Okay, let me start off by saying I'm doing just fine now. I am back in the hospital, at Women's and Infants and I am "resting comfortably." Sorry for not blogging but I have been a bit distracted the past few days. For those who want the gory details...read on. For those of you who don't need all the news that's fit to print...you can stop here and rest assured that all's well that ends well.
First, let me start out by saying that when one lives with a nurse, one learns to wait until the absolute last second before one says "honey, I need you to take me to the ER." This is because we know how much nurses hate the ER, sitting and waiting in the ER, being around the ER. However, I should have learned my lesson the last time when I had the bowel obstruction...I wait too damned long.
Thanksgiving was a decent day. Had a touching call from my brother Steve and the rest of the day was pretty quiet until Jean and Frank showed up with the turkey dinner. I was very tired, but managed to get up and eat a decent meal of turkey, dressing, DELIOUS mashed potatoes (the secret is using sour cream), sweet potato and corn. I even had a thin slice of pumpkin pie and a cup of coffee for dessert.
Thanksgiving Night Sandy had to work. I sat up in bed until about midnight, watching Baba Wawa's interview with Obama...very nice. Then I developed the shortness of breath again...it had been happening just about every night, but this time it hit hard...took a long time to subside. I had to prop up the pillows and sleep sitting up most of the night. In the morning I was able to lie fairly flat on my left side, which was a surprise.
Friday I was very tired, dozed in the recliner most of the day. I would get up to go to the bathroom and to do a few laps through the house downstairs, but it would make me very fatigued and I didn't feel well at all. I couldn't drink, eat and I knew I had to do better as I just felt very weak.
Friday night Sandy was home, for which I was very grateful. I was frankly afraid to be home alone. I had this thought, "Oh Christ! What the hell would happen if I had to call 911?" We've got the ADT alarm system turned on when we go to bed...I've got these killer dogs I'd have to lock up somewhere before the ambulance got here...what a freakin' nightmare!" So, I was happy she was home with me.
She slept blissfully through my night of gasping to breathe, panic setting in from time to time, wondering what the hell is going on with me. My back hurt something wicked at the base of my lungs. My right side was very painful and the hernia repair area was bulging out hideously and very very sore. I thought I was falling apart. Again, I had to sleep sitting up.
Saturday AM I realized I was in real trouble. I continued to pant essentially, trying to catch my breath. I was only comfortable bending over at the waist, with my head on the splint pillow that Linda made for me...my new little security item.
I told Sandy that I needed her to take me down. We discussed calling an ambulance, but I nixed it as I thought the dogs would get too upset and then we would be leaving them...too traumatic. So, I got into the Highlander and off we went. Miserable ride.
Backus took me right in, rushed a chest x ray and another CT scan (third one this month) of my chest. Both showed that I was in deep doo-doo. My left lung was completely whited out...filled with fluid. The oxygen they put me on helped me to get more comfortable as they worked to figure out what to do with me. They called Providence and Dr. Stuckey told them to ship me up here. So that's what they did.
The ambulance's GPS system told them that the fastest route to the hospital was up ROUTE 6!!! Can you believe that crap? Route 6, the most jarring ride you can have. I would have gone up Rte 138 to Rte 3 in RI, a little jog onto 95 and then a straight shot up to the hospital. NO NO NO NOT ROUTE 6!!! OUCH!
Of course when we got here, they couldn't figure out how to get in...just the same problem Sandy and I had when we first came up. I told them how to get into the little parking lot by admitting, but they said it was fenced off. I couldn't see, so I couldn't tell them any different. So...they rode around and around and then finally I got them to really look for the entrance to that parking lot. BINGO! We're in!
I came up to my "old home" 4E....and not only that...to the same room I was in before, thanks to my pal, Marcia who had called in to find out what was going on and told them to put me in 4119, my "lucky room." Good old Marcia!
Sandy and Jean came up to be with me for awhile. I sent them off at 7:00 as Sandy had to work last night and I didn't want her getting exhausted. I'm such a frigging martyr! LOL!
They told me that they were going to tap my lung and sent me for x rays...there is no way I could sit up in the wheelchair, nor stand in front of the x ray machine...so I had to transfer to a gurney for the trip downstairs. The tech took good care of me and we got the job done with the least amount of pain and discomfort. Then I had to wait for the blood work to come back to check my coagulation...that finally came back fine and we were good to go.
Dr. Stuckey came in and prepped my back...this is what they do: I wish I could have watched it but it was all done from behind me. Anyway, she felt around and around my ribs to mark the spot...marked it, washed it, numbed it up and then stuck a long needle in between my ribs that had a tube on it to drain the fluid off. They filled up a liter and a half (the most they can take off at one time) and even though it made me start coughing, I felt INSTANT relief! What a difference!
Then they sent me back down for another x ray to see what my lung looked like after the draining. That trip to x ray was a LOT more pleasant than the first one! The x rays showed that there was a significant difference, which I could have told them.
By then it was 9 pm and I was pooped. They gave me a dilaudid and left me alone with my dreams. I slept until 2am...the most hours of sleep I've been able to put together for a long time...even before my surgery! I got up, peed like a race horse and even pooped a bit. WOW!! All this good news in ONE NIGHT!
I got some more pain stuff and slept from 3:30 to 6:30...I don't know how to act!
This morning I'm singing "What a Difference A Day Makes"...ate some breakfast, scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. Had a cup o' joe, glass of OJ and drank a carton of milk....ordered my meals for the next two days.
Later in the morning they returned with their needle and tube and drew off another liter of fluid.
OHMYGOD!!! I'm watching the Patriots as I type this and they just intercepted and then scored! 7-0 all ready!!! WOOOO HOOOOOO!!!
Back to the gore. Actually it isn't THAT gory, now is it? I would think the previous discussions of my bowel habits were gorier than this.
Oh, the fluid they drew off was tinged with blood...that's the gory part.
Take a look at a two liter soda bottle sometime. Then add a half a liter to that. That's what they took out of ONE of my lungs!!! Unbelieveable!
Unfortunately, this is going to keep happening until I start chemo...so you can just imagine how motivated I am to start that stuff!
Dr. Silvestre came in to see me. Dr. Lachance is his partner. I really like this guy too. He sat on the bed and chatted with me...giving me all the time in the world. He told me his Mom is a big Husky fan and he clued me in to the fact that the game against Oklahoma is on ESPN tonight so I will be able to watch it! YAY!
He explained to me more about the clinical trial and after hearing what he had to say I've decided that's the way I'm going to go. It gives me the best shot at success and that's the bottom line isn't it? He is on the National Cancer Institute Board and is very involved with how clinical trials are done and which ones are done. He is very knowledgeable and feels that Dr. Lachance's surgery has given me the best shot that I will get surgically. Dr. Lachance had him come in during the surgery to get his opinion about what he should do (leave the uterus and left ovary) and he (Dr. Silvestre) concurred with Dr. Lachances' choice of where he should focus his efforts in surgery.
I felt very comfortable with this decision, based on the info he provided.
Tomorrow they will do another CT scan (fourth one in a month) to determine the baseline...where we are at in the pelvic/abdominal area.
He's going to discuss it with Dr. Lachance tomorrow, but I got the impression that I will be starting chemo soon...very soon. Maybe even tomorrow, if I'm lucky!
So, send the lucky vibes my way when you get a chance.
It's been an eventful few days. Sorry I didn't post in the blog...I know that it has created some anxiety...not knowing. Please don't inundate Sandy with calls...she needs her rest.
Oh, Sandy...she has been researching all of this stuff on the internet and by talking to folks at the hospital who are in the know. I haven't gone on line and read anything...part because I'm too tired, but to be honest, I'm kind of afraid of reading stuff. I don't want to get depressed at reading stats, etc. So, I've been relying on her to dole out information to me as she thinks I can handle it...or if I've come to the point when it will help me make an informed decision. She has been wonderful in doing this. This makes up for her not insisting that I go to the ER sooner!
So, I can't promise that I will post everyday and I don't want people to panic if I DON'T post a day or so...but the fact of the matter is, sometimes I'm going to have little setbacks, this is just one of those times. Other times I may not post because I'm too busy partying! LOL!
I'm partying now, in my own way...lying here in this hospital bed, laptop on my laptop (oddly enough) and peaceful. My lungs are fine for the time being, I'm not hurting anywhere except for my butt, which only means I need to shift positions.
Life is good.
Shout out to Plaxico Burress...is there a bigger fool in the NFL???