Saturday, November 28, 2015

An L. Frank Baum kind of love

It seems like the last four weeks have been filled with doctors appointments and physical therapy, and not much else. I'm getting the hang of the routine and the workload, minus any assignments for school. One class, I keep thinking, it's only one class. Somewhere in this new schedule I have to find time for writing and research. 

And in walks another medical issue.

Today I read through a report of Mr. PNU's last visit with his general practitioner. We're seeing a urologist, a neurologist, a sleep specialist, an endocrinologist, and the GP. That's an impressive array of doctors. I adore our GP. He's younger than both my husband and me, and his bedside manner is perfect. He respects my ability to research medical issues and my comprehension of medical terminology so that we can discuss issues at a clinician's level, but he also respects that although I'm sort of the spokesperson in the marriage my husband is the patient.

Our last visit was in preparation for gallbladder surgery planned two weeks into next month to answer gallbladder attacks from a stone the size of a large grape. Mr. PNU is on blood thinners for two instances of deep vein thrombosis during the summer. He'll be on the medication for the rest of his life. The problem is that blood thinners and surgery don't mix. Our tender GP described three possible approaches. The first, putting the surgery off for a couple of months and accepting the risk of emergency surgery in the interim. Second, going off the blood thinner, Coumadin, a week prior to surgery and hoping for no clots. Third, going off Coumadin, but backing it up with Lovenox, which wears off within 24 hours, until the day prior to the operation. Neither of these options is without inherent risk, and I came the closest to crying in front of a doctor as I have in seven months during the visit. My head spun with possible setbacks and complications, and for a moment all I could think was that after all this time and energy I've put into my husband's care since his stroke, I was going to lose him over a gallstone. I asked our GP if Mr. PNU and I could discuss the options privately before we made our decision, and he gave us an understanding affirmative. We left the office and headed to our physical therapy appointment at Neuroworx. Mr. PNU gave no response when I asked for his input. Instead, he told me that he wanted me to make the decision for us. I chose option three—Lovenox.

The report that came in the mail detailed the process of discontinuing Coumadin, beginning the Lovenox injections (which I fear I'll have to administer), and then resuming the Coumadin after surgery until the blood's clotting time returns to an acceptable level when we will then end the Lovenox injections. I've entered the dates into the calendar on my phone and hung the hardcopy letter on the fridge. 

My husband's health conditions were enumerated at the end of the report. Benign essential hypertension, choledocholithiasis, DVT, hemiplegia, hyperlipidemia, major depressive disorder, and partial epilepsy. I read them off, one by one, wondering how we went from planning a 150 mile hike of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in early April to where we are today.

Mr PNU's forty-eighth birthday is in ten days. I'm throwing a small party with his friends at the pizza joint where I gave him my phone number a year and a half ago. Does it seem like a whirlwind of events played into that day's advent, and like a whirlwind of events have spun out from it? A perfect tornado of sorts, sans the flying monkeys and magical shoes. 

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