Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Today is Mom and Dad's 45th wedding anniversary. I wish they were together on some awesome vacation instead of doing the Sloan-Kettering Shuffle, but Dad is getting great care where he is so I'm not going to complain.

Although somebody apparently decided to see what would happen if they clamped off his NG tube - kind of like the way Kurt, Chris and I used to say things like, "I wonder what would happen if I lit this cherry bomb and dropped it into the toilet...." - and... well... in both instances the result was a great big mess.

But overall, Dad is doing pretty well. He is stepping down from his pain meds ("I want to see how bad I really feel," says he) and pushing himself to spend more time out of bed than in it. He's pretty far from cartwheels in the halls and cannonballs into the pool, but I think that will come in good time.

In the meanwhile, I thought I'd post a picture I took of him and the girls at the end of July, just so you all can see how great he looks.

Yes - I'm showing off. It's my blog, so I'm allowed!

Here he is!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Dad was so much better today! He actually said, despite the discomfort of the incision, he feels "600% better" than he felt yesterday.

He spent the bulk of the day out of his hospital bed, sitting in a chair. He read the paper. He talked on the phone with friends. He lectured me on kids and work and priorities and the real estate market. He was happy and then grumpy and then happy again.

In the afternoon, he grabbed his IV pole and went back to walking. He did seven laps, which I think might have been too much (I don't want him to over exert himself) but when I started fussing and had a nurse take his temperature, he told me to go home.

And he said it with such an air of "don't mess with me, young lady," that I'm now on the bus on my way back to my family.

I'm completely nerve-wracked to be leaving him and Mom in the city tonight, but I'm also pretty confident that he is on the mend and in very good hands. He's not up to visitors, but the e-mails and phone calls and text messages have been wonderful for his spirits and for Mom's spirits too.

Thank you all!



And he's up again.

The surgeon was able to bypass the blockage. Hooray!

The blockage itself was caused by the cancer, which I think we all knew on some level or another, but the important thing is that it's no longer causing him pain. Despite major abdominal surgery, he's already been up and out of bed and walked a bit around the hospital floor.

The surgeon who operated on Dad - Dr. G. - and his team came in this morning to explain to Dad what was done yesterday.

"Okay," Dad said when they finished. "Can I get my IV port before I leave?"

I wish you all could have seen the look on Dr. G's face. It could roughly be translated into, "I'm sorry - you want WHAT? More surgery?"

"Well," Dad explained, because this was all completely reasonable to him, "yesterday, I came as close to surgery as you can come without actually getting surgery. Rather than having to go home and then come back later for the port, why can't we just knock it out while I'm here? Otherwise it's a real pain in the neck."

The team gave a collective blink. I don't think they're used to having a patient who is so fresh out of the OR request a second session with the scalpel.

Then they mobilized. All at once.



"Of course!"

"That can be done!"

"We'll order it today so you're on the schedule for early next week!"

Dr. G. nodded thoughtfully. "Assuming you recover well and have no signs of a secondary infection, I see no reason we cannot insert your port before you leave."

The lawyer in me was pleased to see the reasoned thinking.

The daughter in me was pleased to see Dad getting what he wants.

Both sides of me will be happiest when he is back where he belongs - swimming in the pool, fixing teeth (I have a busted tooth, so I need him back chairside pronto!) and driving around in the early morning, making certain the world is where he left it the night before.



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Update Again

Well. After 8 days of "wait and see," of "one more test," of "what about...," they doctors decided to give him the port for his IV so he doesn't have to deal with IV needles pricking the hell out of his arms. So they came for him at 10:45 this morning, packed him up and took him to the OR for his port. We expected him to be gone for around two hours, and sure enough, he came back two hours later.

Without the port.

Apparently, he waited for his turn in the OR, got prepped and got into the room and under the lights when the call came in: "WAIT!!!"

The surgical team, the medical team and the oncology team finally reached agreement.

And the heavens parted and the angels sang and there was great rejoicing for lo! There was to be surgery and it was to be on the bowel to remove the obstruction.

And suddenly, after 8 days of things moving at hospital speed (which makes glaciers look speedy in their progress), things started moving at autobahn speed. Doctors were bumping into each other in the doorway to the room. Consents were signed. Pulses were taken, questions asked, markers plucked from pockets and applied to the skin and then WOOSH! We were taken to the pre-op room and then VOOM! He was taken to the OR.

Which is where he is now.

And so... we wait.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Further Update

He is sleeping now, which is good because he got very little rest last night and earlier today. It's also a great sign that he is able to get comfortable enough to sleep - that was most assuredly not the case last night.

The obstruction does not appear to have orginated with the lesion in the jejunum. It is housed in the small bowel (as opposed to him having a little obstruction of the large bowel, which is what my prior post could have been interpreted as saying). The medical team is hopeful that with lots of IV fluids and a bit of walking around, they will be able to get the blockage to clear without surgical intervention.

Their inclination at this point is to get him better and then do surgery to insert a port in his chest for his IV chemo. We've known that the port was coming; Dad's veins are getting a bit scarred up from all the chemo and it is becoming increasingly difficult and painful to get the lines inserted.

Mom just called - he is up, so I'm going in to see him.

More as and when.



Quick Update

This will be a quick update - Dad's scans showed that the cancer has grown tolerant of his chemo and spread to his abdomen. Dr. O'Reilly changed his chemo protocols and he had one treatment. He is supposed to have a second round of chemo tomorrow, but he's not doing very well right now so we're not sure if that will happen. Currently, he is admitted at Sloan-Kettering with a small bowel obstruction. Tests are being run (and he's hardly studied at all!) and determinations are being made and I'll update again when I have more information.