Thanks to Jim for filling in as guest writer for the column for the past two weeks while I was on medical leave. I enjoyed his writing and appreciated him filling you in on my progress. What I enjoyed most was hearing from New Mexico and the chili harvest. Made me so hungry for green chili stew, green chili potato soup, burgers and so many other great southwest dishes.
Will be so glad when I am well and this pandemic is over, allowing travel to visit Celeste and Jim and make them fatten me up–and that Mexican food can do it in a very short time. Also, was happy to hear that they were both back in school and work was progressing very well.
Now to my medical news. On Friday, September 2, Bill dropped Jimmie and me at the entrance of Baptist DeSoto where I was scheduled for surgery at 8 a.m. Took our seats in the waiting room and shortly were called back to a small room. There Jimmie helped me into a hospital gown. Thought I’d be terrified, but was still calm – all the prayers really work. Not much time elapsed until they came for me and I had to leave Jimmie, my security blanket, and I was still okay.
Pre-op was interesting – I watched and listened and really learned a lot. IVs were started and tubes were put in place. Explanation was given that the tube down my throat would make me have a sore throat after surgery – they told the truth. Also,was told that I’d have a catheter which might cause stinging with urination – thankfully this did not happen. That’s about the last instruction before I was out like a light.
Woke up feeling fine and was taken back to Jimmie. After a time in our little room, where I don’t remember much that happened, we were taken to our overnight accommodations in the recovery department. There I came back to normal life. Didn’t get food at lunch but at supper I was fed a meal comparable to Mom’s Thanksgiving dinner, minus the dessert. Word gets around fast that you’re diabetic in the medical field.
After I was settled Jimmie called Bill to let him know that he could go home, get some food and rest and return for us next morning. Helping care for me is quite a chore and I do appreciate my wonderful brother-in-law. We left the hospital late morning, with me doing fine. This continued for a couple of days. About noon on Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, nausea set in. This continued for the afternoon, all night, and then until noon on Labor Day. Jimmie called all the phone help lines and we did everything they suggested to stop the nausea – nothing helped. Finally, the only solution was deemed bring me to Memphis Baptist East ER – which we had hope to avoid. From my experience with an ER during Covid, I can advise you to avoid an ER if at all possible.
Arrived at the entrance and was told that I’d have to go in alone – Jimmie had to drop my hand at the door. Now I was terrified–felt like a little kindergarten student going into the schoolhouse without their mom. However, a wonderful lady, Sherry, ushering me in my wheelchair, patted my arm and looked at Jimmie, stating, “Don’t worry, I’ll take good care of your sister,”and she did. She then asked what she could do for me. All I asked was that she pray and she answered, “I’m already doing that.”
Knew I was in good hands. We had not been in Baptist East before, so all the paper work had to be filled out. I was a bit flustered, so I informed them that I’d do my best, but they’d left my secretary outside. Sherry was then instructed to bring Jimmie in and she stayed with me until I was taken to triage. Here I was left in the wheelchair and the only other furnishings in the room were an examining table and two doctor’s stools, which were never used. I was hooked to several IVs, oxygen, blood was drawn several time, had X-rays, an EKG and a C-scan. The entire staff during my 24-plus hours there were great. In triage I had Dr. Ward and nurse Daniel. Later, when Daniel checked my chart, and stated, “You’re from Water Valley.” Then he says, “I was born in Water Valley, no actually it was Oxford.”
He told me that his family lived on the Eureka Road, just after you turn off Pope/WV Road, but he grew up in Madison. He was with me for about 12 hours, off and on. The staff was spread so very thin. They were all over-worked, but remained so professional, taking care of every need, and never losing patience.
Shortly after I was admitted I was ready to go home. Nausea had stopped, I felt fine – was hungry and wanted water.
After triage, I was put in a room on an ancient gurney – my bed for the rest of my stay. When I went in I was scheduled for a hospital bed as soon as one was available. Jimmie and Bill stayed in the parking lot until told that they didn’t know when that was going to happen. About 2:30 a.m. I was taken to another room. My attendant says, “Same bed, different room. We’re going across the hall.”
Well, after what seemed like at least half mile, we entered the new room. It was better, as it had a TV and a clock. Passed the time watching four episodes of “Reba.”
About 9 a.m. my surgeon, Dr. Engle, and his nurse practitioner came by and he assured me I was doing fine. Then I got him on board for food and to get me dismissed, as I knew I did not need a hospital room, and I was sure someone else did. He helped with the food, but not being an ER doctor he could not release me. Food was delivered, with the advice that it was not Ritz quality as they were not accustomed to serving. My table was the top of a trash can and the pancakes were cold but they were delicious. I had not had food in a couple of days.
The rest of the day was spent with IVs, a couple of trips to the restroom and watching whatever was on the channel my TV was programed to. About middle of the afternoon I again began trying to get them to send me home. Finally my last nurse of the stay found a doctor to sign me out.
Jimmie had left her information at the desk and I still thought Bill and Jimmie were in the parking lot. They were in Pope and for about an hour and a half my wonderful nurse stayed with me when she could, leaving only when other patents needed her. When they arrived, she rolled me out and helped Jimmie get me in the van. Was so glad to see my family, but also was so glad to have had such a caring person for my last hours in the ER, as well as all the other staff who had cared for me.
Since my Labor Day stay in ER, I’ve had some ups and downs, but seem to be stabilizing as of Sunday. Saw Dr. Yates, chemo doctor, on Friday, and he’s pretty sure that my follow up will be a maintenance program of a drug, given in pill form once a day, for three years, along with periodic blood tests and scans as necessary. Have a post-op checkup on Wednesday with Dr. Engle and we’ll see where we go from there.
Miss all of you and still appreciate all your prayers, cards, letters, calls, and visits. Hope to see you soon.