Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cancer Post: Thanksgiving - Hospital Update

Some of you already know that last Thanksgiving I was in the hospital again. I was one week away from my third treatment of this new chemo. The masses under my armpit blew up real big, plus I had inflammation and swelling of my breast. I couldn’t even put my arm down; it was sticking out from my body in a weird position because of all the swelling. The nerves in my arm became impinged and the back of my arm is still numb, possibly permanently. My right breast was almost three times its normal size, burning hot and red as can be. I had to pack down in ice for days.

I was doing laundry on Monday afternoon, Nov. 21st, and I was trying to open the bleach bottle, but the bottle slipped across the dryer away from me and my arm jerked trying to stop it. It hurt really bad… so much I was swearing. I put some ice on it in case I pulled something and within 2 hours it had swelled quite a bit. I kept ice on it while I slept that night, but when I woke up I couldn’t feel the back of my arm and the swelling was much worse. I called the Cancer Center and went down for them to check me out. I was admitted on Tuesday, November 22nd, but the breast swelling didn’t happen until Thanksgiving morning. They decided it was too dangerous to do surgery because of the blood vessels and nerves involved, so Wednesday they gave me radiation to the area.

Thanksgiving morning the on-call doctor woke me up and quickly ran through my case, I asked him for a hydrochlorothiazide and a furosemide pill (Water pill/Lasik) since I had some swelling and they had me on a sodium drip (to which I am sensitive to and causes me to swell), he denied me one of my Lasik’s. I explained I had to take them together because just one or the other didn’t have an effect on me, that’s why I was prescribed both of them… and I only take them as needed. He refused stating he thought it was causing my elevated sugar level… “Funny, I haven’t had any for several weeks, guess THAT can’t be the cause.” But of course, he’s the doctor… that went to school… he couldn’t be wrong… and of course would never admit to being wrong. Yes, he was one of THOSE doctors!

Around 10:30 am I was eating my breakfast when I leaned forward and my breast pressed against my leg, it was very painful. I looked down my gown, saw how big it was, how red it was, felt how hot it was, and the area around the nipple was rock hard. It scared the hell out of me and I started to cry… I thought for sure the cancer had moved into my breast. I called my nurse because I didn’t know what else to do… asked him to please come as soon as possible. After I explained and showed him, he put in a call for the on-call doctor to stop in. I waited for a little while and when he did show up… he didn’t come past the entryway, asked me what the problem seemed to be, I was a little taken aback because he didn’t come in or over to me and the way he questioned me… so I stood up and raised my gown. He said that’s probably just “something-something-or-other” and left. I was in such shock I don’t remember what he said… he never came in, never examined the breast, and didn’t even bother to explain the “something-something-or-other”. I was so upset and couldn’t stop crying.

The nurse that came in later that evening took care of it like the doctor should have… she examined the breast, marked the redness pattern with a marker so we could gauge if it was expanding or going away, then started packing me in ice. The next day the doctor came in, with a nurse for his protection; evidently word got out about what happened and that a friend of mine had called the hospital until she got hold of someone in charge who then came to see me about the situation. He lied outright about the situation, denying everything. I started to get upset because he was so lying and when I started to cry I decided that’s enough. I told him I wasn’t going to let him upset me again and I wanted him to leave my room immediately. I told him I wanted to be discharged after my radiation because I felt I was not getting the care I needed and I would rather go home and take care of myself. So I basically kicked him out of my room.

I had my radiation, was preparing to leave when my nurse came in with a prescription for antibiotics and pain killers. I thought, these are the antibiotics I was on when my breast swelled up and became inflamed… obviously they weren’t doing the job. So I had my nurse call the doctor and inquire about a different antibiotic… he denied my request. Oh, big surprise. **When I saw someone on Monday at the Cancer Center, one of the first questions I was asked was who and why had I been sent home with those antibiotics… then I was told to quit taking them and was prescribed something else… THANK YOU! Looks like I’m not so dumb am I!**

I went home, kept myself packed in ice, took my meds, took my lasiks which got rid of A LOT of fluids built up in my system, and the following Monday, Nov. 28th – Dec. 13th did daily radiation treatments, except on weekends.