Posted by: Ken Wheatley | March 15, 2008


That’s about how many hours we were up without sleep and not much in the way of food.

Dr. B called Wednesday morning and wanted Sheila to come in for tests to see why her body was having temperature swings. Because Sheila’s temperature hadn’t dropped below 101 it seemed apparent that her body wasn’t able to fight whatever was going on by itself. So Dr. B wanted to check her into Thornton Hospital.

We packed our bags anticipating a two or three day stay. By the time we arrived at the hospital around 10:30am her temperature had dropped to 97 and the white blood cell (wbc) count and neutrofils (?) were all normal. So after about 4 hours or so they sent us home. We were elated that her temperature had dropped back to normal and that she/we didn’t have to stay at the hospital.

We go home around 3pm, relaxed for awhile and then I fixed her chicken soup from scratch (Sandi, you would have been proud, I even put onions in it!) and we hung out reading and watching tv in the evening.

Around 9pm she started to have more pronounced pains on her right side – a stabbing pain every time she inhaled. By 9:30 the pain was unbearable, so we got dressed and headed to the emergency room at Pomerado Hospital. She didn’t think she could make it to Thorton.

We got to Pomerado around 10pm and didn’t leave there until 2:45am, Thursday morning. They ran another CT scan and found that Sheila has pneumonia and several emboli in her right lung. So she has emboli in both lungs now.

The doctor wanted to admit her but we decided to checkout and head to Thornton where they have her medical records and Dr. B would be there to treat her.

So we headed to Thornton and on the way called the on-call Oncology doctor to let her/him know we were enroute. We got to the hospital around 3:15am.

Even though they agreed with the diagnosis from Pomerado, we needed to wait until the ER doc had a consult with the Oncology doctor. She didn’t respond to the two pages from us, or the two pages from the ER doctor, so we sat waiting until 8am. That’s when we heard that the oncology doctor was in the hospital, but wasn’t going to come down until she completed rounds at 10am, I went ballistic with the ER doctor. We had been there for 5 hours already and the oncology doc had plenty of time to see us before she started rounds.

So I asked to see a patient advocate. That certainly go their attention. The oncology doctor was there within minutes, followed by the ER nursing supervisor and then the senior Attending doctor. Both Sheila and I voiced our severe disappointment with the service she was receiving. Of course apologies flew around the room. The doctor said that she didn’t receive any of the 4 pages.

After everyone consulted with the ER doc the consensus was that there wasn’t anything they could do for Sheila in the hospital that wasn’t already being done at home. They had changed the antibiotic, so that should deal with the pneumonia and whatever other infection is going on. And she was already on the right blood thinner to deal with the clots that had formed. What they added was pills to deal with the pain. They said that the outer wall of her lung is inflammed and rubbing against her rib cage and that’s what’s causing the pain.

So once again we gathered our things and headed home. That was around 9:30am. I was delirious with fatigue, stress, and hunger to the point that I was shaking. I know I should have said something sooner, but I was so wrapped up in what was going on (or not going on) and seeing how miserable she was that I just kept ignoring it.

By the time we got home I was sick – migraine, sore throat and upset stomach. So unfortunately, today, I’m not doing well myself. Hopefully it’s just a bad cold and will pass soon.

Sheila’s doing much better today. Her spirits are up, the pain is being managed and she went into the office for the first time all week. She looked good when she got home a little while ago.

Unfortunately she couldn’t get her chemo treatment this week and next week is a bye week anyway, so it’ll be a couple of weeks before she starts again. But that will give her wbc count time to recover even more.

We continue to march forward…..


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