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Category Archives: Medical

After the landslide we’re clambering around the scree

Bronwen and I are both recovering from our dramatic visit to the hospital a couple of Saturdays ago.

She has had no more serious turns. In fact the one she did have was a ‘normal’ as far as we were concerned. If the ambulance hadn’t turned up I would have just packed her off to bed which is what usually happens and after 8 – 12 hours rest she would come right. That’s what the hospital sent her home to do anyway. But why not have a free ride when the ambulance was already here. We’d paid our annual subscription!

Apart from the pain of gas, etc passing over the cauterised and stitched areas inside my stoma, I am gradually improving too. When I was discharged on the Saturday night my Haemoglobin was 89. When I had my routine blood test the following Monday it had risen of its own accord to 96. Hopefully that is an indication that the problem has indeed been identified and dealt with. (Mind you, there’s always a doctor to bring you back to earth – he told me that in the taking of bloods there can often be a 5 – 10 point variance. In other words, my Haemoglobin on Monday could have been exactly the same as it was on Saturday night with no change!)

I’ll stick with a natural rise occurring with my haemoglobin levels.

There has been no more sign of bleeding since that Saturday 27 August,

 
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Posted by on 6 September, 2011 in Medical, Personal

 

Drama queens – repeat blog entry

The other blog entry that Simeon posted that some people have not been able to open is re-posted below. Hope you are able to pick it up this time:

There’s more drama in Mum and Dad’s life than that in a marathon of amateur Shakespeare recitals!

The last blog post had doctors diagnosing the cause of all the bleeding he’d been having. Much blood has dripped down the drain since then.

He underwent a procedure on Wednesday afternoon to cauterize the wounds in his bowel and to stitch up a leaking

Sharing the drama!

mesenteric artery. Following a dose of fresh blood, Dad’s color and character returned, slowly, but he did improve.

Dad was discharged around midday on Thursday from hospital. I went and picked him up and on his way home he (or the morphine) wondered out loud where we should go for lunch. When Dad is told that he can “go home” what he hears is: “you’re good to go”.

In spite of Mum’s and my strong suggestions that given he’d lost around 3.5 liters of blood since the weekend, he really should just put his feet up and rest – he didn’t. Well he tried, but resting isn’t in his nature. If he’s still ‘above ground’ and there’s work to be done, he sets about to get it done.

This morning over breakfast he told me he’d lost some more blood during the night. To say that was disappointing news to hear is an understatement. We were all so hopeful that Wednesday’s procedure would be ‘it’ for a while. While I was finishing my morning coffee and he was having his potions and elixirs, the plaintive call of “Doug” came from the bathroom. Mum had had one of her turns and this time she was the patient and Dad was the nurse.

Shortly after lunch, Dad checked his colostomy bag to find that there was more blood and that there was a constant drip into the bag. Mum and I decided that we wouldn’t muck around and we’d just get him to the hospital to get him looked at (actually ‘treated’ is a different matter). While I was helping Dad get his stuff together, Mum called St Johns Ambulance for advice. They told us to wait there, they were sending some Ambos round.

While the St John’s boys were prepping Dad for the trip to hospital, Mum had another of her turns and they looked at her and decided that they should take her as well. Sweet, I thought, a quiet afternoon for me. Being the father of three young kids, I realize that an ambulance house call is not a crisis moment – it’s a Kodak moment! I got my camera out and snapped away. If only I’d had the foresight to grab the video camera I might have been able to engineer an entry to Funniest Home Videos. ‘Always be prepared’ and all that. Alas, I’m no boy scout.

With the afternoon with the parents out of the house, I set about trying to organize some of Dad’s files. No sooner had I written my siblings out of the Will than I got a phone call from Dad to say that I could come and pick them up. To say that was disappointing news to hear is an understatement – I hadn’t chucked a ‘save’ the corrected document yet!

There’s possibly a more accurate version of events, but I can only call them as I see them. Perhaps Dad will give you his perspective when he’s feeling a little better.

‘Till next time… Sim.

 
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Posted by on 6 September, 2011 in Humor, Medical, Personal, Photos

 

Quick update on Dad (repeat)

It appears a number of people were not able to open the update that our son Simeon posted to the blog while I was in hospital so I’m repeating it below. Hope it works for me!

“Dad had a gastroscopy and colonoscopy yesterday. The gastroscopy came back ‘clear’ in the sense that it didn’t detect any bleeding and therefore didn’t detect a cause for the bleeding either.

The colonoscopy showed that the first (or is it last?) 8 inches of his bowel (before exiting his stoma) to be the cause of his ongoing bleeding. He’s having an operation this afternoon (NZ time) to cauterize the length of bowel that is causing the bleeding. Apparently that’ll be quite painful, but I’m guessing that the morphine he’s on will help mask some of the discomfort.

If the cauterizing doesn’t work they’ll have to look at cutting that bit of the bowel out and relocating (actually re-creating) his stoma elsewhere (Leave your suggestions in the comments section below). Apparently this would be quite a ‘process’ and involve other complications.

Dad found out the cost of each unit of blood and worked out that he’s had many thousands of dollars worth of blood this year. He expects that the doctors will be pretty keen to stop all that blood money going – literally – down the drain. I suggested that he was now a drain on society.

Having not seen Dad for six months, I wondered if I’d be shocked when I saw him. No I wasn’t, but by the same token, I’m not sure what it would have taken to shock me. If he’d been playing his trombone while riding a unicycle – THEN I would have been shocked.

Entering the hospital room and making the sign of the cross probably wasn’t the best, most thoughtful greeting I could have given him! You live, you learn (or in my case, 1 out of 2 ain’t bad).”

 
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Posted by on 6 September, 2011 in Medical, Personal

 

Drama queens!

Drama queens!

Off on their excellent adventure

There’s more drama in Mum and Dad’s life than that in a marathon of amateur Shakespeare recitals!

The last blog post had doctors diagnosing the cause of all the bleeding he’d been having. Much blood has dripped down the drain since then.

He underwent a procedure on Wednesday afternoon to cauterize the wounds in his bowel and to stitch up a leaking hepatic mesenteric artery. Following a dose of fresh blood, Dad’s color and character returned, slowly, but he did improve.

Dad was discharged around midday on Thursday from hospital. I went and picked him up and on his way home he (or the morphine) wondered out loud where we should go for lunch. When Dad is told that he can “go home” what he hears is: “you’re good to go”.

In spite of Mum’s and my strong suggestions that given he’d lost around 3.5 liters of blood since the weekend, he really should just put his feet up and rest – he didn’t. Well he tried, but resting isn’t in his nature. If he’s still ‘above ground’ and there’s work to be done, he sets about to get it done.

This morning over breakfast he told me he’d lost some more blood during the night. To say that was disappointing news to hear is an understatement. We were all so hopeful that Wednesday’s procedure would be ‘it’ for a while. While I was finishing my morning coffee and he was having his potions and elixirs, the plaintive call of “Doug” came from the bathroom. Mum had had one of her turns and this time she was the patient and Dad was the nurse.

Shortly after lunch, Dad checked his colostomy bag to find that there was more blood and that there was a constant drip into the bag. Mum and I decided that we wouldn’t muck around and we’d just get him to the hospital to get him looked at (actually ‘treated’ is a different matter). While I was helping Dad get his stuff together, Mum called St Johns Ambulance for advice. They told us to wait there, they were sending some Ambos round.

While the St John’s boys were prepping Dad for the trip to hospital, Mum had another of her turns and they looked at her and decided that they should take her as well. Sweet, I thought, a quiet afternoon for me. Being the father of three young kids, I realize that an ambulance house call is not a crisis moment – it’s a Kodak moment! I got my camera out and snapped away. If only I’d had the foresight to grab the video camera I might have been able to engineer an entry to Funniest Home Videos. ‘Always be prepared’ and all that. Alas, I’m no boy scout.

With the afternoon with the parents out of the house, I set about trying to organize some of Dad’s files. No sooner had I written my siblings out of the Will than I got a phone call from Dad to say that I could come and pick them up. To say that was disappointing news to hear is an understatement – I hadn’t chucked a ‘save’ the corrected document yet!

There’s possibly a more accurate version of events, but I can only call them as I see them. Perhaps Dad will give you his perspective when he’s feeling a little better.

‘Till next time… Sim.

 
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Posted by on 27 August, 2011 in Family, Medical

 

Quick update on Dad

Dad had a gastroscopy and colonoscopy yesterday. The gastroscopy came back ‘clear’ in the sense that it didn’t detect any bleeding and therefore didn’t detect a cause for the bleeding either.

The colonoscopy showed that the first (or is it last?) 8 inches of his bowel (before exiting his stoma) to be the cause of his ongoing bleeding. He’s having an operation this afternoon (NZ time) to cauterize the length of bowel that is causing the bleeding. Apparently that’ll be quite painful, but I’m guessing that the morphine he’s on will help mask some of the discomfort.

If the cauterizing doesn’t work they’ll have to look at cutting that bit of the bowel out and relocating (actually re-creating) his stoma elsewhere (Leave your suggestions in the comments section below). Apparently this would be quite a ‘process’ and involve other complications.

Dad found out the cost of each unit of blood and worked out that he’s had many thousands of dollars worth of blood this year. He expects that the doctors will be pretty keen to stop all that blood money going – literally – down the drain. I suggested that he was now a drain on society.

Having not seen Dad for six months, I wondered if I’d be shocked when I saw him. No I wasn’t, but by the same token, I’m not sure what it would have taken to shock me. If he’d been playing his trombone while riding a unicycle – THEN I would have been shocked.

Entering the hospital room and making the sign of the cross probably wasn’t the best, most thoughtful greeting I could have given him! You live, you learn (or in my case, 1 out of 2 ain’t bad).

 
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Posted by on 24 August, 2011 in Medical

 

Chest x-ray on Thursday

The GP had put me on a course of anti-biotics even though he thought my deep-seated chest infection was viral. He also decided to refer me for a chest x-ray to see how much of the cough was viral and how much was being caused by the growth of the metastases in the lung.

I went to Nelson Public Hospital Radiology on Thursday for the x-ray and was told to expect the report in about 10 days.

An envelope arrived from Radiology in today’s mail. Why had it come early? What had they discovered? I was reluctant to open the letter and sat around with it in my pocket for some time. I had run through in my mind the probable findings and had prepared myself for the worst. Eventually I opened it. It read,

CHEST EXAMINATION:
INDICATION: Persistent cough. Known pulmonary metastases.
FINDINGS: A Portacath is in situ in the left anterior chest wall, no change in the chatheter, the tip of which lies in the proximal SVC.

Pulmonary metastases are not radiographically visible. No focal consolidation is demonstrated. Pleural spaces are clear. The heart and mediastinum are normal.

No destructive skeletal lesion identified.

COMMENT: No cause of cough identified.

Signed by the radiologist.

I sat like a stunned mullet and then Bronwen and I joined hands and again thanked God for His amazing grace and mercy towards us. Of course, we realise that this was a chest x-ray, not a CT Scan, however x-ray is a common tool for identifying cancers in the lung.

 
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Posted by on 13 August, 2011 in Medical, Personal