Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Porta-Cath Insertion Procedure

Jane went on Friday the 23rd of February to have a porta-cath inserted in her upper chest. A porta-cath is "Designed to permit repeated access to the venous system for the parenteral
delivery of medications, fluids, and nutritional solutions and for the sampling of venous blood." In simple terms, it is a device implanted under the skin with tubing that is inserted into the subclavian vein until it reaches the superior vena cava of the heart.

The idea is to eliminate the need for repeated insertion of I.V.'s while undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer. This method also helps reduce possible problems from the harsh chemicals to smaller veins in the arm.

During the insertion procedure, Jane's left lung was punctured slightly, causing what is called a "pneumothorax" (collapsed lung). In Jane's case, it was only about 5%, but enough to cause her discomfort, and by Saturday morning, she was still in pain. After calling the on-call doctor, she went to the emergency room for a chest X-ray, and they found the pneumothorax had increased in size somewhat. So, Jane was admitted to the hospital (again) and spent Saturday and Sunday night in Med/Surg.

After 2 nights in the hospital, the doctors released Jane, and she came home without oxygen (which is a good thing). The past week or so has been a bit trying for Jane, to say the least, but she's doing pretty good physically otherwise. Her bowel surgery is healing well, and we had an appointment with the surgeon today, and he feels that she has made great progress.

We visited with the Radiologic Oncologist on Monday morning, just prior to Jane's discharge from the hospital, and I will post the outcome of that conversation tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Jane's Cancer Dx

Here's the long story:

Jane had a routine colonoscopy in January of 2006, and her Gastroenterologist, Dr. Judith Csanky (pronounced "Shaanky") diagnosed her with diverticulosis, which is a large intestine condition in which pouches, or pockets form in the colon, oftentimes becoming inflamed (diverticulitis).

Jane was doing pretty good between January '06 and July, when she started having more and more difficulty with her bowels, problems eating lots of different foods, etc. She kept going to our family doctor and complaining of pain, discomfort, etc. She was prescribed Metronidazole which is a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It killed some of the good bacteria, and left room for some really bad stuff called Clostridium difficile.

C. difficile
, as it is called, is a nasty little bug, which put her in the hospital for about a week in November of '06. About 2 weeks after release from the hospital, the C. diff reared (no pun intended) it's ugly head again and this time the infectious disease control doctor put her on a Vancomycin taper treatment that was to continue about 2 months into January of 2007.

We went to California for Christmas, and while there, Jane's discomfort continued to increase. Upon our return, we went back to the doctor had another colonoscopy which revealed an obstructed bowel. Dr. Csanky pressed for surgery (bless her!), and Jane went in on January 29th to have a bowel resection (remove the diseased section of colon).

Immediately after the surgery, Dr. Faddis came and spoke with me and my sister Pam who was waiting with me. We were told that the surgery went well, however there was a cancerous tumor that had grown outward from the colon (not inward as usual), which surprised even him. He was able to remove most of the tumor, but not all of it.

Jane stayed in the hospital for about 6 days, and came home to recover on February 5th.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New Career

I started my new career on January 8th, 2007.

I was hired by Samaritan Health Services to work at Samaritan Albany General Hospital, in Albany, Oregon. My new job is Unit Aid/Unit Secretary in the Critical Care Unit (CCU). There are 8 beds in CCU, and we care for patients who are on ventilators, and those who have serious illnesses and injuries.

I spent the first four weeks training with a really great gal, Debbie, and she taught me how to keep the patient's rooms stocked with supplies, how to enter orders in the computer, and keep things in order and prepared for the nurses and doctors.

I love this job. It's one of the most demanding jobs physically, since I am on my feet most of the 12-hour shift, and it's also demanding emotionally because of the condition that many of the patients are in while they're there.

My regular shift is Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, from 0700 - 1930, so I have four days off each week, and get regular full-time benefits working there. I work with a bunch of great nurses and doctors, and other professionals (respiratory therapists, physical therapists, nutritionists, housekeepers, phlebotomists, rad-techs, etc, etc).

What a blessing to be able to care for people when they are in need! More to come later . . .

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Application is In

I turned in my application for the LBCC Nursing program on Monday (Feb. 5th). I went over the whole thing with my advisor, and then again with the lady who takes the applications at Registration.

Now it's a waiting game. I have the most points you can possibly get for the classes I took, so I should be in good shape. Pray for me! I should hear from the school by early May.