Someone with CML found my blog last week using the search query: Am I immunocompromised if I have CML? I wish I knew, but I am not a physician. Never forget this. Do not look to me, a mere layperson, for medical information; talk to your doctor.
I am indeed immunocompromised, but does that mean that everyone with CML is? All I can speak to is my own experience.
This is what I know: I don’t have the ability to fight infection the way a healthy person does. We all have germs hanging out In and around our bodies, but healthy folk have the resources to co-exist peacefully with those germs. I am not a healthy person, so the same germs that you handle easily are potential dangers to me.
If you get a cut, you may heal quickly and easily. If I get a cut, my immune system goes into high alert, trying to fight the infection, but sometimes it comes up short. That’s when I have to get the doctor involved, as I learned last month. My body was strong enough to heal itself that time, but I shouldn’t have waited as long as I did to see the doctor. An infection that spreads through the body is that much harder to fight than one that is localized.
Since my immune system is compromised, I should be careful about what I eat. No raw seafood, since sushi or oysters are a gamble. Although raw milk is all the rage among the earthy types, I won’t be drinking directly from a cow’s udder anytime soon. Also, I’ll skip the Caesar salad when I go out because the dressing is probably made with raw egg. I need my food to be pasteurized, which means it’s treated in such a way that the stuff that’s potentially bad for me is killed, before I ingest it.
But here’s the good news, from what I’ve noticed. Sometimes I’m healthier than other times. I go through long periods with nary an infection, and others where I’m more infection prone.
Which brings us to today. I am writing from a windowless closet in the Emergency Room. Pictures of IV stands and other medical equipment would not do the room justice. How did I get here?
I had a fever Sunday which quickly developed into an infection. Proactive one that I now am, I visited my family physician promptly, but later that day my fever spiked, and the concerned hematologist on call told me to head to the hospital. It’s a good thing I did. I am now on IV antibiotics to slaughter those germs and the doctors have admitted me until they notice significant improvement.
Except hospital inpatient beds are full to overflowing, so I’m still in Emergency. Yes, I am writing you from the ER. It’s pretty quiet in my closet and I’ve been able to sleep, which is not my forte at the hospital. If someone doesn’t find me a room within the next few hours, I may beat my previous ER record of 42 hours awaiting an inpatient room. Trust me, this is not a record I want to beat.