The faculty of making stupid discoveries by accident. The name of my first Fantasy Football Team. Neither of which have anything to do with this blog. I just like the word. Deal with it !!!!!!
Under The Influence
Over the last month I have undergone my annual check ups following my treatments for Esophageal Cancer. I am happy to report that all is great! My CAT scan was normal, no evidence of disease. My gastroscope looked fine. For 5 years out I am part of a miracle – I survived the second most deadly cancer out there and by the look of it, I will be lucky enough to celebrate my 6th Anniversary next year. That may be putting the cart before the horse however, the enthusiasm I get from my doctor’s gives me hope that I have beaten the “Beast” and will continue to do so. But I will admit that there will always be that little voice in the back of my head saying that sooner or later it will return. Pessimistic – no, not really. I prefer to think I am realistic. EC has a nasty habit of returning, more so than any other cancer so I would rather think that it might return rather than be totally shocked if it does. If nothing else I have learned that nothing is impossible.
I have had many scopes – I lost count after a while. I was having them every 3 months at one time. It was always the same thing: appointment booked for first thing in the morning, usually the first or second patient of the day. In by 7:00 am out by 9:30 am, no worse for wear. Grab something to eat on the way home, usually Burger King French Toast and at least a good cup of coffee. By the time I got home, I was ready for the day – no need to sleep or rest; I was fine. I was never groggy or disoriented from the sedative I had been given for the scope. In fact, I could never understand why I was not allowed to leave the hospital on my own. No, I had to be wheeled out to a waiting vehile after signing a waiver that I would not be left alone for 24 hours and I would not drive a car. Ya, whatever!!!! For a time when Jeff and I were still together he would drop me off at the hospital, come get me when I was done and then I would get my car at his place and go home. No big deal!
But, that was then and this is now. I have no recollection of the things I was told today I did after the scope. In fact, when Sue told me I was a little surprised of my actions. Ok, not really surprised, I did manage to burst out laughing while trying to drive the car.
Apparently, and this is the story Sue is sticking to, after my scope they let her in to sit with me. Gastro Guy came in and said everything was ok – see ya next year (if I thought I needed a scope at that time). I then took off the blood pressure cuff and out it on Sue’s arm…I also removed the monitor from my finger that recorded my breathing. And all the while I was laughing my head off. Sue quickly removed the BP cuff from her arm and put it back on me, just in time too because Nurse Ratchet came in and gave me hell because they needed to “record” my vitals before they would let me leave. Of course I laughed at her too!!! I haven’t heard from Gastro Guy’s office that I have been “banned” from the Day Surgery unit at the hospital and I probably won’t but I think my reputation as a “model patient” has now come to an end.
BUT, I do have a defence…
It has only been in the last year that I have been taking meds to control the residual pain that I have from my surgery and subsequent chemoradiation. My upper right side (mostly right arm) is in constant pain. This, I had explained to me is because when the thorocotomy portion of my surgery was performed there were many lymph nodes removed from that part of my body. Lymph nodes provide a type of filtration system and drainage system for the lymphatic system. The fluid that would normally accumulate in those nodes has nowhere to go and thus does not drain properly. This is an after effect that affects many Breast Cancer Surgery patients also. Combined with the loss of the lymph nodes, the nerve paths that were severed by the thorocotomy and the general area in which all this occured it is unlikely that I will ever regain the strength or agility that I once had. Additionally the pain will likely lessen overtime and become more managable without pain medication but that remains to be seen. So, for the time being I take medication to control the pain. During the day I take ibruprophen (Advil, Motrin etc), however by the end of the day I am tired and the ibruprophen just doesn’t do the trick so I take Demerol to kill the pain and hope for a peaceful nights sleep. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I take an extra Demerol just so I can get an hour or two of shut eye. (Extra as in 3 instead of 2 every 4 hours). Originally, I refused to take the pain meds, but then I learned that if you do not control your pain, it will control you! Add in the back pain from the radiation and the overall pain every where else from the surgery and some days I was ready to pack it in and give up. After speaking with my surgeons and oncologists and getting the “You will not become addicted if you have real pain” speech I agreed to take the meds. (And the pain is real. I don’t always let on about how much pain I am really in – it seems pointless, there is nothing anyone can do so why dwell on it. Some days it is bad enough that lifting my purse is almost impossible – and believe me my purse is not as heavy as it once was – I have learned to scale down on what I carry on a daily basis. It is also the type of pain that, at times, catches me totally by surprise, causing me to drop whatever I have in my hand or arm. This is not a good thing if I am carrying groceries – there are many times when I return home with scrambled eggs in the grocery bag.) It took a while to figure out which ones worked the best. Morphine did nothing but make me tired and want to sleep. It did not get rid of the pain. And since it was a very low dose I didn’t even get the benefit of the “Still got the pain but don’t care” morphine “high”. I have a nasty reaction to Codeine so that was out. After some trials and tribulations my Dr. went with the Demerol and I have been taking that since.
The night before my scope I could not injest anything after midnight. I took my meds around 10:00 which is earlier than usual. I had nothing to eat after the pills which meant they were taken on an empty stomach and in the morning I had nothing to eat before heading to the hospital at 8:45am.
For the scope I am given a cocktail of Versed and Demerol. When the scope is completed I have no recollection of it but as I said I am usually wide awake, alert and able to drive. For what ever reason, that was not the case this time. Not only do I not remember the hospital shenanigans, when I did finally get home I was ok for about 10 minutes and then felt very ill and went to lie down. It was almost 4 hours before I got up.
So I have learned my lesson – from here out I will follow instructions to the nth degree and not complain that I cannot leave the hospital under my own “steam”. I will stop being adamant that I can walk out, I will accept the wheelchair ride with grace and say thank you when I get out the door. I will accept the ride home with gratitude and will no longer be a “pain in the butt” to whomever is giving me said ride home. I will take a nap when I get home whether I need it or not. I will become the wimp that I have always said I am not!!!!!
It’s really burns my butt that I have to concede this defeat. But I will and I will do so quietly… NOT!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a safe and fun Labour Day Weekend.