7-10-10

With your good wishes to send us off, we arrived at Hopkins around 2PM

Status: 9.5/10. Feeling chipper.

Events: The staff was well prepared for our admission; name on the door, equipment in the room (not as spacious as our previous corner room and a view looking at the building next door – sorta like those tiny NYC apartments). The nurse, a bright and pleasant professional, had already read my previous history – drew baseline blood work, took an EKG, asked me pertinent questions, and performed a neurological and mental status exam (more on that later).

  The resident, a very bright and pleasant young man (the sort of person one thinks about when imagining someone selected by Hopkins), performed his own history and physical (and he, too, was well familiar with my history). IVs were started, a portable chest x-ray taken, and then a chance to catch my breath.

  We’ll start the chemotherapy this evening with Ara-C (one of the agents I had before) in a somewhat higher dose given twice a day over 3 hours (standard protocol).

Comments: I’ll have a chance to have a good dinner tonight, ordering off the special menu that’s prepared for the elite clientele in Hopkins’ Marburg unit (where you’d go if you were a Saudi prince or Paul McCartney).

  In preparation for the chemotherapy, I’ll get anti-nausea drugs twice a day, and because Ara-C causes eye irritation I receive cortisone-like eye drops twice a day as well.  At this higher dose of Ara-C, one of the side effects can be neurological. That’s the reason the nurse gave me a baseline mini-mental status exam (questions include knowing the date and day, where I am, remembering the name of 3 objects, and counting backwards from 100 by 7s). In addition, she tested my cerebellar function.

   The cerebellum, the two little plum-sized parts at the back of the brain, control the coordination of movement. The reason a virtuoso pianist can play an arpeggio without getting his fingers tangled, or a speaker can get a rapid sequence of words out without becoming tongue-tied is a tribute to your cerebellum. Baseline tests include writing your signature and then repeating it every day, copying a drawing of two intersection pentagons, and rapidly touching your thumb to each of your fingers and back again.

  So, so far, so good. Lisa is up here, and of course that makes all the difference. Looking forward to an uneventful stay.

Love,

-Bruce

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16 Responses to “”

  1. Judy and Larry Says:

    Bruce
    You are better than Paul McCartney or the Saudi Prince!!!! Enjoy your special dinner and Lisa’s company. We will be eating with Terry to celebrate his special birthday. We hope that things go smoothly and that you have an easy time.
    We will continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. We love your blogs so hopefully you will feel up writing.
    Love, Judy and Larry

  2. Judy and Ken Freedman Says:

    Sending more good wishes and positive thoughts for an uneventful week 🙂

    Love,
    Judy and Ken

  3. Lewis Lefkowitz Says:

    Cerebellar test:

    Say:

    The sinking steamer sunk

    five times fast.

    Jusd and Lewis

  4. Lewis Lefkowitz Says:

    Cerebellar test:

    Say:

    The sinking steamer sunk

    five times fast.

    Judy and Lewis

  5. Steve Seekins Says:

    Bruce continued prayers for you from our family. You blog has been so interesting and I hope a source of strength for you. Who knows…maybe a book in here somewhere in the future. Blessings, Steve

  6. wendy Says:

    perhaps….suggesting they ask you to do pi to the enth degree…for your cerebellar test ..important to know your subject (patient) ,right?

    all’s well hat ends well and so you will….I’m predicting the miracle of a cure….- expecting you to fly through this week…and back home to recoup…do use your social worker as needed…and even if not needed…good resource… love wendy

  7. Andrea Tuttle Says:

    Lord…I’d be concerned about my base-line mini-mental status. Counting backward by threes, I’d be in an immediate mire. They may have to be a little more stringent in your case in order to know if there is a significant change.

    I believe Paul McCartney is a vegetarian. A Saudi Prince would like some good lamb perhaps. Has research been done on diet as it relates to the success of chemotherapy?

  8. Donna Hill Howes Says:

    Hey Bruce….it’s been a week since I checked in and was surprised to be reading about the consolidation round given the anticipated transplant….that darn HLA, eh? Well, so glad to hear that there are other candidates in the wings….I’m a donor, but they haven’t called me yet….I’d be there in a heartbeat!
    Sending you tons of love, and Taylor’s sitting beside me sending her love too.
    We’re off to Bern, Switz for a family reunion at the U.S. Ambass residence (my brother-in-law) will check back in w you from there.
    XOXO Donna

  9. Wally Schlech Says:

    In our prayers as always Bruce – go for the gold!
    We’re headed to Little Rock in a week to meet Jake Walter and John William Schlech born on Canada Day!

  10. mike magee Says:

    Bruce-

    Glad it’s a short stay this time. Onward and upward. As my mother-in-law frequently said, “This too will pass.” Sending all positive thoughts your way!

    Mike

  11. Kate Latimer Says:

    now that ABC knows about the mccartney connection, they will have lisa back on assignment in no time….

    we’re joining the rally of good wishes for an uneventful week. hasten home!

    – kate & rick

  12. Bill Israel and Eileen Breslin Says:

    We’re glad you’re getting rock star treatment (the food, that is)! Sounds as if your blog finally made the rounds.

    And now for the hot one. We had dinner last night with two great San Antonio friends, and Eileen was describing the patient safety and evidence-based practice meeting at which she spoke yesterday morning, in which she mentioned a few of your hospital experiences. So, over dinner, we were bringing our friends up to date on our concern over what’s been happening with you. We talked about what a trooper Lisa had been…and then they asked: Lisa who? Lisa Stark, we said. “Oh my God,” said Betty and Henry Feldman, “we knew Lisa in San Francisco, and then met Bruce!”

    How’s that for synchronicity? Betty and Henry send you their best regards and spoke very fondly of their time with Lisa in the Bay Area.

    We love you both. Eileen and Bill

  13. Betty & Henry Feldman Says:

    Lisa and Bruce,
    It was great to find that the lovely friends we have made here in San Antonio are attached to you guys. We send our hopes that you recover quickly and that Lisa can know that we are here to help where possible. May your days move along with speed and comfort.
    Betty and Henry Feldman

  14. joel steinberg Says:

    Good luck. Get over this round quickly. We hope a donor is waiting somewhere in the wings. Joel and Margaret

  15. Judi Golding-Baker Says:

    Dear Lisa and Bruce,

    Next week at this time you’ll be back home again…and day 1 is nearly over…forge ahead as I know you will…sending you both much love.

    Judi

  16. Len and Lisa Says:

    Dear Bruce,
    Continuing to keep track of you via the blogs and enjoy reading them (although not so much this past week…) Glad you are keeping your spirit, sense of humor and your loved ones close. We are sending our positive vibes your way along with our love.
    Len and Lisa

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