Sunday, December 28, 2008

Do NOT spend Christmas with SWMBO and The Geek!

This is not the way we had planned to spend Christmas.

The Monday before Christmas, SWMBO went to her doctor for a check-up because she had been registering uncommonly low blood-pressure readings. It turns out that her blood-pressure medicine had been working too hard, so they gave her something to come back in two days to see how it worked.

On Wednesday (Christmas Eve Day) she went back to the doctor and actually met her local Oncologist. He noticed that she had trouble concentrating, and her sense of balance was so disorganized that she couldn't walk without help.

The doctor sent her to the hospital for tests.

She was in the hospital Wednesday afternoon, all day Thursday (Christmas Day), and until 2pm on Friday. The tests given to her indicated to her Oncologist that she had had all of the chemotherapy that she could endure for the immediate future.

Some of the testing indicated that there were other problems which implied some internal bleeding.

Friday afternoon I took her home, and then went out to fill the ELEVEN new prescriptions.

She was suppose to receive her tenth scheduled infusion Friday, two days after Christmas; the Oncologist canceled that appointment. Also the next, until they could determine what was going on with her.

She will see her Oncologist tomorrow (Monday), at which time he will have the advantage of having ALL the results of the test from last week, plus a thorough review of her charts.

There are several possible courses of treatment available, so it's not that they don't know what to do. They just don't know which course to choose until they have discussed the options among themselves and with SWMBO.

We're not frightened by this, we're coping with it. We're a little disappointed that it took her health-care practitioners so long to recognize that she wasn't handling the infusions as well as her Oncologists had hoped.

Tuesday evening, after she was checked into the hospital, the nurse-practitioner who noted her inability to walk came by the hospital after her work-day was completed, to check on SWMBO and ensure that she was getting the treatment and the attention that she so obviously needed.

As I have said at least 3 times before here, her once-weekly schedule is very much different from the usual once-monthly schedule that most chemotherapy patients receive. It is designed for a patient who is deemed healthy enough (except for the obvious exception that they have a cancer tumor which must be reduced) and strong enough to endure it.

After nine brutal weeks, SWMBO is obviously unable to continue such a grueling regimen. Her hair is gone, and besides the symptoms of physical weakness and disorganization which have been mentioned, the chemicals are no longer being absorbed by her body ... or by her cancer.

Her family can follow the written instructions to make sure she takes her morning medications (which must be taken with food ... someone needs to fix her breakfast).

I'll be there in the evening to make sure she gets a good dinner, gets the right medication (with food), gets cleaned up and ready for bed.

We worked a Sunday crossword puzzle today. Her fingers are numb (they are all black with bruises, caused by the chemotherapy) and she can't write. But she can solve some of the very obtuse questions presented by the puzzles, so she's still still being more in charge of her life than she thinks.

We bought a seven-pound Ham for Christmas, and ate some of it in the last two days. She doesn't have much appetite, so we have a lot of it left. She can't eat much at one time, but an extra meal a day (and the inclusion of some 'comfort food' such as Yogurt) helps her to make sure that she gets food with her medication.

This is all new, and we're still working out what she needs help to accomplish, and what she can do for herself. She is determined to do as much for herself as she can manage, and as long as she has a caretaker to do the things she cannot do, she is getting along just fine.

But not as fine as she wants. We spent some time today watching videos of SWMBO on the range. She wants to be back on the range, she want's her life back. We're going to get her life back, and she will be back as "She - Who Must Be Obeyed"

Watch out, boys, for the time when SWMBO is working as Range Officer and calls to the gallery:

"Hey, you guys! Get off your ass, get out here and tape these targets!"

What's not to love? (Double-click on the picture to see the full-size image of SWMBO in her Milieu.)