Wednesday, September 23, 2009
It is not the oak that survives the storm. It is the willow, weaving & ducking.
One thing life has taught me: it is NEVER what you expect.
Vic's doctor decided that Mexico City was the place for him to vacation. I begged him to reconsider. As we just arrived in unquestionably THE best parking spot at the VA in WPB, the cell phone rings.
Dr. R. just called in sick with the flu. No? Really? Now there's a huge surprise!!! And we had just picked up a dozen exotic Dunkin' Donuts plus a Box O'Joe (coffee). Now what tf???
Enterprising nurse tels us to come up anyway & she'll see if another doctor can perform the procedure.
To cut a verrrry epic tale down: gastro-doctor de jour looks at Vic's chart, won't even consider putting him on an operating table without pulmonary, thoracic & second opinions on EVERYTHING. Something to do with Vic's new history of "stridor" which is not a prehistoric creature revived in Jurassic Park (at least that's what it sounded like to me), but more of the stopping breathing (once an endoscope is inserted).
On Saturday night, I was laying in bed with the tv on low. Vic was in the kitchen, what sounded like him talking loudly to my hard of hearing father. Something was off. Listening more carefully I realized he was not talking loudly but choking badly.
I bolted into the kitchen, got Vic over the sink & Heimliched him a few times, then rubbed his chest & back to get him to burp. When he finally did, he was able to get some air.
VERY scary. He had taken a sip of orange juice, his esophageal closed up sending the juice back up & over into his windpipe.
Add drinking as being hazardous to his health.
Vic really needs is the feeding tube b/c eating is harder & harder. Both on him & on anyone who sees him trying SO hard to eat. Struggling, chewing child-size portions. This goes way beyond mindful eating.
The real problem, of course, he is at great risk for choking or aspiration & that is really frightening.
Following Monday's visit with the oncologist, when offered another, different course of chemo, Dr. W. hardly finished the sentance when Vic wanted to know just how soon he could start.
Well I never!
The bottom line is Vic has chosen an extremely difficult path. He faces several physical challenges prior to that. Because his veins are so bad, he is having a port installed, through which liquids may also be administered. The chemo comes with a nightmare list of side effects & the best I can hope for is that he sleeps through most of it. He needs the feeding tube installed prior to the chemo as his risk of infection goes up expenentially.
So all these ducky appointments/procedures have to be lined up just right - like the stars. Because Vic's body is divided up like a grid (crown of head to eyes - psychiatrist: eyes to throat - ENT: neck to mid chest - thoracist; chest through abdomen - gastro) - you get the picture.
How does the song go - the head bone's connected to ... bone???
As we were sitting outside yesterday evening, contemplating new nursing skills I will require, the emotional & confusing day, the uncertain future to come, I looked at Vic. There it was, an expression building throughout his face, a posture assuming his body. I knew exactly what was going on.
"Formulating your war plan?"
"To your last breath, right?"
Once a Marine, always a Marine.