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.


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