New York Treatment Day 1

In an attempt to continue this blog as a resource people can refer back to, I thought I would chronicle our time here in New York for full treatment with Dr. Toth.

Where we stayed: We knew we didn't have to stay in the Upper East Side where Dr. Toth, but since we would be making daily trips there we decided it would be easiest if we could find something reasonable. We had several recommendations to try Airbnb and rent an apt. We had never done anything like that before, and aren't very adventurous in that area, but we found a great one we couldn't pass on. I would be happy to give you the exact info if you email me. It was under $200/night and no taxes. We liked it because it was in the UES (safer, cleaner, quieter, within a mile of Dr. Toth so save $ on daily public transportation). We interacted with a great person (Gina), but it was clear she represented a company and rented out five alts, so there was some comfort in that. We had internet, a/c, cable. We especially liked that there was a tv in the bedroom and the living room, both separated by a bedroom door, in case one of us wasn't feeling well. It was tastefully and simply decorated IMO, modern, and had all the conveniences we would expect. We thought the kitchen would also save us some money. It was a fourth floor walk up, which wasn't bad, for some that wouldn't work so I wanted to disclose. We stayed on teh UES closes to the river, while Dr. Toth's office was just less than 1 mile away on the UES right by Central Park.
 Okay, this wasn't our apt, but it was the neighborhood. I took this pic on our walk to the or from the office. Nice, right? New York was not what I expected. There was more green, less people (in the UES), people were incredibly nice.

They had to get creative incorporating the greenery. I loved this.
 Okay, here's our apt. I didn't think to take pics while it was clean. Oops. Here is the kitchen view. It had everything we needed.

Here's a view straight into the bathroom, which was decently sized. If you stood in the bathroom, you'd see a good view of the living room (basically two futons facing each other) and then a door that led to the bedroom. 

We weren't familiar with NY in general, but we are getting it down. New York City has five boroughs, one of which is Manhattan island (the rest being Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island).  Manhattan is divided in between the blue area.

How many days? I felt like this was something not adequately addressed previously. Full treatment is 10 days. However, they do work on weekends from what I understood, but now that I am here I know they don't work on Sundays and don't typically do first appts on Saturdays, though they were willing and able to make that work. And I learned they could double up my treatments as needed, so I will let you know how all that feels. Plus we can go home with IVs and ship them back (but the amount of days of the IV don't seem to be flexible), but that will involve dh to go to work at the office with the IV the last day. We were told we could arrive with our luggage, as well as bring them the last day and go straight to the airport. That is helpful, as Dr. Toth's is close to the 77th and Lexington subway station.

Day 1, arrival: 
We decided to come in late Friday (from our state, we still had to cut out of work early on Friday) and arrived after 11pm at LaGuardia. Dh was a smartie, knowing we would be in so late, he booked us a Marriott by the airport for the first night and we took the hotel shuttle from the airport. He actually ordered us a Marriott visa, where we got one free night just by signing up so we used that. The hotel was Springhill Suites Marriott. It was opened in Dec 2012, so very new and nice. The actual city was Corona, NY.  We pretty much arrived and went to sleep.

Day 2, first appt with Dr. Toth, treatment day 1 (from here on out I will count treatment days as number of days the IV is in, otherwise it gets too confusing):
Since our airbnb was pretty much a company, we were able to get a weekend check in, but not an early one. After our free breakfast, we hopped on the shuttle to the 111th train station and made just one or two transfers to 77th and Lexington. hopstop.com is a great website where you can put in the address to and from and get which subway train or bus to take, or taxi time and est amount. it really helped us navigate easily since we aren't public transportation savvy. It was easy and not at all intimidating.

We arrived in an hr straight to the office with luggage for our 10am appt. Dawn greeted us, as did Dr. Toth. He is such a warm and funny man and does everything to put you at ease. We had been to the office before, in 2008 when I was pregnant, for testing but not treatment so this wasn't our first appt. Dr. Toth was clear, in a nice way, I was only allowed to give him one line responses to get my chart more up to date. I had to chuckle. It's not surprising I got a reputation as a talker ;)

After we completed the history, dh and I went to separate rooms. We had requested valium for him given his extreme anxiety. He also got some pain meds too (hydrocodone and acedimenaphen). He went to the lobby for it to kick in, while I got cultures done. One thing is I was never told to schedule the appt at any particular time in my cycle, so I came mid cycle and had a lot of mucus. I hope they don't have trouble getting an appropriate sample. Following that, I had my IV put in (mid line like I was used to/preferred though I didn't love the inside elbow, with lots of tegraderm so no need to wrap in the shower like what I had at home; I was worried they don't numb it, but it was totally fine), and then they started the wash. I was really surprised Dr. Toth asked what he should test me for and same for dh. I wanted to say, everything! But we narrowed it down. He ended up expanding beyond CT (dh's hx, testing both of us for) and mycoplasma (my hx, testing me only) to adding aerobes and anaerobes for me as well. I was nervous about the catheter. To my knowledge I haven't had one, but I didn't really notice it. I had downloaded an audio book (Dad is Fat-Jim Gaffigan) and I laughed so hard I shook and was afraid I would knock something out. Too funny. I did not cramp during the lavage at all. She said some people cramp when she puts in the flagyl, but either she forgot it or I didn't because I didn't notice anything. I want to ask her about that on Monday.

Dh was not having such fun. He had the dreaded swab, which was as awful as ever. I heard him call out in pain from the other room, which was really hard to hear. They placed the IV which dh felt (from a first time view point) was relatively easy with mild discomfort.  Next he had the prostate injections (each of the five days worth are actually two shots, one on each side). The first injection was painful and he called out, but it was not as painful as the swab, which most men have experienced. I thought that was important to share to put it in perspective. The second injection was not near as painful, so I hope that is the sign of times to come. I know everyone is different, of course. A friend's dh had nothing beyond advil the entire time and some don't even take that I suppose.

Dh came and joined me in my room at that point, standing the whole time. She said it might be uncomfortable for him to sit, but it wasn't because of the shot, but rather the fullness sensation because Dr. Toth filled him with flagyl.  I did not cramp during the lavage at all. She said some people cramp when she puts in the flagyl, but either she forgot it or I didn't because I didn't notice anything. I want to ask her about that on Monday. One last piece of info, we were told no more than one drink a day. Not a huge deal, but something we didn't know about in advance. Also, it was then we learned they don't do appts on Sunday and to return Monday at 11am.

So that was it. It flew so fast we have a few questions that remain, but we will be back so no harm. We left the appt and went to our apt to check in. That went off without a hitch. By then we were overdue for lunch. We went cheap and easy at the diner down the street. After that we walked to Central Park with books and just sat and enjoyed the amazing 80 degree weather in August. We people watched, listened to live music and people having their portrait done, and read. We got to know our surroundings a bit, finding the local Catholic church and grocery store. We were able to get some stuff for lunch (sandwich stuff, yogurt, grapes, chips) and breakfast (eggs, milk, coffee creamer). I had already brought coffee and protein bars so we were pretty set. We had an American Bistro, East End Diner, down the street that had out of this world mushroom chicken spiedini, though a bit of a splurge. We went home and relaxed after a nice day fat and happy. Dh remained sore from the swab the rest of the day. My IV itched and was sore off and on. I started to develop the gross taste in my mouth, but other than that, all was well and we felt pretty fortunate.

I can't wait to tell you how we took advantage of our day off so stay tuned...


E said...

Great! sorry about your DH. :(

Don't forget about St. Jean Baptiste and the St. Anne shrine in that church. I think Monday's or Tuesdays you can be venerated with her relic.

And St. Patricks downtown is worth the effort.

Oh enjoy NYC!! I love it there. Wish we could join you! well for the visit, not those treatments. ;)

Alive in HOPE! said...

I am reliving our time in NYC as I begin to read your story and look forward to catching up on your blog in the days ahead. I must say that when you began to describe your time in Central Park after initial treatment, I sensed such peace and thought about some of our recent telephone conversations. This journey will be SUCH A BLESSING - in more ways than one - for you and Hubby! :)