Monday, March 1, 2010

Not-So-Great Aspirations

Doctor Crooks just left Sue's room.  He said I could take my mask off because Sue does not have T.B.  That's a relief for about 500 people besides Sue and me.

Sue had a swallow test earlier today and completely failed it, so now the thinking is that she has been aspirating some of her food and probably has (food) aspiration pneumonia.  The problems noted in scans of the upper lobes of Sue's lungs are now believed to be food particles that have lodged in the lungs (as opposed to TB lesions), some of which are merely infected or causing toxic releases, and some of which may have become abscessed.  They are going to do a needle biopsy on the ones (or some of the ones) that appear to be abscessed tomorrow.  Fun.

So Sue is now ordered to be NPO -- Nil Per Os, meaning nothing by mouth.  No food.  Bummer.  One of the few happy spots in her day shot down like a Zero.

On the bright side, Dr. Crooks is ordering a PCA for Sue.  That's the little red button she's been wanting so badly.  (See my "If I Had A Button" blog of 2-28.)   PCA stands for Patient Control Activator.  Dilaudid on demand.  Party! Uh Huh.

Dr. Crooks (new doctor on call tonight) is concerned about the causes of the muscle weakness that has affected virtually Sue's whole body.  Finally someone on the medical staff noticed that she can't walk, can't get up, can't lift her left arm etc. and is concerned about it.  And apparently what caused them to take notice was that she failed a swallow test.  And it was the R.N. on duty yesterday who suggested they do a swallow test because she saw Sue gag when trying to swallow a pill.  But Dr. Crooks is on it.  He's going to review Sue's charts, review her MRI, and get a neurologist into the brain-trust mix tomorrow.

It's after 11 pm and I want to be back here (at the hospital) by 6 am to try to catch the oncologist when he makes his rounds tomorrow.  They say he comes early, around 6:30.  Ah yes, well the early bird gets the worm, so they say.


  1. I've been followed this blog since the last summer from Tokyo.
    My ex-spouse passed away at the age of 31. (pancreas cancer)
    She was not as pretty as your wife,
    so your wife will be ok unlike my wife.
    Your wife's husband is not as stupid as I am,
    so your wife will be ok unlike my wife.

  2. You have no idea how happy it made my husband and me to read this. Not that we are not concerned about the aspiration and muscle weakness, but it is not TB and that is good news. We happened by chance on your blog; I have myeloma too,and your writing skills are so interesting and full of humor. We wish the best to you and your wife. Jerry and Rebecca Weber

  3. Crooks aren't all bad, huh? At least this one sounds pretty good! I'm glad Sue's getting that button to push. Thanks for the update on all of it.

    You're such a great writer... love your title. I'm sure there's so much more you're not saying... my heart is with you all.

  4. George, Keep an eye on those docs...the doc that saw her on Sunday said HE was going to order the swallow eval. Apparently he didn't. It's buyer beware out there!

  5. I'm glad to hear that Sue does not have TB. I will try to give you a call tonight to check up on her.

  6. Glad that Sue does not have TB! We continue to pray for you all as Sue faces more tests and challenges.
    Thank you for the updates. I have forwarded your blog to many family and friends and they are lifting you up in prayer.