A nice day at home alone of studying in preparation for my next exam on Friday. At least that was the plan. I get a call from my dad asking if I'd like to meet them for an early afternoon dinner, a Last Supper of sorts. I say sure and figure that I could use a break from studying. What was going to be a study break turns into a good 2 and a half hour discussion. I'm reading over all the CT results and that node in the neck is actually in the thyroid. That could mean lots of things. Most likely, it's nothing. You could pull 100 people off the street and find some abnormal node in probably 20 or 30 of them and it means absolutely nothing. But with my dad going into stem cell transplant, it takes on a different meaning. He's had increasing fatigue and that could definitely be due to thyroid problems. CLL can settle in the thyroid. Other cancers can show up. Post infectious agents of the upper respiratory tract can settle into the thryoid. Those ALL apply to my dad and could greatly complicate the stem cell process.
While we're talking, my dad gets a phone call telling him to show up a bit earlier on Friday for a biopsy of the thyroid. At this point, I'm starting to get more than a little concerned. He's supposed to start chemo on Friday. Do we really want to be starting chemo if there is the potential for some active disease process going on in his thyroid? What's the rush since his cancer is stable? Can't we wait a week? And why in the world haven't they run thyroid funtion tests? Lots of questions but no way to answer them right now. We come to a agreement that my mom and dad will go down there and try to speak to the PA or doc in the morning to address these issues before going forward with chemo.
I go back home to my studying. The exam on Friday is a one shot deal. It's a short class and has one exam. That's it. Screw that one up and you're repeating the class. I have no idea as to the style of the exam and what is important or not since I've not taken an exam from this class before. So you try to just memorize the entire syllabus. You do what you gotta do.
And a phone call from my mom that evening changes everything. Did I forget to mention my dad had a catheter placed into a major vein that morning? Well, he did. And now it was bleeding. Bleeding from a central line can be very, very bad. To put it into layman's terms, ever wonder why predators like dogs always attack the jugular vein? Because the prey bleeds out in a matter of minutes. Same thing applies here. I think I need to get a siren for my car for all these emergency trips. My dad, trying to retain some level of calm states, "we need to stop meeting like this" as we careen down the freeway. My mom replies, "we need to start timing you to see if you can beat your fastest time."
Fortunately, the blood came from the skin and subcutaneous tissue from my dad tugging on it, and NOT the subclavian vein itself. While taking off his shirt, he thought he had a pen in his shirt pocket and tried to remove it from said pocket. Of course, it wasn't a pen but the catheter. Blood letting ensues. MDACC cleans him up and he's clear to go. Crisis averted.
By this time, I'm more than a little worried about my exam the next morning. So I email student affairs asking can I reschedule it. But of course no one is checking their email that late at night. So I go to bed hoping I get a reply very early in the morning.