The Great Cancer Adventure

December 05, 2017

- 2 min read

Regarding the 11-27 reference to hospitalization….

I didn’t know it possible to have both diarrhea and constipation at the same time, and while it really isn’t (water builds up behind the constipation), the effect is the same. I was uncomfortable of course but more concerned than I might have been otherwise, since a decade earlier I had had an impacted bowel, a temporary colonoscopy, three surgeries because of all this, a foot less large intestine than I had previously, and an abdomen composed of surgical mesh.

I knew from that experience and others I desperately needed to drink electrolyte, but couldn’t tolerate even dilute Gatorade due to the scarring done by radiation. So, after speaking with the Oncology Doc’s office, I went to the Emergency Room, where Amy, niece on Betty’s side, and her husband, Noel, both of whom had previously planned on seeing us that afternoon, met us in the ER, and we visited while we waited for a room. Just another example of family support on both sides.

After being admitted to the hospital, staff tried some medical treatments I could tolerate, but none of that worked, so the Family Medicine Resident on call removed the impacted bowel by hand, bit by bit. She seemed to think this went with the territory that this was just another day at the office and, frankly, not her first rodeo, but I thought this a waste of her training, although a welcome source of relief. And I was also embarrassed my problem was addressed in this fashion. All too soon, however, there was to be another medical problem.

(Betty tells me that since this hospitalization, which neither of us expected, she lives in a constant state of mindfulness, ready to go anywhere at any time. Her phone is always with her, for example, unless I am instead, and it’s always on silent, face up, so she can tell if it’s me calling. Always being on alert like this is yet another way our lives have changed.

Also, we cancelled the get-together we’ve been holding for years in early December at our house with members of her STL family, a group of cousins. A real disappointment, as no one else could take this over on such short notice. And, no one else, other than she [and I!], knew how everyone was related.)