Why the Redwood Forest slideshow?

Judy had always loved trees, and in 2008 we spent some time among the California Redwoods. Some of the ingredients in Judy's chemo cocktail were derived from trees (not Redwoods but Yews). We always knew that Judy loved the trees, and the trees got their chance to repay her affection.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another day, 1½ steps forward

It's all slow going. No hurry here. Easy does it. Remember Aesop's fable of the slug and the hare (or whatever it was)?

Judy is mending. And the more she heals, the more acute the challenges seem to become. The way I see it: Surgery is BIG--not cleaning out the potty is SMALL. Fast forward: Still being in the hospital is BIG--getting the food she is supposed to eat is DAMN BIG.

The poor lil' Jude is supposed to augment her dietary intake with a powdery protein supplement, which is supposed to be mixed into her apple juice when she has her meal. The doctors have ordered this supplement, and they've talked to her to get on a "regular" diet. So, for breakfast the protein powder shows up at 10 a.m., holding up—guess what?—having a normal breakfast. Same story around lunch time. Come evening, I'm around, wondering when the protein supplement is going to arrive. Judy has an actual appetite, there's a baked potato (thanks to our dear Natalie), she wants to eat—guess what, again? The damn protein isn't here at 5:30, 6:15, 7:15 (Judy begs me not to go after the nurses), 7:45 p.m. At this point Judy is totally out of sorts for a helluva reason, I think I'm a total idiot for not going to the charge nurse an hour ago, and a sweet nurse's aide is still not getting any response from the nutrition gang several floors below.

This has been the last time that I have given in to playing Mr. Nice Guy at the behest of our patient. Judy was so upset, crying, thinking that the whole world had come to an end—just because some bozo on the whatever floor couldn't fill a simple order. Judy sees it as a do-or-be-damned situation: If she doesn't eat, she won't poop, and thus she won't go home. How much more basic can we get?

Tonight, sis-in-law Candace is with her, giving me another break. Hey, I might go on vacation. :) Speaking of, tomorrow I'll have to cancel our trip to Cancun in two weeks. We had held out, just for the R&R factor, but it has become obvious that going would be irresponsible, so I'll try to rebook for April. (Talking about traveling: This morning, the UCI sent me two assignments for next summer, one to Canada [Canmore, AB] and one to Costa Rica, and I'm intending to work those two races, so we better be ready.)

I think we have rectified the protein situation as I had a talk with the Charge Nurse on the way out. No more Mr. or Ms. Nice Folks here. Jack W., if you read this, I should have used your USMC tactics (OK, you were not part of the Marines, but you sure act like it) and taken charge right of. I wanted to give Judy a chance to do just that, empowering her, but it backfired. I better remember in the months to come. When it comes to Judy's well-being, I must take charge over her protestations.

So, that's the news. I suppose it's good, because once we start complaining that means it's no longer life and death but just the little stuff, right? The L&D part starts again in a few weeks. Sorry to break it to you, but that's the big race on the schedule. I wish I could just wake up some morning and say, "Boy, that was a bad dream."

I don't mean to sound dejected, because I really am not. Judy's progress has been so pronounced over the past few weeks that it's impossible not to be upbeat--but those who know me well also know that I look at the peripherals.

Thursday looks as if it may be the big day for us to go home--provided they can set Judy up with 1,000 pounds of Protein powder. :) Boy, the Lil' Bit really wants to go home, and so do I.



Cindy Weisinger said...

Thursday. That's the day after tomorrow! You go girl! 1 1/2 steps at a time! Cindy

Anonymous said...

Hi Judy! Hi Jürgen!
Great progress Judy!
Sounds like you need to be requesting that protein powder 3 meals in advance..then you can stockpile it!
Well at least you're getting out of the country Jürgen; my UCI appointment is in CA (considering we have snow well into May; CA in April will be very nice!).

Hugs to you both,
Cindi :>

brmidd said...

J & J -

Thinking of you. You'll have to visit us in Estes Park. We're moving next month. Get well quick. I haven't read all the blog, but definitely glad to see you are heading home! Keep up the good work.
Becky Middleton

Sandi said...

Good Morning,
Judy, you look great! Great to see such a big smile! Brightens my day!
I know it is a fine line between being pushy to get what you want and wondering if you pissed them off and they are just being slow because they can. Maybe ask for a margarita!
Love ya,

Cynthia said...

those are big steps, Judy! It's good to hear that you're making progress. Now if Jurgen would just pretend that those nurses/nutritionist were riding around without a helmet, they'd have your protein to you pronto!
You both are in my thoughts!
Cynthia Stewart

Anonymous said...

give em hell guys. the squeaky wheel gets the grease. a lot of hospital personnel are really very busy and can forget things. many are incompetent, overwhelmed or self absorbed. either way, make your needs known! the busy, competent nurses will appreciate the reminder. those other people need a push. this hospital experience is about you - not them.

tom h

scott m said...

I second what Tom H said. Jurgen continue with your persistence relative to the hospital staff. This is about Judy and not about them.

Keep moving forward,


Alan said...

Thanks for the updates. Still sending both of you positive vibes.

twoalso said...

WOW! Sure am praying for the best! Know Judy will rest and heal better at home!!!! She deserves it, and so do you!!!!

Keep thinking positive thoughts! That's hard for me too, but I KNOW Judy will be a survivor! Cancer has met its match! (even though it does SUCK!)

Lots love, hugs and prayers.

Anonymous said...

I am praying tomorrow is the big day for you, if not I feel it's right around the corner!!!!

Love Always,

Nana (Deb Stevenson) said...

It was great seeing Judy and lots of progress since the last time I saw her. My vehicle is ready and waiting and waiting for 'the call' to take you HOME!!

Anonymous said...

Judy and Jurgen,

My hospital experiences over the last year has lead me to find the balance between patience and outrage. I found that reminding my nurses that I was expecting some service or item at a certain time, was a good strategy so the nurse would be also looking for that to occur. If not, asking the nurse to follow-up was usually a way of gettting something taken care of, or at least keeping me informed of what was happening. That typically occurred before I got too frustrated, or at least I could commiserate with the nurse.

Remember this was and is going to be a good week for both of us. I am still counting on you to do your part, and it sounds like great progress. I was not able to do chemo Monday because my white count was 2.1 and needed to be closer to the normal range of 4-10. I got a shot on Monday and one on Tues. and today my count was 12.9. I did my chemo today and next Tues. we are going to do cat scans to see if any new cancer shows up. If nothing shows up, we've got the right chemos. If there's more cancer, we consult with Baylor and look for a new chemo cocktail. I find out Wed. one week from today. I am praying for the best outcome for you and me both. i know that you and I both are tough enough to join the MHMR survivors group!

Will keep in touch.

Cindy L.