What’s in the refrigerator?
We got Joanie home from the hospital on the 20th of March. It was then, I decided to keep a log on what she ate and drank so the next time we met with Dr. Thomas, I would be able to show him what kind of nourishment she was taking in. More precisely, it would give him an idea of what kind of nourishment she wasn’t getting.
The usual answers to the question of fluid and solid food intake don’t often tell the doctor very much. For instance, the answer, “A fair amount,” doesn’t give them much of a clue. Especially when the patient is likely to inflate the amount when answering that question.
In Joanie’s case, I decided to provide the answers myself. This is a sampling of a log I kept for over two weeks.
3/20/06—Water/lemonade to drink. Chicken noodle soup for dinner (Not that much).
3/21/06—Gagged while brushing her teeth and threw up. Not from nausea. To eat: Cherry popsicle, chicken noodles soup at night (Not that much. To drink: Water, lemonade and Boost.
3/22/06—Water/lemonade/Boost/Orange Crush to drink. Pasta with butter at night (Not that much).
3/23/06—Water/lemonade/Boost/ to drink. Cantelope in the morning to eat. In the afternoon tried to swallow a Percocet, gagged and threw up. Not from nausea.
3/24/06—Water/lemonade/Boost to drink. Cereal in the morning to eat (Not that much). Turkey sandwich in the evening. Eats less than half.
3/25/06—Water/lemonade/Boost to drink. Small amount of cereal in the morning. Small amount of chicken noodle soup in the evening. Gags again in the evening trying to take a Percocet and throws up. Not from nausea.
3/26/06—Water/Cranberry Juice/Orange juice/Boost to drink. Half an English muffin with butter and honey. Eats less than half of the half. Turkey sandwich in the evening, and doesn’t eat that much of it. At 11:15 P.M. she is trying to take a Tylenol, gags and throws up again. Not from nausea.
This pattern repeated itself right up until the eve of the second round of chemotherapy which was scheduled for April 11th. I kept the log through the first week of April, and it did show how little in the way of solid food she ate during those two weeks, and it also drew attention to the gag reflex that seemed to cause more of her episodes of throwing up than nausea did.
One of the things I found during Joanie’s bouts with chemotherapy, was that it affects her taste buds somehow. Things that tasted good before, all of a sudden have no appeal, and things she wasn’t particularly fond of before were okay now.
This was especially true when it came to what she drank. At any given time when she was taking chemo you could find, in our refrigerator; orange juice, cranberry juice cocktail, grapefruit juice, lemonade, Powerade, Boost, bottled water, Coke, Diet Coke, Diet Seven-Up, regular Seven-Up, Sprite, Diet Sprite, Orange Crush, Tab, Root Beer, Gatorade and Ensure.
Ensure and Boost were the two protein drinks we tried, and of the two she preferred Boost, so Ensure was only found early on. And it was the chocolate flavored Boost shwe liked best, especially when it was ice cold, or I made an ice cream milk shake out of it.
Another, thing I learned as time went on was where to buy Boost and Ensure, and that, was Walmart. In our regular grocery store, I could find it, but it was much, much cheaper to pick it up at Walmart. The same went for the other sodas and juices that took up residence in our refrigerator.
The log I kept, I gave to Dr. Thomas when we met with him before the second round of chemotherapy was to start. I think he was surprised when he saw it. He told me he often didn’t get that kind of information about a patient, usually having to rely on the patient’s responses about such matters.
I didn’t know if it helped him a lot or not, but at least it told him that someone was paying attention to what was going on with Joanie, when she wasn’t under his direct care, or in the hospital. If nothing else it made me feel as if I was making some kind of contribution to her care.
Oh, yeah, there was one other thing that was always in our refrigerator, and it was an item that chemotherapy didn’t seem to affect her taste for. Cherry popsicles.