Sunday, December 28, 2008

A week in the hospital

I started the blog to tell some stories, reach out to others and hopefully entertain while providing some useful information on healing and coping. I went into the hospital shortly after, and I dropped the blog. I didn’t feel like writing it. And I figured the only people reading it were the ones I had corralled. Then I came home and found out that PJ, in many ways my doppleganger, had been reading it. I found out that there were others, too.

So now I can’t drop it. I don’t want to write a succession of posts reading, this thing happened, that thing happened, WTF, why is any of this happening. The idea is to send out good, not bad energy. Well my last post didn’t send out good energy, but it brought a lot of good energy in. (Thanks, everyone, it really helps.) I guess I’ll just keep telling it like it is, and tell you I’m trying to get back in touch with all the things that helped me cope up to here. I think I’ll start by remembering to breathe.

The days have blurred together, but here are a few things that have been happening. It took a few days and a parade of doctors to figure out what to do about the pneunemonia. It’s probably fungal, because the past few times I’ve come in here, I get the fungal ball on my lung. The pulmonary people came in, listened to my chest and suggested a bronchioscopy, which involves putting a tube down your throat. They also said a Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery, or VATs, would provide the information on whether this is fungal or bacterial. I had already had a VATS years ago, and it involves a long, painful recovery, so I nixed that option. The bronchioscopy went away by itself.

Next the ID (infectious disease) people weighed in. I wanted to talk to Dr. Marty, my favorite ID doctor, who’s followed me from the beginning and who makes me laugh. I found out he was away until tomorrow (as are many of the doctors, like usual around major holidays). They said he’s not on service, but he knows of my situation and will stop by.

They should really find a better way than having a parade of doctors poke and probe and float their theories on the patient. I love having all this knowledge on my side, but I want them to share their ideas with my doctor, who will present me with a plan. My “visitors” wore me down. It was irrational to cry over Dr. Marty’s absence, but it was the last straw. I burst into tears, feeling like a little kid.

I had a trainee nurse that day who did everything by the book. I asked her for an Ativan. “Are you just generally anxious or is it something specific?” she asked sweetly. Homicidal rage time. DON’T MAKE ME EXPLAIN! I thought. NOBODY HERE MAKES PATIENTS EXPLAIN WHY THEY WANT AN ATIVAN! In reality, I told her it was generalized anxiety, and I got the Ativan.

Anyway, there is a plan. In the morning I'll get platelets, followed by a CT-scan biopsy to get a sample of the matter on my lung.

In the meantime, I got a PICC line inserted in my left arm and went down to have it x-rayed to see if it was in the right place. It needed to be tugged down a few more inches, and when the nurse did it, I saw that there was a cut on my arm where some of the tubing enters. I told her I had low platelets but she said she didn't need to apply extra pressure. When I returned to x-ray, my sweatshirt and shirt were soaked with blood. I was pushed quickly back upstairs in my wheelchair, and the bleeding stopped after the nurse applied pressure.

Then I almost killed my MacBook. I had left it on top of the mini fridge, only to discover that (duh) it’s not a good place for a computer, due to condensation. When I picked it up, the bottom was wet, and it wouldn’t start.

I’m not an electronics enthusiast. My view ranges from necessity that I must put up with, to downright maddening piece of junk that will only cause me trouble. But I love this little Mac. (No, they didn’t pay me to write this.) I fell in love with its sleek simple design and the light touch of the keyboard. I rescued mine by wiping it with a white towel and re-charging it. Suddenly it came to life! The Mac was saved! So I guess there was something good to report after all. See, I'm trying to be more positive. I'll work on it some more tomorrow.


c said...

I'm so glad your computer is ok!

You are amazing. Your children are amazing. I can't get over everything you all deal with, everything you're going through. I'm thinking of you, and if there is absolutely anything my parents or I can do, please let me know! (Do you like hand knitted things...?)

Also, if Katie needs any rides or a house to stay at, I'd love that. She's welcome here any time.

All my love,

Susan C said...

Ronni, Your remark about the Atavan really made me chuckle. I hate to explain myself and, under those circumstances, I think I would have had a hard time maintaining composure.

Hurrah for saving the MacBook!

Keep breathing!

PJ said...

Don't worry about staying positive, Ronni. Just staying balanced is good for right now.

Keep seeing the humor where there is some. Assert your will when you can. Treat yourself and little Mac with loving care. I will personally bring you an ativan stash so you don't have to explain why you want one EVER. Just say the word.

CLL Spouse said...

Good save on the MacBook!

I'm glad you've found yourself locked into blogging this journey even though you sometimes feel it's not what you wanted to write.

"Telling it like it is" is the gift you bring to this blog, not something to apologize for or feel bad about. Not everyone can do it but you've been given the ability to do it.

In telling it like it is, you ARE telling stories, reaching out and providing much that is useful for healing and coping - the very things you had hoped to do. Just maybe not in the way you envisioned it happening.

Keep writing, Ronni!

Here's a quote for you: "The significance of you will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your significance if you apply yourself to converting all your experience to the highest advantage of others." - Buckminster Fuller

Mikha'el said...

Don't worry about what you write, just write...good, bad, ups and downs. In the end, it helps not only those who know you but those who don't that might face similar circumstances. I was getting a CT just today due to a recent illness and cough and it helps me to think of those that have traveled the path and have written to me to know that there are many folks out there and we are not alone.

Ann said...

So good to hear from you. I also had a trainee nurse when I was in for the last BMT and she was also very by the book. I had an interesting incident with ativan that freaked her out so she had me cut off. I could have gladly killed her with safety scissors, but cooler heads prevailed.
Blog when you feel up to it. We're always checking in.

Siu'saidh said...

Ronni, thinking about your mac book? I'm glad it's okay, but I wish you were okay. You amaze me with your strength and conscious efforts to get well and write about your experiences. Keep writing, and don't worry about relating the negative stuff. It releases the bad energy.
I wish I had had more time to take our walks, but, as you know, the time slips away and next thing you know...well, we will get to walk soon.

With love and prayers for a healthy new year.


"Keep walking,though there's no place to get to.
Don't try to see through the distances. That's not for human beings.
Move within, but don't move the way fear makes you move.
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.
don't open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

Deborah said...

So there you are, dear pal, of all the crazy things, cheering me up. I burst out laughing when I got to the part about the Ativan. I could just hear your calm, measured voice saying "generalized anxiety"—as plainly as if we were sitting over coffee. Nice, because I miss you!

Such strength and fortitude, yes, you are amazing…

Love, Deborah

Margaret said...

We're all interested in everyting, so keep on bloggin'. "Generalized Anxiety" -- it's a great name for a novel! Please let us know what the biopsy reveals.

rc said...

in regard to the great name for a novel i am reminded of the nurse who entered onto a patient's chart, "inappropriately cheerful." another great novel title.....maybe that will help you put up with some of what you are going through with officious health providers....rc

rc said...

in regard to the great name for a novel i am reminded of the nurse who entered onto a patient's chart, "inappropriately cheerful." another great novel title.....maybe that will help you put up with some of what you are going through with officious health providers....rc

Carolyb said...

Ronni -- (This may be a duplicate.) Keep up this blog. Those of us who care about you are so relieved that we can check in on you without seeming like a bother. Glad your Mac is allowing you to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. See, computers really are great, despite their delicate nature.Back at the office. It's very quiet here. Thinking of you a lot. Carolyn

Howard said...


Updating friends, even if the news is not good at that moment, isn't sending out anything negative. Friends close by and people like me who've come to know you through the blog, want to know. If only so one can focus attention on the better days you deserve coming sooner.

Blog on,

Anonymous said...


Good for you- you deserve Ativan whenever you need it!
PLEASE keep telling us and sharing YOUR reality. I don't come to this blog for good news only. You are a warrior and so genuine and honest. Cancer is not a bed of roses and smiley faces.
You are doing such a wonderful job in this fight and sharing your journey.
You go girl,

Rose said...

I agree with my daughter, you are amazing! Charles and I are thinking of you. Keep up the blog, we will check it often.
Breathe and accept the positive, healing energy sent to you from the Flachs' house.
Much love,

susiegb said...

Macbooks can be a lifeline in hospital can't they Ronnie! I'm really glad it's OK, so that you can blog when you want to (as well as reading emails etc etc).

And like everyone has said - just let it all out! It'll probably make you feel better, releasing all that anxiety and stuff, and your friends all want to feel connected and know how you're going, however that is. And even though I'm on the other side of the world and we've never even spoken, let alone met, I do count you as a friend ... :)

Just take it all one breath at a time! (more useless, easy to give, advice I know!)

Anonymous said...

Hey Sweets!

Just got the power back at my folks house in Michigan, so I know what you mean about your love of the mac laptop. Not having it around or thinking its not going to work is like cutting off a link to the world. Glad it's working, glad you can keep blogging and letting everyone know how you are... I love how all the positive energy flows back to you through people following your progress and wishing you well. Good to know people care so much. Keep those boxing gloves on and power through this phase like you did last time. You've done it once before, there is no reason you can't do it now. Besides, there's too much good karma and wished flowing your way in the universe! Love ya!


Nelle said...

I am so glad you are posting again. I had checked earlier in the day and found none. Thank you so much for keeping us up to date with what is going on. OMG so relieved your MacBook is okay and that you received your ativan. In my opinion that is the greatest drug anyone, particularly a hospital patient can have. I think once they can diagnose what is in the lung and have a plan to get rid of it, that may help give you some anxiety relief. Hang in there!