Day 124 and fighting cold for 3 months
Can anyone help , my father in law is now day 124 of donor stem cell transplant , at the moment he is really struggling with trying to get better and fight a cold , which he has been fighting since about November, he has been in and out of hospital . Saturday he was taken back into hospital with a temp of over 38 , they have said he has a virus and there is nothing they can do or give him , they have said keep and eye on him and if he becomes clinically unwell phone them . Can anyone suggest anything that can help , he has loads of catarrh which is making him cough so much , and both him and my mother in law aren't sleeping well due to the coughing. Can anyone give any ideas of what can help him get over this cold faster .
I've had coughs and colds at times during my recovery and they do take a long time to shake off. I'm assuming that your father in laws medical team are happy that he isn't at risk as it sounds like he's at home. Keep a close eye on him and if in any doubt get in touch with his transplant team.
My only suggestion would be to try the usual cough and cold remedies to treat the symptoms, such as cough syrups, throat sweets or the like to try and loosen the catarrh or ease his cough. I'm guessing you've tried things like that? To my knowledge there aren't any that would conflict with his medication but again, if in doubt check with his transplant team.
I've found that things like the strong 'flu-plus' type tablets seem to have helped me a little but it does seem to take an eternity and much longer than pre-transplant to get over such bugs. I've had a cough since early December which was really irritating and I was coughing almost to the point of being sick in the early days. Even now it's still lingering on and I don't seem to be able to shake it and I'm 3 years post transplant.
Has he also tried a hot steamy bath? For me that helps clear the airways especially if you have some sort of bubble bath with vapours in it to help his breathing. I also swear by Olbas oil on my pillow to help me sleep at night. Once I'm asleep I seem to be OK but it can be hard to get to sleep when you're coughing so if he can find something to ease his breathing that might help.
I hope he gets over it soon and is able to continue his recovery unhindered. How is he doing otherwise?
Have you had a home assessment by the community rehabilitation team? Get in touch with his nurse specialist at his transplant team and ask for an urgent physio and occupational therapy assessment in his home. It may still be some time before he starts to recover so he needs all the support he can get to keep him safe at home.
It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job so keep us updated and if there is anything we can do here at Anthony Nolan then don't hesitate to get in touch.
Sorry to hear about your father in law suffering with a cold/virus.
Good advice above from Steve and Chiara, don't let things get worse do keep on at the transplant team. It's a real shame he can't be offered some relief. I'm approaching 4 years in May and I still worry if I get a cold or flu like symptoms. I have just had my first cold/flu free Christmas for 3 years and not been admitted over the Christmas period. I must say when I have been diagnosed with a virus I have always been given anti viral drugs which combined with antibiotics have helped. I was once given an inhaler which helped me a little but may not be right for your father in law, obviously we are all different.
There is no escaping that things do take longer to recover post transplant but things will get better in time.
I hope you get some improvement soon, give him all our best wishes and keep in touch if we can help.
I know it probably feels tough for him to go back into hospital but it is possibly the best place for him as they can keep a closer eye on him and give him the round the clock care he needs, which may be easier on your mother in law.
I went through a spell when I was really weak, largely because I wasn't eating well rather than a bug. I was admitted for a week and had every test under the sun without them really knowing what was causing my problems. It felt like a big step backwards for me but I realised it was best for me as it meant I was being cared for by the right people and wasn't being a burden on my family.
Is your mother in law struggling emotionally or with practical things like getting to hospital etc? Perhaps your father in laws medical team can arrange some assistance, either through having someone to talk to or arranging help for her. There was a support nurse attached to my medical team who was there to give advice and arrange assistance where necessary for me and my family. If your family has the same I'd recommend discussing the situation with them and see what they can help with, and of course don't forget the Anthony Nolan team who may be able to offer advice.
Best wishes to your father in law and I hope he gets over this hiccup quickly.
Sorry to hear this latest news but hopefully they can get on and treat the problem now and things will improve.
This is exactly what happened to me about 3 months post transplant, I felt very poorly and with similar symptoms but an initial X-ray didn't show any problem, it took a second X-ray about 3 days later to identify pneumonia. Then the treatment started and eventually all was well. It is a case now of being patient and being there to support you father in law and mother in law as you are all doing.
This is a good opportunity for him now to build up his strenght with rest etc. The first few months are difficult but he will be fine honestly, I'm speaking from experience. I will be 4 years post transplant in May.
Now is also a good time to get some help and support from the hospital support services, is it occupational therapy? The nursing staff should help to put you in touch.
Best wishes to you all, if I can help in any way please ask.