The ER has become our second home...
Beep.... Beep....Beep...."Ohhh we hear you already enough!" Beep....Beep....Beep....
I remember the first call I got. It was just after 7am, my boyfriend was already up and about and I woke up to the phone call. In a fit of panic and him not being next to me, I called him hysterical trying to get the words out as I threw on the closest pair of jeans and the sweater laying next to my bed. We ran to the car and raced to meet him.
When I got there it was just mom with him. She explained that he was having trouble breathing and swallowing and went into a panic. They hooked him up to oxygen to be safe and gave him something to calm him down while we waited.
Dale arrived shortly after I did to complete the first shift of the family entourage and start that infamous waiting game.
They finally decided to call in a CT Scan to be certain there wasn't anything lodged in his throat and nothing had grown significantly.
While we waited for results my brother came to switch off with me. I kissed his new fuzzy head goodbye and told him I'd check in soon.
The test came and the doctor told us he did have a bit of swelling going on, but other then that things appeared to be fine. He suggested that he stick to a softer diet moving forward though. simple enough we thought, feed him softer foods and try to get the swelling down all while keeping him happy....
Boy were we wrong.
Two Days Later...
Dale and I were nearly in Massachusetts at a clients home when we got the call. Dale stepped out into the other room to take it; but I caught the trail of my grandmas voice on the other end and could hear in the tone that it wasn't good. She came back in a few moments later holding back tears saying we need to go now.
We wrapped up and headed out. I offered to drive since I could see Dale was really struggling with the news. I flew the whole way to the hospital praying that he'd be okay. We held hands and helped each other through all the emotion that hit as you do the drive of the unknown.
When we arrived calls were already poring in for updates. Of course we were back at the mercy of the ER waiting game so there wasn't much news to offer up the majority of the time.
This time was different though. When I walked in I could physically see the mass on his right side. It was almost like his while hight shoulder infused with his neck. To be able to see it to that extent after not seeing any inkling of it just two days prior was alarming and I voiced those concerns to the doctor who walked in a few moments later.
To my surprise this ER doctor already knew him...yet it wasn't a doctor he'd seen during the last visit...Or so I thought! Turns out Grandpa had actually been in the night before in the wee hours of the morning and he'd been the guy who'd seen him. I didn't hear about that visit of course because it had been so close together and they didn't want to alarm us with that visit until it showed to be something major.
The doctor heard my concerns of the growth that I was able to see and order another round of blood test and was going to call in about another CT scan.
The phlebotomist came in, and this time seems to be a bite more painful...
After that whole ordeal we were back to the waiting game with an unhappy grandpa to say the least. It was nearly 11 and we were all starting to feel the toll of the day but still had a long night ahead. So I did what I knew best and I started pulling out all the tricks to bring some laughter to us.
First I decided I was gonna zap the cancer out with my magic gloves. This was probably my favorite, it got him chuckling good.
Later on I tried blowing up the gloves to make balloons, but I seemed to fail at doing it with air. Sooooo I took it up a notch and filled it with water. We played milk the goat for a while with that and doing other crazy things to make him laugh until it was time to take him back for another scan.
As I waited it all started to hit. This is the reality of our lives. Dale and I are learning to juggle family's, treatment schedules, and the business. We are faced with the reality of the unknown. We are 2 rounds of chemo in with still no answers. We have been waiting for tests that were suppose to have been back nearly 2 months ago yet we still do not have them. His 3 doses of light chemo have turned into 2 whole rounds. This thing is not backing down. As I pace the halls and read the signs all I want are answers. Answers to why we still don't have these tests. Answers to why someone isn't being proactive to get the test that seem to have been lost. Answers to why here we are 3 visits in 3 days with a man who's nearly 30 pounds lighter then he was just 3 months ago.
We went back to wait on the results. We were told it does seem to have grown slightly but nothing to be concerning and that he wants us to meet with radiology tomorrow to talk about starting radiation. It was at that moment I lost my cool with this poor ER Doc. Those thoughts I had in the hall an hour earlier surfaced and I let him have it. I told him that they better start something because we still do not have results in that were due back months ago and that no one seemed to be considering this aggressive enough to do something about it. He understood my frustrations and encouraged us to start tracking them down. We have been doing the best we can without a PHD.
He went home and started radiation the following day. However it wasn't even 5 days later before we were back at the ER....
TO BE CONTINUED......