Friday, October 26, 2007

Not so good times…

Well. I have no clue where to begin. It’s been yet another lovely month for us. The month started out a bit better. Dave was recovering from his latest stint at the hospital and we were trying to pull our lives back together. We went to a Genesis concert down in Chicago and had a great time. It was fun to go on a mini-road trip and get away for a bit. The music and performance were awesome. We both love Genesis and they played a nice selection of their music throughout the years. There was old stuff, newer stuff and some of their more annoying “pop” hits that aren’t our favorites. But all and all it was completely enjoyable!

Dave was still feeling off, but doing much better on the antibiotics. I had planned a “Girls weekend” with some of the amazing ladies I work with and that was coming up quickly. I wasn’t sure about going in the first place and now with all that happened, I really didn’t think it was a good idea. But Dave knew I was hitting burn out and he felt it was extremely important that I get away…if only for a few days. So I went.

The trip itself was amazing. It was nice to get caught up on sleep a bit and get to know the ladies. We ate a lot of yummy food and would go and get coffee and just sit outside in the gorgeous weather for hours at a time. But on the downside…the C-diff came back and David ended up in the hospital again. It wasn’t as bad as last time. He went to ER for more fluids after meeting with the GI doctor and then ER admitted him into a normal room in the hospital, not ICU. He was in for 2 ½ days this time. I wanted to come home the moment he was admitted, but David was told he would be out by the next morning. But of course he wasn’t. Once he was admitted they went into the same routine as last time. Trying to control the big “D” and doing C-diff tests like crazy. They haven’t gotten a positive test result yet on C-diff and one of the doctors says that at this point, 8 tests later…they will never get a positive result for it. So, in essence they still have no clue what it is. But it must be either C-diff or something extremely similar to it…because the antibiotics for it are the only thing that stops it. David had me stay in Vegas. He felt it was extremely important that I re-group a little. It was extremely hard being there, trying to have a nice time while he was home in the hospital. But I understood where he was coming from. He felt fine…just dehydrated. And all he did was sleep in the hospital, but it just felt wrong for me to be so far from him. But I it worked out and David is out of the hospital and doing better. The Antibiotics for this round were a whopping $1500…and that’s with our kick ass insurance. That was a bit of a shocker, but what can you do. If it is actually going to kill this thing than it’s worth it. They say it is extremely hard to kill and it sometimes takes 2 rounds of antibiotics. And this second round of the pricey stuff is made specifically for this and not just a broad spectrum.

So here we are. David is completely exhausted. He’s on so many meds at this point we had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of them all and the different times to take them. It should all settle down a bit once he’s off both of the antibiotics and what not. Ironically this has been much harder on his body than the cancer treatments. He’s lost 10 lbs, looks so pale and is so tired all of the time. It’s breaking my heart to see him so sick and I wish with all of my heart there was more I could do.

A dear friend reminded me last night about something I had once said. We knew this was going to be a long road and we knew at times it was going to be hard fight...but damn. Some days it’s just hard to get up, smile and keep fighting. Lately I feel like the moment I even begin to feel optimism the universe just slaps us down again. But she gave me good advice. She gently reminded me that we knew there would be these dark times but that we just needed to tuck our heads down and keep moving forward and we would get through this. We will get through this and Dave will kick this somehow. We don’t need to know how…just that he will be ok. She said she saw on a card once, “If you’re in hell…keep moving.” That made me smile. So that’s what we’re doing. Just barreling along headfirst and trying to get through this. Hopefully things will settle down soon and my next post will be filled with renewed optimism and hope.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The highs and the lows…

It’s been a rocky couple weeks. The show went well. It seems like a lifetime ago at this rate, but it went really well. Dave and I had a blast doing the show and it completely reminded us why we do this. It felt great to set up and the artwork was well received. We felt very nostalgic about some of the pieces and it made us rethink a bit about completely moving away from the printmaking. I do love some of those pieces…and they will probably always hold a special place in my heart. It also was a nice ego boost to have so many people complimenting us on our work when we really haven’t continued to evolve artistically or explore much in the last couple years. But we had a good time and rekindled that love of making art that sometimes fades amongst all the chaos and angst in our lives at the moment. We did a few sketches and had developed some definite directions we plan on taking our art. We feel like we have come up with a new fusion of glass and printmaking and I think we have a definite direction we’re ready to begin exploring in.

But the joy and unfettered plans of the future didn’t last long. Dave had been having digestive issues off and on for over a week and a half before the show had even begun. And by the12th he was not doing well at all. The weekend was long and we were getting concerned that this just wasn’t a nasty flu…but chemo related. He called in sick the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. By Wednesday afternoon, I had him call his Oncologist again because he was obviously not getting better…but worse. He was pale…So very pale, not communicating much anymore and getting very lethargic. The doctor said that he should come into the ER immediately. We spent the next 2 1/2 hours waiting in the ER with a bunch of extremely ill and some extremely pissed off people. It would have been entertaining if David hadn’t been so ill himself. There were people there who definitely weren’t sick enough to be in an Emergency room and who were pissed about waiting for so long and were threatening to leave and then proceeding to run around the waiting area ranting, cussing and tossing things about. Leave then, I say. If you’re well enough to be running amok in the waiting room then you can go home because you shouldn’t be there anyways. You should be seeing your primary care physician or urgent care. There were people there pissed that they had a nasty flu and people were being seen ahead of them, not withstanding that some of these people who were going ahead looked to be on deaths door itself and one man looked as if his foot was about to rot off…literally. I just don’t get people sometimes.

But Dave and I just sat in the corner; Dave huddled in the fetal position next to me. Waiting our turn. Once we got into a room and they took his vitals, we were informed that he was going to be admitted. His blood pressure was dangerously low due to dehydration and they were surprised he wasn’t passing out. We had no clue he was so sick. We knew dehydration was bad…but I expected to see more signs from it. Dave was drinking so many fluids…but obviously his body was retaining none of it. We then spent 6 hours in the ER as the doctors decided where to put him. There was a lot of confusion as to how to treat him, since he was not only on Chemo…but an unusual trial version of it. But in the end, they opted for ICU because they couldn’t get his vitals to level out and his blood pressure was so damn low.

He ended up staying in ICU for 4 days. For the first 2 his blood pressure ranged from 75/45 to 92/65. The 70/45 numbers were more than worrisome to the doctors. They said if it continued to remain that low, his heart beat would start becoming irregular. They also said that if he had stayed out much longer…there could have been kidney failure as well. Holy shit. The decided that due the steroids he was on for his surgery in June, they had slightly depressed his adrenal gland so it was in a semi-hibernate state and was having a tough time releasing the needed hormones to bring his blood pressure back up after it dipped due to the dehydration. They were able to “wake” it up a bit and his blood pressure started to level out a bit. The other issue was that his digestive track was completely out of control and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. The Oncologist insisted it wasn’t the Chemo…and the ER doctors starting doing tons of tests to rule out possibilities. In the end, although they never got a positive test back, they think he had C-Dif. A nasty bacterial infection in the colon. They started treating him for this after the first day in ICU, just in case and within 12 hours it was getting better. Unfortunately, C-dif is highly contagious via spores so Dave was in isolation throughout his entire hospital stay.

This last stint at the hospital was much harder on both of us than we ever expected. Dave was completely wiped out by it and I was unable to have all of the amazing support of friends around me during most of this, due to the fact that no one was allowed in isolation. I spent much of the time alone in Dave’s ICU cube, watching him sleep and making sure what meds they were giving him and if anything was being missed. He was so pale and so very much not Dave’s usual ebullient self. He didn’t talk at all. Never joked with the nurses. He was so weak.

As usual, everyone was amazing in checking in to make sure I was ok, but since I didn’t want to leave Dave’s side…I was alone too much I think. I wasn’t getting any sleep and I spent all my time either at the hospital or running to drop off Alec or picking him up. And at night, after all was settled in Dave’s room I would get Alec, go home and try to play and give him some sense of normalcy in his topsy turvy world. I was exhausted and strung out. Alec constantly talked about Daddy and would say, “Daddy’s sick” or “Daddy at hospital with tummy ache.” It just broke my heart. And I would try my best to smile and play and make Alec feel that everything was going to be ok. But when he went to bed, my heart would just ache. I don’t know how I could have done it differently. I needed to be there, because things were missed and I was able to catch missed doses and question doctors as they made rounds and keep in their faces to make sure they understood the severity of Dave being off his chemo for any length of time. And it worked. The doctors only kept him off chemo for 3 ½ days and Dave was released after a 6-day hospital stay. Although there were some issues with medication, the care he received in the hospital was amazing. The nurses, as usual, were lifesavers both physically and emotionally. They always knew what was going down, even when the doctors didn’t seem to know what the hell was going on. They were kind and caring to me and treated Dave with the utmost care.

Although this was only related to Cancer in the fact that Dave’s immune system is so suppressed due to the chemo…this sucked. In all likelihood Dave picked this up at the hospital during one of his checkups. People tend to get C-dif either 2 ways. Either they’ve taken antibiotics that killed off all of the good bacteria in the colon or you’re exposed to the spore in the hospital. It’s the number one place people get it. And when he was exposed to it, his body’s immune system was so depressed that he couldn’t fight it and it hit him hard. Although they never got a definitive answer as to what he had, best bet it is C-dif since the drugs he’s on got it under control. We’ll have to be more diligent now, since once you’ve had it; you’re much more susceptible to it. Dave’s on Acidophilus which will help nurture the happy bacteria in his colon and hopefully prevent another bout of this crap. Literally. My mom came up once again and helped me pull the house back together. She cleaned and entertained the little one so I could decontaminate the house. She did an insane amount of laundry, as everything needed to be laundered to remove any lurking spores left in the bedding or anywhere else. Alec had a blast playing with Nana and I got some much needed rest. Friends in all corners pitched in and brought over food and yummies. And other friends pitched in with errands. All in all, we pulled it together and got through it. I just wish we didn’t have to get though anything right now. I want some down time. Time to play and enjoy life. I want a day without worry.