And Then

So Saturday, Sunday and Monday were fairly eventful for our immediate family.  There was also some incredibly sad news that we were informed of.  On Sunday morning one of my husband’s buddies called to inform us about a good friend and former co-worker of my husband, an incredible man named Tom.  Unfortunately Tom had died of a massive heart attack on Saturday night (Feb 28th).  In order to ensure that the first meeting with the grandchild was not marred by sad news, I decided I’d take my husband over for his visit with “Chip” before he found out about Tom.  This turned out to be a good decision.  When we got back home from the hospital and had settled back his friend came by and told him about Tom.  It was remarkably sad and since he was already low it sent him even lower.

This news likely contributed to the weakness and undermined his already challenged health resulting in our visit to Emergency on Monday.  We live in a small city and most people are well informed about what’s happening and to whom.  It was no surprise when our GP called to say she was stopping by to do a check in on my husband.  She’d heard about Tom and knew he was a good friend and wanted to get a sense of how my husband was handling the news.  She also knew that another of my husband’s friends, Pat, had no more than a week prior to Tom’s death, ended up with a triple bypass as a result of a heart attack.  So the GP arrived on Wednesday morning to do her assessment.  Out of her visit my husband was scheduled to be  fitted with oxygen for the home as well as a blood transfusion.  The GP also spoke with us about consulting further with the oncologist about whether or not to proceed with this week’s chemo.  She provided us with some questions to ask our oncologist to make an informed decision about future treatments.

The visiting nurse, a respiratory technician and a visit to the Blood Transfusion Clinic rounded off our week.  Four out of the five days (we only missed Tuesday) were spent in the delightful company of a medical professional of some sort.  It was a week not to repeat, I hope.

To date, the antibiotics seem to be working on clearing my husband’s lungs, the oxygen definitely helps and we are waiting for the blood transfusion to make a difference in his energy levels.   We have two more appointments to set up in the immediate future, one with a respiratory therapist and one with a physiotherapist.  Hopefully we can get these arranged in the near future.

My husband’s sister continues to come by every day, without fail.  She’s managed to get us all addicted to the Young and Restless soap opera.  To the point where visitors are not welcome when the program is on, and if someone does stop by the program has to be pvr’d.   My sister-in-law is still suffering some of the results from the chemotherapy that she had.  It’s hard for most people to understand that the results of the chemo linger on for a considerable time after treatments have ended.  She’s still very fatigued, her hair continues to thin and she still is experiencing “hand and foot” side effects.  She also in the near future has a decision to make with respect to her ileostomy and this is another issue that is weighing on her mind.  Regardless, my husband’s sister is here every day doing exercises during the commercials for the Y & R, and bringing him little treats to have with coffee while the show is on.  It’s a nice routine and one that he looks forward to immensely.

Out of the events of last week I was reminded how important it is to remember that the patient or the patient’s caregiver are the primary advocates for patient health.  Chemotherapy can assist in the battle against cancer, but if a patient is too weak, it can also be a contributing factor in patient death.  I doubted my husband’s ability to bounce back from his chemotherapy treatment this week.  We will give it another week or two before we meet with the Oncologist to ask him our two primary questions:

Is he responding to this chemotherapy treatment?

Does this chemotherapy treatment pose any risk to his already vulnerable lungs?