Monday, December 29, 2014

Family visit

It was a snowy day and very very cold, so I had to leave early to get home -- it was nice to leave Marshall in the hands of his family (they drove here from Ohio):
Sister Audrey, Nephew Donald, Great-Great Nephew Hank

When I left, they hadn't yet decided if they were staying another day or not, but I hope they do stay another day so he has company.  Tomorrow is supposed to be more snow and it is also supposed to get to 20-below.  I may not be able to get there to see him tomorrow.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Huge improvements

After just five days in the Veterans Home, Marshall has shown great improvement.

He is now eating again and is now able to transfer himself -- without help -- from his bed to his power chair and then from the power chair back to the bed. He still can't really stand up but the physical therapist should start working with him on Monday.

He took himself off of the Dilaudid (pain pill) when he realized it was causing the hallucinations and he has been a different person. Much more alert and more "himself."

Of course, that leaves a hole in the pain relief regimen. They've been giving him the Marinol which helps a lot but not quite enough. The doctor that is assigned to him (Dr. Buchanon) came to see him today and they talked about the different possibilities for pain. They are going to ramp up the morphine from 100mg twice a day to 90mg three times a day and then oxycodone for breakthrough pain.

Then they have to work on the constipation that is caused by the narcotic painkillers.

Some of his family showed up today for a short visit.

So things are going really well. It has now been six weeks since the radiation treatments were done -- and the radiation oncologist had told us that we should start seeing results at six-plus weeks -- so we are hoping there will be some pain relief from the radiation.

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Getting settled in

First of all, a Christmas "selfie":

Marshall was admitted to McCandless on Christmas Eve and the day was spent getting a medication schedule set, etc. It didn't go well for him because he was in really bad pain again and they wouldn't start pain medication until their pharmacist went through the drug list and approved everything. So it looks like we got behind the pain and have to get caught up again. Marshall was miserable.

They have added a new medication called Marinol, which is basically a marijuana pill. It appears to be helping.

I am not sure when he will see his official doctor here, but I'm guessing probably on Friday.

The oncologist tells me that if he builds up his strength enough that he can tolerate further treatment for his cancer, we can discuss a new plan of action. We got the hospital to do a PSA test and Marshall's PSA has gone down from 35 to 28. Marshall is very motivated. So that's one bright spot.

The physical therapist came in and visited with him. His name is JB and he is muscular and motivating (not to mention gorgeous). He will start working with Marshall Friday or Monday.

I wish we could find out definitively what is causing his excruciating pain in his lower back. And why it is so hard to control. The only thing that really controlled it in the hospital was administered by IV and they don't do IV here at the VA Home.

When I got there today (Christmas) he was doing really well. He decided that getting so much of the pain pill Dilaudid was causing hallucinations (I can vouch for that) so he is trying to cut back. But by 3:00 he was in bad pain again. It was close to time for another Marinol so he opted for that instead of Dilaudid. I had already left to come home, so I'll find out later tonight how that worked. He did so good today the whole time I was there, it felt so normal.

The Christmas meal at McCandless was just delicious. Marshall had a good appetite today and ate the entire meal. All the guys got Christmas presents from the staff today.

He is able to transfer from his power chair to the bed and vice versa without help so that is good progress.

That's it for today. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

PS: If anyone wants to send him a card:

Marshall Mullins
c/o McCandless Veterans Home
903 Moore Drive, Room 208-A
Florence, CO 81226

His phone will be his cell phone: 719-431-7112. If it turns out he doesn't keep track of it or doesn't keep it charged, I will go ahead and pay to have a land line installed.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Paperwork all done today

I spent most of today at McCandless filling out paperwork and talking to the head nurse.  They showed me Marshall's room (208, BedA) and even though the room has two beds, right now Marshall is the only occupant in the room.  It's kind of nice to start out that way.

If anyone wants to send him a card:

Marshall Mullins
c/o McCandless Veterans Home
903 Moore Drive, Room 208-A
Florence, CO. 81226

His phone will be his cell phone:  (719) 431-7112.  If he has trouble keeping up with the cell phone -- or keeping it charged -- we may just pay to get a land line put in the room.  We'll see how that goes.

Marshall called me this afternoon and said the pain in his right side right under the ribcage has gotten much worse and nobody can tell us what is causing that pain.  I feel so bad for him. But he had another good day with the physical therapists.  He was able to walk the entire floor twice.  Progress.

Tomorrow he will be transferred from Parkview around 10:00A.  I will be at McCandless waiting for him when he arrives to help him get settled and spend the day with him.  I'll have his power chair since I noticed today that almost every veteran resident that I saw had a power chair.  Even though he needs to do some walking every day to build up his muscles, he will need the power chair to get around in general

There were lots of holiday visitors there today and it was really festive.  There were also canine visitors.  I was SO glad to see that.  One woman had an all-white German Shepherd.  I had never seen one of those.  He was gorgeous.

More tomorrow.

Monday, December 22, 2014

On more day at Parkview

Today Marshall was officially accepted into the McCandless Veterans Home in Florence, Colorado. He will be transferred there on Wednesday.

I will not be able to get over to see Marshall again tomorrow because I need to go to McCandless and fill out paperwork and take a week's worth of clothing for him. I'll find out what else he needs (like a TV, etc.) and I'll go out and get that on Wednesday.

Then I'll spend Christmas there with him. That actually should be very nice.

He called this morning and asked what he needed to do to come back home. I told him he needed to build up the strength in his legs so that he could walk again without falling (because I am simply unable to get him back up when he falls). I am just not able to care for him when he is so weak and also when he won't take his meds or leave his oxygen on. I told him this would not happen overnight but that McCandless did seem to have a good rehab program. Marshall said "Consider it done." Then he called me later today to tell me he had worked with the hospital's rehab people today and did very well. So that is very promising.

I spoke to the oncologist today (through his nurse) and he says as soon as Marshall is stabilized and has built up some strength we should come back to see Dr Flaig to discuss further treatments.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

A quiet day

I was able to do a bunch of stuff around the house last night and this morning and it felt good to get some of that done.

I got to the hospital around noon and Marshall and I had lunch together. He had several periods of forgetfulness throughout today, but all things considered it was a good day.  The x-rays on his leg yesterday showed no broken bones or fractures.  Yay!

The physical therapist came in and got Marshall up and over into a chair for a while. Then back to bed. They will be back tomorrow and maybe do more.

Tomorrow I will not be able to go to the hospital -- I have to stay here because the contractors will be finishing our floor tomorrow and I want to be here to see how it looks and also to pay them. I am also having a desk delivered. So I told Marshall several times today that I wouldn't be there tomorrow. However, when I left the hospital and reminded him again that I wouldn't see him tomorrow, he said, "Oh, yeah, you'll be at the bowling alley."

The intake people from the VA Home should be calling me here at home to get started on Marshall's admission to the Home, so that hopefully by Tuesday he can be transferred. I cried all day yesterday but today I am much calmer. I have to keep reminding myself that I cannot care for him at home any more.

Stay tuned.

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Addendum to today

Parkview Hospital admitted Marshall today in order to hold him for transfer to another facility. (He told me I was sending him to prison....) When they brought him to his room they asked him to stand up to get on the scale and get weighed. He fell down and hurt his leg and twisted his back a little. (At least the nurses know I wasn't lying when I said he falls down at home.) His leg was bleeding and they stopped the bleeding and then decided they'd better take x-rays just in case because of the cancer in his bones. I guess I'll find out the results of the x-rays tomorrow when I get there. They also gave him pain medication for his back.

They did manage to weigh him and he is now down to 217 from 252 in just about 5 weeks.

They put a catheter in to help him pee and he hated it. So he asked over and over for it to be taken out. They took it out right before I left and said if he didn't produce urine overnight they would have to put it back in.

On the way home it occurred to me that I'm going to have to figure out a way that Marshall can still see his wonderful pets. I would imagine that I could bring a dog into the Veterans Home to visit a patient. I sure hope so.

I've done a whole lot of crying today and he did, too.

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Back to Parkview

Marshall woke me up this morning by banging on the walls till I heard him (I sleep at the other end of the house. When I got to him, he was sitting on the end of the bed saying he really needed to pee but couldn't. He was a bit crabby and was not happy with anything I tried to do.

He wouldn't take his pills (said I was trying to poison him). He said that the tables could be turned on that whole poison thing and I shouldn't think he wouldn't do it. Also, he wouldn't leave his oxygen on.

So I called 911 and they brought him back to Parkview.

I then called the hospice people and started the arrangements to get him transferred over to hospice care since it is very clear that I can no longer care for him at home. I can't lift him when he falls and I can't force him to take pills he doesn't want to take.

Then I came on down to Parkview and was met by several nurses and a doctor wanting to discuss the hospice thing. It seems Marshall is not agreeable to hospice because he would have to give up any treatments for his cancer. So there was some conversation about this and the nurses and doctor wanted to be sure that Marshall and i talked together and agreed together, which we did. He said he understood my feelings totally. That was a relief. I was a ball of nerves when I got here and knew we had to have that conversation.

It was clear that hospice isn't the answer. But they suggested the McCandless Veterans Home in Florence, Colorado. And I thought what a great idea. There are many pluses to that:

* It is much closer to the house so visits would be easier;
* It is totally free for Marshall;
* He would share a room with another veteran and he enjoys his military buddies no matter where he finds them;
* They have a lot of activities, some in-house and some actual outings;
* the facility and grounds are very nice with spectacular views of the mountains;
* They take care of all medicines and all necessary medical equipment (like walkers, power chairs, CPAP machine, etc.)
* I (or anybody) could pick him up any time and take him out for lunch or a play or whatever;
* He is free to check himself out at any time if things improve to the extent that I could care for him again; and, most important of all,
* I could still take him to the cancer center to get treatments for as long s there are treatments to get.

So now I have to cancel the Sangre de Cristo hospice care that I got started and have them come back out and get the hospital bed, the port-a-potty and the oxygen stuff. And then hopefully on Monday we can make the transfer to the nursing home. Or Tuesday at the latest.

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Friday, December 19, 2014


After the whole fiasco of him falling this morning and it taking a half hour or more to get him up, this afternoon around 4:00 or so, he insisted on getting up and walking to the bathroom and he fell again, facing the toilet so that he was straddling the toilet facing the back. He could not get up and I could not get him up. After an hour of trying, and him asking me why in the world the other people in the house weren't helping us (?), I tried to call a neighbor and he wasn't home. Gina was at another job.

So finally I found a small bench and set it up behind the toilet and he was able to slide his butt onto the stool. Then after a little rest, we were able to get his butt all the way on the stool and he was able to turn sideways. Still, I was unable to get him up. His legs kept giving out. So I went and got my office chair (on wheels) and after another ten minutes he was able to get on the office chair and I wheeled him to the bed, only took about an hour and a half total (!!!)

The guy bringing the hospital bed got lost and didn't get here until 11:00PM and when he was bringing the bed in, Marshall asked him if he would do him a favor. The guy said sure. Marshall said, "Would you go out and get me some peanut butter ice cream?" `

And while the guy was bringing in the various things, Marshall kept getting out of bed and losing his balance and if me and John weren't here, Marshall would have been on the floor again.

After John got the bed set up he started bringing in the oxygen setup. The girl that was here today from hospice did NOT describe this oxygen setup to me. What Marshall has right now is a great compact concentrator on wheels. It makes its own oxygen and it fits right in a corner of the room and can be easily moved.

What this guy just brought in is two HUGE HUGE oxygen containers (they are about two feet in diameter and 5 feet tall. And there are TWO of them. They are going to take up half of the bedroom and the oxygen containers have to be refilled every week. And refilling them isn't easy. We have to depend on some guy from Hospice to come out here every week, wheel these monstrous things outside, fill them and wheel them back in. That means disrupting the house every single week. It means my bedroom is so packed you can't walk through it. It means I have to get rid of my floor-standing jewelry box. It means I have to be here at a certain time each week for this process. I am absolutely disintegrating. This feels more like a prison every day. I tried to get the guy to take them back but he says he has to do what the hospice people tell him to do so he has to hook them up and get Marshall hooked up to that oxygen.

I think I may have made a big mistake calling hospice at this point. It's supposed to help me and so far (except for the wonderful hospital bed), it is raising my stress level beyond what I can handle. But the wheels are in motion and once I get my emotions under control I should be able to deal with this. (It is now past midnight and the hospice guy is still here. Sheesh.

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Nurse/hospice care

Yesterday around 10:30 Marshall woke up and said he wanted a cheeseburger. So I went to town and got cheeseburgers for Marshall, me and Gina. He ate three or four bites (and a few bites of the cheesecake i got him) and he went back to sleep. He told me to wake him up at dinnertime and he would eat the rest of the cheeseburger and cheesecake.

I tried to get him up around 6:00 but he wasn't interested.

When I came to bed around 11:00, he had taken his CPAP mask off, as well as oxygen. I tried to put it back on and he wouldn't let me. We tried this little drill several times and he simply refused to have it on, so I let it go.

This morning he got up while I was still sleeping and i heard a loud thud. He had fallen in the bathroom. He landed on top of the cat's litterbox and broke it into many pieces. Marshall did not break any bones (thank goodness) and nothing was bleeding. But I couldn't get him up by myself.

So I called Gina and she rushed over and she immediately checked for injuries before attempting to get him up. Then the two of us got him back to bed and Gina took off to her other job. We tried to put the CPAP back on but he said no, he was going somewhere. I asked him where and he said he thought i was taking him somewhere. We eventually got the mask back on him.

Then he had diarrhea, so I got all of that all cleaned up. I put rugs on the bed for protection since everything else had to go into the wash. He was not able to urinate and he still isn't able to urinate. He is back in bed resting.

So I called hospice in order to get some nursing help. They are sending someone out today to do the paperwork and to evaluate Marshall and see what the needs will be

Stay tuned. This is breaking my heart.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We are home

I'm too tired to say much but he is still in pain and is sleeping now. Very disappointing. It was an awful ride home.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Somewhat better news

Today was a doctor-filled day. The doctors here at Parkview consulted with Marshall's oncologist, Dr. Flaig, all day long. Here's the final results in no particular order (my brain is overflowing):

* Dr. Flaig says there is no reason we need to kill ourselves to get up to see him this week. He says there is nothing going on that can't wait a few weeks. He thinks we should go home, try to relax and regroup and then make a followup appointment. So the hospitalist says that if the pain is still relatively controlled today and tomorrow morning when Marshall wakes up, we will go home tomorrow.

* Dr. Flaig has also told us to discontinue the oral chemotherapy for a few weeks to see if that could have conceivably caused any of the recent problems.

* The palliative care doctor suggested a radioactive drug called Strontium and another one called Xofigo. Both of them hone in on cancer in the bones. We have been asking about Xofigo for quite a while. He spoke to Dr. Flaig and between the two of them they decided that since they think Marshall's main pain right now is low back pain, the Strontium and the Xofigo would probably not help.

* The severe back pain Marshall is having is most likely related to simple low back pain and no matter how they look at the scans and x-rays they cannot relate that pain to cancer. (Marshall has had back problems all his life and had back surgery in the 90s.) The suggestion for that is to use a heating pad and perhaps try alternative things like electrical stimulation or acupuncture. Our chiropractor has a wonderful electrical stimulation gizmo and we will get an appointment with him

* With regard to the other pain Marshall is having (in his right side), the palliative care doctor that spent most of the afternoon with us has recommended 60mg of morphine every 8 hours and then liquid morphine for breakthrough pain.

* They took him off of the IV this evening to be sure he can do well without it so that he can be discharged tomorrow.

* With regard to depression, the palliative care doctor is prescribing Remeron which he says works well with the Venlafaxine Marshall is already taking.

* I spoke with Mario from Sangre de Cristo Palliative Care. He has now received the paperwork from our doctor to get us in the system for care. He says as soon as we get home and get rested, we should call him and he'll come out and we'll go over everything.

* I also spoke with a patient advocate today and she has suggested that we switch our cancer care from University of Colorado (180 miles away) to Rocky Mountain (Dorcy) Cancer Center (60 miles away). She believes that we are at a stage in this disease where the treatments are fairly routine and the lab work can certainly be done in Pueblo so that it really doesn't warrant that long trip (and often hotel stay). She believes that Dr. Flaig could still be our oncologist but give his instructions through the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center. Somehow I don't think it would be that smooth, but it would be a huge relief to stay close to home.

* And lastly, we need to see our primary care doctor (Dr. Bliss) and have him go through the gazillion medications Marshall takes to see if they are all absolutely necessary. With the cancer treatments Marshall has had, for example, his diabetes medication really needs to be overhauled. We have gotten so many prescriptions from so many doctors that it really is time to step back and take a look. It is conceivable that one or more of them could be causing problems. I run them through Drugs.com from time to time, but that doesn't tell me much.

In the meantime, the contractors were at our house today to start laying the floor. Gina says they got there late, took up the carpeting and then left for the day. So what else is new....

Gina will have to leave tomorrow to care for her dad and Marshall and I should be getting home close to when she leaves so that the animals won't be alone all that long, if at all. Here's Gina with her girls (Baby and Annie) and my cutie (Coco).

I think this covers everything. I am so relieved that we now have a little breathing room. I hope all of this has us moving to a calmer, pain-free future.

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Bad night

We stayed up and watched television for a while last night and it was kind of like we were home watching TV, very calm and nice.

He has had a lot of itching around the waistline so before we turned the lights off he asked me to put some lotion on that area, which I did. Within ten minutes, he said the lotion was burning him and we needed to get it off. So we got a wet wash cloth and tried to get all the lotion off. It was driving him crazy.

But from that moment on, he was totally agitated and restless. He wanted his hospital gown off, then back on, socks off, etc. He finally decided to try to sleep and he laid down (and I got settled on my hospital chair-bed). We turned the lights off.

Then I heard him get up and pull his IV stand around. He got the tubes all twisted and we called the nurse in to help get it straightened out. He paced for a while and his breathing was heavy. He refused to put his CPAP mask on. He finally seemed to calm down so I went back to sleep.

Throughout the night I heard him push the call button over and over for pain relief. We will see what today will bring.

I am starting to get worried about our animals. Gina can only stay through Wednesday and then she has another job she is committed to. (Cathy, if Marshall doesn't get released today or tomorrow, I may call you to see if you could run by the house twice a day and feed them and let Coco out -- I'll try to call you later today.)

I may just cancel the guys doing the floors. Way too much to keep track of.

More later.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Still in Hospital

I got back to the hospital today around 10:30 and Kevin and Angie left shortly after that to drive back to Wyoming. They will try to come back at Christmas.

I got a message from the oncologist's nurse Margie and she said Dr. Flaig would like to see the lab work that was done here at the hospital. So I spoke to Marshall's nurse and he says everything got faxed. However, I did not get a return call from Margie.

We saw the hospitalist late today (I will call her Dr. S because her last name is Suryadevera) and she said that the blood counts were off a bit but not so much to be alarmed about. The nurse who called me at home yesterday led me to believe there were some real problems with the blood counts.

Dr. S is more concerned about Marshall's pain. They have managed to get it from a level 10 down to a level 5 by using IV Dilaudid. The doctor did not want to release Marshall until we had a better pain management plan in place. She said that only way she would feel comfortable releasing him would be if he was released directly into the care of his oncologist.

She said that first thing tomorrow morning she will call Dr. Flaig (1) and see if Marshall could stay right here at Parkview and Dr. Flaig could get any tests he wanted done by Parkview personnel, which would be ideal; or (2) see if Marshall could be transferred to University of Colorado Hospital by ambulance so that he could keep the IV painkillers.

This doctor also suggested a fentanyl pain patch - she will talk to Dr. Flaig about that as well.

Marshall is on a liquid diet for the time being and he has actually been eating it.

He seems much calmer and more alert here at the hospital than he was at home.

Our dogsitter can only stick around through Wednesday so I'm going to need to be back at home Wednesday night. I keep telling myself everything will work out, everything will work out....

Kevin brought Marshall a popsicle so that he could have something a little different and yet remain on his liquid diet -- here's a silly picture:

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

To add to everything else, it is snowing!

I got to the hospital last night around 10:30PM. Marshall's nephew Kevin and Kevin's fiance Angie were there and had spent the day at the hospital with Marshall. They left and got a hotel and I spent the night with Marshall.

The plan was that I would come home this morning and get Marshall's medications and then drive back to Parkview Hospital, get Marshall released and drive up to Denver and get a hotel room at the cancer center.

So this morning I hit the road at about 9:30 and after about 35 miles drove into a snowstorm. Visibility was AWFUL. It was clear that I was not going to be able to get back to Pueblo today.

WhenI finally got close to the road that turns off to our house, there was an overturned cattle truck blocking the road and cows were everywhere (poor things, some were limping). There were ranchers on their ATVs trying to corral the cattle and get them off the road. So that was an adventure:

When I finally got home I called the hospital and learned that they are not going to release Marshall today because his blood counts are low. I knew something was going on because during the night they kept coming back to get more blood because they said it was "murky" and they weren't able to do the tests. When they finally did, the counts were low. I'm waiting for the nurse to call me back and elaborate.

So I guess I'll cancel our hotel reservation and cancel our appointment at the cancer center. I think Kevin and Angie will stay with him today since I can't get back there. God bless them.


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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Marshall back in hospital

Last night I went to our firm's Christmas party and had such a lovely time. I walked back to the hotel still enjoying the "energy" of the city. When I got to my room i started getting calls from Gina that Marshall was in extreme pain and wanted more morphine than we were told to give him. She didn't know what to do.

He got on the phone with me and was very very agitated and in pain so I told Gina to give him the morphine that he wants.

She called me back two more times to tell me how agitated and upset he was getting so I told her to call 911 and get him to the hospital. So he is on his way to Parkview Hospital in Pueblo at this moment (9AM Mountain time).

I wasn't able to get a good flight back, but at least there was a flight available. My plane leaves here at 2:00, has a stopover in Houston and arrives in Colorado Springs around 7:00 and then I've got a one-hour drive to Pueblo,. So I should be with him around 8:00 this evening and I'll fill everyone in.

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Friday, December 12, 2014


I got to Chicago yesterday and got checked into my hotel and then met Marshall's cousin Janice and her son Bill (and Bill's partner David). They took me to a Brazilian restaurant called Fogo de Chao and it was incredible. We had a wonderful visit and really enjoyed the meal.

I walked back to the hotel and walked down Michigan Avenue for a while with all the light and music and Christmas shoppers. It was just the best feeling to be back here for a while. When I lived here all those years ago there was a really neat Rock 'n Roll McDonald's. Well, it is now more than twice the size that it was in the "old days":
Today I met my friend Sue for lunch and we decided to take a selfie. I think this is my first-ever selfie (Claudia, we sure missed you!):

And here is awesome city view from my hotel window. I am truly enjoying seeing the big city again. In Colorado my "big city" is Pueblo and somehow that does not do the trick:
I've called Marshall three or four times and he seems to be doing better with me not there. I guess there's something to be said for a change of scenery on both sides of the coin.

Now I'm heading off to our firm's Christmas party! Happy Holidays!

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

No doctor visit today

Marshall was very tired again today and didn't even wake up except for when I woke him up for medications. I tried to get him up for his doctor appointment today with his primary care doctor, but he just seemed too "out of it" so I canceled the appointment. At one point, he looked at me and said, "We don't have to go to that wedding, do we?" I said no, and he went back to sleep.

He was experiencing a lot of pain today. Sometimes I have a hard time keeping on top of the pain medications and I guess I inadvertently cause him more pain. Makes me feel awful.

I got a call this afternoon from a dietician from the University. She called at the request of our oncologist and she wanted to see if she could help figure out a way to get Marshall to eat and drink. So she talked to me for quite a while and asked a lot of questions.

Based on what I said, she thinks he may be dehydrated. She said that dehydration can cause most of the symptoms that he is experiencing right now (exhaustion/sleeping a lot, mental confusion, nausea, loss of appetite, dark urine and minimal urine output, etc.) The only symptom it wouldn't cover would be the pain. So she said I need to really try to get him to drink more liquids. She thought that if he got better hydrated he would perk up a lot.

So at 5:00 when I woke him up for medications, I tried to get him to drink a larger amount of water and he did the best he could but I obviously have my work cut out for me. (And so does Gina because I leave for Chicago on Thursday and Gina will be staying here for those four days).

And on another note (and this might explain the wedding comment), Marshall got a wedding invitation today addressed to just him. Neither one of us recognize the name of the bride or the groom. We are probably going to feel ridiculous whenever we figure out who it is, but if anyone reading this recognizes the names Renfroe or Felker, would you let me know? The wedding is in Denver at the Eisenhower Chapel.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Busy day; Marshall still in bed

Well, Marshall is still in bed and not really eating (except for drinking Boost). Last night he asked me to get some fried chicken, so I did. He was able to get out of bed and eat a small dinner, along with a very small piece of pie, and then the pain put him back in bed again.

He got up once today but got nauseous and had a lot of pain so went back to bed. It's been almost four weeks since the last radiation treatment, so I was hoping to see some improvement by now. And we still haven't heard from the doctor with the results of the brain scan.

But today I was able to completely clear out Marshall's office (in preparation for the contractors who are going to put the wood laminate floor down) and I even painted the room. I did a pitiful job, but there just wasn't enough time for a quality job. And I would rather get it painted badly (for instance, I didn't fill in any holes and I painted right over cobwebs) and touch it up later than to have to move all that furniture again some day in the future to do a better job. When the floor is done and everything is back in the room, it will be a thing of beauty and no one will notice the flaws!!

Tomorrow Marshall has appointment with his primary care physician and we're going to see if he will take some x-rays to see if he can find any reason for the pain.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

A weird morning

I woke Marshall up at 7:30 this morning to give him his first morphine pills. Usually when I wake him up, he takes off his CPAP mask and props himself up on his elbow and takes the pills. Then he goes right back to sleep.

This morning he just laid there and looked at me and didn't talk. I gave him a little time to get himself together but he still just laid there. The pillow was soaking wet with sweat so I got him a fresh pillow.

Finally I took the mask off of his face and propped a pillow behind him and got him to take the pills. Then I got him laid back down, put the mask back on and I went to feed the animals.

When I came back to the bedroom he had taken the mask back off and he was laying at the other end of the bed and when I asked him what he was doing, he said, "Getting ready to go." I asked him where he was going and he just looked at me. I told him we weren't going anywhere today and he said, "Can I go back to bed?"

So he is now sleeping comfortably again. Gina is coming today because I've got to get over to Walgreens and get more prescriptions filled. I'm going to Chicago on Thursday for four glorious days and I want to be sure I don't get behind on any medications for Gina. She's going to stay in the guest bedroom while I'm gone. I've set up a baby monitor so she can hear Marshall if he needs anything.

Then on Monday, Dec. 15, the contractors will be here again to finish putting down the wood flooring in the house. The 15th has turned out to not be a good day since we have to be back at the oncologist's on the 15th, but we've waited MONTHS for these guys to have time to finish this floor and I'm not about to try to reschedule. So Gina will be here for that Monday.

Then I will be back for the rest of the week as they finish it up (they are doing two rooms). So before I head to Chicago I have the fun job of totally emptying out two rooms and, if some extra energy magically appears, I'd like to paint the rooms before the floor is put in. Who among us thinks that is going to happen??? Hah!

But better to stay crazy busy than to sit and dwell on things, right?

The contractor told me that as long as they are going to be here they might as well go ahead and do the master bedroom, too. Now, I really want that done, but that will be a monumental project. First, the furniture in there is heavy and I can't move it by myself (the other two rooms will be a breeze, nothing heavy). But even more importantly, Marshall will need to be moved to the guest bedroom with CPAP machine and oxygen concentrator and all the tubing that goes with it. I haven't decided yet if I want to go ahead with that room just now or not.

So that's today's story.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

MRI is finished

When we finally got to the hospital at 5:00, Marshall started getting anxious about the MRI because he has extreme claustrophobia and he was afraid that he would not be able to get through it.

But after driving 200 miles to get here, he decided to give it a try. So he made it through the MRI and then immediately started throwing up so the technicians were scrambling to get him feeling better. On the way to the car he started shaking uncontrollably but by the time we got back to the hotel he was calmer.

The oncologist has raised the amount of morphine from 30mg twice a day to 45mg three times a day, along with the Dilaudid. Maybe that will help the pain.

It is 7:30PM and he is in bed asleep again. And he hasn't eaten anything today.

Tomorrow we get to sleep in.....

Now we wait for the results.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Unscheduled visit to Cancer Center

I've been calling the oncologist's office keeping them up to date on the fact that Marshall has been in bed and not eating for several weeks now. He got on the scale today and he weighs 227 (down from 252). Also, I let them know that Marshall has kind of been in la-la-land with the morphine and Dilaudid he's been taking. But even though he's in la-la-land, I still requested stronger pain pills because Marshall says the pain won't let up.

So today the doctor calls and he wants us up in Denver ASAP (tomorrow) for a full body MRI and brain scan to see if they can find a reason for what's going on. We need to check in at 4:45P and the tests will start at 5:15P

So I have our suitcases packed and Gina will be here tomorrow and Saturday to watch the animals.

Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Still in pain

I had Gina come over again so I could do some errands in Pueblo. Marshall was still in bed when I left the house at 10:00 and still in pain. Still on morphine twice a day and Dilaudid every two hours.

When I got home, Gina said he had gotten up for a little while but pain sent him back to bed. Then this evening around 8:30 he got up again and had a little something to eat and then pain sent him back to bed. I see that as a good sign. Baby steps.... It's just odd that he can get into comfortable almost-pain-free positions in bed but can't do it in a comfortable recliner.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Still no change

I had Gina come over today and I was able to get out and do a lot of errands (one of which was picking up his Dilaudid pills). And I'm going to do it again tomorrow. I should be able to get all caught up.

Marshall is still in bed and not really eating anything. Last night he managed to eat a little bit of macaroni and a small piece of ham but that was it. It feels like he's been in bed for three or four weeks, but I figured it out and it's only been two weeks and three days. The radiation oncologist did say to give it six weeks.....

When I got home today Marshall was up and watching a movie with Gina but as soon as I got here with the pain pills, he went right back to bed and stayed there.

We still miss Marlee.

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