Friday, October 30, 2009

Felt Like Crying...

We left the house this morning at 7:00 AM to be at Mall Of The Mainland for the Swine Flu Immunization Clinic which was supposed to begin at 10:00 AM. Unfortunately, the only unlocked door at the mall was located quite some distance from where the line was forming. I told Reid to take his time, sit and rest when needed, and I would run ahead and save us a place in line. (I had brought a folding chair along for him.) There were only 15-20 people ahead of us and they had 5,000 doses!!

They started early and around 9:00 they began handing out clipboards with the form to be signed and by 9:20 Reid had gotten the immunization. For me it was a very emotional experience. I felt like crying, but Reid would have been mortified, so I kept my emotions in check. We celebrated by having breakfast at Denny's.

What a difference a few weeks make. All of a sudden the Swine Flu vaccine became very important to us. Before he left the hospital they gave him the regular flu vaccine, so all he needed was the Swine one.

We were commenting today on how Howard Hughes almost seems normal to us now. We carry hand sanitizer and every time we touch a new surface we sanitize.

And so we keep on plugging along and continue to try and do everything we can to get treatment for him. Thanks again for all your prayers! I can't even begin to tell you how much they are appreciated.

I finally got some pictures off my camera and uploaded to the computer. They'll appear in my next post because right now Blogger won't cooperate.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

He's Home!!!

Reid came home from the hospital on Monday, but I just haven't had time to post. He's doing well and the pain has lessened some, but his legs are still numb and he must use a walker to get around. He's in good spirits and very optimistic. He raises my spirits!

Since Reid doesn't have insurance the hospital told us to go to a clinic in Galveston County and they would contract out his treatments. Well, that's not the way it works. We've been to the clinic and the doctor told us that we shouldn't be optimistic since they no longer have any place to send people for specialized care since UTMB in Galveston stopped doing indigent care post Hurricane Ike. If we lived a mile away in Harris County there would be services available.

I haven't really been paying a whole lot of attention to the health care debate since it all seemed so political and I've always considered politics a necessary evil in a Democracy. No matter what is proposed the other side is going to object. That's just the way it works. Now that it's impacted my son's life I'm paying more attention. Yes, he should have had insurance, but he didn't and he's 33 years old and in good health except for the Hodgkin's Lymphoma. With treatment there is over a 90% chance that he'll be cured, but he needs treatment. So, we're trying to figure out a way. He had insurance, but quit his job and then went back. He lost his insurance and was ready to fill out the forms in October and send them back in when he became ill. Please continue to pray. This whole thing has been an emotional roller coaster and the ride is not over yet.

I'll try and be better with updates, but I spend a lot of time online trying to find resources, taking Reid to appointments, etc. And today I mowed the lawn and I'm trying to vacuum the house one room a day. And, Jim and I are very tired.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Final Pathology...

I forgot...we got the final path report. (See how I've picked up the hospital lingo?) It is Hodgkin's Lymphoma. At this time it's the best possible outcome. Hopefully, treatment will begin soon.

(I tried twice to put up a hyper link for Hodgkin's Lymphoma from Wikpedia and both times the wrong thing appeared. I've given up! Just Google Hodgkin's Lymphoma for more information.)


It looks like he'll be going home tomorrow!!! At least that's the plan right at the moment. The Thoracic Surgeon said that the latest X-ray looked OK and as far as he was concerned he could go home tomorrow. I see no reason for the other doctors to disagree since they were ready to send him home last Monday before the lung problem developed. Reid feels good and is ready to go, so we're keeping our fingers crossed. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another Update For Today...

I'm still home and will head back to the hospital shortly. I called Jim and he said they were removing Reid's chest tube as we spoke. However, one of the doctors said he'd have to stay in the hospital for a day after the chest tube was removed, so it doesn't look like he'll be coming home today. Reid is discouraged...he wants to get out, come home, and get a good night's sleep. On my way back I'm going by Perry's and getting him one of their pork chops. He loves them and we're hoping it will cheer him up since there's absolutely nothing wrong with his appetite.

Thanks again...Betty

Nothing New...

I don't have anything new to report except that we think the chest tube will be removed today and we think that means he'll be discharged. They took him for a CT scan at 2:30 this morning (I'm learning that hospitals are definitely 24/7 operations) and when I left to come home to shower they were supposed to be taking him for a chest X-ray. I'm sure all of that will factor into whether or not he is discharged.

Now we have to worry about where he'll receive treatment because he does not have insurance. Up until now we didn't have to worry because he went into the hospital on an emergency basis. We've been told that there aren't that many resources in our county and UTMB at Galveston does not do indigent care (that's what it's called) post Ike. The social worker has given us the name of a clinic and once the "official" diagnosis is made there might be other places we can try. I would have loved to have seen him continue with the doctors he's been seeing...especially the Oncologist. Everyone has been wonderful at Hermann Hospital and he's received excellent care. I just can't say it enough. We have truly been blessed. God led us to that hospital thought their emergency room. I don't know what would have happened if we had gone any place else.

I'll be heading back to the hospital in a little while. I've turned off mail to my Yahoo groups and have been deleting a lot of mail. If I've missed something I time at home is limited. I can't even begin to say how much I appreciate your prayers!!! Betty

Friday, October 23, 2009

Preliminary diagnosis

Late yesterday afternoon we were told of the preliminary diagnosis. The pathologist hasn't officially signed off on it, but they're saying he has Hodgkins Lymphoma and they just have to determine which of the four types so they know the proper treatment. The doctor told us that at this time it is the best possible scenario. It is treatable.

Yesterday he went around 20 hours without any pain medication which is good. I'm a little concerned about his coughing. It seemed to increase yesterday, but he has to inhale into a devise that helps with his lung expansion and that causes him to cough more. I'm hoping that won't be a problem and the chest tube can be removed and he can come home.

This morning when he got up to walk to the bathroom I could see him walking a little faster. He uses a walker and I'm assuming he will until he can actually feel his feet under him. There's one injection that he gets in the stomach and he can't feel it when they give it to him, so he's still quite numb from the waist down. Just not sure how much of that feeling will return.

We're hopefull and appreciate all prayers. Thank you!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I have no new news today. The doctor told us yesterday that the pathologists still can't determine what's going on. They initially thought it could possibly be a sarcoma, but the pathologist still won't sign off on that as a diagnosis and so we wait, hope, and pray.

Now if it wasn't for all the medical equipment in the ICU you would never know there was anything wrong. He looks healthy. This was before the back surgery.

This was after he was moved out of ICU and post back surgery.
And this was yesterday. He's sitting in a chair with the chest tube equipment.

I hope we can bring him home in the next day or so. I'll stay at the hospital again tonight. With the chest tube I'm there to help him if he wants to get up. The one tube has to be disconnected and that way he doesn't have to wait for a nurse.

His walking seems to improve a little each day although he still doesn't have all the feeling back. They told him it might not come back, but we definitely see improvement. PT works with him a little each day and he uses a walker.

All prayers appreciated.

Please excuse all errors...typing or otherwise. Not a lot of time to proofread.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Family Picture

I couldn't get this picture to upload with the previous post, so I'm putting it in a separate post. I didn't want to take a chance of losing everything that I had just typed. That's Reid on the left on Christmas Day 2004. All prayers are appreciated and updates will follow as time allows. Betty

How quickly things change...

Life rolls along and you just never realize how quickly things can change. Our lives changed on Tuesday, October 13, 2009. That's when we first realized that something was very wrong.

Our 33 year old son, Reid had been complaining about a back ache for a few weeks. Then he developed a cough and went to one of those walk in clinics at the grocery store where he was given medicine for bronchitis and told that if he didn't get better to go somewhere else where he could see a doctor. He didn't get better so on October 10th he went to an emergency clinic where they gave him muscle relaxers for his back, something for pain, and a decongestant. He still didn't feel any better and by now was complaining about his legs feeling funny. So, on October 13th my husband took him to a different emergency clinic where they took an X-ray. At first they thought he had an enlarged heart, but after a cat scan realized it was a large mass in his chest. He was immediately transferred to Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital. After an MRI he was transferred down to Hermann Hospital in the Houston Medical Center and put in the neuroscience ICU. They had also had a mass on his spinal column.

He was scheduled for surgery on Wednesday, but it was canceled due to concerns expressed by the anesthesiologist. She wanted more tests while the neurosurgeons wanted to get that mass out quickly because it was pressing on his spinal cord. Due to the large mass the anesthesiologist was afraid that when they turned him over for surgery his breathing would be compromised. Then it was decided to do a chest biopsy under local anesthesia in the hopes they could determine what it was and start treatment without surgery. The pathologist were unable to determine what it was after four different samples. So, it was finally decided that the benefit of surgery outweighed the risk and the spinal surgery was done on Friday. Preliminary pathology seems to indicate a cancer, but once again we're waiting for a final report. They seem to be having trouble identifying what's wrong and are doing stains. (At least I think that's what it's called and it takes longer.)

He's been up on his feet walking a little, but the legs are still numb. Then Monday they thought about sending him home, but realized air was leaking from the chest biopsy into his skin which happens sometimes. Actually, it has something to do with the lung separating from the wall and air leaking in. They've been watching for it. So, a chest tube had to be put in for a few days. It was good that he didn't come home or we would have been rushing him to the ER.

I can't say enough about how wonderful everyone has been at Hermann Hospital. We've probably spoken with ten or more doctors. Last night I spent the night since he's been even more uncomfortable since the chest tube was put in. I'll be spending the night again tonight. I'm home now doing a load of laundry and taking a shower.

When I know more I'll try and post more. Please keep Reid in your prayers. Thank you, Betty