Kidney Surgery — Sunday Morning 4am, September 28

Debbi awoke with a screech saying that her left arm, from the shoulder down toward her elbow, was in excruciating pain. A text message by our nurse to Dr. Alex Sokol was returned in amazingly short order with an authorization for 4mg of morphine IV drip. Our nurse, Tulsi, who assisted us during Debbi’s first overnite stay just a few doors down in room 511 back in April and who is an avid reader of this blog, presented the news to Debbi by saying that she knows well that Debbi is very sensitive to medication so she recommended taking 2mg to start and see if that helps before taking maximum allowable dose. Following Tulsi’s advice, 2mg was administered over 10 minutes using Debbi’s medi-port which had been left in the “ready” state.

Now, 30 minutes after the morphine drip has completed, Debbi seems to be sleeping comfortably but looking back on this episode… hold that thought for a second… a nurse just came in and woke Debbi to take blood from her port. How do you like that!!

We used this awake period to replace three hot packs (rectangular plastic bags with two chemicals… break the bulb releasing sodium thiosulfate into some dextrose and water = heat… chemistry 101). Debbi stuffs these down the sleeve of her Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center pink zippered sweatshirt to direct the heat towards her shoulder and upper arm.

The pain did increase and so, complying with Debbi’s request, Tulsi just administered the second 2mg of morphine and stayed to talk to Debbi until the drip finished. Looking over, I am hoping that Debbi will nod off shortly. Well, that didn’t happen. Share the experience. Debbi just insisted that Tulsi listen to my lungs because I cough once in a while. Nothing but post-nasal drip but Debbi wanted it checked anyway. Tulsi complied and ruled my lungs very clear. Now Debbi is trying to go back to sleep.

Let’s recap. Debbi woke with a “geschrei” just before 4am and described the pain as one might feel if they were stabbed in the shoulder with a sharp knife which was then pulled strongly down through their upper arm. Certain movements cause the pain to radiate through her arm and other arm motions are just not possible. Even if she is lying still, she might get these pains. We changed Debbi out of her hospital gowns into another set and this led to her crying out in pain. Getting Debbi back into bed was an ordeal. Once the initial morphine dosage took effect, the pain seemed to decrease, and she was able to relax and sleep. Following the second 2mg, Debbi is again sleeping and I hope she is able to sleep through till morning.

Currently we are admitted under the care of Dr. Russo but I think we need Debbi’s arm looked at by Dr. Healey’s team. Given that this is the weekend, I will wait a few minutes and call them at 6am hoping that they can pay a visit to Debbi during their morning rounds. We will have to wait for the team’s findings but I am beginning to think that Debbi is not going to be going home today. I think that it might just prove too difficult for her to perform normal two handed actions such as opening jars or dressing herself without medication that can only be given in the hospital.

Maybe she could just stay an extra day or two and the shoulder surgery could be moved up a day or two. At this point, I am just hoping for a consult from Dr. Healey’s team today.

It has taken a while to write this blog entry. While Debbi does seem to be sleeping, every now and then she gasps in pain and then goes right back to sleep. We definitely have to have this examined today.

I just reached a member of Dr. Healey’s team and was told that his team will see Debbi during their 8am rounds. Perfect.

6:15AM… time for a short nap. Night night.

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