Posted by: Ken Wheatley | September 11, 2009

Busted Birthday: ER 9/11/09

Today is Sheila’s birthday. Her one and only wish for weeks was to spend the weekend in a cottage on the beach and have a party with friends and family between the beach and cottage.

So I booked a one bedroom cottage at the Hotel Del Coronado in their Beach Village section. It’s a beautiful place with a living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom and bath – with a huge sunken tub. There’s also a patio with seating for 6 and a circular fire pit. All of it overlooking the expansive Coronado beach.

We checked in last night around 6pm and watched the sunset an hour and a half later from the patio.

Sheila was already in a lot of pain since earlier in the day. She had to stop and sit for a few minutes when we were walking from the car to the cottage. By the time dinner rolled around we weren’t sure she could make it to the main building, but walking very, very slowly she made it.

We had dinner at Sheerwater. Sheila had the lobster bisque, and I did something different – a salad and just sides: mashed potatoes, maccaroni and cheese, and spinach. All very good.

We didn’t get much sleep last night because she couldn’t find a comfortable position in bed and kept waking up in pain. She needed pain pills every two hours and water regularly because the chemo and radiation make her mouth so dry it almost glues shut. So by the time sunrise hit I felt like I had pulled an all-nighter.

She wasn’t well enough to walk to breakfast, so I ate alone at the Windsor Cottage, and brought some fruit and yogurt back with me for her. She ate a little, opened the first of two birthday cards I had for her, and then decided that it was time to head to the emergency room. She was in agony.

We got to the hospital around 11am and by 5 they had determined that she either has pneumonia and/or an infection in her lung. All they can see is a cloud of something overlaying her tumors. Being on chemo, her immune system is suppressed, so she’s susceptible to infections.  There’s also some fluid in and around her lungs, so they may have to drain the fluid at some point.

And she also has tumors on her liver. I don’t recall hearing that she ever had them, so to us this is a new development. We’ll have to clarify this with the oncology team tomorrow.

So she will be in the hospital for a few days which means that the party for tomorrow is canceled, and I have to check us out of the cottage two days early. I think we spent a total of 5 daylight hours in the room, if that.

She cried big alligator tears when the ER doctor told us that Sheila would be staying at the hospital. Sheila pleaded to be patched-up so that she could come back to the cottage.  We had dinner reservations for her birthday at the 1500 Ocean restaurant. As much as I wanted to do that, Sheila and I knew in our hearts that she wouldn’t be able to enjoy it being in so much pain. And we certainly couldn’t risk her getting even worse.

Nancy, Jean, Monica, Steve, Joni and Kevin all stopped by tonight. Jean had picked-up a slice of the strawberry bagatelle cake that was the same as our wedding cake and brought it to the hospital. I had ordered a sheet cake of the same thing for tomorrow, but obviously had to cancel the order.

So we had a small birthday celebration in Sheila’s room. We couldn’t light the candles because Sheila has an oxygen tube and we didn’t want to risk a fire. But we took a bunch of photos which I’ll post when Jean sends them over.

I left the hospital around 9:30pm after the nurse got her settled in and the morphine started to make her sleepy.

So here I am, back at the cottage. It’s after 11pm. Sheila and I just talked on the phone. She woke up and wanted to say goodnight. I’m hoping that she’ll get a good night’s sleep. In the morning I’ll pack our stuff up and head back to the hospital.



  1. Happy Birthday sweet Sheila

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: