Where The Popsicles Are-45

Things begin to move.

Monday morning it had been three weeks since we left Bismarck. Today, Dr. Chen tells us he wants Joanie out of her before Dr. Carson gets back. She was out of town for a week or so. That meant out of here by the weekend.

That pronouncement from Chen seemed to give her some energy. She did have a little bit of toast this morning, and the rest of the day we spent walking and sleeping. The phone was back on, and things were starting to look up.

On Tuesday morning, she had some orange juice, but didn’t eat anything. She was still a little gun shy of eating to much. She was fearful of getting sick like she did last week, and she didn’t want that to get in the way of getting out of here by the weekend. She lost one more IV bag in the morning and had taken a couple of pills and kept them down.

Most of the rest of the day, she was uncomfortable with what they figured were gas pains.  We would walk, and she would sit up, but nothing seemed to help. Then, later that evening while nurse Nan and I were in the room, she threw up. After we got her cleaned up, she said she felt better than she had all day. There wasn’t any reason as near as we could determine, but the important thing was that she was feeling better.

They are scheduled to take a look at the stents tomorrow with the idea of taking them out, and that would be another important step in getting out. Joanie was beginning to make plans.

On Wednesday morning when I got there Barb and a student in the room working on Joanie. Seems her stents had come out while she was taking a shower, and Barb told me she didn’t think it was anything to be concerned about. She had been scheduled for an X-ray for today to see if they could take them out. Now, the X-ray was just to see if things were okay. Barb told me her Miami Pouch was putting out a “ton of urine” which was a sign that things were working the way they were supposed to.

She had a surprise visitor today. Nancy Jones Schafer, the First Lady, came by to see her and spend a little time with her. Nancy’s visit gave her a lift, and Joanie told her she would be home and back to work soon.

Another development today that helped her spirits, was that the last of the drains was taken out today. That was it for the drains, and it was another sign she’d be getting out soon. Nurse Nan told her she could eat again, but it would be a low residue diet for the first few days. They wanted to be sure she could keep solid food down before they would let her go.

By now, Joanie was determined more than ever that she was going to get out of the hospital. All of the drains were gone. The stents were gone, all but one of the IV bags were gone, she was eating, albeit not that much, and everything was looking good for the weekend.

Joanie was a Taurus. I used to say to her, “You’re strong, like bull.” What she had been through these past three weeks bore that out. I don’t think she believed me when I used to tell her how strong she was, but her attitude and how she endured what she’d been through since this whole thing started told me I was right.

There was still some work to do, but by now there was no doubt that nothing was going to keep her here any longer than something major. She wouldn’t allow that to happen.


About Bob Kallberg

Retired reporter. Concentrating now on recounting Joanie's 12 year battle with cancer, a battle she waged with extreme courage, determination and an indomitable spirit, that, for me, serves as an example.
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