Friday, May 18, 2007

Update

Here's a shoutout to my online friend PhilABowl, who jokingly asked me the other day, in his forum, after learning of my husbands latest travails within the medical community, "Geez, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?!" That just made me laugh so hard. Thanks, buddy. I needed that.

Anyway, Mr. Cadydidwhat is still confined to his hospital room, but they let him out of isolation after thirteen days on Tuesday evening, once the department of scary infectious bodily fluids signed off on his sputum test.

*pause for a big old YUM!*

So now, we're addressing some other issues that have reared their insidious little heads since he was admitted 27 April.

Ongoing concerns about his liver due to hepatitis C will require a liver biopsy. I still haven't found out what his viral load is. Here's hoping someone will talk to me today about that. The biggest concern, though, is his low immune system as a result of the Hep: he's got almost no immunoglobulin in his bloodstream, and all the antibiotics they have him on for the staph infection continue to compromise his ability to fight infection. I guess there is a blood therapy you can get once a month to bolster the body's ability to combat the nasties; I'm researching that as we speak.

Continued concerns over chronic cough due to emphysema; breathing treatments help, but his lung function is not so great. We won't know more until he feels better once he's completely free of steroids, at which point the pulmonary MD will give him a lung function test. At this point, though, the doc is optimistic that as long as he continues to not smoke, he can live a reasonably long life.

Wednesday, the gastroenterologist on his case informed us he has a condition called gastroparesis, and a fungal infection in his esophagus. Separate issues, but both make it difficult for him to get proper nutrition and to eat with any success (nausea is a side effect of both of these conditions, as well as all the drugs he's taking through IV and orally -- the latest pill count per day was like, 8 - 10 capsules). The gastroparesis is what troubles me. This is a condition in which the stomach does not flex appropriately, and food ends up just sitting in his gut, basically fermenting rather than being digested. Key nutrients remain unabsorbed, obviously, but at least we know why he looks like he's eight months pregnant most of the time.

Currently, he's complaining about his pain, and I'm fussing at him to suck it up for the time being because if they put him back on IV demerol, he'll move backwards in his treatment. See, demerol is addictive after 2 weeks, and the withdrawal symptoms are very uncomfortable, but short-lived. Demerol, though, is a great boon for somebody who has other physical problems that cause pain, but long term it's not doing him any favors, even without the liver disease.

But, you know men. They're big babies when it come to pain, and he would rather get high every three hours than wear a time release patch (which I just can't wrap my head around, really --- if someone told me I could stick something on my arm for 72 hours and get pain relief up to 125 times stronger than morphine, I'd be more than happy with that!). Bottom line is, he's been in and out of the hospital so many times in the last five years, he's not only developed an elephantine tolerance to most commonly used narcotics, he's gotten himself a nice little junkie-type addiction to the euphoria those fast-acting, short-lasting IV opioids provide. But try to talk to a guy who feels like his life is hanging by a thread about the "long term." It's like banging your head against a brick wall.

The biggest challenge when he gets sprung from the hospital (we're shooting for Monday) is keeping him off the cigarettes, improving his diet and encouraging him to start exercising, which I hear tell is good for even sick people! Crazy, isn't it? /sarcasm. My personal cross to bear will be changing my own habits of co-dependent enabling. My heart goes out to Howard K. Stern, because I know first hand how difficult it is to love someone so much that you'll actually help them self-destruct just to keep them happy. I'm seriously considering going back into therapy again, just so I can puke up all this turmoil and emotion onto someone else's lap, thereby somewhat alleviating the fallout on my marriage and my child.

I've also considered taking up heavy drinking, but I'll save that for another post. One of these days I'll treat you to my personal diatribe on western medicine and the pharmaceutical companies, my current focus of much wailing and gnashing of teeth. But I think I've just about reached my quota for personal angst. It's time to read the latest issue of People and pretend that my life is carefree and easygoing as I take my toddler for a walk. Sunshine and friendly neighbors, the anathema of midwestern suburbia.

To quote my new favorite video blogger, "Further bulletins, as events warrant."






Adult Situations from Radthanael on Vimeo

1 Comments:

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Imagine said...

No. I know. It's really hard for me to insist that my kid does what he is supposed to do ( eat right, keep minimal personal hygene going, study for tests ) because it causes friction. It would be so much easier to just let him do what he wants to do. . . sounds like an enabler to me. Bleh.

 

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