Monday, July 13, 2009

A Word From LPN Toni

Mornin VP's...Nurse Dee here...well it's Monday the 13th and our Chemp-sabe and I are back here at MD Anderson bright and early, for that LONG first day of chemo treatment #13!!! She's all hook-up and the infusion has started. I've wandered down to the Starbucks counter and have gotten my morning "fix" so the CURE is on schedule. Our nurse this morning took a look at all our gear and asked if we were going camping!!! Not only do we each have our backpack and briefcase, but now we have another backpack full of Brenda's supplies AND a cooler with the feeding supplies. The tubing and bag have to be kept cold to keep the nasty germs from getting to them. I'll roll the grill in with us tomorrow and make some "Some-Mores" for all the nurses and patients!!! Ha!

I got a note from Toni this morning who asked that I post a message from her to the blog. She was an absolutely fabulous LPN and is such a dear friend to both of us...Thank you from the bottom of our hearts Tonya Jill...kisses all over your face. Here's what our favorite LPN had to say:

Thanks for all the kind words from everyone for my nursing duties. I was (and am) more than happy to help them both, anytime they need it. That's what friendship is all about.

Brenda's schedule normally has you jumping through hoops, but adding that feeding by tube into the equation between the time it takes to use the equipment and then clean it is going to be a real challenge to Dee coupled with being at chemo for the day. I have no doubt though that she will figure it out. After all, she is head nurse. It also helps to be a tad anal. Doctor Vic and I had a good chuckle at the check lists Dee made to ensure Brenda didn't miss anything. (If the true be known, it was a good thing in the beginning so we didn't forget to do something, but don't tell Dee that.)

Brenda is amazing, to say the least, and tough as nails dealing with all of this. The only time I truly saw her down was the night after the feeding tube was put in. They didn't get all of the gas out of her stomach when they pumped it full for the tube insertion, and the left over gas was VERY painful. I tried burping her like a baby, had her try Lynn's remedy of rocking on the toilet, but nothing was working. Now I know those of you who know Brenda well are totally surprised that she would have any problems with gas INSIDE of her. Unfortunately I'm sure the experience reaffirmed her belief that holding it in, no matter where you are, makes you miserable, so better out than in.

I have to say I have a new appreciation for Nurse Rachet's duties. She is in for more than 1 challenge though now that she is back. Chemo-sabe has developed a serious snoring issue of late that causes the walls of the condo to bow in and out all night. Then out of the clear blue, and in no steady rhythm I might add, she sucks in the neighboring condos in addition to her own. And she thinks the fiber in her new diet is causing all the gas!! I personally think it's all the air she sucks in during the night. I told Nurse Rachet she better bring some ear plugs back with her if she wants any sleep. Yes PK, you have competition now!

Birthday girl, the birthday cake is the one and only time I am glad your taste buds are screwed up. It's the first one I have made in probably 30 years, and no I am not kidding. I hate to cook let alone bake. I know Nurse Rachet will like it, because anything sweet tastes good to her. :-)

You are in my thoughts and prayers daily ladies. Thanks for letting me help you both. I wouldn't trade my LPN duties for anything!

Great blog post Toni. I'm up for the challenge. I certainly have the easiest job in the CURE process...and being OCD has it's benefits!!! Ha! So VP's here we sit...or sleep...or whatever. It'll be a really long day not only because it's day one of chemo but because we also have to get to Chemo's radiation treatment. Hopefully they'll be on time because waiting for a long period ain;t going to be pretty. I'll see if I can grease the skids someway...maybe they'll work a little faster if I brought them donuts!!! It's a cop strategy, you know!! Ha!

Toni is right about Brenda's was more than once that I saw the walls move in and out timed with the freight train noises that were coming from my gal!!! LORDY!! I have come back to Houston armed with all sort of sleep aides...Julie's noise canceling headphones, foam earplugs and AMBIEN!!! I ended up on the couch the first day I was back but last night I put the foam earplugs in and actually lasted all night. I pulled the plugs out sometime during the night but I made it through the night none the worse for wear. YES!!! I did that a long acting Ambien!!! A nurse has to do what a nurse has to do to keep her energy up!!

We hope all is well in your world...let us know what you're up to. Toodles from Camp MD Anderson...

Nurse Dee


  1. Well it looks like our LPN Toni has found herself a new beau... who knew?

    I think Nurse Dee is going to have to start taking sips from Chemo-sabe's energy drinks!

    Well we'll being sending out extra energizing thoughts for the both of you to keep you going throughout this next round of chemo/radiation... keep up the good thoughts and visualization and you both are always in our prayers and thoughts... did someone say they saw the light at the end of the tunnel???

    Lots of Love, Hugs & Blessings, Cathie & Evelyn

  2. Just a thought here:
    You are in a hospital during the chemo infusion. Couldn't their staff handle the tube feedings while chemo sabe is being infused? I might be expecting too much but it seems like a reasonable request to make. Who knows you might get lucky and they will at least take some of the burden off you.
    As the great Wayne Gretzky once said "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take." I think this request is worth the shot.
    Toni - it was heartwarming to read your post and to see that you have overcome your initial fear or shock and have now embraced Mr. Bojangles.
    Dee and Chemo sabe - hang in there. On positive mojo production is on overtime for you both.

  3. That Mr. Bojangles is looking right down Toni's shirt...I think he's some kind of pervert. As for asking the chemo nurses to do the tube would probably take more than donuts. It makes way too much sense to be possible. It would probably make her chemo sessions a couple hours longer the way things seem to happen there. Our OCD (er.. I mean efficient) nurse Dee can probably do a much better job and keep everything on schedule. The donuts might help over in radiation oncology though.

    I know thins is the longest day of the week for you because of the extra chemo drug on day one so I hope it went smoothly. Rest well my friends. Love and prayers are coming daily from the northeast.


  4. Hi...Back from a week in California to visit Big Sur, Carmel and Napa for Jackie's birthday. We stayed with our two gyno doc friends in Napa and between the new electronic medical charting and the expectations with their time, they are feeling totally stretched. One is a great chef and the other a fantastic barista, so who knows, they may appear behind a Starbucks counter in Houston one of these days.

    Brenda...glad that Nurse Dee is back from her union break. SHE is a priceless GEM, as are all of the caretakers who stepped in to be there for you with love, laughter and lots of support. Being OCD has its advantages. Plus, you continue to keep us in awe with your positive attitude. Hope that you felt honored on your birthday! Is there anything that we could all do to lighten your load (sorry no gas ideas except for Gasex) or bring you a smile?

    Lots of love,
    Bonnie and Jackie

  5. Hello! My name is Lisa (Swanson) and I'm a voice from Brenda's past...please get this message to her!! Tell her Poodle has been trying to find her and now that I have I'd love to talk with her!! It's been many years and she and I were inseperable all through our young years....someone please get me in touch with her!!! my # 775-842-1853 my email I LOVE YOU WEENY NOSE!!!