Living with throat cancer has it’s own unique challenges and struggles. Mine is no different from anyone else. Last week, after I ate dinner, I had a coughing fit so severe that I coughed up bright red cherry blood. That is all I needed in my decision making process to get driven down to the ER at San Antonio Medical Center.
When I arrive at the ER, I tell them I am a cancer patient, they check my blood pressure and other vitals. Then they rolled me to a room. After a few visits with the doctors they came to an early decision for me to stay overnight. So staying overnight came with some good and bad benefits. The good benefits of me staying over night is that I will have 24/7 patient health. Really, I didn’t see an issue in staying over night as having any bad benefits, the only being is that my granddaughter will be on the road soon and I want to be home when they arrive.
So I was admitted and I didn’t think much of it since again the scopes were going to be done around noon on Thursday. So again, your truly, didn’t question about the lack of an IV fluid. So I asked my attending nurse and she was like there is nothing about you needing fluids in your admittance paperwork. I told them that I am a throat cancer patient and I needed to drink about 3 Liters of water a day. I also informed them of all the different medication I use. I was given that blank stare that I knew I was in for a miserable time. They look me straight in the eye and said, “We will let out doctors know but if it’s not in their notes there is nothing we can do.” I have used this same technique especially in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
So let me recap it for you. When I went to sleep on Wednesday night with no food and no water intake because GI (Gastroenterologists) wanted to do an upper scope and they would need me to go under. ENT (Ear Nose Throat) also needed to do an upper scope but I don’t need to be on any food or water restrictions. Now it is Wednesday, ENT came by and did what they had to do and pretty much I was clear from their view point. Still no word from GI. Then around 4pm, I was given the ok to eat from the menu as the nurse was hooking up an IV now. But at this point in time I was no longer hungry. I tried to eat but I couldn’t. GI came in put me under did what they had to do and found the source of blood which was in the back of my tongue. I was released by 4pm on Friday with maybe a whole litter of IV fluids over those two days.
By Saturday, I was running a low fever ranging from 99.9 to 101.0 and somewhere at 10pm, I checked my temperature and it was 101.3. It was time to get checked out as they ran a series of blood cultures, blood draws and more x-rays. I was too happy to be going back home even if it meant being released at 4a.m. on Sunday morning. I was enjoying the sleep when I felt my body temperature rise and took a quick body temperature; 102.8!!! Time to go back to the ER. I was fortunate that common sense doctors were in charge. They verified all the blood work was complete and if further blood draws were needed; then it was done at that time. Again the doctor came in and asked if why not stay the night. I told the doctor that the last time I stayed I almost lost it because I was denied fluids and food and ended up missing a lot of my necessary medicines.
So that happened about 2 weeks ago and this past week was just as flustering from visiting my Primary Care Doctor who again had to hear my rant as I don’t was to get admitted. There was more concern of my weight lost and ok of me throwing up old blood versus bright cherry red. Well despite having a horrible previous weekend, this past weekend was just as frustrating and unique with their own skills and challenges. I attribute the attitude I have based on the military training, attitude, and spirit. You learn a thing or two about yourself with every promotion one receives. You learn to grow as a person, as a leader and at times even as a follow.
This past week I was more of the follower, I relied on my wife more than ever to ensure I was at the right place and time. I didn’t give any healthcare provider a hard time but rather just my normal guessing my blood pressure which gets them to a relax a bit. I met a fellow cancer who we call affectionately Sister Jones. To see her make it gave me hope when I needed it the most. She was my inspiration with her love of life and her positive spirit.