The Fight of Faith: The Genesis of the Dark Moments – 2
I am too tired to do anything. I am on the bed. My butt is hurting; my back is hurting from lying down all day Sunday and Monday again!! I am not used to lying down for more than 7 hours. I cannot eat much. I cannot drink much. I send a funny text to my sisters in the faith: Lola, Ayoola and Folabo:
‘All ye womens saying I should rest. Now my butt is sore o…Who will massage my butt..Pastor is not home o’
Sister Lola was sent to ensure I was okay. That late afternoon, the port pain had increased from 8 to 20. I could no longer lie on my back. It was a torturous, unending pain. The nerves around the port area all the way to my neck and head were on overdrive. My temperature shot to 102 F, had 2 rigors each spanning 25 minutes within a space of 2 hours. I was in chronic pain. Sister Lola prayed, she anointed me, she declared the word of God. We kept calling the on call doctor at the DFCI to inform them of the situation. It felt like a phone tag. When we finally spoke to someone I was advised to come in if the fever did not break. This meant I had to take ibuprofen. I had no ibuprofen at home. Sister Lola went to the pharmacy to get some. She came back and left me in God’s hands. The temperature managed to get to 98 F.
I managed to sleep a bit. By 2.00 am, the situation had turned for the worse. My body felt hot. The fever started. The rigor was more severe. I called Tami, she did not respond. I called Bolu; no response. I called Dara my caregiver, no response. I was shivering violently. The only person I could call in that moment of crisis was Jesus. The more I shivered, the more I called the name of Jesus. His name is a strong tower. I needed a safe place in the absence of hubby, kids and caregiver. Thirty minutes later, the rigor stops. I crawl to my phone and call Dara. I am not a happy camper at this point.
“Where have you been? You know my husband is not here!, what kind of deep sleep is that?!..”
I was ranting like an angry bird. The poor girl could only apologize. It was time to quell the nausea with food. The only thing I could tolerate was beans and pap. She brought some but I still could not eat more than 3 teaspoons. My body temperature was hot; it measured 103F. Not again. Was this another trip to the ER? I had no choice. I was not going to take chances.
I told Dara to dial 911. I called quite a number of folks in my inner circle but no one was picking up. Heck, who will be expecting a call at 2 am in the morning? The only person that responded was Pastor Uche. He was at work. The first responders came in no time and supported me down the stairs to the ambulance. I gave them the usual spill about my medical history and the responders checked my vital signs. My temperature was worrisome. They wanted to wheel me to the nearest hospital. I begged them to take me back to South Shore Hospital. They were hesitant at first. The rule was always to take the patient to the nearest hospital in an emergent situation. South Shore was a good 25 minute ride without traffic and over 10 miles away. Brockton Hospital and Good Samaritan were less than 3 miles away. I got favor in their sight and they agreed to take me to South Shore. I wave at Dara, instruct her to take care of the children, and get them ready for school. I send a text to the Sules informing them that I am on my way to the ER and would need coverage for school drop off. I text my husband and inform him of the impromptu ER visit. We call each other and I tell him to start coming back home.
The ER team gets right to work and start the hydration process. They also took my blood sample to check for anything unusual. The first test result showed I had bacteria in my blood. No one knew what strain it was. My white blood count had dipped from 10 to 0.9 within a space of a week! I am started on intravenous antibiotics – Cefepime to be exact. In the ER, I call my parents in Nigeria to inform them of the situation. I am trying to stay strong on the phone. Normally I call them every Sunday to say hello. At one point I was video chatting with my dad everyday just so he could see my face. In his mind, most cancer patients look horrible and vegetative. Gosh! I had also texted Brother Tayo and Sister Folabo, my parish pastor, Pastor Austin, Pastors George and Gloria.
Pastor Austin was the first person to see me that morning. Brother Tayo and Sister Folabo came right after. Pastor Gloria came a few minutes later. Further tests show that the bacteria strain is Cefepime resistant. My mum was not happy with the report I had given her; 2 ER visits within 48 hours! She is trying to call me back but I cannot talk. I am on my way to the inpatient floor. Sister Folabo answers the call on my behalf. That single action sends my mom on panic attack. This woman had been strong all this while. She had shown courage and shown faith. She must have thought that I was in code mode or something. I can hear sister Folabo trying to calm her down over the phone. The result of that conversation is an immediate ticket purchase on my father’s part. They were scheduled to come visit for 2 weeks in mid April.
I am too tired to talk. My vitals are still not looking good. My blood pressure is below normal, my temperature is spiking, the rigors are kicking in at will and the port pain is not subsiding. At this point, I just want the port out. I am asking for Dr. F, he is not on call. His on-call comes and won’t do much. I do not have white blood cells to fight infection, port removal is not an option; at least not yet since they don’t think it’s the port. Yes, I am a cancer patient and I might be suffering from neutropenia but there is the need to think of the long term chemo treatment.
The antibiotic is swapped from Cefepime to Vancomycin. Vancomycin (Vanco) is a pretty strong antibiotic. It is one of the catch all antibiotics for most forms of bacteria. If this worked and I became stable, I would be sent home on a 30 day IV supply. Vanco was struggling to fight the bacteria too. A critical test result that shows vancomycin trough levels in the bloodstream was not promising either. I should be hitting 15 for the vanco trough and I was not.
The rigors are kicking in, I am struggling to breath, I am tired, my scalp is hurting from the pins and needles sensation, and my chest is hurting. I am in serious agony. I am in a faith crisis mode. I cannot pray. All I can do is sing.
I lift my hands in total adoration unto you
You reign on the throne
For you are God and God alone
Because of you my cloudy days are gone
I can sing to you this song
I just want to say that I love you more than anything
Grab me in your arms
You are the shelter from the storm….