Short intro about the blog

This blog is about our journey to healing with Grade 3 Anaplastic Oligoastrocytoma

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Seizure - Part 2

The paramedics got Adam settled into a room in the ER, and I sat down beside the bed. Celeste stayed nearby, and within a few minutes our favorite priest had arrived as well. The nurse assigned to Adam was very nice and did all the things that nurses do when one arrives in the ER. I wasn't paying very close attention to be honest. Yet another blurry experience in the hospital. When the doctor arrived he asked, “How are we all doing?” I automatically responded with, “Fine.” He smiled and replied with, “Of course you aren't 'fine'... you're in the emergency room!” He was like no ER doctor I've ever encountered. He had already looked over Adam's medical history, and he said something about our having chosen alternative treatment for Adam's cancer. I instantly became defensive and tried to show how non-alternative we were. “Well, we did have surgery to start off with... and then we did an FDA clinical trial... but they didn't work...” I can't remember what he said next, but it assured me that he wasn't judging us. In fact he made a joke about hating doctors himself. I think he just wanted to clarify our position before he started offering treatments. He also wanted to be respectful of our financial situation and the fact that we are “self pay”. There was no reason to start ordering the full battery of expensive tests to tell us what we already know. Obviously, Adam's tumor has continued to progress, as indicated by all his previous MRIs. And it's obvious that he had a seizure and fell. Adam's tongue was bitten in three places, which explained the blood on his face. And indicated the probability of seizure. The doctor asked if we wanted x-rays to rule out any injuries, but I said we could hold off and wait. If he did suffer any fractures, we would certainly know within a few days and could address that when and if it comes to it.

All this time, Adam kept asking what had happened. I would tell him, “You had a seizure, Honey. You fell into the bath headfirst.” And he would say, “REALLY? Oh my goodness.” Then a few minutes later he would say, “What happened... why am I here?” I would repeat, “You had a seizure, Honey. You fell into the bath headfirst.” And he would say, “REALLY? Oh my goodness.” This went on over and over and over again throughout the night. With every new nurse, or administrator, or visitor I would tell them what happened and Adam would say, “REALLY? Oh my goodness.” They took blood, got him hooked up to an IV and started getting anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory steroids into him. He also received a glucose drip to get his low blood sugar back up. They gave him pain relievers since he was so banged up, and he drifted in and out of sleep. Meanwhile, Celeste let me know that “everyone” had arrived. When I looked at her with a look of confusion on my face, she said, “All the ladies are back here... there's a little lounge around the corner... they are all here for support.” I still don't know quite how so many women were able to sneak into the ER for one patient, but there they were. One had popped out to get me some dinner, and I was able to eat and chat and laugh a little bit in the midst of such a horrible event. I remember being freezing cold, as I was still dressed in only running shorts and a t-shirt, so I got some decaf coffee from the machine and one of the ladies got me a blanket. Adam woke up a bit at one point and said he was hungry, so Celeste got him some peanuts from a vending machine. That little bag of peanuts didn't have a prayer... I'd never seen Adam eat so fast. Our family doctor stopped by to visit Adam before he was transferred upstairs, and discussed once again the details of the seizure and fall. Adam still had no memory of the seizure, the fall, or the trip to the ER. Finally, the nurse arrived to take Adam upstairs to the oncology ward. This was probably around 1:00 in the morning. My faithful prayer group was still well-represented, and they all fell into stride behind Adam's bed as the nurse wheeled him down the corridors. We joked about being Fundamentalist Mormons, and explained that we were all Adam's sister wives. All of us had a really good laugh, and Adam was in good spirits as well. Once he was settled in his room, Kim and I went down to the Subway to get Adam a salad, and when we got back everyone squished onto the sofa next to Adam's bed while he finally had his first meal of the last 24 hours. He cracked jokes and we all laughed a lot. It was wonderful, and weeks later it is the only thing about the entire hospital visit that Adam remembers.

Luckily he only needed to stay one night. He was well enough the next morning to take medicines orally and be discharged. He was still really shaky and unsteady on his feet. His tongue was horribly cut and bruised, and he had bruises and grazes on his forehead, arms, and back. But, he was still here, and I was so grateful for that. The first week at home was very stressful and scary. Adam woke up each morning jaundiced and with a high fever. The bruising on his back (which was all my fault from trying to get him out of the bath myself) caused him a lot of pain and made it very difficult for him to get comfortable on the bed to sleep. He had excruciating pain in the area where his liver is located. He also suffered from tumor symptoms: headaches, pressure behind his eyes, and whooshing in his ears. But, as the week wore on, he began to have moments in the afternoon where he could come downstairs and spend some time with the kids. He was gradually starting to feel a bit better. We finally seemed to find the right levels of medication to keep another seizure at bay and minimize the tumor symptoms. And we kept him on painkillers to minimize his discomfort. Finally, one day he was fit enough to go on a slow walk down to the end of our street. And a few days later he was able to come out to the playgroup's park day with the kids. He is still suffering with the odd fever and constant pain that seems to change day-by-day. He has had to be weaned off the steroids, as they were making him quite agitated and restless at a time that he needed to be resting and getting a decent night's sleep. This means he occasionally has pressure behind his eyes or whooshing in his ears, but the painkillers have proven very effective in keeping those symptoms manageable. Some days he feels almost normal, can get onto the internet and walk up to the post office with me. But the nights continue to be very difficult for him, filled with a lot of pain and the inability to sleep. He also suffered a dangerously high fever two nights ago, which is most probably caused by the tumor. As for the rest of us, the children watch an alarming amount of television, and I sleepwalk through each day trying to keep the kids fed and Adam properly fed and medicated. We have so many people pitching in and helping, it would be impossible to list them all. But, even though I'm not able to fully express it, I am so very grateful. And I feel the strength of everyone's prayers lifting me up onto my feet each morning. Without God's help, I would not be able to continue to function, and I give all credit to He Who sustains me.

1 comment:

  1. You are an amazing woman, wife, and mother!! I wish there was something I could do to ease the pain you are currently going through and the difficult times that lay ahead...We are here if ever you need anything. Please tell Adam we are thinking about him and sending prayers for his ease and comfort into his next journey.

    Your (old) neighbors,
    Mandy & Derek