The nurse taking Debbi’s vital signs woke me up. Debbi’s numbers looked reasonable for her and oxygenation reported at 95% must imply that her lungs are still operational, infusing the hemoglobin and removing the carbon dioxide from the heme proteins as well. Sitting alone in the hallway, I was curious to compare Debbi’s latest blood test with that from the early days of this terrifying journey. Remembering that I had posted a table with such statistics, I went back in Debbi’s Journey to April of 2008 and found what I was looking for in the entry for Thursday the 24th.
Debbi had just finished the second application of the chemotherapy drugs and we had landed in Sloan Kettering’s Urgent Care center for the first time. I was comparing Debbi’s current counts to the trending counts almost one year ago. From April 3rd to April 24th, we watched the hemoglobin drop from 12.4 to 9.9 and as I wrote yesterday, it now stands at about 9.0. Then my eye caught a category that has not been followed in quite some time. That same day I posted the results of the Noodge Index and commented that Debbi had been noodging me about a fold-out sleeping chair.
In this department, counts have stayed quite constant. Last night I made sure Debbi was tucked in with two pillows under her feet to aid in fluid removal, her top sheet and blankets arrayed properly, an extra blanket folded just so (maximizing its weight over a smaller area) placed from her knees upward with an extra 2 inches tucked under her chin, and of course kisses good night. I then began to arrange sheets, a blanket, and a pillow to make up my own sleeping chair. I knew what was about to happen. True to form, once I began, Debbi began noodging. The noodge meter started rising. Do it like this or move the chair like that. Once I was finally settled in, Debbi wanted to get up and tuck me in and provided a bit more noodging when I politely asked her to just stay where she was with all her bedding arrayed just so!! Now, just as then, it remains true… as long as it stays within the normal range, Debbi’s noodging is quite welcome!!
So, once I had clicked into an earlier section of the blog, I continued down memory lane by perusing more of the entries. We were filled with trepidation but also with much hope at the beginning of the journey. And now? Now we are often talking about hospice, and being comfortable, and final affairs. We look back and wonder about what might have been or what we could have done differently. What is advised one day is ill advised the next. My good friend Schenker Jack has a whole litany, which I love hearing over and over, about things that we were told were good for us years ago, which then became bad for us, and then became good for us again. Debbi was meticulous in getting periodic mamograms, pap smears, and colonoscopys. Who ever heard of getting scans for early detection of cancer in the renal pelvis?
Well, a quick google search shows that there are companies that now feature wellness scans. One such firm in New Jersey, Able Imaging and Wellness, http//www.ableimaging.com does offer such a scan. Reading their web site, it can be seen that this is a non-invasive scan that covers all the body’s major organs. Certainly this technology was not available years ago but now it is becoming more commonplace. Might such a scan have discovered Debbi’s Transitional Cell Cancer earlier? Seems likely but who knew?
Speaking of scans, one good piece of news. When comparing the chest X-ray taken yesterday with the chest X-ray taken this past Monday, no differences were reported. So thank goodness we are not seeing rapidly changing nodules multiplying out of sight.
We will hopefully hear of discharge plans after morning rounds because Debbi anxiously wants to get back to the Cape House, back to the comfort and security of her mahogany rice bed, and certainly she wants to see and interact with her grandson Yonah.