Friday, November 2, 2012

Some Weeks Are Like Roller Coasters

Friday, November 2nd 
Joe is getting stronger every day and is on target for discharge today from the neurology floor of Memorial Hospital.  This is the in-patient hospital of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center/MSKCC located at 1275 York Ave. in New York City.

As I drove into Manhattan on Sunday, October 28th, I was very conscious of the pending storm and the exodus heading north on the Henry Hudson provided proof. Sunday night ensconced in Aunt Lynn's apartment on Riverside Drive, we listened to the winds howl from the warm safety of the 14th floor. As many of you know we headed off to Memorial for an early start Monday, October 29th for Joe's surgery. 

Check back later today for the rest of this entry. Busy with doctors etc. right now. Thanks for reading and caring. Have a great day. 

Our life is like a roller coaster.  Joe was not discharged as we hoped on Friday, Nov. 2nd.  Not to worry, Joe is ok. In fact, after an exhausting Friday for Joe (simulation/planning for Joe's radiation) it was decided that Joe would not be discharged.  The good thing?  Joe got some seriously good rest Friday afternoon into early evening.  Slept more soundly than Joe had in a long time.  Waking up more handsome than ever, if that could be possible?!

It's been quite an experience being in NYC this week of all weeks!

Monday, Oct 28th 
At 5 am  I called the car service located in our Upper West side neighborhood.  Dispatch assured me cars were available and that the Manhattan streets were desserted.  No problems were expected with getting to the East Side in time for a 7:45 am check-in on the 6th floor of Memorial Hospital. We went prepared with whatever we anticipated needing for the next five days. At 7 am Lis, Joe and I headed to Memorial in the early morning light.

Joe's  surgery (which began at 10:10 am) to install (percutaneously) 4 screws and 2 rods into the L2 vertebra went very well.  It took longer than we originally thought it would.  Mostly because the surgery involves taking images throughout the procedure to ensure proper placement of the hardware.  Sloan has a good process in place whereby a roaming nurse provides ongoing updates to the families of patients during surgery.

Around 3:30 pm Lis, Sarah and I were able to speak with Joe's surgeon who reassured us that the surgery went as expected.  Joe was resting (although in a great deal of pain) in the PACU (post anesthesia care unit) also known as Recovery.

It was close to 4 pm by the time we were permitted to see Joe.  I could immediately tell that Joe was in an incredible amount of pain. Joe, who never (I mean, ever) complains about the pain he experiences, told me his pain was a 15!  Health professionals use a sliding scale from 1 to 10 to ask patients to describe their level of pain. Joe was experiencing a pain crisis and was letting us know his pain was well off the chart. In addition to the pain from the back surgery, Joe has chronic pain to manage, too.

The staff in the PACU worked very well with Joe's pain management doctor from CT, (the dr who knows Joe best) to get Joe's pain under control.  Unfortunately, it took way too much time to readjust the pain meds. Over the next few days, a better pain management plan evolved.

By Monday at 8 pm, the few remaining patients were discharged from the PACU to the 7th floor leaving Joe, the only patient in a 32 bed recovery unit!  Many of the staff had come in early to be on site in preparation for Sandy.  In fact, I was told many of them were given aerobeds to use. All surgeries at Memorial had been canceled for Tues., October 30th.

See next post for continuing saga...

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