Where The Popsicles Are-90

Homeward bound.

Sunday morning, and I arrived at the hospital at eight, Starbucks in hand, for me not her, and found her sleeping. As I watched her for awhile, her breathing appeared to be normal to me, not labored, or fast. I hadn’t talked to a nurse yet to see how here night had been.

Joanie woke up about 8:30, for only a moment or two. Said she had thrown up twice in the night, once about 11:00 last night, and again around 7:00 this morning. Then she drifted off to sleep again. I went out for a smoke, finish my coffee and pick up the Tribune, in case there was anything worth reading about on this Sunday. I also wanted to see if she would be interested in the paper because of the inserts, specifically the Target ad. If she was, that would give me another indication that she was starting to feel better. Turns out she wasn’t interested right then, but asked me to take it home with me.

The nurse came in about 9:00 to check her out, and take all of the readings, plus give her some Marinol. Joanie told her the nausea was about five on a scale of 1 to 10. Her blood pressure was good, temperature was good, pulse was normal, and she was definitely feeling better. While the nurse was getting the drugs, she said she wanted to go home. I knew that wouldn’t happen until a couple of doctors came by and checked her out as well.

At 11:00 that morning, Dr. Kriengkrairut, the doctor who had done the thoracentisis, came by to check on her. He took her off the oxygen she had been on for the past couple of days. He said they wanted to see how she was doing without it, and said someone would check on her in about 20 minutes or so, and if it looked good, they would leave it off.

As he left, I followed him out into the hall to talk to him, and asked him about the volume of fluid the drained off her lung, and how it was possible so much accumulated since we were in Minneapolis in January. He told me there were any number of reasons, not the least of which was cancer. That was consistent with what Dr. Carson had told me when I talked to her about the breathing problem a week before the first chemo round.

Then, Dr. K. told me something I didn’t want to hear, and he said it was his opinion they were going to find cancer cells in the fluid. The results would be available no sooner than Tuesday, and if that is indeed the case, they would probably have to put in a chest tube to deliver meds to the affected area. Right then, I was stunned again, and trying to figure out what I do with this bit of information when I talked with Joanie. I decided that if the subject came up, I would just put a good face on it, and say the chemotherapy she is on, should help clear it up. I didn’t know any other way to deal with it, especially since we didn’t know for sure if the fluid contained cancer cells or not, and if it didn’t, then we would have been worried about something we shouldn’t have been worried about.

About noon Joanie asked for ice and apple juice, and drank a tidy amount, not a lot, but more than she had in a long time.

Around one o’clock a nurse came in to take her temperature, and it was normal. What was more important it was staying normal. The nurse mentioned something about going home, and Joanie said she hadn’t mentioned it to me yet. She said she was going to lobby Dr. Reynolds, the on-call doctor, to get out today. With that news, Joanie told me she was going to try and take a nap, so I went home for a while.

When I got back, the first thing to she said to me when I walked into the room, was, “I’m not going home today.” She didn’t say it with a smile on her face either. She told me Dr. Reynolds informed her they wanted to be sure she could keep food and liquids down, plus the fact was she also had a urinary tract infection, and they had ordered Cipro to begin dealing with that.

The one thing I did notice, was even as she was expressing her disappointment at not going home, she was doing it with a stronger voice than I had heard her use in several days. I could tell from listening and looking at her face, she was getting stronger.

The remainder of Sunday was spent napping and sipping, and talking some, but about nine o’clock she looked at me and told me to go home. I gave her a kiss, squeezed her hand, and asked her if she wanted coffee in the morning. She smiled and shook her head, and said, “Go.”

Monday morning, I got to Joanie’s room around 8:00, and she told me she had a little dry mouth, but wasn’t feeling bad. Said she hadn’t slept that well last night, but that didn’t surprise me or worry me at all. She said again, “I just want to go home, and I want to go home right now.”

Nine o’clock came, and Dr. Kriengkrairut stopped in the room to check on her. There was no news on the lab work on the fluid yet, and he said it would be later today, or tomorrow morning. He then began to tell Joanie that when they know what’s going on they can decide on a chest tube to medicate the remaining fluid. I know he was the doctor, and a doctor has to tell the patient what is going on, but I really wished he had held off on that news until they knew for sure what they were dealing with. Then, he told her the meds won’t “cure,” but, they could “palliate.” I didn’t say a thing, and I’m not sure if Joanie even grasped what he was saying. All that meant to me was they could treat the symptom without curing the underlying disease. I guess it was supposed to make her feel better that  they could do that. It didn’t make me feel any better.

After he had left, Joanie didn’t say a word about it. It was as if she didn’t even hear the word chest tube, or palliate. That was okay with me, and I didn’t say anything more about it either.

We were still waiting for Dr. Thomas to come by. She was having some cherry jello and and a glass of the protein drink, Boost, and looking forward to getting the hell out of there.

About 9:45, Thomas comes in, and shortly announces she is going home. Her face lit up, and she thanked him profusely. He said there was nothing new on the lab work on the fluid, but they would call tomorrow when the knew something.

We finally got her home at 11:00. Seems that getting out of a hospital is harder than getting into one. In any event, by 11:10 she was on the couch with Muffin on her lap.

She finally got relaxed, and by mid-afternoon, was doing really well. Mikey Hoeven called, and Joanie answered the phone, just as I was leaving to go to the drug store for some drugs for her. I thought that was a sure sign she was feeling better.

Her sister Ann stopped by that evening for a few minutes to check up on her, and she thought she was looking good and doing well.

After she got home, she had water and lemonade to drink, and for dinner chicken noodle soup. She didn’t eat that much, but I didn’t care. She was home, more relaxed and feeling stronger, and to me that’s all that mattered right then.


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.
This entry was posted in Joanie's Journey and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Where The Popsicles Are-90

  1. Jimmy says:

    See? I told you that you’d find a venue for the chronicles of Joannie.

    “Write it …and they will read it”.


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