Day #19-ISOLATION BABY!!!!!

So today was the day I was hoping for: Isolation.  My Leukocyte numbers dropped low enough that I am officially in isolation.  My current Leukocyte count is 0.17.  It dropped over 10 times lower than yesterday, which is great.  Means I basically have zero immune system now.  Scary in once sense, great in another, means the old one is pretty much gone and the new one is ready to start taking off in the next couple days.  Now however I am susceptible to pick up anything and everything, hence the reason I’m confined to my room for the next 8 or so days and still on a whole lot of pills and drips.

The day started out a bit later than it did yesterday, but around 7:30am the nurse came in, hooked into my neck lines, drew up a couple syringes of blood, and then hooked me up to my steroid drip.  Usual events of the day, don’t even phase me anymore. Then it was time for Breakfast #1, the usual porridge mix, think this was a corn/semolina mix, baby yogurt, bread, tea, and copious quantities of sugar.  Not too bad considering.  Then I’ll just cover Breakfast #2 while I’m at it since it’s always about the same.  2 cooked apples, meat, and a hard-boiled egg.  Since I was technically in isolation when second breakfast hit, I had to nuke my food for 20 seconds in the microwave, really broke down the apples nicely and they weren’t bad, apparently that is how you need to eat the stupid things.

But back to isolation prep, the exciting part of the day.  So at 9:00am Dr. Fedorenko came in to give me my numbers for the day, my Leukocyte numbers dropped down to 0.17, ten times lower than yesterday so that immediately sent me into isolation.  He then took all my vitals said I looked good and said at noon the nurse would be getting me all set up and I could leave the room and go to the lounge with a mask on until noon.  Anastasia soon came in with the “vodka” alcohol bath bottles and mouthwash and gave me a rundown on how to use it.  And right then the nurse came in and said in ten minutes I will be back to clean you and the room.  She didn’t lie either, she was right on time….

So first thing she did was order me in the bathroom, handed me clean towels, my
“judo” outfit, and told me to get naked except for my undies, at least I got to keep some decency today.  She opened the bottle of alcohol for using on the body, had me take a big whiff, laughed and said vodka, and then sloshed some on some guaze and started rubbing down my back and all over my hair, then it was my turn to rub down my front, arms, legs, etc.  At this time she went out to put new sheets on the bed and to start the deep clean on the room.  Then she peeped back in and told me to use the other bottle designated for private areas and told me to douse more guaze with that and wipe down my face and my privates, at least she felt I was capable of doing that task myself.  Then I was allowed to put back on my bra and then my new white duds.  Pants fit pretty good, shirt a bit big, but no arguing with the nurse, I’m apparently stuck with the big shirt for today, maybe tomorrow I can get a smaller one, we will see.  She also discussed the mouthwash we use now, since we cannot brush our teeth the entire time in isolation.  It comes in little red bottles, mix a bit of mouthwash with water, slosh around for a bit, spit it out, and do it after every meal. All good.  Here’s a pic of the alcohol baths and mouthwash, not too scary.

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“Vodka” Alcohol Baths and Mouthwash

After that she gave me a rundown on how to now deal with my dishes.  After eating I wash dishes in the sink normally, then they go in a special tub to soak for around 20 minutes, then I pull them out, wash them, rinse them, then set them back in the stack.  Here’s a pic of my dish sanitizing bin, reminds me a lot of our sanitizer rinse we used when I worked at WinCo on the deli dishes.

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Dish Sanitizer Bin

Each day the nurse will now come in the room while we shower and give ourselves an alcohol bath and during that time they will give us clean sheets, new towels, new clothes to put on.  It’s like our own personal maid.

After all that she told me to sit on my bed and relax while she finished scrubbing my room from top to bottom.  Only thing she couldn’t master was my giant door mirror, it has such horrible hard water stains on it there is just no getting it clean, no biggie, don’t need to admire myself anyways.  But here I am rocking my new judo duds, don’t be jealous, you all know you wanna rock the look too…

But now when it comes to meals, we have to microwave everything for around 20 seconds before we eat it to ensure it is safe.  That includes if we want to add-on any condiments to it, like mustard, ketchup, pepper, garlic, whatever.  Even putting nutella or peanut butter on bread has to be nuked first as a precaution.  Not a big deal.

So now that I am in full-blown isolation it’s rather peaceful, nobody can disturb me unless it is nurses needing something.  I did have a dilemma with my water kettle not working, so they got me a new one, still didn’t work, then they finally fixed my old one, so now I can heat up my water.  That really was the extent of my day’s excitement.

Lunch came around 2:00pm and wasn’t too bad.  It was rice, chicken dumpling thing, veggie soup, and bread.  Like usual I cut up the dumpling and dumped it along with the rice into the soup, added some flavorings, nuked it for 20 seconds and ate it.  Saved my bread for dinner.  I’ve learned if lunch is good, dinner probably won’t be as appealing.

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Lunch

Then around 3:00pm the nurse came around to give another round of infusions along with a stimulation injection to help with the growth of our new stem cells.  Along with the daily blood pressure check and temp check.  My last nurse was not in a good mood and ended up squirting the saline out of my line and all over me, the bed, herself, she didn’t find it as entertaining as the previous time this happened with another nurse.  Bad day for her I guess.

After that Dr. Fedorenko dropped in to see how things were going before he headed out for the night.  Then it was free time for the rest of the day.  I had been working on coloring a picture and listening to music all day, so I finished up my picture and then it was about time for dinner to show up.  One thing I have learned is that apparently coloring pictures of goats disturbs some of the nurses, not sure if it’s a religious thing or not.  I just thought it was a cool pic out of my dollar store coloring book and also because I have goats, but I’m thinking maybe it’s a satanic symbol to the Greek Orthodox.  Note to self, no more goat pictures.  But it turned out fun, I thought.

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Then came dinner around 5:30pm.  Like I said earlier, if lunch is good, dinner usually isn’t so appealing.  Tonight was another chicken dumpling leftover from lunch I’m guessing, buckwheat, bread, beef baby food, cookies, and tea.  I was smart and saved my bread earlier, so I plan to make some garlic bread to eat with my dumpling and will douse the buckwheat with some mustard to try and down some of it.  This buckwheat stuff is hard to eat, it is just not a normal food in the USA, it’s animal food to us, so it’s an interesting tasting item to get down.  On the plus side, now that we are in isolation they switched us to a better brand of protein drink with more flavors and oh my god they are amazing, nothing at all like the coffee flavored ones that went with the chemo.  Gotta think of the pros.

Day 1 of Isolation is down.  Now about a week to go.  This is the time when my new baby immune system is growing, so taking it easy is good.  I plan on lots of coloring, cross-stitching, watching videos, and sleeping.  My only thing I have to do sometime before bed is to give myself another alcohol bath, hooray for me!

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About Cat

I'm an outdoorsy gal, wife, mom of 2 and MS Warrior. I underwent HSCT in Russia in April/May 2016 to halt my MS and documented my entire journey while I was there in my blog and am now continuing to blog through my recovery.
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