Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Clueless Girl Part II

What is wrong with our house? For some reason, Dalton is happier, more jovial, sarcastic, and lighthearted at the HOSPITAL than he is at home. We were talking about it yesterday when I was there and the best we could figure is that the house 1) has too many distractions for me (my mother's obsessive need to organize has begun to manifest itself in me through this process, 2) is one big reminder of how he isn't doing enough to help out at home, and 3) simply gets a bit stifling after 6 weeks of shuffling back and forth from the bedroom to the bathroom to the couch. In that sense, this hospital stay is a bit like a vacation; a room with a view that overlooks the USC quad, room service at every meal, daily maid service, and friends visiting and relaxing together. Sounds like Royal Carribean to me...

Anyway, today's story is a retelling of what Dalton shared with me about what occurred before I arrived. Radiation Oncology is definitely the weak link in the cancer curing trifecta. For those who have been following this story from the beginning, the Radiation Oncology Team includes Neanderthal Man and Clueless Girl. At about 8:30am, Jaime (I think he is the medical assistant for "Rad-On"), came to take Dalton for his treatment. Dalton has 5 iv lines hanging on his portable pole (there is a four bag minimum or they charge a cover), so moving him around can sometimes be a challenge. Of course, my silly husband figured that he'd have the treatment and then come right back upstairs to his room. Instead, Clueless Girl informs him that he has to see Dr. Pagnini today becuase "Today is Tuesday, and you always see the doctor on Tuesdays." I guess that's true if you call "always" once in six weeks, but whatever. Then, not being nearly as talented as Jaime, Clueless Girl manages to tangle his cords up completely in the wheelchair wheels while trying to manuever him into a room. Relaizing her "Oops!", she parks him halfway inside the room facing the wall and says "That's ok, Jaime will fix it when he comes back to get you. Dr. Pagnini should be in in a little while." Then with a flash, she was gone, and my husband was left to fend for himself in the land of abandoned wheelchairs.

What exactly does "should be in" and "a little while" really mean. Quite some time later, Dalton was considering that question when a warm-blooded creature appeared. It was Jaime. Seizing his opportunity, he asked, "Excuse me, but is Dr. Pagnini going to see me today?" Then, a bit more directly he added, "Actually, is he even here?" Jaime thought for a moment and said, "Let me check." And just as he turned the corner, Dalton added "Cause if he's not, I'm going to pak up my tangled cords and walk myself back up to my room."

Eventually, Dr. Pagnini appeared, and he confirmed that Thursday should be Dalton's last day of radiation before they check the scans for surgical candidacy. Then, in a completely imbecile fashion that only a radiation oncologist could master, he added, "But don't worry, if for some reason we have to do more radiation, which would only happen if you weren't a surgical candidate, this time we can go through your esophagus and radiate you more specifically from the inside. That way, it's easier on your heart and lungs!" Isn't that freakin' cool! Not only will you get to see more of us, but we , the loser doctors, will get to stick a tube down your throat. That's right, if you can't have surgery and should statistically die within the year, we can still make sure that your heart and lungs stay healthy and happy! What a dumb ass.

The only other thing of note that happended yesterday is that the dietician and my husband faced off over exactly what and how much nutrition he was getting. After refusing to listen to him and insisting he drink Ensure, Dalton politely asked her to please go get him some so that he could drink it and vomit it back up all over her. That finally convinced her that Ensure was a bad idea, but then she demanded that he tube feed the brown goo for 24 hours a day. Can someone please tell me why complete strangers think they know your body better than you do? After 6 weeks of trying to find a regimen that works, the one thing we know for sure is that too much brown goo = vomit city. Sure enough, immediately after the nurse gave him his afternoon medicine, the vomitting began. It was a bad one, and the nurse, who was clearly bothered and concerned, asked Dalton if he was doing round the clock hour feedings at home. In between wrteches, he told her "No, but the dietician demanded that I do it here." In a fabulous display of compassion, the nurse promptly walked over to the pump and turned it off. Then she waited for Dalton to finish and offered this amazing statement, "Why don't you let me know what works for you and that's what we'll do."

Thank you, nurse. Thank you for listening.


Blogger Laurie said...

Hi honey. Once again your literary talent beckons the reader to continue, through the goo et al.

I am aghast at the care that Dalton is receiving and I don't really care where the care is being delivered. Your experience makes me somewhat embarrassed that I, too, am in the field. Just keep telling these fools what you need until they listen.....Thinking of all you daily. Love,

10:32 AM  

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