Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Frank Finally Home from the Hospital

It was a long trip home from Las Vegas and I was worried about Frank sitting that long in the car. He was exhausted by the time we got home, and he crawled into bed and slept for 5 hours. It was so good to be home after 9 days in Vegas.

We had to figure out a way for him to shower and was able to use a wooden stool that we had. We stuck it in the shower and Frank could sit on it. At first I had to help him shower, and now he can shower by himself and today was the first day he didn't use the stool in the shower. He uses it to sit at the sink to shave, brush his teeth, and I have to help him get his clothes on as he is not supposed to bend, lift, or twist. BLT is what the physical therapist call it.
Today he actually walked around the house a little without the use of his cane. He is supposed to walk and did this morning, but with the temperature at 115 it is way too hot for him to go outside. So he didn't get his afternoon walk. He is getting colour back in his face, and yesterday and today I can see a big improvement. It gets better every day.
I ran a few errands before lunch today and felt like I was roasting in an oven. I haven't been outside again. I was so exhausted that I finally gave in and laid down on our couch and Frank said I was blowing bubbles. I don't snore I just blow bubbles as he calls it. LOL

Does it Ever End -

These are pictures I took of Bret putting air in my tires and of him kicking back. This is a day after he gave our family a big scare. On Thursday July 23rd, Bret went home for lunch and started to have stroke like symptoms. Bret isn't one to want to go to the hospital or to a doctor for that matter. So we knew it was serious. Him being a Chiropractor, he has a lot of medical knowledge. Just when my nerves were calming down from my ordeal with Frank, this happens.
Laura called me and I told them to call 911. She told me a friend had done that and it took three hours for them to get to the hospital. So it was decided that Laura would drive him over to Mesquite. They borrowed my car and got to Mesa View Hospital in Mesquite in half an hour. Frank told me to go with them, but I couldn't leave him alone. So I stayed home, popped a chill pill and prayed that all would be well. They kept Bret in the hospital over night for observation and to have an MRI. As you can see by the pictures, all was good. The MRI came out good. THANK HEAVENS

Saturday, July 18, 2009

After Surgery

Frank had to fast from the night before surgery so when the doctor came in and said it would be two hours later than the 5:30 PM we were disappointed to say the least. When they came for him about 5:00 PM we were caught off guard, but elated that it was going to be sooner than later.
We didn't get to see Frank until almost 10 PM that night. I can't tell you how relieved I was when the PA came out and told me everything went well. By the time he came out Sherry, Renee and Jason were there with me for support. When we went into Frank's room he was in a lot of pain and they were just giving him something for his pain. It didn't take long and he was out of it. It was a shock to see him as he had been face down and his eyes were swollen, in fact his whole face was swollen, and it scared me as he looked like death warmed over.
He was put in his own private room and there was a day bed that I could lay down on while I was staying with him.
Then two days later they were going to discharge him and our case worker came in and said that they couldn't get in touch with our home health care in our area. So it was decided to keep him until Monday to make sure we had home health coming in and checking on him. Frank acted relieved to be able to lay back down and not have to make an 80 mile trip home. He was in no shape to be riding in a car for over an hour. This was also a concern of the case manager. No one realized that we were from out of town, and we couldn't take him to Sherry's condo as she has a lot of steps. I had already had my nerves in an uproar thinking that I had to take him home in the condition he was in. So we all settled down to the new plan.
Sherry & I were just sitting down to a late lunch when my cell phone rang and it was Frank telling me that I had to come and get him as Dr. Duke (no personality) had come in and basically had told him he had to be out of there as our insurance wouldn't cover it and it would be $50,000 out of our pocket. Dr. Duke was discharging him. I couldn't eat another drop of food and started to shake inside and out.
To cut a long story short. Sherry called Dr. Dukes PA ( We loved him) and told him the circumstances. He told her not to worry about it and he put a hold on Frank's discharge. Frank called me again and wasn't a happy camper and wanted to know what was going on. I went back to the hospital and we had a lot of explaining to do. My nerves were so shot that I was in outer space by now. Sherry did all the talking, I was numb.
Frank ended up going to Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital. I think this was a way to play the health care system and get the extra time he needed before making the long trip home. This all took place on Monday the 13th and as soon as we got there Frank said "What have I got myself into?" His room was a two patient room, and no place for me to lay down, etc. Frank let everyone know that he wanted out of there by Friday. So he did all the therapies up and beyond what is the norm.
He was discharged Thursday the 16th and that turned into a night mare as Sherry made plans for a friend to drive us out to the race track where I could get on the freeway and would be comfortable with that. We had been told anytime after 9 AM. We should have known it would be almost noon before we were ready to go and then we went into the lunch room and had some lunch. In the mean time Florida Sherry's friend who was going to drive us out to the race track had to change all of her plans due to the time changes. I had planned on driving myself and had a road plan all mapped out. So once again my nerves were all over the place as I could feel the steam coming off from Frank. He told me he was going to bring me in to Vegas and make me drive in the 5:00 PM rush. I know I am a coward when it comes to driving in Vegas, especially unfamiliar places, and I am thinking that I have a real phobia about it. I start tensing up and get all shaky inside and out. Having Diabetes doesn't help much. Good news we made it home. Frank slept for hours after we got him into bed.
The top picture is of Frank being taken over to Healthsouth which was just a very short distance from the hospital. The other pictures are of Sherry & I visiting in Frank's room at St. Rose.


Franks hospital room at St. Rose Dominican Siena After going to Dr. Snook in St. George UT and getting sent to a pain management center, Frank & I both decided we didn't like the run around we were getting. There was one comment that Dr. Snook had made that bothered me and that was "It may be better to just leave it alone." I thought to myself there is no way in H--- that Frank can live with this horrible pain.
The Pain Management doctor didn't ever know why we were there and that wasn't too impressive, and we had to explain to him what was going on. He didn't even have a report of the MRI or a copy of it. So Red Flags were starting to fly and kept flying higher. To this day we haven't heard a word from Dr. Snook's office about the Spine Test that was worthless as it didn't prove a thing. So Frank & I were just going to go through the motions of seeing what Dr. Snook had to say and then a wonderful answer to prayers happened.
We were at our church going in to see our Stake Presidency and bumped into a young couple we have known for years. When she came out and saw that Frank was having some serious back problems she told him that he needed to see a Neurologist and told him about her experience of the doctor working on her nerves that had been damaged in an accident years ago. Since many prayers had been said on Frank's behalf, I felt this was an answer to prayers. So we decided that we would try and get an appointment with the same doctor she had gone to.
On July 7th Frank couldn't stand the pain he was in so I tried to call several Neurosurgeons to see if I could get Frank in. The first available appointment was the middle of August. Renee had come out to Overton to see Bret as she was having neck pain. She asked if Sherry and I could meet her for lunch. So we met at the Inside Scoop, and I was in tears about Frank's pain situation and not being able to get him into a Neurosurgeon. Renee called her Aunt Rosie who works at Sunrise Hospital and asked for her advice which was to take him to the Emergency Room. I didn't want to do that as we wouldn't know who we would get for a doctor. So Sherry called Bret and had him come down to the Scoop and eat lunch with us and get his advice. I had the names of several Neurosurgeons and gave the names to Bret.
After lunch, I received a phone call from Bret. He had called Dr. Duke's office (one of the doctors I had tried to call) as he had worked with a doctor who was in the the same group. Bret had talked to one of the receptionists and questioned her about the hospitals that Dr. Duke was on call. When one of the hospitals was St. Rose, Bret said that is the one. He knew Sherry lived just a short distance from that hospital, and I would be able to stay with her. She told him to tell us to take Frank to the Emergency Room and she would have a record of him in their office as a new patient. So that is what we did. I have to say at this point Thank Heavens for my family.
As I have said before, it scares me to death to drive in Vegas and at this point my nerves were jumping all over the place. So Renee took the ball in hand and called her Dad and asked if he could drive us in, which he did. We arrived around 5PM. They had Frank come right up to the desk and started the process of checking him in. I had to be sure and tell them that I wanted to have Dr. Duke on the case and that arrangements had been made with his office and they were expecting Frank in the Emergency Room. We went through the process of getting Frank admitted to the hospital and he ended up in the overflow. It was a bunch of beds with the curtain that goes around the bed area. We used to call them Wards.
The first thing they did was to hook him up to an IV and then they gave Frank something to get him out of the horrible pain. Whatever the pain medicine was it knocked him right out, in fact he didn't even know that they had done an MRI on him. He was asleep through the whole thing. The next morning Dr. Kreun, Dr. Duke's PA came in and explained everything to us and even took Sherry and I out to an X-Ray viewer and showed us the problem.
Frank had a lamenectomy in 1977 and it had caused all of the problems. The vertebra above the old surgery had slid over and was pinching the nerves going down the spinal column. No wonder he had been in so much pain. Because Frank has been on pain meds of one kind or another since last October, the doctor wanted to run a liver test. Which I was glad of as I had been worried abut the same thing. Dr. Kerun was worried about Frank being off from his Plavix long enough to do surgery, but Frank had been off from it for the Spine Test he had done in St. George, and something had told him to stop taking it after going back on it for a couple of days. So after consulting with Dr. Duke, they decided to do the surgery on the 9th. Frank would be the last surgery of the day, somewhere around 5:30 PM. We were all relieved to finally get some answers and consequent surgery.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Frustration - Frank's Spine Test Lumbar Discography

Sorry no pictures to post on this one. Today was going really well, until we got to the hospital in St. George, UT for Frank's test and found out we were on NV time and not UT time for the appointment. So we were an hour late, well not quite an hour as we are always early for appointments. So as soon as we got there it was like a big rush. A nurse handed me the paper work and told me to do it while she took Frank back and got him ready for the procedure. They took me along with Frank paperwork and all. So while they were getting him into a hospital gown, hooking up an IV, etc., I was trying to fill out the paper work, listening to instructions, and hearing the side effects that could happen. The whole thing had my nerves in an uproar, and I bet my BP was up. Glad no one took it or they may have put me in the hospital.

When Dr. Emphy came to talk to me after the test was over, he was very puzzled as to the results. Frank had not experienced pain in the areas that the doctor thought would pinpoint the problem. He said that Dr. Snook, the spine specialist, would have a puzzle to figure out; but maybe the CT Scan would show something. Which was the next step of the procedure.

I was trying to digest the directions for the next step of the procedure which was getting Frank to the new hospital for the CT Scan. We were at the old hospital. My family knows how much I hate to drive especially in places with a lot of traffic, so I was getting anxious about finding the right place at the hospital. I went over the directions with the nurse and felt I had it down. We had to have Frank there within an hour of the test, so I felt I had to get there as quickly as possible. We arrived at the hospital, and I knew the place I had to be was by the Emergency entrance, so I pulled over by it and I felt it wasn't right as there was supposed to be a circle driveway with valet parking available and I was supposed to have Frank go in a wheel chair which they would have available. I wanted to drive around the corner to another side of the hospital as I felt that it would be where we needed to be.

From the day we were married Frank took over the driving and I became the passenger and navigator. So when it is reversed it doesn't work out too well. Since he retired I have done very little driving and like it that way, but at times it is necessary for me to drive and this was one of those times.

Frank got frustrated with me and told me to drive up to the Emergency entrance and he would go in and find out where to go. So I did and was scared to death as I had been told he needed to be in a wheel chair. Keep in mind that he had been given some kind of a sedative in his IV. Well, by the time I parked the car and walked to the doors, here came Frank in a wheel chair with a volunteer lady pushing him. She said he wasn't walking too good so she had put him in a wheel chair, and told me to meet them on the other side where I was headed in the first place. I was relieved to see Frank safely in a wheel chair and that we were being directed to the right place. I had to go back to the hot car (108 degrees) and drive around to the valet parking area and I met them there.

After the CT scan, we were starving as Frank had been fasting and I had just a few nuts that I carry with me. It was 2 PM our time, and I was starving too. We stopped at an Olive Garden and had soup, salad, and bread sticks. Then I was worried about getting back on the freeway, but everything went really smooth and Frank was able to put his head back and sleep some on the way home. The traffic wasn't too bad, and I felt blessed and started to relax at this point.

We both feel a let down as we were hoping that they would pin point the cause of the pain he is experiencing, and I am not sure when we will get the results of the CT Scan. I guess they will call us to make an appointment with Dr. Snook, the Spine Specialist. Dr. Emphy the Pain Management Doctor who did the test did give Frank another Pain medicine to try and control the pain. To add to my frustration when I went to have it filled at our small town pharmacy, they didn't have it on hand and wouldn't be able to get in until Monday. So now we will be making a 45 mile trip to Mesquite tomorrow to get it. I had driven right by Mesquite on the way home and could have stopped there had I known.

Oh well, at least we are home safe and sound and Frank is relaxing in his lounge chair where he gets the most relief from pain. Like I said in an earlier blog, this process of finding the problem in Frank's back is going to take more time than we want to even think about. Why does it have to be so hard?