Next day, on Friday, he had his follow-up at the Cancer Center. The chemotherapy drug they were giving him was making things actively worse. His doctor said to stop that drug for a week, then he'll do more labs and re-assess what is the what.
Here's what's interesting to us: when Asa was getting his vitals taken, they asked him as they always do, what's your pain level? And as always he answered "8." And on that day - for some weird reason known only to them - they decided to Actually Do Something about it. Once they parked us in "the doctor will see you now" room, not one but TWO nurses showed up to talk with us about pain meds.
Saturday morning we rolled out early - went to breakfast at Hurricane's and got to the pharmacy about ten minutes before they opened. There was an alarmingly long line snaking around the building. Leaving Asa in the car, in the sun, listening to the radio, I queued up. Surprising to me, it moved along pretty quickly. There were still a few seats left inside. I checked my number against the NOW SERVING board and texted the news to Asa. "serving 503 im 547." After about five minutes he texted back, "wow." During the hour and 10 minutes I waited, Asa learned How To Text. Between us we devised an impromptu "Pharmacy Bingo" game.
Got him home, applied the Fentanyl patch and off I went to work. He immediately went to sleep. We checked in with each other every hour or so. When I got home 6 hours later, he'd managed to sleep in between calls and bouts of nausea. I managed to get a little food in to him, but that reappeared almost instantly. The next day, 24 hours in to the 72-hour patch, we removed it and he started feeling better right away. We were so distracted by Other Stuff we didn't bother to look up Fentanyl.
IT'S A FUCKING OPIOID.
IT'S A FUCKING OPIOID.
We agreed he should not take this drug but should call the oncologist's office and tell them, yet again, that he cannot take opioids and why, and see if they can't come up with one of the "tons of other meds" he could try that are NOT opioid.
In the meantime, he's been smoking the medical marijuana and that's helped more than anything they've come up with.
On another note, I crocheted a hat for him which he wore to his appointments Thursday and Friday. It was much admired by all. When his primary care doc commented on it, he told her it was his cancer beanie and she said - "Oh dear. Did you lose your hair?"*
"No," says Asa, with a sigh. "I just like the hat."
Best Beanie Ever
We see the oncologist again this Friday. What wonders await, eh?
*She's been his doctor for nearly ten years and didn't remember he's bald? WTF?