Aaron has found a sweet spot. His giver of sleep is reduced to the point that he is awake enough to participate in his recovery and still not be in pain. Very frequent suctioning by Anne and Natalie and conscious control by Aaron keep the coughing under control. Aaron would like to suction his throat himself, but he’s not able yet to do so. A trembling left hand can reach his face momentarily, but falls back quickly to the bed.
Aaron is doing all the breathing work himself, supported only by extra pressure and oxygen. As a test, the pressure is reduced for a while to a lower level before returning higher. It appears that he passes the test. As the day proceeds, the work of breathing seems to tire him, but his numbers stay good and he remains in touch by discernable nods and shakes.
Less than 3 weeks ago Aaron’s white cell count was zero. As the poisons finished and were flushed, white cell production began again, deep in the bone marrow where there still lurk mutant stem cells. For the last few days, the white cell count has been noticeably doubling nearly every day. Exponential growth rates may be quite normal….up to a point. Today, there are about 11,000 white cells in every microliter of Aaron’s blood. Though twenty time lower than it was a month and a few bags of poison ago, this is on the high side of normal. If these are bona fide white cells and if they are here to fight Aaron’s sinus infection and keep other infections at bay, we laud them…they are our allies. But if they are mutants, we curse them.
Should we laud or should we curse? The answer resides in memory cells of the UCLA Medical Center’s on-line medical records computer system. For lack of a password or a convenient doctor (doctors and questions we have for them never seem to be simultaneously available. While the rest of the world has discovered TCP/IP as a means to effective yet non-simultaneous communication, doctor/patient-family communication seems decidedly last century), we not know. Perhaps tomorrow.
The dancing fever continues to vex.