Saturday, August 8, 2009

Flipper Hadn't Flipped...BUT...

OK VP's...just when you think you're in the home stretch...some new path emerges! So you heard the story about how Brenda was just going to swallow herself back to health, but there was much more to the story to be told. Here goes...

I went to the store and got all the supplies we needed to have Bren ignore the feeding tube and just swallow her way HOME. I got the new "juice" all mixed up and Brenda started trying to get it down and...oops...there she goes again...running to the bathroom and everything ends up in the toilet! DANG! It was just at that "well now what the hell do we do" point when the Diagnostic Imaging Department called asking where Brenda was because she had an appointment at 4:00 pm to have the tube checked. Well that was a gift from God, and we jumped in the car and off to the clinic we went.

I'll make another long story short...IT WASN'T THE TUBE!!! It was sitting right where it was supposed to! Well heck...why was she throwing up then??? So there we are walking out the main entrance to the clinic and Brenda has another vomiting attack...these were getting worse and we're about to enter the weekend! Now that is NOT a good picture for the nurse. Brenda just was getting punier and punier. She was getting weak and she just looked at me and said..."Let's just go home." I just knew that wasn't really going to work, nor was it the best thing to get Bren back on track, so a really nice lady helped me get a wheelchair and off to the MD Anderson Emergency Center we went. I knew this wasn't going to be pretty on a Friday night, but its what needed to happen. Brenda was getting dehydrated and I needed help in getting her tummy calmed down.

The waiting room was packed! We got there at 6:00 PM and after Brenda threw up again in the bathroom of the waiting room...and that episode was even worse than the others, a lady (Paula) who was sitting in the waiting room because she fell on her face and who went through the same radiation treatments that Brenda is going through about a year ago, came over and talked to Bren. She was so kind and so reassuring. She just knelt on the floor and held Brenda's arm and said that she had been where Brenda is and that this would pass and she would be fine. It was just the perfect contact that our poor gal needed right then. She was truly a gift. We chatted with she and her husband who is a nurse at MD Anderson. What a sweetie she is.

So Bren was moved to a bed in the hall...there are LOTS of beds in the hall, with lots of hurting folks. It was a little easier for her lying down so that was a good thing. An Internist also came and talked to us and wrote orders to start an IV with anti-nausea and pain medication...this was around 8:00 PM. Around 9:30 PM (still no IV, etc) they wanted to do an x-ray of Bren's stomach to rule out any obstruction or something and she threw up in the X-ray room...I was getting a little frustrated...wasn't there anyone around that could start the IV and meds the doc had ordered. OK so "Chief Taylor" came out again and I started asking why an IV couldn't be started...well...around 10:00PM Andre, our assigned nurse, finally started the dang thing and got the meds going. Brenda was such a hurting pup!! At least this would begin to help her feel better.

Around 11:00 PM they finally moved her to a room that wasn't in the HALL! There was tons of activity all around until about 3:00 am when things began to calm down. You guessed it...they were going to keep Bren all night and they would see how she was in the morning. They wanted to get her pain and nausea under control and then try a can of formula through the tube to see if they were able to calm the beast down and have her tolerate food.

I think if I won the lottery, I would buy all new COMFORTABLE chairs for all the facilities at MD Anderson. The chair in the room we had was not designed for long time the all night type. Man! When Bren felt a little better she looked at me trying to get comfortable and we both ended up sharing the bed so we could get some much needed sleep. They kept checking or her and I had to go back to the apartment around 5:00 AM to get a can of formula. No! They didn't have the kind we were using.

You know they did a good job at getting everything under control. They thought some of the problem was the pain medication so we backed off on one and they changed another. Along with these and the anti-nausea meds, it seemed to do the trick...knock on wood!!! Please God...NO MORE!! We got the feeding down and then I wanted to wait to ensure that it all wouldn't come back up. I took a very drugged and tired "Electra" back to the apartment around 9:30 AM...UGH!! What a night! The good news is that she's feeling better and I've already gotten the new meds and started her on another can of formula because it's around 2:00 PM now. I just want her to sleep. She did take a shower and did her mouth and nasal rinses to help her breathe but now she's comfortable.

I just want to reassure you all that she'll be fine. Going to the ER and struggling through that LONG night was just the only thing we should have done. She's resting comfortably, she's tolerating the feeding so far, and I'm about to pop in a movie. I've got the laundry going and all is back on course. She'll be even better tomorrow and then Monday is the LAST DAY of this frying process called radiation. After this next week we ought to see the side effect stabilize and then the healing can begin. I know she's going to sleep most of the weekend and that's perfect.

So there ya have it VP's...the seemingly never-ending saga continues and we so look forward to that bell ringing on Monday...we want it OVER WITH!!! Needing all the healing vibes our villagers can muster.

A tired Nurse Dee and a Sleeping, Snoring Electra


  1. Goodness gracious - talk about a journey. You two have certainly seen the good, the bad and the freaking incredibly ugly aspects of our healthcare delivery system.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed that no more spontaneous mini happenings occur that set our gal off course. She is going to need all her energy to get well and smooth sail on back to Arizona. Smooth sail back to Arizona - that sounds like an oxymoron. Here we go sailing into the desert. Oh well, I guess if the Gulf of Mexico can be an Ocean, than perhaps the Gila River will have water??? ;)

    Karen is down the shore with me for the weekend - thank goodness - these O'Connor's are NUTS!!!! MY niece is reading this as I type and very politely informed me that yes the O'Connor's are NUTS, but that includes me, as well. I don't think I believe her!!!

    My point, and once again I do have one, is that we are all mustering our good karma for a positive last few days of treatment and then many happy days home curing.

    Love you both

  2. Cal and I are back from Maine and we're so sorry to hear about your rotten couple of days. Brenda is lucky to have such a good caregiver, nurse Dee, on her team. I know the last thing she wanted was a trip to the ER but you were right to take her. It would have taken her days to get rehydrated, even if the vomiting had stopped. It doesn't sound like it would have without the med changes. It gives me goose bumps to hear about the woman in the ER who went through radiation last year and was able to comfort Brenda. It's funny how those things happen. The village just keeps growing. You almost made it through four months without a trip to the ER. I hope and pray you don't need to visit there again. Ring that bell loud and clear, I want to hear it in Pittsburgh. Remember, in just two weeks you will wake up in your own bed.


  3. So sorry you both are having such a hard & complicated time of it... you are both due for some very, very smooth sailing out of treatment into cure and definitely back home to the desert!!! Sending you both lots of good positive energy and lots of soothing thoughts for an uneventful upcoming week!
    Lots of Love, Hugs & Blessings Cathie