Wednesday, May 27, 2015

One battle after another

What in the world to do?  

We made our radiology appointment yesterday.  Rich was wobbly on his feet and still very stressed out over the reaction he'd had last week to the second line of chemo that he'd received.

We were late for our chemo appointment as both RAD and Chemo were scheduled for the same time.

Nurse Jackie noticed right away that Rich was in a wheelchair [he didn't feel he could walk safely to the Infusion Clinic].

Rich is a veteran with PTSD issues from the Vietnam War. The stress of chemo along with the health issues of going through chemo and radiation therapies at the same time were taking a huge toll on his emotional status.  Enough so that when we got to the Infusion Clinic that Nurse Jackie realized that we had a pretty huge problem.

If a person is extremely stressed and emotionally distraught, chemotherapy will only worsen any healing that can go on.

Nurse Jackie recognized what was happening with Rich and immediately began to assess him.  After some phone calls and a conference with his Chemo Oncology doctor, Dr. R, it was decided the best and safest thing to do was to get him admitted to the Mental Health floor where he could get some help yet still be close enough to be treated with Radiation.
Along with that he could get help with his emotionally distress so he could be prepared for on going chemo, which he does want to continue with.

It seemed like an easy enough and simple enough plan.
6 hours later we were still awaiting a decision.
The mental health people didn't want him because he had a PEG tube and used a CPAP at night.
He was taken to the 4th floor and they didn't really want him as he had been labeled as having mental health issues.

We finally got him settled on the 4th floor and Steph and I went home.

As of noon today his attending nurse on the 4th floor felt he should be kept on that floor because of his past issues with chemotherapy.  But the powers that be decided he should be on '2B', Mental Health.

No one but his nurse has had interaction with him.  The admitting physician came in and gave him a quick once over and since he was not ill enough, thought he could be transferred.

No one from Mental Health has seen him either.  A man in pain from ongoing radiation and extreme anxiety from chemo, left in a room with his thoughts of confusion and more anxiety.

It leaves one to ponder what the Veteran's Administration has in place for veteran's who have both medical issues and mental health issues.  At this point it seems that they have no good protocols in place.

The VA works well, when it works.  It needs constant shoving, pushing, calling, and nagging when it comes to letting someone fall through the cracks.

At the moment, I am at home trying to push, shove, nag, and get answers.  My wish would be to sit with my husband right now and offer him my support.

The male nurse we met a couple of weeks ago in the Emergency Dept stopped me yesterday and asked 'Who is supporting you?'  I nodded towards Rich's daughter, Steph.
Truly though?

I feel as though I am in free fall without a safety net myself.

I am only left with questions that are unanswered and doubts that linger.

Last week I nearly lost my husband to an Anaphylactic reaction, this week I lose my husband to the inner bowels of the VA hospital who seems to 'not know' what to do with him.

I know I can't bring him home right now, and at the moment I am too exhausted to drive 2 hours one way to be with him.

The severity of his Anaphylatic reaction last week on a scale of 1 to 4 was a 4, this told to us by his chemo doc yesterday.
I can probably say with some confidence that my stress level at this moment is off the charts.

I feel helpless and frustrated...and exceptionally drained.

Yet, tomorrow is another day right?


  1. Does the hospital offer any family stay rooms? Is there anyone who could care for the farm while you are away? This is the time to reach out. There are people who want to help, if they are only asked and directed. I feel so badly, Val. I wish I were close by to lend a hand. Bless Stephanie, but there are people wanting to assist. I so wish you peace and relief, my friend. Tell Rich, take two deep breaths (it engages the parasympathetic nervous system, and helps bring calm). You take two deep breaths, too. Let go, Let God.

    1. It does and I do have some folks that would come in once in a while to do some simple chores.
      Our farrier has offered his help on anything and one of the neighbors showed up with a mower last night and worked on the yard.
      People are very good.

    2. The rooms to stay are about 6 miles away, right now he is in a lock down ward...just the way mental health wards have to be now.
      I couldn't visit him now anyway as he is not allowed off the floor.
      However we can talk by phone, so right now I am here taking care of things and he is there....

  2. I really do wish I had met you sooner.....