Tuesday, September 6, 2011

it has been a long time.....

first, an apology to my readers. i have had a medical emergency in my family, and i have not been able to blog for some time( or do much of anything else, to be honest). my dad almost died- he is 85 years old, my only remaining parent( my mom died a little over two years ago due to complications from  a stroke and multiple myeloma ) . i have decided to blog about the importance of having  a medical advocate, friend, loved one,etc. if you are involved in any medical situation. especially if you are in the hospital for surgery, or other treatment that renders you helpless. at the very least it helps to have two sets of ears to try to remember everything  that the doctors and other health professionals are saying. i try to go to my appointments  by myself, but if it is something really important, i bring my husband along to listen and take note of what is being said.

in one of my earlier blogs i said that the day i "got the news" i was at work. it really reminded me of the gary larson cartoon, where the man is talking to his dog and telling her " bad dog, ginger, you got into the trash again, etc, ".  that is what the guy is saying. what ginger actually hears is " blah blah, ginger, blah, blah, ginger". so my doctor was telling me about my papillary cell thyroid cancer, and all that i heard was" bea... cancer,  bea..... cancer". too bad no one was listening with me then.  when i saw the radiologist before my treatment with the radioactive I-131 ( after my surgery) i had my husband with me. good thing, because it was then that i found out that my cancer had spread into my lymphatic system, and two of my parathyroids, and in total i had lost eleven lymph nodes. the surgeon did not tell me this. my endocrinologist did not have the report when i went back for a follow up visit before my treatment . so that left this poor guy, who probably thought that  i already knew those  things, to have to be the one to tell me. i actually looked behind me when he was talking. i thought that perhaps he was addressing someone else in the room.

health care is an inexact science. mistakes are made, situations are mishandled. but it helps to have someone to listen for you when you can not. to make sure everything that can possibly be done to help you is being done, and in a timely manner. be pushy! get second opinions if you have a feeling " in your gut" that things are not right. act on those  feelings because you may only get one chance to do something that could ultimately affect every one's future.

i moved my dad from the smaller hospital, AGAINST  the recommendation of his physician. it was a hard decision for me, but i knew that my dad needed serious help and that he was not getting it at this particular hospital. what they diagnosed as a stomach virus turned out to be a blood clot which was obstructing the major artery into his small and large intestines. the larger hospital diagnosed him( with the same test that the smaller hospital had done) in about an hour. they had him in emergency surgery for over 4 hours. three surgeons worked on him, and his odds for making it through the surgery were not good. but my dad is tough and he is a fighter. several people told me, including the surgeons, that had i not moved him, he would only have lived for a couple of days.

he is on a rehabilitation floor of the hospital now. his recovery has been amazing, but at 85 years old, it is a bit slower than either dad or i would like for it to be. i try to remind us both to be patient. just as soon as he can, i am moving him home with around the clock nursing until he can care for himself. i am not sure how everything is going to work out in the future, but i am glad that i was there for him when he really needed me.

oh, i have not had the time to track down my blood report. my scan was good, as i said, but i am not sure about my blood work. it seems that the report  did not make it to my endocrinologists office.  i called the hospital, where i had the test done, and they said that  i could come by in person and they would give me a copy of the report. the hospital is an hour away from my home, and in the opposite direction of the hospital where my dad is staying. i am not sure when i will get to do this. i have an ultrasound scheduled for September 27th, with my endocrinologist, so it may just have to wait until then. of course i will share those results when i get them. i am hopefully going to be blogging on  a more regular basis since my dad is mostly " out of the woods".


  1. oh my goodness! What a time you've been having! I gained so much from what you wrote, as I'm currently dealing with my elderly mother's health issues as well. I am the only one she has and I'm getting worn down but you kind of gave me a wake up call. If we don't advocate for them, who will? Her dr just reduced her vicodin & started a new antidepressant that better start working soon or we're in trouble! So darn many side effects from everything though.
    I remember having to fire an inept dr when my dad was dying, and how scary it was. You really did the right thing! Way to go!
    I'd been wondering how you were, hoping you'd snuck off for a last minute summer vacation... ha! Not even time to check your blood results, now that's really something!
    Thanks for updating us on how you're doing, God bless you!

  2. good for you for firing the inept doctor. and we do have to be their advocates- they are truly helpless which is hard to accept. after all, they have always been your parents and have taken care of you. anyway, hope your mom is doing better. my dad had trouble finding the right antidepressant,too. he ended up on wellbutrin XL which works well for him. different medicines work differently in different people of course. my vacation is supposed to be the last week in october. i had rented a beach house at the outer banks and my dad and husband and i were going. i hope that somehow we can still make it. fingers crossed!good luck with your mom and take care of yourself so that you can care for her!