Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Return of Grampy

Returning once again from a long absence, do I need to apologize again? Okay, sorry. After that hospital stay back in December, I kind of got out of the habit, plus I was sort of home bound for a while. Nothing particulary interesting or funny about sitting in a recliner 18 hours a day watching “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and “Jeopardy.” It kind of puts a damper on your creativity and zest. I received a substantial monetary offer by a major drug manufacturer to participate in an online cancer discussion group for a week, so I’m trying to get back in the swing of things. While I’m already at the computer I’ll update you with a tale of my recent activities.

At last post, I had gotten out of the hospital and was regaining my strength, hoping to be able to drive again. The chance to drive I was anticipating didn’t happen, but I did manage to do so about a week later with no major catastrophies. As for my stamina and walking, I’m still not able to get around quite as well as before the last hospitalization. For any long distances I need a wheelchair. I can walk short distances, up to about 75 to 100 feet or so on my own, for the in-between distances I’m able to use a walker.

When I got out of the hospital back in December, we mentioned to one of my many doctors that a walker would be helpful and we were assured that would happen. After a few weeks, no walker materialized and I happened to complain to someone (who has asked to remain anonomous) and they said they had one in storage that I could have. When I no longer need it, just pass it on to someone else. Great! The next day I had a sleek shiny like-new walker that was just perfect. No bells or whistles, just your basic walker frame, which is what I needed.  Two days later the Medicare provided walker arrived. Once assembled, the first thing we noticed was that it was too wide to fit through a normal door. It’s a tight fit even sideways. It won’t fit in the trunk of our car either. Wheels, brakes, a little chair to fold down that you can sit on, any fancier and it would have a horn, headlights and require a license to operate. I think this is the same walker that Godzilla used while recuperating from his last attack on Tokyo. If you look hard enough you might find a label that says “Hummer” on it. Wondering why medical costs are getting so high? While there are many reasons, overkill on things like this are a part of it.

For the last month or so my extreme shortness of breath returned along with a severe cough. I was worried that the cancer was growing back into my middle airway and another broncoscopy  would be needed. For a while I couldn’t go more than two or three minutes without having a severe coughing fit I was unable to control. After consulting with several doctors in various disciplines, nobody could find a reason. After a visit to a throat specialist (more on that to come) and a squirt of some sort of lubricant up my nose so they could snake a camera inside my head, the coughing cleared up for about 24 hours. Although not confirmed by anybody with an M.D. behind their name, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s mainly due to severe sinus drainage. Fingers crossed, a triple whammy of Flonase, Vick’s Vaporub and Sudaphed seems to be helping to stifle my cough.

Now, more about the throat specialist. I’ve complained several times about the voice-to-text capabilities of my answering system. I now have another one to add to the list.  The doctor’s name is spelled strangely, not enough vowels. When pronounced it sounds sort of like “Maturka.” Run it through my answering machine and she becomes “Doctor Metallica.” I mentioned the humorous translation and she was delighted with it.

My next CT scan is in mid-April so I should have more news on my progress then. My oncologist told me at my last visit that I’m beating the odds. A few years back and I’d be dead by now. Keep the prayers and good wishes coming!

Hey, this has been fun! I should do it more often!