Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Poco a Poco

By the afternoon on Saturday Brian was feeling much better. He'd managed to keep down a cup of chicken soup & was sipping juice a little at a time. The Doctor finally phoned around 2 pm and advised he'd be to our apartment between 4 & 6 to check on his wound. As he normally takes a nap in the afternoon, Shelley relented on her no sleeping during the day campaign and he went down for a snooze from 2 - 3. Over the phone the Doctor didn't seem that concerned about the vomiting; asking only if it was accompanied by pain. When the answer was negative, he pretty much dropped the subject.

The Doctor finally arrived around 6:15 pm. He'd been in surgery all day and that's why he hadn't returned Brian's phone call. He brought his daughter with him, who was studying to be a Doctor and who also spoke English very well. Shelley told her about their Doctor back in Canada and his two children who too were both Doctors.

"One of them" she said "wanted to be a jazz musician. I always thought being a Doctor was a great thing to fall back on if it didn't work out for him."

They removed the shunt in Brian's back left in from the spinal and checked his wound. They talked about the nausea and throwing up and finally decided it was caused by the medication he was taking and specifically the pain medication. As Brian had already experimented in not taking the pain medication, they decided he would forgo it from now on. The only time the wound really hurts is when he's moving to sit up or down. The Doctor and his daughter admired our apartment and we told them what wonderful care Brian had received in Ecuador.

Brian had a much better night. He woke up about 3:30 am and read for half an hour but this is as per his usual routine. The next day, after morning chores were done, Shelley & Fredi took a walk to the main square downtown. (They were just a tad cabin feverish.) At the park they saw 2 or 3 small childrens' parades & a group with a black bongo drummer doing a set in the gazebo. They walked to the 10th of August market and picked up some bananas as Shelley had read on line they're high in calories but easy to digest. Brian's not throwing up any more but he still has virtually no appetite. Almost everything he eats is nagged into him by Shelley.

"It's not that I mind you're not eating" Shelley told him with some of her tongue in her cheek. "It's just that I hate that you'll be loosing weight and I'm having such a struggle!"

Coming home carrying a dollar's worth of bananas (15) and a bag of limes, hot and a bit sweaty because the sun was shining big time again, and a tad tired having not gone for a good long walk for several days, Shelley decided to have a bath when she got home. During the middle of the bath, Brian stripped off his t-shirt, kneeled on the floor beside the tub and gave himself a "bird bath". Then, still bent over the tub, Shelley washed his hair. It actually worked out quite well.

Brian went to the Doctor on Monday and had the draining tube from his wound removed. "It was about a foot long!" Brian explained when he got home. The Doctor & Brian discussed his difficulty with eating and the accompanying constipation and he was given a mild laxative. There's going to be a consultative meeting between the urologist, the oncologist & a radiologist some time this week to discuss Brian's case. During the biopsy after his operation they found the tumors were more progressed than they thought from the original biopsy. Brian has an appointment on Friday to find out the results of the consultative process. He was a little bit nervous about this because he thought he was all done but was assured that this is standard protocol for all serious operations. There's a possibility that he may have to take radio therapy but will find out on Friday.

There had been some discussion about Brian walking up to the SuperMaxi with Shelley on Tuesday, sitting on a bench while she was shopping and then taking a cab home. Brian thought he'd be up to it because his visit to the Doctor hadn't tired him out. In the morning however, he was not feeling as good as the day before so Shelley went off to the store by herself. She picked up a number of soup packages, some salad & cheese & buns and then carried her two bags full home. Upon arrival Brian was in his street clothes and said he wanted to try walking down to the bridge, across the river, up the street to the next bridge, back across the river and home. This is our normal short Fredi walk which takes 15 or 20 minutes. We got about 1/3 of the way around the block and then Brian sat on a stone while Shelley & Fredi lay on the grass and we all rested in the Ecuador sun. We then retraced our steps to home because Brian's energy had just about run out.

We're not sure what to think of his not being able to eat thing. Every time he tries to eat anything substantial (other than juice or soup) it's like his esophagus closes off. Shelley mixed up a really thin smoothy with fruit & yogurt & banana and with his soups, at least he's getting his nutrition. If it keeps on until Friday when he sees the Doctor again, he'll be more assertive in finding out what may be causing it. By the way, his other problem is now OK.

Each day we'll walk a little more and before you know it, we'll be back to our regular walks. Once the catheter is removed it'll make things a lot simpler. As it is now, we put the whole device in one of Shelley's purses and Brian with aplomb throws it over his shoulder.

We continue to be touched by the emails we're receiving from family, friends & strangers who read this blog. Every moment in time when we touch each other; it's precious. Thank you again for your concern.

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