the linen closet.

“Let’s just clean that first,” he said noticing the blood that was caking on the back of my hand.

“Ouch.” The pain of him swabbing my hand surprised me a little.

“Sorry,” he said, and then started dabbing at it extra gently. I told him he’d never been anything but good to me but I was still shocked sometimes by how tender he could be.

“Who would keep hurting someone who says ‘ouch’?” he shrugged.

Who indeed.

Junky Old Edema

Junky Old Edema

Being back on the steroid dexamethasone is slightly bothersome, but mostly a pure delight. In comparison to the several days of vomiting, spewing bile, and dry heaving during my taper from the drug earlier this month, the last several days have been joyous.

I am putting weight back on, but don’t really give a shit about that. I can walk around. I can type. I can think not-depressing things. And I enjoy eating and recipe hunting so immensely that some days I just soak up being alive instead of contemplating the tumor in my head.

If there’s one major dislike, though, it’s the edema (or swelling) caused by the steroid. I can deal with my balloon-like feet and hands, but the face stuff. ARGH!

I am so moon-faced that I can’t put earrings on. Seriously. My cheeks stick out too far and my ears are hidden BEHIND them. I can’t turn my head and look at myself in the mirror for a couple of reasons. First, the range of motion in my neck and shoulders is still pretty limited, even though I’m nearly five months post-op. Second, my nystagmus is unchanged. When I look left or right, the room gets very, very spinny.

And then there’s that glorious feeling that I’m being choked to death by my own neck. Probably the most irksome of all the swells. I have a neck roll that, aside from being unattractive, is like totally impossible to dry thoroughly after a shower.

TMI? Yeah, don’t care.

I ingested 66 ounces of fluids yesterday plus had an entire plate of produce for supper—mostly for the high water content. Still woke up this morning feeling all Stay Puft. (Heat me up and I expand like a marshmallow, baby.) It’s going to be a lot warmer today, which doesn’t help. So if you need me, I’ll be in my recliner with my feet up waiting for Second Breakfast and playing Fallout Shelter.

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