The last month and a half we have been hanging around our house in San Diego. I already miss not being on the road. When I left the hospital back in early January, I was extremely weak, maybe from the battle with sepsis and cancer. It is fortunate that I am married to Peggy and she is a good sport because without her help through this misery I think I would have given up. Going to the john had become a miserable odyssey because my intestines were gunnybag. I was having difficulty accepting what appears to be news of a drastically shortened life compared to what I expected. The one good part about these two was that I spent an inordinate amount of time in the john, giving me time to cry and whimper without my family seeing my weakness and emotional loss of control.
The doctors informed me that cutting out my cancer is not an option. Chemotherapy does not work on Renal Cell Carcinoma so that’s out. Radiation won’t work either so we are left with something called immunotherapy which is supposed to fire up my immune system to attack the cancer. I started my visits to the hospital in January to get the unpronounceable and expensive drugs infused into me through an intravenous stream into my arm. It takes about half a day each time I go into the hospital for the therapy but so far there have been no nasty side effects other than feeling exhausted all the time. We’ll see if this magic stuff works in a month or two when they will run me into the CAT scanner again to see if my nasty little friend has remained the same, gotten smaller or disregarded the treatment altogether. I hope it works because I’m running low on options.
Today I was checked out of the
hospital. Although the care was superb, the prognosis is grim.
The sepsis raged for four days and the hospital staff, trying to fight the nasty infections from my dysfunctional intestine, fed me massive amounts of antibiotics which sent my heart into atrial fibrillation and wild pulse swings from about 68 to 135. Staff fought around the clock trying to keep the fibrillation from giving me a stroke and to keep the infection in line and they eventually won the day. I gave up blood samples seemingly every couple hours. Kaiser should have enough of my blood to paint an Amish barn. It was miserable.
The really nasty part was getting the other info the staff had gleaned from the CAT scans I had on December 28 and 29. There is a solid mass on my right kidney that is actually bigger than the kidney. It has metastasized into my lungs. A biopsy confirmed the diagnosis. Their name for it is Renal Cell Carcinoma. My name for it is frightening sumbitch. It cannot be excised by surgery.
I am glad to be out of the hospital but I feel like I have been beat up by thugs. Thank God for Kaiser’s Part C Medigap coverage and my family who stayed with me all the way through my time in Wing 4 South.
We have been lounging in the San Diego area for a couple months and, as it turns out, that was fortunate. This evening I checked into the local, newly-built Kaiser hospital because I thought I had appendicitis. If we had been anywhere other than our hometown, my appendicitis could have been more difficult to manage.
Once through the emergency room, the
staff sent me off to a CAT scanner where they were able to ascertain
that I did indeed have appendicitis that was also blocking my
intestine. That had cut way down on my toilet paper costs for the
last few days.
Unfortunately, the appendix had burst
or the blockage has become unblocked which gave me sepsis, a nasty
customer. I don’t think the next few days are going to be fun.
Today’s tasks were to drive across
town to Homeowner Hell, buy a security door and replacement hardware
and to haul it to our kids’ house. After that, we were to demolish
the old, funky door and its faulty hardware before replacing it with
the new stuff. It seemed pretty straightforward and simple. It
Reality quickly set in with and extended foray through the Balboa Avenue Home Depot aisles of things we didn’t need before finding Aisle 33, Bay 3, where the security doors were found. After not much confusion, we pulled out the door we wanted and loaded it onto a six-wheel cart with only two of the wheels having flat rolling surfaces. It made an irritating clunking noise as we wandered through the shopping maze. Our next stop was at Aisle 7 where we eventually found the door hardware we needed, despite there being no service personnel to assist us. Then we were off to checkout and soon back out into the daylight. One-quarter of our workday was gone by the time we jumped into the truck for the ride to the house.
It is quite evident why security
screen doors got their name because getting the old door off the face
of the house required considerable grinding, some dedicated elbow
grease and we only started two fires with hot metal sparks. We then
Vise-Gripped the long screws that held the old door out of the
framing. Some previous house paint colors could be seen under the old
frame, a testament to the length of time the old door has been bolted
to the front of the house.
Then there was a concentrated effort
by Peggy, Sam and his spouse, Kate, and me to install the new
security screen door before I remembered that the front door opening
of our house is not square so a bit of cosmetic frame work might be
necessary. We installed all the jambs plumb and the header level but
that means nothing with our front door. Our boy, Sam, came home from
college towards the end of the fun and was gracious enough to offer
me a nice shot of Jack Daniel’s Honey. Not long thereafter, Peggy and
Kate shot over to Ranch 99 Market, an oriental grocery near the
house. Disappointingly for American restaurants, Ranch 99 makes the
best fried chicken in the neighborhood. KFC should take note that
ferners produce better fried chicken than the Colonel and his
substandard wage minions.