Friday, January 30, 2015

Another fall

We had a long day today. Had to go to Canon City to pick up some prescriptions, then to Pueblo to pick up prescriptions they didn't have in stock in Canon City, then to the AT&T store to iron out some problems Marshall had with his cell phone. So it was a long day and Marshall's back started really hurting.

When we got home he took two Percocet and got in bed to try to be more comfortable. We watched TV in the bedroom.

Around 9:30 he got up to go to the bathroom and on the way back to the bed he fell. I wasn't watching so I didn't see how he fell and he says he thinks his knees just buckled. It was scary for a few minutes, but guess what? He got up by himself. And it didn't seem to aggravate the back pain any more than it already was. So while falling was definitely not a good thing, the fact that he got up by himself was pretty awesome and means he is definitely building up strength.

Tomorrow I need to go back to Canon City to pick up the final two prescriptions -- I think we have finally gotten the prescriptions up to date again. Marshall will stay home and rest.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Back pain won't go away

Wednesday and today were quiet days, just trying to rest and see if Marshall's back pain will let up.

Today was a bit better but around 6:00PM it started up again. Maybe another day or two of bedrest will calm it down. He says it feels like the back pain he's experienced off and on all his life. But while he used to go to a chiropractor for relief, that is out of the question now.

I was able to go to Walgreens today and get most of his medications re-ordered.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Yesterday was fine until close to the evening when he started having really bad pain. It's awful to watch him in pain and not have any solution for it. My stomach goes into knots and I have anxiety attacks. But he took a Percocet (for breakthrough pain) and in an hour or so felt a bit better. And I took an Ativan. I'm taking them more regularly these days.

Today we went out to lunch and he did really well. We got home and watched TV together for a while but again he had really bad back pain. We are both on edge.

Tomorrow we need to go over to Walgreens and get his prescriptions in order again. We are sort of starting from scratch since he got home. The nursing home discharged him with 10 days worth of medications and no prescriptions so we had to get Dr. Bliss to write out a bunch of prescriptions for us before we run out. If it isn't one thing, it's another. It would be so wonderful to have a period of time (a week? a month?) of painfree normal life.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Getting settled at home

It took all day Saturday to get back in the groove. When he was at the nursing home all of his medications were changed so it was a learning process to get the schedule going again. Saturday went well. Marshall has been doing his exercises and stretches so he can keep building strength. However, the physical therapist said that Marshall should probably never try to walk without the walker. Too much danger of falling.

Today I had to run to Walgreens to get prescriptions filled and do a little shopping. Marshall stayed home and did pretty good until about 7:00 this evening and then some new pain hit him and it appeared to be pretty bad. So he took a Percocet, along with the morphine, and went to bed.

His painkiller schedule now is 100mg of morphine every 8 hours, a Marinol (marijuana pill) every 12 hours and a Percocet for breakthrough pain. I think today's pain probably came from him trying to stay up all day (at the nursing home he napped quite a bit).

But he's also had some pretty bad tremors in his hands that won't go away. We assume it's a reaction to a medication, but which one? And he goes from freezing to burning up. This is where the round-the-clock care with a good nursing staff and doctors close at hand was a great thing.

We're still trying to get on a meal schedule. He ate at regular times at the nursing home but we haven't really made that happen here -- not to mention the fact that I can't even come close to fixing the kind of awesome meals they served at the nursing home!

But he is so glad to be home and we're glad to have him back.

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Friday, January 23, 2015


He is now home and the animals are beside themselves.

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On my way to get Marshall

The floors are done, the furniture has been put back (for the most part), and I am on the way to bring Marshall home.

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Final Days at the Nursing Home

This morning I took Marshall on a field trip over to the Toyota dealer where we traded in the Prius and bought the Dodge Ram. It is an awesome truck. Marshall even took it for a drive so he is definitely feeling so much better.

When we got back to the nursing home, it belatedly occurred to him that my birthday is next week, so he started telling everyone he bought me a truck for my birthday! Funny man.

Then this afternoon, because of an issue with Marshall's roommate (he had been in the room all by himself until just two days ago) they moved Marshall to a new room in another wing. I wish he could have been in this new wing for his whole stay because it was very nice with very friendly people. But at least he will be in an extra nice area for the next four or five days until he is released.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cancer Center

We went to the cancer center today and Marshall's PSA is 33, so it has been holding steady for several months now. The oncologist said he wants Marshall to continue with his physical therapy and keep building his strength for another month before starting up with any cancer treatment again. So the only thing Marshall is on for the cancer right now is a quarterly hormone injection and the prednisone.

When we got to the cancer center today, Marshall was able to walk in under his own power and the doctors and nurses all came running to tell him how great he looked compared to past visits. It was so great.

We go back on February 10th for all the scans (bone scan, MRI and CT) and then we see the oncologist on February 12 to get the results of the scans as well as another PSA and then decide how to proceed. Dr. Flaig says he just might have Marshall go back on the Cytoxan (chemo pill) to see if it is still working. He says he doesn't want to move on to anything new until he is sure all the old stuff has failed. He feels that stretches things out and gives Marshall the best shot at longer life.

Marshall is very motivated now to continue his exercises when he comes home and keep building strength. He still has a bad pain on his right side. Everyone seems to think it's a muscle pain, but the scans that he gets in February will give us a better idea. He says the pain goes away when he lays down. It only acts up when he is sitting up or standing.

We are having some work done on the house next week. Assuming that Marshall passes his tests (preparing a meal by himself and taking a shower without help) he will be approved for release, but he is going to stay at the nursing home until this work is done. He should be home on Wednesday or Thursday. We are very excited about him coming home. But he will be going from 24-hour care to just me. Scary.

But today was a GREAT day.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lots of changes

First, Marshall just has to meet two criteria in order for the nursing home to release him: (1) he has to be able to prepare a meal all by himseslf; and (2) he has to be able to take a shower without help. They will be making that assessment any day now.

Second, the contractors are coming on Monday (at least that's the plan) to finish out our flooring. The master bedroom needs to be done. I've convinced Marshall that he needs to stay at the nursing home until the floor is done so if all goes well, he may be here by next Thursday.

And third, we realized that because of the weather this past almost two years, we have not been able to use the Prius at all. It won't work in ice or snow or mud and that's what our weather has been like. So we are trading it in for a snazzy red 2013 Dodge Ram Crew Cab Sport. We are signing the paperwork this weekend and hopefully the weather will allow us to get the Prius to the dealership to trade it in. Even taking into consideration the awesome 50mpg that we got on the Prius, it was just silly to have a car we can't use, especially since getting out of here on an emergency basis is more and more important.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Marshall may come home soon!

When Marshall had his physical therapy today with JB, he was able to walk the entire perimeter of the nursing home without a walker. JB said that he is doing so well that he was going to recommend that he be released soon. We don't know how long that will take, but it's great news.

The contractors are coming back to finish our floors on Monday so I asked Marshall to please try to stay at the nursing home until the floors are done; otherwise, it will be a whole lot of moving and adjusting that I would rather we didn't have to do. We'll see...

I did a little research on Dilaudid and whether or not there were withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking Dilaudid abruptly (which is what Marshall did) and the symptoms include shakes and tremors, cold sweats, muscle pain and many others, all of which he is experiencing.

I was at the bank today and the drive-up teller told me that when she took Dilaudid she almost died. She said that Dilaudid causes breathing to become shallow and sometimes it gets so shallow as to stop the breathing altogether. Bad drug. So glad he's not on it any more.

We have an appointment with the oncologist on Thursday so that we can get back into the treatment of the cancer. We are on an upswing!

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Another great family visit

The kids spent all day Wednesday with Marshall -- and had their meals with him -- and then on Thursday they were there all morning until they had to leave for the airport.  All in all, it was a very good visit.  Here are some goodbye photos:



Marshall has been doing better and better.  He works with the physical therapist every single day and he is walking the entire perimeter of the nursing home with his walker.  His mind is clear and he sounds like his old self.  This is very very good.  He has an appointment with the oncologist on January 15 to see if the doctor considers him strong enough to try another cancer drug.  Things are moving along nicely.  What a difference from even just a month ago.

Now, on another note, every year Denver has a stock (cattle) show and on the first day they bring a herd of cattle to downtown Denver and the cowboys herd them through the city.  It is really bizarre and a lot of fun to watch.  One of the attorneys from my office sent me this year's photo:
Denver Stock show -- on Wynkoop Street in Denver

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Family visit

Marshall's daughter and grandkids were exhausted from Monday's bad travel day so they didn't get to the nursing home yesterday until noon.  They had lunch with Marshall and then came back to his room to visit.  Boredom set in pretty quickly.  I had hoped they would spend a whole lot more time with him after coming such a long way to see him, but around 3:00 they left and didn't get back until 8:30.  Marshall was ready for bed by then so they didn't stay long.  I was very disappointed and I sure hope today is a longer visit.

Here's the group -- I didn't realize Brandon was being silly until I got home and looked at the photos on my computer!  This is Lexi, TJ, Brandon, Tanya and Grandpa Marshall.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Another family visit

Marshall's daughter and grandkids were scheduled to come in today for a 2-day visit. They are in Richmond and their flight was going to go from Richmond to Chicago to Colorado Springs.

Well, the flight out of Richmond left two hours late so they missed their connection in Chicago. United put them on an American flight (through Dallas/Ft Worth) but it, too, left late and as I write this I am waiting to hear from them, but they are definitely going to miss their connecting flight in Dallas. I just did a quick check and I don't come up with any other flights that will get them from Dallas to Colorado Springs this evening. Looks like they may have to spend the night in Dallas.

In the meantime, I've been with Marshall since this morning expecting to be at the airport to pick them up at 2:30. It is a shame that their visit is going to be cut so short and their travel is turning out to be so ugly.

I'm not positive, but I think two of the grandkids have never flown before. What an initiation!

Marshall had several physical therapy sessions today and he continues to do really well. It is still blowing my mind how bad he was doing just four weeks ago and how much he has improved. The pain on his left side disappeared a few days ago and he now has pain pretty much only on the right side in the back. It is a bad pain, but we are hoping it will die down like the other side did.

We have an appointment with the oncologist on January 15th to see what further cancer treatments are available.

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Friday, January 2, 2015

Physical therapy

Marshall did really good today -- again -- with his physical therapy. He walked past the nurses' station and back.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015

I thought sure I would be able to go see Marshall today but the weather intervened once again. I was able to get to town but it was very scary and no visibility so I turned around and came back home. Here is what our road looked like (gorgeous to look at, awful to drive in):

And here's what it looked like in town:

The weather is supposed to cooperate tomorrow so I should be able to get there.

Yesterday I spoke to Marshall and he told me that the physical therapist came in and worked with him and Marshall was able to walk (with his walker) all the way down to the nurses' station and back. That is just incredible when you compare it with the way he was just 4 or 5 weeks ago. Doing away with that drug Dilaudid was a good thing.

Today he was able to get in his power chair and go to the cafeteria for breakfast which he wasn't able to do before. He still has pain and he feels better pain-wise when he is laying down so he didn't go to the cafeteria for lunch or dinner, he just had it delivered.

He is improving daily. We just need to somehow get that pain under control, and the accompanying constipation.

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