for Pat Adair, and the people who love her...

Our beloved Pat got some shocking news recently, and we're off and running on a mysterious medical adventure. Not an adventure we would have picked, but we're off just the same... (If you're new to the blog, start here.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The roller coaster ride

Patio's in the hospital as I write this, but she's doing pretty well. It wasn't looking so promising earlier in the evening.

I didn't write for some time because there wasn't much going on. Mom was doing well, and things seemed pretty steady. We went to the oncologists two weeks ago and he suggested we book that cruise to Alaska in June if we wanted to go, because if she felt this well now, she probably would in June, too. Wow! Great news, and the first time we'd heard any kind of a time frame. It's been mostly downhill from there.

Mom was doing so well two weeks ago that I changed my schedule, which had been to stay with her Wednesday through Sunday. On Tuesday she got a little bit nauseous and sick, but felt better the next day. On Thursday, though, she was throwing up a bunch, and ended up in the doctor's office. He thought it was maybe a bile duct obstruction, or that the cancer was progressing. Something had taken a dramatic turn for the worse with her liver, we were told. She had I.V. rehydration two days in a row, plus a CAT scan, plus her first-ever blood transfusion for anemia. That all happened at the end of the week, so by time we saw the doctor on our Monday appointment, we were braced for the worst. We imagined all kind of doomsday scenarios except the one we got - everything looks great! The chemo has shrunk the tumors by half, and keep up the good work! So what happened on that Thursday? Well, we're not sure, but it might have just been the flu. So much for what we think is going to happen.

This chemo stuff is a piece of cake. It works like a charm - everybody should try it! Not so fast, baldy. Last week mom noticed a swelling in her right leg, which lead to all kinds of new tests - cut to the chase - she has a blood clot, not very dangerous, apparently, but requires six days in a row of an injected blood thinner, (including on Easter!) plus some new pills for the rest of her life. Mom's been poked and prodded so much in the last week, she can hardly stand it. Mike and I had a trip planned to Arizona to visit our dad, but when I heard about the potential blood clot I cancelled my trip the night before, and Mike went on his own. He's down there now.

Here's the best part of my not going down to Arizona: I am staying with Patio from Thursday to Sunday, but today I went for a walk with my friend Michelle. Mom had driven herself to coffee today early, and felt fine, and I took her to her chemo appointment, and she felt fine. I came back after being gone about two and a half hours, and she was practically incoherent. She hadn't moved from her chair, and was saying nonsensical things, including "I'm not confused", "I feel fine" and "No, you don't need to call an ambulance." Not only could she not stand up on her own or even use her walker, she couldn't walk with me practically carrying her to the bathroom. After she used the bathroom I couldn't get her back to the front room. Her legs were stiff, and she was so confused she was practically frozen. (It didn't really help that I started crying, but it did feel good.) We looked like marathon dancers as I was struggling to get her back to a chair when the ambulance and fire department arrived.

Mom's heart rate was 160, and they did some quick tests for stroke, heart attack, blood sugar and I don't know what else. They were about to give her an injection that would shock the heart to a much lower pulse (like 30) before it would come back up. Fortunately her heart rate dropped just enough to not have to give her that - cuz I would have fainted and we couldn't both fit on the gurney. (I wasn't laughing when any of this happened, if it isn't obvious.)

The wonderful firefighter-peoples put her in the ambulance, and I tried to follow them to the Mt. Diablo hospital. They ran a yellow light that I missed, and I watched them drive away, not knowing where the hospital was. I enjoyed watching my reactions to looking for the hospital for about 15 minutes that I couldn't find. That was an experience.

Emergency rooms are not relaxing places, in spite of what everybody says. Mom was put into a shared room, and they discovered that she had a fever of 101.4. The doctor explained that the fever comes from an infection, and given her trampled immune system from the chemo, it's actually quite dangerous. We got to the hospital around 9-ish, and she didn't get moved out of emergency into a regular room until close to 2 a.m. Her fever dropped, and was almost normal by midnight. We don't really know what will happen, but she may be staying in the hospital until Easter Sunday.

I guess I could have written this letter in a paragraph or two. Thanks for sticking with it, unless you just jumped to the end! Patio is still in reasonable spirits in spite of it all. It really scares me to think of what would have happened if Mike and I had both been gone. Mom was so confused that she didn't know she was confused. We got her one of those Medi-Alert gadgets so when she presses a button a person comes on a loudspeaker in the house and will call 911. But Mom wouldn't have used it, (and didn't use it) because she didn't think she needed to. It's hard to know what would have happened, but it's scary, scary to think about...

If you write a note to Patio in the comments, I'll make sure she gets it. She'd love to hear from you, and so would I. And a request from me: try to think unusually kind thoughts today.

Too much love,


At March 22, 2008 7:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Pat,
I am sorry to hear it has been such a rough week. I am praying for you to feel better and better with every passing hour. You have the most incredible loving sons and family and that doesn't surprise me knowing what a special amazing lady you are. I love you and wish you healing and happiness and lots of chocolate Easter eggs too. Hang in there and stay strong knowing we all are rooting for you and care so much. Love you, Mari Jo

At March 22, 2008 8:07 AM , Anonymous Whitney said...

Hi Pat,

What a night you've had (and you, Dave). I hope you are resting and feeling stronger. My thoughts are with you and your family.

So, so much love on this beautiful Spring Day. I wish you strength and health.

Love, Whitney

At March 22, 2008 11:33 AM , Blogger Bhavik said...

Dear Pat, I am still waiting to meet you! Every time I went to ACT to watch performances I kept hoping to stumble into you, perhaps someday or at my wedding! Dave is wise and genuine, I can only imagine how you must be as his mother.

Happy Easter to you


At March 22, 2008 2:51 PM , Blogger Suzanne said...

Oh my goodness!!!
Dave, what a read and a dramatic rollercoaster ride!
Glad you stayed and sorry you were there by yourself. You're mom's hero!
And glad to hear that you cried--it does make you feel better sometimes--and that you still have your sense of humor!
And it's really good to hear that Patio's in better spirits. I hope her body follows and both of you have a restful and refreshing Easter!
And next time run that yellow! ;) I would've liked to see your reaction too! (Hehe.)

But here's a Bible verse for Patio and you in case she can't make it to church on Sunday. It's Psalm 121(the entire Psalm):
I lift my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber...The Lord watches over you--the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm--he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Hang in there you two!

At March 22, 2008 5:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Pat, Dave, Mike and the rest of the Adair gang:
1) I'm also glad that you canceled the trip to Arizona, Dave!
2) Remembering back to when my sister Karri had her first child. I was in town visiting without my own daughter and husband and when she went into labor, Karri and Jerry asked me to go with them to the hospital - Mt. Diablo. I dropped them off (we were all at a big family dinner when labor hit) and then tried to drive to their house for hospital bag and back to hospital in a strange car in the dark, without headlights (was too rattled to find them). Not funny at all at the time - which is why I remembered it suddenly today reading your account, Dave, of your own panic to hang in the game and find that hospital.
3) I'm writing from Fort Collins -we arrived late Thursday evening for six weeks while husband Kim finishes teaching his semester at CSU. Wish I could come and visit but will have to rely instead on your blog updates to keep connected. So in case, you didn't think you were writing for anyone but yourself - thanks from me. Pat was doing rather splendidly just before I left town and had enjoyed a nice evening out with Myrth and Claude to celebrate the shrinkage of the tumors. This whole cancer thing is so hard to follow day to day - that is the lesson I'm learning along with Pat and sons - things are dandy except when they are bad or worse.
4) I hope things temporarily go from worse to dandy again very soon. I hurt to think of Pat hurting and I hurt to think of you suffering, Dave, because you can't fix the hurting and the cancer behind it. I think you all deserve some time off for good behavior and a couple of well deserved trips here in the spring time. Carpe Diem to you all - I can't imagine a better point in time to employ that strategy. All best love and supportive prayers and hopes and good wishes from afar, Kim Staking

At March 23, 2008 9:54 AM , Blogger Lauren said...

There is a short song my Dad used to sing to me and my brother when he would wake us up on Easter morning, "Jesus is alive, the angels' say, Be Glad! Be Glad! It's Easter Day!" As I'm reading Dave's latest entry, I find myself singing, "Patio's alive..." you get the idea. I can't believe how much has happened - and hasn't happened - in just a few days time. I'm sending peace and rest and laughter your way...I hope to visit you soon. All blessings and much love,


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