Saturday, February 16, 2013

Feb chemo

We had our second visit to the hospital here for Carter's February check-up and chemo.  Everything went very smooth this time although it still took longer than I wanted it to.  One of the many things I've notice about living here is that no one is ever in a hurry.  And they all own at least one dog.  And they all smoke.  True story.  So back to the visit.  My very sweet (American!) friend offered to watch my two littles while I took Carter.  That was a life-saver!  Then to make it even better, the missionaries from church came with me to translate.  I am once again so grateful for the kindness and generosity of these wonderful people who barely met us and are so willing to help.  Everything went according to plan with two exceptions.  #1:  Carter's ANC is pretty low, only 200 right now which puts me into extra crazy-phsyco-hand sanitizer-stay away from my son with your germs mode.  Chicken pox is much more common over here, which is sucky because it's really scary and dangerous for chemo patients.  I've been kind of a nervous wreck about that one as we have been around family members of chicken pox-sick kids and didn't know til later.  Terrifying.  It's hard for me to let him go to church or school because it could be hiding anywhere!  And these kids don't even know they have chicken pox until they've been contagious for days!  Ah, what's a mom to do?!?!  Sorry, anyways... they decreased the dose of one of his oral meds in hopes that his counts will come up a little.   #2:  Carter had a stuffy nose so they wanted to test to see what kind of virus he had.  They've done this once at our old hospital when he came in with a fever and they just swiped the inside of his nose with a q-tip type thing.  WELL, this time they wanted him to (sorry, this is kinda gross) get some snot down the back of his throat and then spit it into their little official spit jar.  It's pretty hard to explain to a 5 year old how to do that - he couldn't do it.  Their next option was to stick a tube up his nose and down his throat and suck some out.  And that's precisely what they did.  He HATED that!  Maybe it wouldn't have been quite so bad if the nurse hadn't told him that it wouldn't hurt at all.  He kept telling me how much it hurt afterwards.  He screamed and cried for a while afterwards.  It was heartbreaking.  He hasn't had to do anything so crappy for a while now.  This one was hard for me because I'm not convinced that it was necessary.  Carter showed up at the clinic countless times in Portland with a stuffy/runny nose and it was never even considered to do something like that.  It all happened so fast I didn't even really know what to do.  But if they ever want to do that test again when he doesn't even have a fever and is otherwise feeling fine I will kindly tell them no.  Other than that, it went well and we got out at a much more decent hour than last time.  Oh, one funny thing though.  I have to check in with admissions when we get there and pay for our visit.  These past two times we've just had to pay for it ourselves as we have been applying for health care but it's not finalized yet.  The secretary has been so concerned for us both times that WE have to pay.  It's socialized medical care here so it just blows her mind that she's not sending the bill to the government.  She told the missionary who was translating between us, "tell her right now that she needs to apply for medical coverage.  Tell her in front of me right now so I can see it.  She really needs to do that!"  Haha, kinda sweet I guess that she's so concerned.  It's a big bill so I don't blame her but we hopefully will get reimbursed for it.  It's fun to see all the differences in lifestyle here.  It gives us a new and different perspective on life, that's for sure.  But we have been enjoying ourselves a lot.  I'm so glad this monthly visit is over!
Sorry I've been so bad at taking pictures!  I'll be sure to bring my camera to the next hospital visit so you all can get a feel of the place.  I know you're all so curious what the inside of a French hospital looks like :)

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