Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The First 24

It has been raining hard all day. So glad for the sump pump and that it is still pumping, have a few contacts who have water in their basement.

Got up this morning and made Mom some cream of wheat, a poached egg, a piece of toast, coffee and some apple juice. Ate it all!

I made a few calls to her doctor, and dentist and made some appts.
Then I called the nurse practitioner to find out if Mom needed a heparin flush on her catheter(like she thought) or if the saline flush was good enough. Turns out she needed the heparin flush.

We headed up to the hospital today to see Dr. Roy in the OPD so he could look at her suture line and remove the rest of her staples. Mom has a little infection in her suture line, so Dr. Roy had to open the dermal layer a bit, cleaned it out and they have put packing in. (this is the point where I got a bit queasy - maybe because it was hurting Mom so much? but I just looked away) Once the Dr. was done the nurse irrigated the wound and asked if I wanted to see an internal stitch - and I was OK with that so I took a look. I'll be honest, it's a little weird looking at human tissue and a little more weird to be looking at my Mom's tissue, but anyway. I took a picture, so that Mom could see her wound, not sharing that one with you. Home care is now supposed to come everyday and repack the wound and check on her stoma. It is looking like Mom will NOT be able to start chemo again for 4-6 weeks. We are scheduled to go back to OPD to see Dr. Hardy, who performed her surgery, on the 21st of July (he's away right now).

Mom got a copy of her blood results and tried to get a copy of her OR procedure - it was kind of funny because the nurse that was going to print it was having trouble retrieving it, so Mom helped her!! haha, but the record wasn't done yet - so nothing to print. I wish Mom's surgical unit had just said that it wasn't complete yet instead of telling Mom she had to submit a request though Medical Records.

We headed down to the Cancer Centre to get Mom's cath flushed. Sonja did an awesome job, before Mom could finish "instructing" her on how to remove the needle she was done. Nurses always make the worst patients ;). I showed Sonja Mom's blood results and Mom's potassium is a bit low, which makes sense.. she really hasn't been getting her nutrients. Sonja also made a copy and put it in Mom's chart to show Dr. Graham.

I would have thought the unit would have checked her results..... and you know where this thought it going. I'm not really impressed. What a difference between the units. For the most part I felt invisible on the surgical unit :(.

After the hospital Mom was pretty sore (from her suture line) so I took her home and then went and got groceries. Found some carrot soup (by chance) that had LOTS of potassium in it so I bought it along with lots of other foods that are good. Mike met me at the grocery store and kept me company. Picked up Mom's BP medication on the way out and then went home.

Heated up some delicious cabbage casserole, mashed potatoes (thanks to the Adamchick's!!) and some store bought lasagna. We feasted on that for supper. Mom ate a bit of food and she hasn't had any abdominal pain yet so that is promising!!

The cabbage casserole was a huge hit with everyone! We loved it Jim, Lori and Melynda!! Maybe we could get the recipe!?? :)) <3

Monday, July 12, 2010

24 days

Mom came home today!
She was discharged at 1345! A few concerns around her port-o-cath, whether the unit capped it off correctly or not? I'll call the nurse pratitioner tomorrow.
Forgot to get the results of her bloodwork too.
Finally home though :))

Aunt Clare called so I told her Mom was home and she informed me that my cousin Marcos and his wife had a baby! 10 lbs!!!!

Mom rested most of the evening, I got her up around 1830 for some supper and then she just relaxed.

It's raining here hard. Sump pump is working great though.

Road Rash

Finished the front yard today. The crows were cawing above our heads so I decided to thrown a pine cone at them.... stumbled on the edge on the lawn and gave myself a bit of road rash from the road on my palms and one leg, failed miserably at that attempt.

Mom was alright today. Was just finishing eating when I arrived. Actually had solids!!
She's off her IV, so one step closer!
Mom is supposed to have bloodwork done in the morning - just to make sure everything is looking good and the ET is also supposed to come with Mom's supplies.

I told Mom to blame the noises on fido. She thought that was a good one.

Went for a good walk this evening, but I am sure she was very tired after the fact. Hopefully she sleeps well. The Dr. will be in in the morning and we'll see then about discharge. 23 days.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

High Pressure and Landscaping

Preparing a bit of a surprise for Mom when she gets out of the hospital, so spent most of the day doing that. I already showed her three surprises (a water barrel, new tree and a flag holder).

Decided we would build a plot around the new tree so Mike and I worked on that today in the rain. It wasn't coming down too hard so we were able to get one of the plots done.

The plan is to fill the plot with the tree, and the one in front of the window with wood chips.
Tired Mike out as you can see by the last photo.

Went up and saw Mom. Still feels nauseated, but hasn't vomited and has eaten some thicker foods, so that is promising. Bad news is her blood pressure is up. While I was there the nurse came in for vitals and it was 170/102. They have her on some BP meds but they aren't bringing it down any so... ? Mom is psychologically tired and worn out with being in the hospital. Topping it off they were prepping the bed beside her today for a new patient so Mom asked what the gender of the new patient was... Guess what? it was Male! So glad the unit had a learning experience from the last time they tried? Mom offered to move her bed into the wash closet. She is really hoping to get out tomorrow and she is concerned with a lot of things which isn't good for her BP either. Beth came and visited her today and she spoke with Grandma, and her brother and sister.

My suspicion is that Mom will not be released from hospital tomorrow unless she discharges herself.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A lesson

Today was another up day. I really hope it isn't down tomorrow.

Had my first lesson today with the ET nurse and Mom's second. Pretty straight forward.
Mom has a bit of drainage from her staples, but the line looks good and some of them are starting to pop. Also has a bit of drainage on the bottom edge of her stoma which we will be keeping an eye on.

Mom seemed to be feeling better for the most part. They are stopping the flagyl as it may be giving her some of the nausea, but are continuing with the cipro for now. Also put in an order for a new set of bloodwork to see how Mom's levels are.

The ET nurse came around 1030 and was there awhile.
Then we went for a short walk and sat in the seating area and watched a bit of TV. Penny, Mabel and Sonja popped by while we were in the sitting area so we visited for a bit until Mom got too tired.
When we got back to the room, Dr. Graham showed up to check on Mom, and then Dr. Hardy showed up.
She had a lot of activity today ...and I know she was exhausted when I left around 1300. Hopefully Mom got some sleep, not too many more visitors and is keeping stuff down.

It rained pretty good here around 1600 and then quit. Brought the temp down a wee bit but has since quit raining and the temp has gone back up.

Three Weeks

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Yo-yo effect

...........I don't know what to say.

Mom had a bad day again. I don't understand. I don't understand how she can be better one day and then crap the next and then repeat. Is it in part due to the chemo? maybe.

I just want her to get out of that place... SHE just wants to get out of that place. She was hoping by this weekend. I don't think that is happening anymore.

She ate jell-o last evening, and was sick last night.
She had jello today and was sick.
She had a popsicle and had a lot of abdominal pain.
She had chicken broth and was sick.
Air is moving through her, and so that says the motility is there, but she can't take the liquids yet? Is it about re-training her gut? like on survivor where they willingly starve themselves for 30 some days and then get sick if they eat too much?

Beth visited her this AM and they walked.
Diane visited her and they walked.
Arlene visited her.

Her moral is low, and the more she has to stay in that place the worse it gets. I don't know what I can do. She hates being sick in front of people so having lots a visitors is a bad thing. She says not to worry, but what else can I do? She is my family. My only family. It's been us for 22 years.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Turn the page

Complete turn around today.

Mom was even awake when I went in.
She had her room to herself at the time I arrived, but it was set up for arrival of
a new patient.

Mom's foley came out at 0600.
She had a shower.
Bladder functioning.
And she is allowed to sip fluids.

Still having some abdominal pain, but that is to be expected.
The ET nurse was in to change her bag today, and she'll be back Friday. I'll go to learn how to do it as well.

We went for quite a walk today, all the way from the unit to the new elevators on level 2 and back. They have rocking benches in the atrium but they need some lubrication! Squeaky squeaky.

Had a good rest after we got back to the room, and Beth stopped by.

Yay progress! On our way to getting her out of the hospital, and I can't be more excited. Friday will be 3 weeks.

Ate Swiss Steak for supper courtesy of the Adamchick's. Was delicious!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Set back

Well the plan didn't become the action after I left last night and today was not better.

I got there at approx 1730, Diane was there, and Mom has a massive headache, hasn't even been out of bed since Sunday, is apparently still suffering from nausea, isn't having her pain managed properly (her PCA is done). I'll be the first to admit I'm a little bit pissed about this. I don't care how nauseated my Mom is, she needs to get up. She's been in this hospital for 2.5 weeks now. I don't know what is going on, but I know there is more going on than just nausea and pain. Oh! The one bonus is that they moved her IV into her port.

So I set a goal, get Mom UP, OUT of bed and moving, since the nursing staff hasn't done it - I have to do it BEFORE I leave tonight.

I heard the evening nurse say that when she came on she recognized that Mom was in a lot of pain so she started her on pain meds and was in the act of doing the catch up and getting my Mom stable. I can do nothing but appreciate what she did in the 3hrs it took to turn Mom around. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

She gave Mom IV maxeran at 1836 and at the same time she talked to Mom about taking out her foley (as it was supposed to come out earlier today). It was agreed that the foley would come out and that they would put a commode near her bed so she could pee without having to go far- but the way I looked at it, at least she'd be getting up and going a couple steps, and so what if she was nauseated. If she needs to puke, puke.

Around 1910 I try and wake Mom. I take the cloth off her head and prod her hand. She was in a pretty deep sleep but eventually woke up. I wasn't beating around the bush anymore, she said something about just letting her lay there and that's when I gave the push. She needed to get up, so she could A) prove to them she was Ok B) get eating FOOD (because she is not allowed to eat anything yet except ice) and C) Get the hell out of the hospital.

She got up, we went for a walk, sat in the atrium for a bit and she told me there was an incident. Suddenly EVERYTHING makes sense.

I don't know what retard thought patients would be ok with roommates of the opposite sex, but not all people are Ok with that. You would think you would at least check with the patient before hand to see if it was ok instead of just wheeling in the patient.
So end result, Mom speaks with the charge nurse (who she has known for how many years?), male pt is moved, female one brought in.

Mom gets WRECKED over the whole incident. Making herself ill over it in fact. Which I would tend to lean towards as the cause of the extreme headache and nausea.
Surgery has NOT made Mom sick this time, so the nausea bit isn't adding up for me. Not that I am doubting she feels like crap. If anything I would bet the nausea is from the pain medicine they are giving her. There are very few she reacts well to.

We sit for a bit longer in the atrium and then we head back - Mom has ZERO energy because of the fact she isn't allowed to eat yet (and that is just procedure after colostomies). Hoping maybe tomorrow her diet changes? I can't remember what Beth said for time line.

I thought the nurse would be coming around right away to do checks but it was getting later and later and Mom was more and more tired so I went out to the desk and asked to have Mom's nurse sent in to remove the foley (as per the agreement).

There's this nurse I went to high school with on the surgical unit, she STILL rubs me the wrong way. It's fine if you have a degree in nursing-congratulations, but it sure didn't give you a degree in humanity or intelligence. Quit talking down to people, and taking charge of other peoples patients. I asked to speak with MY Mom's nurse, not you. She steam rolls in to see my Mom and talks her out of the foley removal until 0600. Stupid. Hope there isn't complications from that now!

So I said goodnight to Mom, because nothing was going to take place now.
What a retarded unit.
You want people to get healthy? Treat them like people and pay attention.

It's like the patient in the bed next to Mom. She is telling them her foley is causing her extreme pain when she moves (yes I realize they cause some discomfort, but you aren't hearing what I am hearing). The are shrugging it off as the patient not handling it well and because fluid is flowing correctly - so it must be in the right position. Retarded.

Not happy. Not impressed. Will I go to work tomorrow? Or to the hospital?

Monday, July 5, 2010

20 hrs Post-Surgery

I opted to not go to work today, rainy day anyway, not that it matters at a greenhouse as you are inside mostly. I went up and saw Mom instead.

She was pretty groggy and sleepy still. That is to be expected. At least she is not vomitting her empty guts out this time. Only has a wee bit of nausea. She has vomitted twice so far. Once prior to my arrival when they made her sit up for something and then once while Diane and I were there. Not really sure what brought it on, perhaps a bit too much excitement. I could see it coming though, she got a headache suddenly. Of course there isn't anything in her guts to bring up except the ice chips she is sucking on for some hydration on top of her IV, so it's more like dry heaves.

Diane didn't stay too long- it was nice of her to stop by.

Mom actually doesn't remember that the three of us visiting her yesterday right after surgery. I keep telling her bits of stuff. One recount about when she said she thought it was 1630(rather than the actual time of 1930) was familiar, but so far nothing else.

A physiotherapist came by, checked her lungs and encouraged her to get moving to increase motility. Mom even sat up for her and didn't vomit. The physiotherapist didn't push her too hard though. She knew Mom was feeling nauseated. She said she would be back tomorrow and they would go for a walk.

Beth showed up around 1600 and visited for a bit.

We really just let Mom sleep. That's what she needs today. She is still hooked up to her PCA and has used up to 56mg of Morphine as of 1700.

Tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dr. Hardy Surgery

Mike left around 12 as he had things to do at home, but invited me for supper.
Mom phoned at 1218 and she had had a visit from both Dr. Hardy and Dr. Tom. They told her she would be having surgery unless an emergency came in but they would keep her apprised. We didn't talk too long. My plan was to go over later and I forgot to ask her what her new room number was.

Later came around and I called Mom to find out what her room number was. No answer. I thought maybe she was in the washroom, or out for a walk. I called again and still no answer. I don't think I considered that they had taken her away to surgery? I thought she was going to call when they came for her, but perhaps they whisked her away quickly.

I was due for dinner at Mike's house so I made my way there. We had a good dinner. Halfway through dinner I heard my phone beep that someone had called. When dinner was done I picked up my phone to discover an unknown number AND a voicemail. I think adrenaline might have kicked in a bit when I heard the doctor on the line saying that surgery was done as expected, there were no surprises and that Mom was in the recovery room. I guess I was also a little upset because I wasn't expecting that. I called Beth to let her know Mom was out of surgery.

I got to the hospital around 1830 and Mom was not actually back to her room yet. There were two nurses waiting outside her room for her as she was on her way.

I knew they weren't going to be able to use her port for the anesthesia, and they ended up having to put the IV in a weird spot on her inner wrist. So it is a little tender. In fact Mom overall is a little tender. Her pain level was an 8 upon returning to the room, but she was hooked up to a PCA so she was in control of her pain management. They have given her lots of gravol in an attempt to thwart the nausea and vomitting that Mom tends to have to endure post-op let alone as a side effect to morphine. I hope it works...

Beth showed up not long after I did and we waited in the hall while they finished setting my Mom up in the room. Mom's breathing was ok when she breathes through her nose, but they put a mask on her because she's a mouth breather when she sleeps and her oxygen levels decrease a bit.

Diane then showed up! So we were all there to offer our support while she rested post-op. Mom didn't talk much, mainly slept(except when I woke her to get her to take some breaths), but she did ask if Dr. Hardy called me when surgery was over, and I let her know I brought his book for him to sign. Us visitors didn't stay too late. I woke Mom to say goodnight and that I loved her and we were all gone by 2030 so Mom could return to sleeping. Upon leaving 18mg of morphine had been pumped at ~2mg intervals.

I'm relieved nothing bad happened during surgery, especially considering she is a chemotherapy patient.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Went and got a haircut this AM - not quite the haircut I gave Mom a few days ago. Afterwards went to the Market with Mike. He's home now, Yay! I have my tower back!

After the market we decided to go up to the hospital to see Mom. She wasn't in her room when we got there so I thought maybe they had taken her down into surgery but she was just out wandering. I didn't check the back visiting room, so Michael and I got out exercise walking down to the main entrance again. We wandered into the gift shop (Mom likes to peruse through there) and then headed back up to the room. This time I decided that we would take the elevator back up... :). Got back to the unit and I could see Mom's shoes on the floor so I knew she was in her room now. I popped my head around the curtain and surprised her with my hair cut then summoned Mike over from the other waiting room. We then went to the back waiting room and visited for a bit. Mike told his funny story about meeting Elvis Stojko at the Toronto Airport. He said: "You're alot shorter in person, Elvis" and Elvis turned around (looking average height level and had to look up and said "Dude! anyone is short next to you! Then they shook hands and all went on their way.

Didn't stay too long, Mom was getting settled for surgery and what not and expected they wanted to start an IV soon, so we decided to let her relax. On my way out I checked at the nurses station to approximately how long the surgery would take and found out that the Doctor wasn't going to be able to perform it today. Perhaps tomorrow. More waiting, and that's OK, it wasn't scheduled it was slotted as emergency surgery, someone more critical must have come in.

After visiting Mom, we went over and visited with Mike's Grandparents for awhile and then came back to the house. Our plan now is to head out to "The Rock" a new restaurant in town and then maybe rent or go to a movie. We'll see about the movie. I am feeling pretty tired at the moment.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Last Will

Today is two weeks that Mom is in hospital. Full fluids for 90% of the time she has been there.

Did you know TV costs 8 - 11 dollars PER Day there? So when you think about it you are paying $110 for "premium" shaw cable for TEN days. That is highway robbery considering you can get home cable for THIRTY days for less than that.

Mom has to have more surgery.

She is booked for an "emergency" colostomy.

I went up and visited her this evening, we filled out a temporary last will and testament as the last one she had done was when I was a minor and very out of date. We also filled out a living will. Boy this was rough, it wasn't too bad for me until we had to go get 3 witnesses. That's when I broke down a bit.

The plan is for her to call me tomorrow as soon as she gets the call for surgery.
Things will progress quickly as soon as she gets the call as it will be performed by the On-Call physician, but I hope to be able to make it to the hospital and see her off to surgery.

I'm glad that she will finally have some relief.
The video we watched really expressed how much relief the patients have, and quite frankly since December, Mom has been having manageable problems.