Monday, 29 June 2015

When numbers get serious

A long, long time ago an American songster Paul Simon warbled:

When numbers get serious
They leave a mark on your door 
(from the album Hearts and Bones).

Yohan has some pretty serious numbers.  When we first met him his immunity was very low.  So low that he was sick with lots of other sicknesses.  And very thin.   The magic (and very serious number) was his CD4 count - the summary of his immunity.  It was only 163.  Most people have somewhere between 800 - 1200 or so CD4 cells per cubic mm.  That's what a healthy immune system will look like.  163 is poverty.

Last week I took Yohan for his 6 month follow up.  He has been taking his meds every single day.  Every single time.  On the dot.

As the lab tech took took out that large syringe of blood I could see Yohan's eyes tearing up - but he did not cry like the previous time when we went for the Hep B viral count.   Brave young man.

Over the weekend we got the report.  I could hardly believe it.  Just 6 months later, and Yohan's CD4 count has rocketed up to 624.  Serious numbers.  Joyous numbers.  Numbers nursed up by prayer and love.

There are lots of other numbers that we still have to work through with Yohan.

We have yet to find out whether the meds are working against the Hep B Virus.  We hope so.  We pray so. 

More immediately we have an unpleasant number to consider.  And that is "3."   In the first few months Yohan did not have any seizures.  We wondered if he even really had them - and whether he should continue taking the anti-epileptic meds he had arrived with.   Well, we found out the hard and real way that he did need the tablets.   First he had one fit.  Then a few weeks later, another.  All while on meds.

So we added another med - and sadly this weekend he had his 3rd fit.  It was not a very severe one - but it was a fit.   While on 2 anti-epileptic meds.   And so we go back to the numbers.  Our friends from CMC Vellore have suggested another med to be added - and a plan to taper down the one that he has been on for long. 

The hitch?  Another 3.  I went to three medical stores this evening - and all told me that the drug in question is not available in the dosage prescribed to ramp up this med.  The docs from vellore want us to segue from 150 mg to 200 mg, then up to 250 and finally to stablise him on 300 mg.   The problem is that only 250 mg tabs are available - with 500 mg being the next step up.

So we will have to use a phone number to call up our dear friends down and see what they advise.

In the meantime, we end with some happy numbers.

Both Yohan and Dad have been gaining weight.   Yohan has picked up more than 3 kgs in this half year.   After Dad lost a lot of weight over the past year, he is gradually getting some back.  Currently he is up to 71 kgs after dropping down to 67 or so post operation.

We earnestly thank the Lord for these numbers - both those figures that point us in a direction that we are hoping and praying to move in - and those 'ugly' numbers that serve as challenges and conscience-prickers (and then conscience-kickers).

And so gentle reader, as the white glow of the screen is the only light on in the darkened room - I shall soon be joining Enoch, Yohan, Asha and Sheba in the refreshing (and still very mysterious) pleasure of counting sheep (or zzzzzzzzzzzs).

Bon nuit!  I know I can count on your friendship dear reader!  Thank you for coming along on this journey with us.  Your prayers for Yohan - and for Dad - continue to be cherished.

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