Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.
He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.
Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."
I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.
I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Narcotic Induced Bad Judgment
Yesterday, the big surgery day, the long anticipated day, is over.
It does seem like life stacks up major events on you. . . all on one day.
In the past when Xander has had his tubes placed (it’s been a yearly tradition since he was two), I have had a medi-port placement on the same day (he was three) and then at 5, I had a surgical biopsy to confirm my refractory Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Whoa, does life know how to stack up major ordeals in one day.
Yesterday was less hectic but still ominous.
Thanks for all the quotes and comments. They help me get through the day when I am feeling overwhelmed.
Xander seems to have inheritd the family intolerance to narcotics whereby judgement flies out the window and there is no brain-to-mouth edit button.
I can honestly tell you a lot of the honesty in my postings have probably been fueled by my narcotic or benzo induced “I just don’t care” lack-of-complete-judgement side effect.
I do think it makes for good writing though.
I realized my mom had this issue the ther week when she was recovering from her hysterectomy, lying in bed, and decided it was time to get rid of the old tube tv she had in her bedroom with no remote to turn the tv on and off IMMEDIATELY.
That wasn’t the problem. I completely understand the need to make your bedroom a haven if you’re going to be lying in bed, immobile, for a period of weeks.
The bad judgement came in during our discussion of what to buy, the size and the budget.
She started out reasonable, looking for a 32” flat screen, LCD or plasma, whatever Jon chose (he is the technology choosing king). She wanted a budget around $600-800, including the hardware to hang the tv.
Then, “well,” she hmmmmed and hawwwed, dreamily, without a care in the world, “maybe a little bit bigger. It is flat so that will give us more space, maybe 38 inches.”
“Okay, mom, your screen, right now, is only 28” so anything beyond that is an improvement.”
“I know. I know.” She tells me, “But I really want to be able to see it. How about 42”? or 46”? That would make Dad really happy. He would be able to see it without his glasses!!” She said, getting excited.
Okay, whoa know, hit the breaks. My mother, in real time, sans pain control, would not be considering a 46” tv for the master bedroom, but I wasn’t going to stop and tell her that. She was on a roll, and I thought it was cute that in her haze she was willing to buy a monstrosity of a tv for the bedroom to keep dad happy.
“You know those tvs get expensive if you’re talking about getting that big. . . . .” I said, wondering just how far she would go with this idea spawned by narcotics and bad judgement.
“Well, $1300-1400 is fine. I’m going back to bed.”
She went back to sleep, and I laughed. I was left to figure out where exactly in between 32” and 46” and $600-1400 was the real-life mom acceptable range. When she came out of her haze, I was willing to bet she would be some kind of pissed if we had hung a 46” screen in her bedroom.
She spent a couple months squaking about the size of the TV my father bought for the living room, saying it would take over the whole space (it’s 52” and fabulous as far as a TV goes, but it is huge. This 52” prize possession of pop’s is also, FYI, sitting on milk crates until an acceptable entertainment center is created).
At Sears we decided to go for the 36” SONY screen and stick to a total budget of $655, including mounting hardware.
I was thinking her original idea was probably a little closer to what she actual wanted.
I also knew that what she really wanted was a remote that could change the channels and turn the tv on and off from her cozy bed, but that message had gotten scrambled coming out of her mouth from the pain medications.
Xander has certainly gotten this family trait.
He has always come out of anesthesia “hyper-excited.”
Some kids walk up, groggily and smile at whoever is in the room. They lounge around nice and peacefully as if waking from the best nap ever.
That’s not my child.
My child wakes up SCREAMING and CRYING. He has since he was two. The first time I helped recover him from anesthesia I thought I may pass out from a flare-up of my mothering instinct.
He was screaming, flailing, crying. I was an intensive care nurse at the time. I recovered people coming out of anesthesia all the time. I knew and understood the reaction……in books.
My child is acompletely different story. He was disturbed and I needed to fix it. The anesthesiologist, a co-worker and friend, had to sit and remind me about the stages of recovering from anesthesia and that everything X was experiencing was normal.
Thank you Jeff McG for putting things in perspective. Those mom instincts are strong!
Coming out of anesthesia this time was no different.
It is also interesting to see exactly how Jon and my personality have molded what he thinks and says when he feels there are no holes barred.
It started out with crying and screaming, his eyes were shut, his jaw was quivering, We don’t think he was even completely awake at this time. He was struggling, screaming, moving, asking for me.
I came into the room and took him from my friend and former ICU co-worker, Kathy, who was taking care of him.
I am really happy we can undergo these procedures at Valley Regional Hospital. I feel completely comfortable with the staff. I know them and trust them with my family.
Also the hospital is undergoing HUGE updates that will make it state of the art (or at least close) in the near future.
Xander was admitted into a room, was prepped in the room, and then returned and discharged from the same cozy room.
When I got him on my lap he kept with the screaming saying, “I want to go home. I want to go home! Get me home!”
He did this when he was four also. He wakes up. He’s not even REALLY awake, but he wants out of there.
“They tortured me! They tortured me!” HE started screaming.
“I want to go home!!!!!”
These were screams, special hyper-excitation screams that we just sat and responded calmly, in soothing voices, since his eyes weren’t even really open. It’s doubtful he was entirely awake.
Then, as he became more coherent, he became more creative.
“All these people are idiots!” he screamed. “I hate this hospital. I’m never coming back!”
What?! All these people are idiots?!
That is one for the babybook. . . .or the blog.
I can tell you which parent he got that from.
Well, I CAN, but I won’t. I bet you can guess.
I didn’t think I ever actually said that out loud, and coming from a 6 year old old in a fit of medicated, blind anger is. . . . .hysterical.
He does have some experience with hospitals, but I assure you, the people taking care of him are not idiots. I think they are pretty smart.
I can also tell you that those “sound proof doors” are not so sound proof. My mother sitting in the waiting area, along with some other family members of other patients, certainly heard the bellows of my not-so-little man through the “sound proof doors” and two walls.
Finally, he awoke more, calmed down a little, drank his ice water, licked a popsicle a couple times, and managed to get his clothes on.
This was really all at warp speed comparatively to other patients, but he wanted out, and from the past four years of experiences, I knew he would calm down once he got out.
I left X with Dad and ran to gather mom and the rest of our things.
By the time I came back with all our stuff to get us out of there, X was pulling a trick he had come up with when he was four.
At four, when he had his surgery, I had recently been hospitalized in respiratory failure. He had certainly seen and internalized what happens when someone says they can not breathe.
Apparently, he either thinks they get whatever they want or people do whatever they can to get that person to breathe.
I’m not sure which one his mind is thinking.
So the “I can’t breathe” statement came out of his mouth once. Kathy and I look at each other and she says, “I remember that one.”
Kathy also nursed Xander two years ago when he first pulled this line.
We took it as he was astute enough to come up with a clever reason to scare the hell out of us into getting him out of there as quickly as possible.
Then we ewre gone, to care for our little man at home.