Sunday, January 20, 2008

Could it be: Psoriasis of the Liver?

Good Morning, Dear Ones,

I am chronicling this latest account while b.u.i. (blogging under the influence) of severe sleep deprivation. So please don’t condemn or hold me to a standard of ethics, taste, or political correctness for anything that is herein recorded. Even as we speak, Dennis has indicated with diverse hand gestures the sign for “ZIP IT, JONI!” However, he is, at the moment, tethered to the hospital bed by extensive IV tubing, and my distance exceeds his grasp. So my freedom of expression is ensured. Fasten your seat belts – this is going to be a bumpy ride!

Saturday afternoon, Dennis noticed the epigastric pain increasing, followed by shaking, tremors, spiking temperature and nausea ad nauseum. We were hoping these symptoms would gradually subside on their own, and they did, due, in large part, to my excessive pacing punctuated by frequent frantic requests for minute-by-minute updates on his condition. In other words, I annoyed him to the point that he settled the symptoms just to stifle me. This was wildly successful until about 11:00 p.m., when he woke me out of a soundless doze announcing we must proceed immediately to the ER. I was the model of composure, reacting like a well-oiled machine. I threw off the covers, threw on my clothes, threw open the door, and nearly threw up. And we drove through the night, with me telling him to try to breathe and try not to bear down, like a seasoned birthing coach. (Talk about unclear on the concept!) Poor Dennis had to endure both me and the pain, and we all know which was worse. We had a clear shot to the University Hospital, and made it in record time, in spite of a sudden and uncontrollable urge to pick up a few groceries at Dan’s on Foothill. We finally got him to the ER, and at first the admitting attendant couldn’t distinguish which of us was in crisis (I had arrived sans make-up, which accounted for the confusion.) After they cancelled the code red alert for emergency plastic surgery, the technicians switched their attention to Dennis, who by now was off the Richter Scale of pain. We feared it might be gall bladder, or worse, psoriasis of the liver. They administered high octane pain meds, and when they finally reached his midsection, Dennis visibly uncoiled, and his malalligned body contortions were able to resume the normal appearance of a humanoid. And then he slept.

It was decided to transfer him to the Huntsman because the blood work revealed a spike in his bili and white blood counts. I was glad for the nurses, technicians, phlebotomists (fancy term for people who monitor phlebs) and housekeeping staff, who scrupulously tended to his well-being, and made it possible to not get any sleep whatsoever. Once again, sleep is highly over-rated, and can impose discernment and discretion at random, which greatly inhibits one’s “blog blab.”

Right now Dennis is resting comfortably, in spite of the fact I have pen in hand, and we are waiting for the latest lab results, which will determine whether he will go in immediately for another stent replacement, or if we will wait until tomorrow.

Now this situation in no way derails us from our appointed date with Dr. Mulvihill. It is a mere bump in the road, a blip on the radar, a drop in the ocean…gee, I hate clich├ęs! We are so determined for the surgery to take place that we have even imposed restrictions on Dr. Mulvihill.

We asked him to:

1. 1. Stop skiing for the next three weeks.

2. 2. Avoid pairs ice skating competition.

3. 3. Postpone synchronized swimming work-outs.

4. 4. Withdraw from the Tour de France.

5. 5. Swear off sushi.

He was compliant with all the requests except one – he claimed medical ethics would prevent him from performing simultaneous Whipple/face lift procedures. He diplomatically explained that he was a surgeon, not a magician, and the requested nip and tuck exceeded even his surgical prowess. But he did refer me to Dr. Phil. Oh well, I tried.

I will retire the pen now, until we get further information from the lab results and decide on the best course of action.

I’m baaaack! Well, after conferring with our fellow wizards, it has been decided that the stent replacement will take place tomorrow (Monday) This is very good because pain is very bad. We are still so euphoric about the news we received on Friday that nothing can dampen our spirits. But I must admit there are times during the course of this journey when I find myself borrowing a phrase from the grandkids, “Are we there yet?” But tonight we will gather around Dennis’ hospital IV and O.D. on Jane Austen, bull riding and relentless re-plays of the latest presidential primary results and be grateful for another “family hospital evening” together. This is a good thing.

More up-dates upcoming.

Our love to you,

The Clot


Amy said...

Apparently Pancreatic Cancer is not as easy as I thought. I am concerned that Dennis was not getting the sympathy that he needed after that incredible news on Friday. Maybe if we all gave him a bit more attention he wouldn't have to go to such extremes of blocking the stent. All kidding aside, our thoughts are with you and we are keeping you in our prayers.
Much love,
Amy, Renan, Zoe, and Ezra

New York Sims said...

Love, prayers, hugs, thoughts, etc, etc.

Dang we love you!!


Anonymous said...

So glad I finally was able to get into your blog so we can be up to date on Dennis's condition. We're ecstatic about the surgery news but discouraged about the pain he is in now. We will be praying that all goes well with the stent tomorrow. We appreciate the frequent reports. We admire you and are uplifted by your ability to find humor and positives amidst this crisis. Please know we love you and our prayers are with you every day.
Our love to you and your family,
Brenda and Glen

Alex & Margaret Wheeler said...

Dear Joan & Dennis,
We pray for you often & think the world of you! Consider yourself hugged!
The Wheelers

Anonymous said...

We were hoping for smooth sailing until surgery, not a rush to the hospital. We wish you a quick hospital stay so you can get back home and work on Dr. Mulvihill's 3 directions. Thank you so much for updating the blog and keeping us informed.
We're sending our love,
Megan, Jesse, Harper, Quincy

Paul said...

Ashes--- (plural for "Ash")

May that damnable thing that took you to the ER yesterday rot on the festering forlock of Belzebub!

Out, out xxxxxx spot!

This will not do. We have doubled the prayer detail.

Cheerleaders on Pheasant Wood,

Say Ort et al

Jim said...

Joan, someone has hijacked your blog and is actually doing creative, witty and loving writing. Since you are likely still running "nekkid" through the halls and haven't had time to see what's going on - I thought I'd better write and let you know the blog has been compromised. Since Dennis isn't doing much but lying in bed - why don't you get him a laptop so he can watch superbowl sites and keep up with the really important stuff. Diane is holding a prayer vigil (or hiking as it's sometimes known) and I'm digging a hole in the ground to keep busy. In the face of such impressive work, I'm amazed I had time to check in on the blog doings. Could you try and make things a little more dramatic, I could get you a spot on "All My Children" but you'd have to agree to create more conflict. Incidentally, who's the bewhiskered stand-in for Dennis. Looks a lot like Harrison Ford. Our love to you all and our prayers follow.

Jim & Diane