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.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It's nice to start off these e-mails with some good news, so here goes: we can see Mom's ankles.

That's about it, I'm afraid - the rest of the news is for crap. Mom has found it a little hard to breathe since she got home from the hospital Saturday, but it wasn't too bad. Last night around midnight, however, she couldn't catch her breath, and we debated about calling an ambulance. We ended up sleeping in her living room, with her on the recliner, where her breathing was easier, and me on the sofa. As long as she was still and quiet, she was OK, but breathing was hard when she got up to go to the bathroom. This morning we called both her oncologist and her cardiologist. The cardiologist recommended a hospital stay, and told us that she has a bladder infection that needs antibiotics. (Why, I ask grumpily, did we find this out when I just happen to calling him about something else??) And the possible scenarios accounting for the breathing are too complex for me to understand, let alone recount. Her congestive heart failure wasn't primarily about the heart, after all. It had to do with the cancer and the chemicals that get released by the kidneys, that set off a hormone reaction, that flipped a switch, and pretty soon the entire electrical grid on the Eastern seaboard goes out. I don't get it, and I don't know how much I need to. Or want to. Do I sound a tad frustrated? You should see Patio!

So we went to get chemo today, which led to a quick exam, and cancelled chemo, and some tests being ordered at John Muir hospital. After an EKG and a blood test we were waiting for results so we could get a CAT scan, when the oncology office called to report an abnormality in the EKG. They said we should go to the emergency room. That was just down the hall, fortunately, so in about 5 minutes we went from eating Yoplait in the cafe to Mom being hooked up to monitors and equipment and IV in emergency, where I'm writing this. Maybe I mentioned that we're frustrated.

Mom keeps thinking that she's about to die, but I keep reminding her that her vitals are strong, and the cancer was shrinking last time we looked. None of us, including the doctors, know what's in store, but it doesn't seem likely that this latest seemingly unending drama will be the end of it all. We keep hoping that she'll stabilize and return to some level of relative health. But for some time now it's just been one event after another, broken up with some episodes of "Lost" and some meals at the Buttercup Grill.

I reminded Mom, as I try to remind myself, that what's helpful right now is to focus on right now. Not on what might happen in the future, or how it was in the past, or how it's not what you really wanted it to be now. I just overheard a doctor clarifying to a nurse that they were to use no extraordinary measures on some patient down the hall. We don't have to look very far to see people whose condition we don't envy, and to be thankful for all that we have. And it's a practice that works. I know, because I feel better now than I did when I started writing this...

I'll keep you posted. Thanks for your good thoughts for Mom.



At April 22, 2008 8:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave writes, "We keep hoping that she'll stabilize and return to some level of relative health." To which I say loudly and fervently, AMEN. So sorry that all of your past patience, Pat and Dave, has merely gotten you to this very 'stuck' place. But as you say - no use in focusing on that - focus on the trim ankles! (and not all the confusing and contradictory reams of medical info you are the unfortunate recipients of.) We will continue with good hopes and many prayers for better news soon. Thanks for the updates, they are much appreciated. Lots of love, Kim


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