Posted by: Ken Wheatley | August 26, 2008

No Escape

We haven’t been able to travel together anywhere outside of San Diego for the past 8 months. Now that Sheila started the clinical trial and things have settled into a routine, we decided to go away.

We had originally signed up for an OARS multisport course in Northern California that would have been 5 days of mountain biking, hiking, climbing and Class 4 white water rafting. We were a bit apprehensive about the rafting, seeing as how neither of us has rafted above Class 1, but we were willing to be daring and try it.

Unfortunately, we were the only ones to sign-up, so OARS canceled the course the week before it was to start. Rather than cancel our much needed vacation, we decided to head up to Santa Barbara and then Catalina Island instead. Sheila has never been to either place, and I had been to SB about 12 years ago. We were looking forward to getting away, finally.

So I booked a room at a B&B in Santa Barbara and another B&B on Catalina. 

Sheila had taken her “routine” blood tests on Friday morning for the clinical trial studies and it wasn’t until last weekend that she commented about no one calling her on Friday with any results. So perhaps no news was good news.

We got to the B&B Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, just after breakfast, her phone ran. It was the doctor’s office calling and asking, “Where are you right now?”

I was sitting on the bed watching her face as she repeated the question. After she told them we were in Santa Barbara they told her that the test results showed that her white blood count had noticably dropped and that they needed to run more tests. There was some more conversation, but quite frankly I think we both blanked out at that point. We were disappointed/angry that the first day of our first trip in 8 months was being invaded by a call from the doctor. 

Sheila hung up and a short time later the study assistant called telling Sheila that she had to stop taking one of the trial drugs because it may be affecting her bone marrow and that she had to go to the nearest hospital by Wednesday for them to run some tests that UCSD needed to evaluate why her count was down.

So we spent the next hour finding and calling the hospital in Santa Barbara and her doctor in San Diego to get the right phone numbers of the right departments so they could fax the orders up here.

We tried to put it out of our minds for the rest of the day,  but there was no getting around the mental disruption it caused. By the end of the day we had managed to distance ourselves from it. 

Today was a better day, although she has gotten increasingly tired and has to stop often when we’re walking. Tomorrow after breakfast we’ll go sit at the hospital and wait for them to do the blood draws before we head down to Dana Point to take the boat over to Catalina. We’re not sure if cellphones work on the island, but, at least for me, I’m hoping they don’t. We just need an escape…..


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