Dealing With Cancer, III

01/22/2016~ Kaiser rescued Jim from the UC Davis Med Center (UCDMC) last night. He was going crazy there.

“They keep bringing students over to look at me…” UCDMC is a teaching hospital and this practice is common there, but not everyone brought in by ambulance has consented to the “intrusion” being forced upon them. You feel helpless in the first place and this “guinea pig under a microscope” treatment is an added stress that is not welcome.

Jim was going to call me today to let me know where he was in Kaiser. I waited and waited… nothing… Nervously, I finally call the main hospital and the phone hangs up on me; I redial and it hangs up again. Great, their phones are down! The final straw was when my phone ran out of juice and needed to be charged before I could call again. I couldn’t take it anymore, it was time to take a drive.

“Calm down Eija. You cannot drive anywhere in the shape you are in.”

I freshened up and changed clothes slowly. By the time I was done I had calmed down sufficiently and could drive. At 9:00 pm I am off to the hospital. He was in room 3009 I am told by admissions. When I get there I realize he is in intensive care; I had to be buzzed in. I found the room and walked in slowly. Nothing prepared me for what I saw when I walked in.

My sweet husband was laying in bed with a huge breathing contraption stuck in his mouth and I learn it goes down his throat and to the esophagus. He has wires and monitors all over him measuring everything from breathing, heartbeat, pulse, and blood pressure, and he looks absolutely miserable. He couldn’t turn his head toward me, but he reached up for my hand, grasping it as tight as he could. I noticed his hands were swollen, as were his feet. He could not talk and the nurse walked in to make sure he did not try.

She tells me that he had gone into cardiac arrest again today when they had hooked him up for dialysis to alleviate his swelling, but this time he did not die. She tells me that there might be an electrolyte imbalance causing his heart to contract each time he is hooked up to dialysis because it appears his kidneys are trying to kick in. This could be good news, or not… Jim’s biggest fear was that he would be stuck on dialysis for the rest of his life because the kidneys had not kicked in, yet he was urinating on his own. The problem was he was still swelling because of too much water retention.

I tried not to cry, then tried very hard so he could not see me cry. I failed miserably and he squeezed my hand to let me know it was okay. He waved his hand to let me know I could go, he could not sleep earlier, knowing I would be frantic. Now that I was there he could hardly keep his eyes open. I told him I loved him, and he gave me the thumbs up sign, his eyes trying to smile. I told him I would be back tomorrow; letting go of his hand was the hardest thing I have ever done.

I left reluctantly, feeling desolate. Something was wrong, something was different, but what? I did not want to accept the fact that what was wrong was that he had lost his spark, his will to live; he was giving up.