Monday, April 7, 2014

Back in ICU...

As mentioned in the last post, I had some issues on the floor after leaving ICU. I have since found out that the hospital did NOT call Lea Ann when all this went down, she just happened to stumble in on it.  She was not happy with them at all because of that. I'm also told I had the times basically reversed. This all started in the morning and I was sent back to ICU late that afternoon. Knowing that now, I would be willing to bet at least part of my issue after the oxygen popped off was panic. I just wanted to clear that part up.

Anyway... Back into ICU I go. My first nurse when I get back there is a male nurse. I don't remember his name, but he seems to be the rah-rah type. Telling me how I can only get better if I try, and no one can do it but me, and making me answer the question he asked that made me actually say the things I needed to do and accomplish to get out of ICU and released from the hospital. Looking back, that last part was probably a good idea. Making a person SPEAK the things that need to be done as opposed to them just hearing the words from someone else, seems to make them more real. At least it did for me. He spent quite a few minutes in the room pumping me up. Having been an athlete in high school, that kind of thing is equivalent to a coach giving a half-time speech. It generally works on the athletes, and it was beginning to work on me. Little did I know that the nurse had taken Lea Ann out into the hallway and talked to her, too. He told her that I probably had a panic attack, or maybe not having the nurse at my beck and call caused my return to the ICU. I'm glad that Lea Ann didn't tell me that part. Had I known at the time I probably would have tried to punch him. Yes, I would have missed or failed horribly, but I would have tried. I'm not big on two-faced people and that is what this was to me. If he thinks all that, by god tell me! Not her. Don't pump sunshine up my butt and then go say something totally different to my wife. Give me a chance to hear it and defend myself and my actions. Who knows, I might even see some truth in part of what is said, but that will never happen if I never hear it. Lea Ann was also told she was enabling me, not making me do enough for myself. I still waver on this, too. Yes she was doing a lot for me. A whole lot. I looked at that as her supporting me and trying to help. She was told that it was holding me back. I will say that if she had not been doing what she was up to that point, I would have thought there was something wrong that was being hidden from me. At this point she did back off and started making me do more for myself, and for that I am very appreciative and grateful. It did help in the recuperation. The problem was, in my mind at that particular point it was very abrupt. The timing was bad. In the mental place I was at the time, that just made me a combination of even more mad and at the same time more depressed. Suddenly hearing from her that I need to do more for myself and she will be doing less was not something I wanted to hear. Especially after having to be taken back down into ICU. My morale and self-esteem was extremely low and falling still. I can hardly walk, I have to have oxygen all the time, I can't eat, I can't seem to sleep without the help pf medication, I can't get up to go to the bathroom by myself, I can't stay out of ICU... Hell I can't even breathe right, and now I get told I have to do more for myself? What a loser I must be. Now I was even less fun to be around.

For the next several days I don't remember much.  I expect the days were basically uneventful. Just kind of going through the motions, walking when I was told to, doing breathing exercises when I was told to, taking the breathing treatments, eating some of the soft foods but not much, still taking feedings via the J-tube in the belly, and generally not talking much, staring at the TV and sleeping a lot. One of the things I do remember was talk again of my being released to a rehabilitation hospital instead of going home. I stood hard on that. NO WAY was I going to another hospital. When I get released I am going home and only home. I can do anything at home that they can do at a rehab hospital, so home is where I am going when they release me. Period. No more discussion. I don't care what anyone else says or thinks. it is MY decision and I have already made it! Another thing I remember is us talking with the oncologist about next steps. Even though they believe they got all the cancer out, they still want me to go through chemotherapy and radiation. They will start together and run concurrently for six weeks. The chemo will only be once a week so I will only have six sessions, but the radiation will be Monday through Friday for the entire six weeks. I'm told they will be putting in something called a power port for the chemotherapy. It is easier on my body and is also easier for the chemo center to use when infusing the medication. Plus, it can be used for blood draws and other IV type things. It will be another surgery to put it in as it is implanted under the skin in the upper part of the chest, but it is out patient and I won't have to be hospitalized for it. We will coordinate that with the surgeon and get it put in the day chemo starts, which looks like it will be sometime in late February or early March. That will give us an end date in mid April, which would be around the same time they would start entertaining the idea of my going back to work. Someplace in the back of my mind I start seeing just a twinkle of light in this tunnel. That light says "home." I like that idea. I also like the idea that they are talking about getting me out of ICU again and back up on the floor. I look at that as the final step before I will get out of this god-forsaken hospital and back home where I can be comfortable. I am still very down on myself and depressed and mad at the world, but at least they are talking about a discharge from the hospital and going home.

A little later that day we are told that they have decided to move me back up to the floor tomorrow.

Thanks for coming along on this journey. It's far from over. See you next post!

7 comments:

NavEngineer said...

Hopefully you'll be home soon. I know from having my right colon removed recently that hospitals are stressful at the best of times.

I'm subscribing, thanks for sharing this period in your life.

All the best.

Brian Brown said...

Actually I am home already. These posts are what happened to me approximately one year ago. A little more than that actually... and you are correct, hospitals ARE stressful. At least I can say I made it through and came out smelling like a rose. :) Thanks for the comment AND the subscription! Hope you enjoy it!

Jordan Bates said...

Brian, i'm just a 14 year old in my freshman year in high school, but this blog means more to me than you can imagine. I appreciate seeing all the trouble you went through with this operation. My dad had to fight Esophageal Cancer and he too was fortunate enough to survive, however he had his entire Esophagus removed and his stomach stretched up to his throat. He's making a very quick recovery and I hope you are to. I was just relieved to see that other people are having to go through this same exact problem in their lives. Thank you so much for your blog!

Jordan Bates said...

I apologize for the way I worded that second sentence, that's not quite what I meant.

CareAcross said...

Hi Brian!
So, 1 year later... how does radiation compare to chemo?

Brian Brown said...

Hello Jordan! First off, thank you for the comments and for taking hte time to read the blog. I am glad that you might be getting a little more insight into what your Dad went through and that you now know that what he did travel through is not odd and he was not alone in the feelings. And please don;t worry about how you worded that second sentence. I took it as you meant it I believe, meaning you appreciate the fact that the trouble I endured was similar to your father's. No harm, no foul. :) It's great that your father is recovering well! I am too. I am 14+ months out from a very similar surgery (I had my stomach stretched up into my chest to what was left of the esophagus too) and I was told I am cancer free as of last month. It is a definite life style change that you will see in your Dad, but he is still here for you and that is most exceptional! Thank you again for reading and commenting. I really appreciate both!

Brian Brown said...

Hello! Thank you for the comment and the question!

For me, chemo was only once a week for six weeks, and radiation Monday through Friday for six weeks. To be honest I didn't have much problem with either. I actually seemed to feel BETTER after taking the weekly chemo. the only side effect I had there was a slightly metallic taste in my mouth, which I could usually take care of with a mouth rinse concoction that I got from my radiation oncologist. The radiation itself tended to leave me with a slight burning sensation my my chest and throat for a little while (maybe a couple or three hours) but nothing else really other than I had a license plate sized hold in the hair in my chest and on my back. :) So all in all, for me, they were equal and quite tame compared to what I had read and seen from others. I think I got lucky.