The Princess in the Keep

I’m in a single room (yesterday it was an isolation room) on the oncology ward. On Monday I was admitted with a fever of 38.5 and no known source of infection. Because they suspected a cold or flu could’ve been the cause of my puffy eyes and presentation I told them my mother-in-law arrived with a cold from Hong Kong. SWINE FLU alerts abounded, and after a throat swab that makes you gag and a nose poke I was regarded as having it until proven otherwise. I had to wear an industrial mask and anyone entering my room clowned up in gloves, yellow smock, face mask and (in turn) fearful or sad eyes. People’s eyes were all I could see.

After many blood tests and such the primary source of infection is a bacterial infection: streptococcus (from my raw, stripped throat). Viral infection a.k.a. the cold is secondary. Not great news for someone who’s neutropenic (my white cell reading was 0.00).

When a bacterial infection has no mucous white cell soldiers to attack it, it attacks the organs directly. My treating doctor, a diligent gentle soul, put me on continuous antibiotics, which I’m still on. My particular bacterial infection is treatable. Thank you world! Difficult bacterial infections are life threatening for immune compromised people like me. I’m the youngest on the ward by 15yrs or so. As everyone keeps saying ‘you’re young for breast cancer’. I know, I am.

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