I really don’t know what to put in this blog. We have not had a great go with the pneumonia but thought that really focusing on clearing that up would be the start of forward progression again. Apparently this was not to be.
The doctor was by yesterday and the discussion was about end of life planning. The cancer seems to have spread to the lymph nodes in the neck which is the cause of the neck/shoulder pain. Our doctor felt that a CT scan would be a lot of effort for very little purpose. At present my husband is very weak and so there is no likelihood that he would be able to have a chemo treatment. The pneumonia is still in the lungs. His breathing is quite labored and his oxygen was increased substantially. The doctor prescribed prednisone to help clear the lungs as well as a twice daily oxygen treatment. She also ordered a pain pump which arrived and was installed the same afternoon.
The doctor also strongly urged me to have our sons come home for a visit this weekend. She felt that this would provide the most optimal circumstances for a visit but recommended limited time and access. My husband is very weak and very tired from the pain and the pneumonia and too much exertion will put him at risk. So I called the kids and we will have a family weekend this weekend.
Today we set up new digs for my husband in the living room. A hospital bed and table arrived and have been set up along with his lift chair. The stairs are too risky – if he were to fall it would have dire consequences. He is just too wobbly to go far.
His friends and mine have kept in constant contact and for that I am thankful. I wish I could say come on over – but I can’t. My poor baby needs to sort out his thoughts first and then face the world.
Presently my husband continues to battle with pneumonia. Our GP as well as the visiting nurse are keeping a close watch on him. He is very weak and unable to walk more than two steps at a time. His daily routine had diminished significantly. Whereas in the past he always incorporated exercise of some sort into his routine, for the last few days even that has not been possible.
The pneumonia continues to crackle in his chest and coughing is very painful. However it is a productive cough and he is getting up some of the nasty stuff. He takes a TCM syrup to help soften the phlegm. It is an expectorant so it has helped considerably, but regardless the coughing is painful and seems to happen at the most inconvenient times.
We talked about getting in some more supports to make life a bit easier and the visiting nurse has put our request in motion. We will get a lightweight wheelchair, an air cushion, and a pain pump for his pain medication. Managing the pain and clearing the pneumonia are all we are focused on at present since both have taken his physical capacity to almost zero. We also will get in some personal support workers a couple of times a week commencing in the very near future. This will allow him to build a relationship with some of them in the event his needs change dramatically in the near future – it won’t be strangers coming in to assist us.
All this will be done to prepare for a worst case scenario; needless to state, we always hope for a best case scenario. Clearing the pneumonia will increase his energy levels, re-establish his routine and perk up his interest in life in general. It truly is one day at a time right now.
Last Tuesday was supposed to be CT scan day but it wasn’t. When he woke in the morning my husband was too weak to make the journey. Several phone calls later we had it sorted out. The CT scan was canceled and the blood work was set up to be drawn at the house the next day. You see we figured that he was too weak from a low hemoglobin and needed a transfusion so our GP arranged to have lab come to the house. The results were back to us by Wednesday about the hemoglobin – it was at 107 and no transfusion was required.
On Thursday we heard from the GP. The white blood cell count was up and my husband was fighting an infection. This was something we suspected since he had just come off of antibiotics for pneumonia, however, his phlegm had gone from clear to yellow almost immediately after finishing the antibiotics. He figured he needed more to kick the pneumonia out. So as of Thursday he started another prescription. Unfortunately his breathing has gone completely downhill. Although he is on oxygen he still can’t catch his breath. He is wobbly and can’t walk more than two steps without being winded and needing to stop and rest.
I wish I knew what was happening to him. His visiting nurse says his lungs sound good, the phlegm he coughs up has responded to the new antibiotics and is almost clear again – but yet he feels tighter than ever in his chest. Is it the cancer? Is it fear? Is it both?
He has asked for no visitors right now since it exhausts him just to sit let alone try to have interest in conversation. His appetite is still passable but he has gone off of so many foods it is getting more and more challenging to find stuff he will eat. And then there is the companionship piece. He wants me in his line of vision at all times, not to talk, just to know I am there – which I am.
I hope the next day or two brings a rebound, if not physically perhaps emotionally. I just want to hear him laugh again.