Friday, April 15, 2011


Monday came and went and, except for that 3 hour stay in the oncology department, it was much of the same around here.

Same = Mike: fatigue; pain in gut; pain moving along the 'waistband'; a new couple of projects; sorting and straightening up various loose ends.
Same = Lynne: school; home after school; continued and ignored crushing tightness in chest; poor sleep; slipping energy. Time to get our ducks in a row.

First, the wife. I stepped back from ignoring it all and realized that since our first ERCP, I have been experiencing a lot of chronic stress symptoms. Sometimes, I feel like a fist is crushing my chest. It's not constant but it never really goes away. But I, rationalizing at a time when rational does not fit, assured myself with that fact that I have the good genes: low cholesterol and low blood pressure. So this is nothing, right? Just shake it off, kid. Get busy.

Well, when I dragged home on Tuesday, the crushing was on. Why then? Could it have something to do with several empathetic friends who had approached me at school. I know they wanted me to know that they were with me in my experience. How they did that was by relating their personal family cancer stories and particularly graphic descriptions of THE END. The stories snuck up on me before I realized what was coming. Would it have helped anyone if I had stopped them and said, "This doesn't help me." ? I don't know.

At any rate, I plopped down at the kitchen table with my take-home giant latte and decided randomly to check my blood pressure. We are of the age that we keep a cuff handy.

Let me just say that I set a person record. Wow. That can't be right! So I sat and sipped and tried it again. It dropped but not nearly enough. So much for relying on genes. I flipped on the computer and went on line. "CHRONIC STRESS" Let's see. Headache? Check. Ringing in ears? Check. CHEST DISCOMFORT? Check. ETC. Check. ETC ETC. Check check. Ok, let's see: see your doctor. OK. Called her and will see her soon. Exercise helps. Wow, but I'm beat. OK, I'll get back into my morning habit of a mile around the neighborhood.

Cut back on caffeine. Really? But, I don't drink much coffee, do I? Actually, since February, I have absentmindedly ramped up my intake: 2 at breakfast, 2 or 3 at school, 3 after school. Ok, I can cut back. And I did. Wednesday and Thursday, I had a bit of a withdrawal headache and now I don't. And guess what? The Chest thing is greatly decreased. Still seeing my doctor next week.

As for Mike. Every medical person draws blood and examines its various makeup. He DID have three weekends where his fever spiked. Just before we left for Florida, the hospital called to tell him that he had e coli in his bloodstream. Perhaps that's the source of the fever. So they put him on a pricey antibiotic for two weeks. The gut pain comes and goes but never go goes. This is, of course, distressing. So, his doctor decided he should have another ERCP.

That doctor called Thursday night and told us to get to Indianapolis for a 9 AM appointment, which we did. Today's ERCP went well.

Mike "did well." They put in a slightly larger stent that hopefully will work better. He's woozy right now but feeling much better. His biggest complaint is that he is hungry and the medical people said, "Liquids." He wants grilled cheese. I made chicken soup.

But, I have the bread and cheese ready. Maybe about 10.

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