Wednesday, March 11, 2009

While I Was Sleeping

I spent most of today in a drug-induced slumber.

I reported for duty at the City of Hope at 7:00 am for my 8:00 bone marrow biopsy, a procedure that involves a large needle thrust directly into the hip bone to extract the milky marrow. It's the closest I'll probably ever come to Medieval torture or a stay at Guantanamo Bay.

All joking aside, my doctor is very skilled at this procedure and it's only excruciating for about eight seconds. (My friend Bill, a fellow lymphomaniac, tells me that his doctor has him count backwards from eight during the painful part.)

Who couldn't deal with eight seconds of pain? Apparently, me. When the coordinator encouraged me to try sedation, I thought, "Why not?"

The anesthesiologist administered a drug called Propofol, or "Vitamin P," as my doctor calls it. I was making z's within two seconds of the time that the doctor pushed the milky syrum into my veins. Fifteen minutes later (five minutes after the ten-minute procedure was complete) I was wide awake. No grogginess. No fuzzy thinking. No desire to return to the Land of Nod.

I felt as refreshed as though I had slept for ten hours straight. The nurse told me that many patients dream and talk in their sleep during the fifteen minutes under, so the drug must instantly trigger a deep REM sleep.

But don't tell anyone. If word gets out about Vitamin P, it could be the next illicit street drug. Just imagine the applications. Sleep-deprived parents. Cramming college students. Anyone wishing to sleep through 15 minutes of boredom, pain or grief.

After the bone marrow biopsy, I crossed the hall to the infusion room for my quarterly infusion of Rituxan, a drug that is successfully extending my remission. The nurse pushed Benadryl through my veins, and I slept a restless 90 minutes and woke up groggy. This continued for the next three hours. Sleep. Grogginess. Sleep. Grogginess. And so the cycle continued.

What I need is another 15 minutes of solid "Vitamin P" sleep, but I'll have to wait another year before I get it.


susiegb said...

Oh I totally agree Susan! I've always had what they call 'twilight sedation' when I've had BMBs ... couldn't imagine having one without! I mean - why? Am I a masochist, or what?!! (Answer is definitely in the negative!) :)

So glad you found something that works!

Kathy H said...

I'm so glad you're doing well. :)

altadenahiker said...

You know how this fascinates me...

Nancy said...

No Fair! I never got Vitamin P! And, why can't they give you that when you get your rituxan or for that matter, any IV fluid which requires premed of benedryl? Benedryl makes me groggy and grumpy, as well.

I'm making a note of the Vitamin P for any future needs! Can I get that over-the-counter or by prescription? Is it habit forming? Can I use it every night? Does it interfere with anti-rejection drugs? : ) love, n

Susan C said...

I think if I could start dispensing Vitamin P, I could become very, very wealthy. I don't think it's habit forming, so I wouldn't feel like a pusher. (Just kiddin', just kiddin')

Trish said...

daaaaang, I wish they'd given ME Vitamin P!

Well, not to get the BMB, but heck, it'd be GREAT during the prep for most chemo!

I have managed to not have to have benadryl for all my infusions. One of the "benefits" to kidney stones and infection I had eons ago---they don't want to dehydrate me too much, so I can bargain a bit. They also had a heckuva time waking me up once---1/2 a benadryl usually allows me to sleep for 6+ hours easily. The two pills they try to push on me makes me groggy and fumbly for days and feeling like my tongue is a sponge left out all summer in Arizona! Come to think of it Nancy--I tend to be pretty grumpy too!

And I think you're right Susan, you'd be verrrrrry wealthy if you could push Vitamin P! I know several friends who'd gladly line up for it!

Glad things seem to have gone well.

Susan C said...

I'm surprised that nobody has come uop with a rock band called Twilight Sedation or Conscious Sedation.

Maybe we should start the group. Who's in?

brad williams said... is the best sleep I can get. Now if I can only keep from telling the nurses they are hot when I'm trying to come out of it.

Nelle said...

This drug sounds wonderful. I will never forget my worst bone marrow ever. I was in a teaching university hospital and naive at the time. The hemotologist was not there but his student was. I didn't know he was still a student. He told me we could proceed and he proceeded to make SEVEN attempts. The last attempt he finally got it and with it a large piece of bone. I was in agony and seeping fluid for a few days. I was told you could not be sedated for the procedure. When my son was diagnosed with leukemia I insisted he be given the twilight for his first aspiration. The following ones he was awake and I felt so badly for him. His last one I fought again and they sedated him. I could never understand why anyone should be wide awake. I made a vow to self never to have another unless I was given something. Where my son was treated they gave an ABC cocktail; ativan, bednadryl and compazine. It never worked for him and finally I won a campaign to have him given zofran. It was the first time his doctor ever used it and it was a God send for him. It was the first time on chemo he didn't spend the next tweleve hours heaving...which sometimes lead to needing a transfusion. So glad you are doing well my friend.
Enjoy your weekend. :)

Margaret said...

Rock group! I'm totally in! Can I be a backup singer, I have not actual talent, but I've always wanted to be a backup singer.

Petrea said...

I'll stand in the back with Margaret and do the support thing, with all my heart. You guys going through this are the rock stars.

pasadenapio said...

Hang in there, kiddo.

Hey, this is Mystery History day on my site, so be sure to venture a guess. It'll provide some diversion while you're waiting for your next hit of Vitamin P!

Cafe Pasadena said...

SC, I'm not ready to endure what you did. You're tougher than me. I hope I won't have to reach that toughness.

I could use Vitamin P, if it provided a lot more than 15min of good sleep!

Nancy said...

Hey all, I don't know if I could be in the sedation band, but I'll definitely be your business partner in dispensing Vitamin P. Let's get the ball rolling. Shall I apply for the business license or do you want to do that. This could be part of our personal bail-out plan....