The news program this morning featured stories about the children in Haiti. It answered some of my questions about why so many people seemed to have burns on their faces and arms. The earthquake hit while many people gathered together cooking and eating meals. The stories are overwhelming, but the small miracles keep one watching and listening.
There was also a recall announced for Tylenol which gave me some alarm. Ever since Thanksgiving, I practically bathed in the extra-strength capsules, along with an anti-inflammatory. I’ve been in a toothache battle. My dentist is not one that overreacts. The X-rays didn’t show any reason for my pain and he hoped that the anti inflammatory would do the trick. On Monday morning this week the dentist took a third X-ray that revealed something ominous. My immediate referral to an Endodontist on Wednesday was a bust. The tooth cannot be saved. The Endo prescribed antibiotic for a raging infection and referral to an oral surgeon. I am so disappointed. I take exceptional care of my teeth. This has been physically AND emotionally painful.
While we were stressed by the surgery on our 8-year old grandsons eye tumor we had another dramatic event.
A little background: I began taking Sherry, my 60 year old sister-in-law, to her regular medical appointments in December 2008. At that time she complained of chest pains. I confirmed that she often gasped and grabbed at the ribs on her side. Over the past year the DR X has treated her for acid reflux, for pinched nerve, and even suggested she needed new bras. I often pushed and quizzed the physician. “Could it be her Alzheimer’s medications?” “Could it be her head ache medication.” I attempted to be an advocate.
In early December I arranged a special appointment, took Sherry to her doctor, and made an issue about the chest pain. Upon my request, DR X looked at the records and admitted sherry had complained of chest pains since her first visit in September, 2007. I was angry that 27 months of pain had gone unanswered. (Remember, I was also fighting a toothache and probably very cranky.) The doctor promised to set up an Endoscopy.
Sherry called our house the following Saturday while I was in Oregon waiting for Jammin’s surgery. She was in horrific pain. WR took her to the immediate care center. Within minutes of their arrival, Sherry was given a chest X-ray. It revealed a “softball size” tumor in her chest.
From that point, things went swiftly and extremely well. WR fired DR X and the other clinic. Sherry received a CAT Scan on Tuesday, and a new physician. The radiologist (who rides bike with my husband) pushed for quick response to the results. DR New recommended a cardio-thoracic surgeon in Portland and the consultation was Christmas Eve morning. On January 8, the surgeon removed a tumor “the size and consistency of a cantaloupe” from her chest and predicted a long and difficult recovery. Within 24 hours, Sherry was sitting in her bed eating a bowl of soft fruit. The doctor and nurses could not explain her miraculous recovery. We expected her to be in the hospital up to 14 days. Day five she was home! (I drove to Portland and back to retrieve her on Tuesday.) She is not taking any pain medication other than ibuprofen.
We decided that the benign tumor was so large it could have been a baby. With respect to the “cantaloupe” quote from the Surgeon, we named it her “Melancholy Baby.” Sherry still has a great sense of humor in spite of her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
In the meantime, we had to break the news to Great Auntie Fern that her younger son had passed away. She took it with the strength and courage that we have come to expect. You must have an iron will in order to live to 101.
It is 60 degrees here with a wind blowing and howling like a banshee. It sounded like someone was trying to get in the front door, which sent the cat running for the bedroom. (That is also her response when someone rings the doorbell.) I think I’ll take her cue and go hide under the bed.
16 hours ago