Marta managed to sleep until 9 o’clock this morning in hospital, and Isita woke up feeling more cheerful than she has for days, asking for coconut yoghurts and dairy free chocolate ice cream. My mother also found her much more sparky during the first part of the day, although In the end she didn’t eat much.
We have been waiting for that morning when Isita awakes refreshed and free of fever, with appetite and a smile, as we have all done after a few rotten days in bed when we realise we are well again. This was not quite it. She is still running a near constant fever.
The doctors have prescribed a bewildering array of drugs and treatments over the past fortnight. The gantry by her bed has been festooned with bags of blood and fluids, and syringes of antibiotics. But despite this barrage of 21st century medical technology, we are fighting her temperature with wet cloths on the forehead. The simple tender ministrations of Florence Nightingale are as important as the medicines, especially when there is no diagnosis and no progress.
This evening we turned a corner. There is now a diagnosis, so progress is now possible. The microbiologists have identified an adenovirus in her blood. They are stopping most of the antibiotics (which in itself should settle her stomach), as after all this time it cannot be a bacterial infection. Those medical artists who interpret the CT scans, heart echoes and ultrasound have searched throughout her body and found nothing.
Instead they are starting an anti-viral treatment. This is complicated and has its own side-effects, but it raises the prospect that Isita will start to feel better any day now. Our next cycle of chemo may be delayed until early next week. There is no chance that she will go home before it starts, but we hardly care about that. We have a plan and we know what to do.