Posted by: Ken Wheatley | August 3, 2009

Into the hospital

It’s been another very long, emotionally sapping day.

It took almost 15 hours to stabilize Sheila. The pain was the worse it’s been, and it seemed that no amount of morphine could subdue her anguish. Her sobbing and pleading for the pain to stop was unbearable to listen to. I didn’t know what to do to help other than to rub her back and hold her. The nursing staff was very concerned and attentive, but even they were rendered solemnly silent at times. I’m sure that no matter how many times they see a patient in such a state it’s not something they are immune to. There was nothing to say, just hope that at some point the drug would do something.

The CAT scan revealed that she has multiple blood clots in her right lung and jugular vein. Because of the clots and restricted blood flow, her heart has been working extra hard to compensate, so her “resting” heart rate is hovering around 100, and the right side of her heart is now enlarged.

She’s been placed in the Intermediate Medical Unit – the unit between Intensive Care and regular care. They provided her with a self-administering unit to dispense a small morphine dose every 10 minutes. And they changed her from Lovenox to Heparin for now. She can’t stay on Heparin because it can cause low platelet counts and the formation of abnormal blood clots. But right now the objective is to control the pain and ultimately wean her off to Coumadin, a different type of blood thinner.

The tumors on her spine are also acting up, so they put lidocaine patch and that made a difference.

And hopefully the clots will dissolve enough to relieve the pressure on her heart.

I left the hospital around 7:15pm after Sheila finally went to sleep. She called me at 9:40pm to let me know that she slept for almost two hours, and while she’s still in pain, it’s about a “4” out of “10.” It was so good to hear her voice. I miss her, and the house is very empty without her.

The doctors think she’ll be there for three days, but it all depends on how she responds tomorrow. Dr. B will be back from vacation tomorrow as well, so that will help.

We’re currently scheduled to fly to Houston on Wednesday for a meeting with Dr. Lee on Thursday and a biopsy and CAT scan on Friday. And there’s a chance that this set-back may affect the trial Sheila just started at USC. They’re checking with them as well.

Let’s hope for a much, much better day tomorrow.



  1. I hope you get good rest.

    My husband and I will be coming to SD soon to meet another family who we met online who is also on this lung cancer battle. (They are coming out from Chicago) We will be thinking about you and Sheila.

  2. hi Ken,you don’t know me but I talked to Sheila last summer after my husband was dx with lung cancer. I was interested in Lucenex. I just found her blog again. Sorry to hear of Sheila’s problems. I just wanted to inform you of a drink from Nestles for cancer pt. My husband lived on this for 8 wks due to swollowing problems from radiation and tumor. It’s very high calorie and protein rich, he only lost 5 lbs. total which amazed the docs. It’s Breeze and VHC breakfast drink, 530 cals in a can! I order online. Also he wears a morphine patch to help control thr pain, he says it does take the edge off rhe pain, and can tell when we forget to change it. Good luck and tell Sheila hi, we are also going to MDA soon, we are from Dallas.
    Tammy Stinedurf 469-3375867

  3. sorry wrong website go to for Resource Breeze and Carnation VHC drink tammy

  4. Hi Christi,
    Well, you picked a great place to meet-up. If you’ve not been before, San Diego is a fantastic city. Thanks for all the notes. We’ll be thinking good thoughts for you guys as well.

  5. Hi Tammy,
    Much to our surprise – although we swear the scale has to be wrong – Sheila has gained about 12 pounds. Like I said, we don’t think that’s possible, but then again, I have been cooking some fattening meals at night, so maybe I’ve gone overboard!
    She likes Ensure and there’s a powdered drink that she likes as well. I don’t recall the name, so now I’ll have to look at the jar when I get home.
    Thanks for the additional suggestions (and the correct website). I’ll be sure to mention it to her so she can have some variety.
    The trip to MDA is on hold now so hopefully we can reschedule everything in the near future.
    Take care,

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