Always Use Caution

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Being alert… that is the name of the game. There is no other option. If we don’t stay on top of things too much falls through the cracks. As Peter spoke in his last Blog; going out in public situations has its fears for sure. So many people don’t give a second thought about going out sick. The old “I’m tough… I can work through this” or “ I’m not missing this for anything” excuses. Hey, we’ve all done it… wow, how I deeply truly hope I never endangered anyone I came in contact with. I understand so deeply the risks now. When Peter and I go out now things are very different! For starters he needs to wear a mask to protect himself. People who don’t know him avoid him, even refusing to make eye contact! so bizarre. I can’t tell you how many people I see every day that cough or sneeze without covering their mouth or nose.… I guess everyone wasn’t taught this, or they have forgotten the importance of it. All I see now is the spewing germs flying out and covering everything in their path and beyond… shopping cart handles, doors, isles in stores ( and the items sprayed in the process), any self serve buffet ( you know the ones I’m talking about here..), chairs in movie theaters, planes…don’t even get me started on public bathrooms… everywhere we go.. germs. Remember when you had your first baby and everything was so scary… we are reliving that in hyperdrive now. It’s easy to see how over the course of time an immune compromised person and their family members can become quite phobic about this stuff… because it is so real and the risk is so great!!! You might think you need to live in a little bubble and retreat from the public life… become a hermit…. but life goes on, As Peter’s late brother Steve said: ‘you have to LIVE until you die. The issue then becomes how do you still live without being in a constant state of fear & worry. Well for starters, I hope to educate the people who have forgotten the basic rule… if you’re sick stay home… or for crying out loud cover up when you cough & sneeze… sheesh!!! I’m not going to apologize for saying something, after all, keeping Peter healthy is my mission!! It’s a whole new way of life. We come to a public door now and I touch it to open it, I grab the filthy shopping cart and then wipe it off. I keep my eyes open wherever we are to avoid the isles where there are coughing and hacking people. Hand washing Hand washing Hand washing… traveling antibacterial hand wash & wipes!!!!!! It’s a tall task…. one person at a time…Oddly enough and quite scary, the most recent place to fear was in the local emergency room.
Peter had an accident at work, he just about cut the top of his finger off. This is how our date night started off… LOL… trip to the emergency room. Everything is quite different in life now…. all incidents need to be reported to his doctor & team at OSU. When the local ER doctor came in she said we need to give you a tetanus shot.. this was after she unwrapped his finger and poked around a bit. Now mind you, Peter’s platelets are pretty low so he bleeds easily and lots. We explained that he has leukemia and is in a clinical trial and we needed clearance from his oncologist… she seemed exasperated, she said it’s not a live vaccine. I explained again that we had to clear everything with his doctor in Columbus because of the cancer & the clinical trial. Well while I was on the phone with them this local ER doctor stuck him with a syringe of lidocaine .. WITHOUT EVEN CLEANING HIS HAND FIRST!!!!! Peter said whoa, you need to clean that area first….doctors response “nope”. Peter’s hands were filthy… he had been working in a dirty old house all day. She poked him twice without sterilization before I came back in the room. I could see he was sick to his stomach with stress & worry… and then he told me what had happened. We had talked to both doctors at length about how susceptible he is to secondary infections…how does this have any excuse? When they came back in to stitch his tip back together this same doctor told the second doctor she would help… I had seen her put gloves on and then open & close the door using the handle a couple times, type on a computer keyboard that wheels around the ER, hold the computer on wheels roller cart and move it, play with her hair, hold a pen and touch her face… as she moved in and reached her hand out to assist i spoke out. “Are you going to change your gloves first… you need to be sterile before you touch my husband”. She said “I can”… yes please. She did, and all the while Peter and I reminded her of the need for caution.. she ended up leaving the room and leaving the other doctor to stitch him up. The sterile doctor… who was painstakingly cautious about everything… to him a giant thank you!!!! Nice job stitching!! Seriously… going out in public is scary enough… but must we really worry in a place where our health and safety is supposed to be job #1. This is an immune compromised life…. not just for Peter, but for myself and all of us that love him. As his wife and partner it is my full time job as well. Cancer effects us all. As we stated when we started this Blog, we want to educate & support anyone who is going through anything similar and also people in general. Everyone in some way is or will be touched by cancer or a condition that effects immunity in their lifetime. There is support for patients… but this is information for caregivers and family as well. You have to stay alert and on your toes at ALL times… no matter where you are!!! The message here is this, we all as a society need to look out for each other more. Everyone has a story or a struggle, see beyond yourself.. the big picture if you will… and if you are sick, please stay home!

2 thoughts on “Always Use Caution

  1. Karen Camp

    Wow this is amazing! I would have asked for another doctor. Not cleaning his finger is unresponsible! Hope he heals well. Good luck. Pete is lucky to have you watching over him.

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  2. peteandheather

    Karen, I can’t imagine going through this without an advocate or a second set of ears. I had stepped out of the room because of poor cellphone service in order to speak with Peter’s team at OSU. We can’t take the chance of being removed from the clinical trial because of a tetanus shot, not sure where that fell on protocol. I was out of the room for maybe 2 minutes. It was almost as if this Dr was annoyed with our questions and concerns. She eventually left the room after I politely asked her to change her gloves when I had seen her touch everything else in the room .. and then move to touch his wound. She was clearly irritated with me. I make no apologies, Peter’s safety is the most important!! Thankfully the other doctor was so completely professional & sterile!! He seems to be healing up well… and he is on antibiotics. Thank you! xo

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