T-Shirt from Olympic Gym, Signed and Delivered

Posted in Personal on October 20, 2011 by Mark P. Line

Leane had her structural reintegration practice for years in an office at Olympic Gym in San Antonio, Texas. Many of the trainers and clients of the gym were also her clients, and a number of them also became our personal friends. One of those friends, Sandy, organized this shirt and sent it to Leane. It arrived this morning by FedEx.

Thanks, Sandy, and thank you so much to everybody at Olympic Gym. This means a lot to us.

Get-well T shirt from Olympic Gym, San Antonio TX

Get-well T shirt from Olympic Gym, San Antonio TX


Much The Same

Posted in Personal on October 20, 2011 by Mark P. Line

Leane was much the same yesterday as the day before, a pretty rough time of it with anxiety. The night nurse had me go ahead and give her some hydrocodone and an early dose of Ativan yesterday evening. That was at 11pm. When I checked on her at 3pm for the regular 4-hour Ativan dose, she was sound asleep with no signs of anxiety. So I went back to sleep myself for a bit. At 7 this morning she was still sound asleep but weaving and fidgeting a bit. She woke enough at 8 to get her meds, and she’s been sleeping since then with some signs of anxiety. Putting on some Enya CD’s has seemed to help calm her down, but it also seems like some tracks are better than others.

I was able to sleep between alarms most of the night, and have my laptop set up in the bedroom so I can both keep an eye on anxious girl 🙂 and get some work done on a project that I can do on that machine. (Most of my projects are on the Macintosh desktop.)

Rough Day

Posted in Personal on October 19, 2011 by Mark P. Line

Yesterday was Leane’s roughest day yet. She had a couple of episodes of shaking with her hands and arms that wasn’t attributable to her being too cold — there’s a space-heater next to her bed year-round — and was unresponsive most of the day.

The nurse who came by the second time it happened said it was nerves, and told me to start giving her the sublingual Ativan every 4 hours or as soon as she wakes up, as opposed to “as needed” as originally prescribed.

To that end, I bought and downloaded an alarm clock app for my iPad so I can use an ear bud. That way I won’t be waking her up every four hours and can just wait till she wakes up to give her her medicine.

The obvious worst case downside to this scenario is that I might not get much in the way of sleep. Last night I gave her a dose at 1:45 and set the alarm for 5:45. When the rooster crowed — literally, as it’s a very high-tech alarm clock — she happened to be awake, smiling and responsive to sweet nothings. So she got that dose on time and I got not much less than 4 hours of sleep. I managed with 4 hours of sleep for years, all through my graduate college days, so I guess I’ll continue to pretend I’m in my early twenties. 🙂

She did manage to listen and respond to a phone call from her cousin Donna yesterday morning. We’ll do more of that with other friends and family calling and me holding the phone to Leane’s ear.

Leane needs to be turned to a different position every few hours to avoid bedsores. You roll her over partway on her side and stick a pillow in the gap. Every time I’ve tried to do that, she’s wiggled away from the pillow to lie flat again after maybe half an hour. She also raises her knees or otherwise shifts position on her own fairly frequently — she was immensely muscular before the cancer, a former powerlifter, so there must still be something left — and the nurses haven’t found any early signs of bedsores at all, so I’m hoping it will be enough.

Today the aide will be here today to clean her up and adjust the bedding and what not.

No Chatterbox, But Aware

Posted in Personal on October 18, 2011 by Mark P. Line

This morning Leane seems more aphasic than confused. In fact, when I asked her if she was in any pain, she said yes. When I brought the syringe with liquid hydrocodone, she opened her mouth without me asking her to, though she didn’t move her tongue out of the way. The stuff must taste truly horrible judging from the look on her face. I didn’t know that human facial muscles could DO that.

A few minutes later she seemed agitated about something, so I asked her if I could give her some Ativan, and she said yes. This time when I came with the syringe, she opened up AND lifted her tongue so I could squirt the medicine right under her tongue where it belonged. So obviously if she wasn’t quite sure what the plan was on the first one, by the second one she had it all figured out and was cooperating to the best of her ability.

The nurse put in a urinary catheter yesterday, which I forgot to mention in my post yesterday. Leane’s output had been only about 150cc/day, and the transfers to the bedside commode were getting more and more difficult for her wimpy husband because she was no longer able to support any of her own weight. (I was treated — successfully, by all accounts — for cancer myself in 2009 and I was never able to rebuild any upper body strength after that. I still have an intravenous port in my chest which prevents me from putting more than 25 lbs on my left shoulder.) So far she’s seemed fine with the catheter.

Now Leane is comfortable, sound asleep and snoring.

Update on Leane

Posted in Personal on October 17, 2011 by Mark P. Line

Leane has been almost entirely unresponsive since yesterday evening. It was very difficult to get her meds taken last night, and it was impossible this morning because she simply wasn’t aware enough of her surroundings. The risk of choking is too great to try to cajole her into trying to swallow.

So the hospice nurse came over and instructed me to discontinue Leane’s oral meds except when she really does seem able to swallow. The nurse showed me how to use some emergency meds I keep in the fridge and ordered more meds to administer more regularly. They can all just be squeezed into her mouth in liquid form.

The nurse also had an oxygen pump and a portable bottle delivered in case Leane shows signs of hypoxia, as well as a gel pad to lie on and a trapeze for the hospital bed.

It’s now more important than ever to keep the cat from crawling around the bed all over Leane, so I’ve got Emily in a carrier and am having her taken to the vet for boarding this afternoon.

More later.

Leane at the Hard Rock

Posted in Personal on October 17, 2011 by Mark P. Line

Hard Rock Casino & Hotel, 6/10/2011 (Mark's birthday)

Hanging In There With Friends

Posted in Personal on October 17, 2011 by Mark P. Line

After starting Leane on home hospice care on Tuesday, Leane has actually started showing some small signs of improvement. She’s waking up fairly frequently on her own and seems to be understanding everything going on around her, though her speech is still mostly limited to single high-frequency words and phrases. I’m usually only able to get most of a bottle of Ensure into her a day, though. Her biggest problem at the moment is her wimpy husband trying to manhandle her in and out of bed, I think…

Our friends Brad and Veronica and their 7-year-old daughter Angeline from San Antonio drove up here this weekend to see Leane and we had a wonderful visit. It had been a long time since I’d seen such a broad grin on Leane’s face as when she looked over at Angeline — we hadn’t seen them in three years or so. We all sort of hung out in the bedroom, and when Leane could be a part of it, she was. Our friends went and picked up some food at a regionally famous bbq pit and we had a little picnic right here.

They’d heard me say that Leane was asking for a piece of cake the other day and I didn’t have any, so they stopped somewhere and picked up some chocolate éclairs with Bavarian creme filling and some apple turnovers. I was able to feed Leane half an éclair! The most solid food she’d had since those skillet-basted eggs I made her when we got home from her PET scan on Monday!

They had to head back to San Antonio this morning, but then at 12:30 our friend Jo came over with a nice fresh cheeseburger for me — Jo’s right, I haven’t been paying very much attention to my own nourishment lately. Although we do have a house full of food, much of it requires cooking. Cooking is my hobby, but there aren’t enough hours in the day. So this afternoon I took Jo’s admonishment to heart and went through the freezer, throwing out everything that nobody here is going to eat now that I’ve quit eating potatoes (glycemic index too high). I’m putting some microwaveable dinners, sides and snacks on the shopping list to fill the freezer back up.

It turns out that we have quite a number of great friends like Brad, Veronica and Jo, both local to Bartlesville and farther afield. Those of you reading this who know me know that I don’t say that lightly — to me, a friend is somebody who can sing my tune when I forget the words. I’ve been treated to quite a choir performance lately.

It’s time for a long-overdue “Thank You” to all of our great friends! Thank you!