Friday, May 04, 2007

OK, Deep Breath, Power Down....

Once again, I am boggled by what nice people I know in the blogosphere. Thank you, one and all, for your support and prayers, and your offers to help -- just being here was an enormous help. Thank you.

Jim came home today. His bronchoscopy went well, they were able to biopsy the bit of lung tissue in question, and, as his doctor put it, "It's not an 'Oh my God' matter." (Love that esoteric medical terminology.) However, they still don't know what's causing the clots -- possibly because they only did an ultrasound on half of one leg, not all on both legs -- so he has to go for the gross tests sometime next week.

Of course I am not handling any of this well. Brings back too many memories of last summer. He even has to do the belly shots. He, having been brought up by a nurse, is 100% okay with all of this. I, having been brought up by normal people who only saw doctors for broken bones and DPT boosters, think he's fallen into the hands of ghouls. Oh, to top it all off: the belly shots are costing us around $140.00. And we have a prescription-drug benefit to our health insurance. Jokingly, I said to the pharmacist, "What does it cost without a drug benefit, $5,000?" And she said, "Yes." I hope she was kidding. I thought Jim would have a stroke on the spot.

I'm still trying to figure out what the point is of some hotshot medicine that has to be injected (ewww) into one's gut (EWWWWWWW) by oneself, that costs thousands of dollars. Not to mention the bubbly assurance, "And it doesn't even hurt." Let me tell you -- I had those shots, and I can guarantee you that no one who's prescribing these puppies has ever taken them.

Okay, I'm getting wound up again (ya think?!), so I will just make one further note: the guy I thought was the emergency-room doctor, isn't. He's something called a "hospitallist," and his job is to coordinate all the various medical procedures so that doctors with conflicting agendas don't prescribe conflicting treatments/medications/whatever. I like the idea of a hospitallist. I even somewhat like this particular hospitallist. Great bedside manner, and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt as to knowing his stuff -- he's the one who said the mass in Jim's lung wasn't cancer, and well, holy cow, he was right. What a shock. Okay, okay, for all you medical people, I'll shut up now.

For all you who have read my book, I have a question. I have to break up the two books in order to get the thing published, and I need a title for the first half. I'm kicking around "The Unorthodox Affair" -- does that sound like anything you'd buy? Does it sound like it summarizes the plot? My daughter, who read it faithfully every day when she got home from school (she'd hold out her hand and say, "Give"), thought "An Unorthodox Love" would work. Ideas, suggestions, rotten tomatoes???

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Back on the Bicycle

Thanks to all for prayers and responses. They are much appreciated, and much needed.

Today Jim saw the pulmonologist. There appears to be a disagreement between the emergency-room doctor and the pulmonologist. The ER doctor thinks the mass in the right lung is an infarction, that is, dead tissue that has necrotized over a very long period of time. The pulmonologist thinks it's cancer, and wants to do a broncoscopy, as well as an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, because after all, These Blood Clots Must Be Coming from Somewhere, and apparently, Hidden Cancers Can Cause Blood Clots.

The operative word, as far as I'm concerned, is "can." As in, maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but why not go for broke and assume it is until we find out it isn't, at which point, why, we can do more vivisection, what fun!!! The ER doctor's point is, there are absolutely no risk factors for cancer: This guy isn't overweight, doesn't smoke, doesn't live with smokers, doesn't work in a carcinogenic environment, and lung cancer doesn't just show up for the hell of it!

Ya know what scares the living daylights out of me? Of course, all the nurses are pulling out the Sympathy Card that says, "Oh, yes, These Things Are Scary." Yeah, they're scary, all right, but not for the reasons most people find them scary. I find them scary because I can't escape the impression, based on my own rather vast experience, that my husband's life is in the hands of a HATFUL OF INCOMPETENT BOOBS WHO DON'T HAVE THE FAINTEST CLUE WHAT THEY'RE DOING!!!!!

To top it all off, when I walked in this evening, my brother was visiting my husband, and regaling him with his own hospital experience, which involved walking into another hospital's ER with severe pain in his right shoulder, and being kept overnight for cardio observation because he had Risk Factors (i.e., he's fat). The next day, they gave him a stress test and an echo-cardiogram, both of which he passed with flying colors, so he was discharged -- with his right shoulder still killing him. His own doctor diagnosed tendonitis. See, this is what gets me: The docs go into overdrive on their own pet theories, and completely ignore what's actually going on.

As I said to Jim, I can't advise him on how to handle this. I know what my own response would be, but that's not his response. He's inclined to let them do their vivisectionist thing. So all I ask is that he conduct his business with them without me anywhere in the vicinity, because if there's one thing I love for dinner, it's Doctor Stew.

Grumble, grumble, grouse, curses, kick the cat...

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Writers....

As readers of my book blog know, things are reaching a climax, at least in this first draft, and I had planned to finish off a chapter today. Hah.

Over the weekend, my husband started spitting up blood -- why do these things always start on weekends?! -- so this morning, he called our family physician, who told him to get to the emergency room. We got there around 9:30 a.m., and proceeded to spend the rest of the day there, while we dealt with x-rays and blood draws and CAT scans and heaven alone knows what else. But the bottom line is: dh has a pulmonary embolism, or blood clots in his lungs. We have no idea where they came from, how they got there, where they may have migrated from, how they came to lodge in his lungs -- we only know that breathing has become steadily more difficult for him since November, when he began not to be able to run his usual five miles/8 km, without having to stop for breath every so often, and that over the past week, he has had trouble breathing while walking the one mile to work. Then this business of spitting up blood.

It all "sux," but OTOH, maybe it will get him to think a little more seriously about his church relationships, or lack thereof -- when we got to the hospital, and he was asked his religion, he hemmed and hawed and finally said, "More Orthodox than anything else." So I hope there's hope.

Meanwhile, I intend to escape for a little while, if not to Moscow, at least to Brighton Beach. ;-)