Friday, May 29, 2009

News of the Day (late edition) . . . .

First, to forestall your being alarmed by the happenings of the day, which may sound a little unsettling, Bob reports that Susan looks and feels just fine.

Now, as for what might sound alarming: turns out that Susan's PIC line was infected after all.
  • The PIC line (aka PICC line, or Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter), is a slender tube that is inserted into a peripheral vein in the upper arm with the tip threaded through to a large vein near the heart. It is being used for Susan's chemo treatments and will be the conduit for the infusion of stem cells in her transplant procedure.
  • Although the x-ray done yesterday confirmed that the placement was good, and the line was subsequently used for her chemo "sandwich," by this morning a culture of the blood drawn from the PIC line showed an infection. (shades of her infected port, which necessitated the insertion of the PIC line in the first place)
  • Susan's been put on an antibiotic, administered through the PIC, but it is not specific to the infection, since they don't yet know enough about the infection to target the optimal antibiotic.
  • The technicians are maintaining the culture since it continues to provide additional information about the infection as it matures. The more they know about the nature of the infection, the better they are able to deploy the best antibiotic against it.
And speaking of Susan's connections, her heplock, a peripheral IV inserted in her left wrist yesterday, developed irritation at the site and became uncomfortable, so they have relocated the heplock to her right wrist. Bob reports that it is still somewhat uncomfortable. Guess Susan, though well-connected, has not been connected well after all.

Otherwise, Susan's been walking the floor for diversion and exercise - 50 steps down the hall, 50 steps back, 50 steps down . . . . You get the picture. My sister the floor-walker.

Bob mentions how the unit is really run, and run very well, by the oncology nurses, who are extremely knowledgable, well-trained, and competent. Much better than having the doctors in charge.

Susan was visited today by her medical team from Dana Farber - Dr. Nadler and Linda Drury, and later on by Dr. Soifer. Nadler emphasized that if anything was concerning her, not to hesitate to call in the attending; if she wasn't getting the responsiveness she needed, to contact Soifer immediately; if she couldn't raise Soifer, to call Nadler on his cell and he would get Soifer onto it, etc. The point is, there's focus on Susan's treatment and care as a VIP (as I know she is to all of us).

Finally, Charley and Callie, along with Nate, are coming up to Boston this evening for the weekend (actually, I think Charley is staying into next week). Assume they're there by now and all is well.


  1. Bob & Susan,
    I am a friend of Barbara's. She talks of you often with such love. It is such a blessing to have all of your loving friends and family. Susan, I am adding my prayers for your successful treatments.

    A new friend,
    Dana Brown