The new normal is a lesson in uncertainty. Today may be similar to yesterday or different from any days I've experienced since this cancer began. Plans are so often thwarted that I wonder; why make plans? Perhaps that is some type of zen koan that I can't quite fathom.
Thursday was chemo day and all was well, as was Friday; we were looking forward to celebrating Valentines Day on Sunday with friends.
Instead I've summoned the EMT's and ambulance.
Karen just won't wake up.
She's been tapering off a medication that was fatiguing her more than helping but this seems profoundly different. I had trouble waking her with the 2am and 6am pain meds. I let her sleep; this happens sometimes. I try to wake her at 9:30 for some water; she has a sip or two and wants to sleep more. At noon I try again and she wont wake; her eyes partially open, her breathing is becoming labored.
I pick up the phone and place the call to 911.
I call our friends Cynthia and Teri..I pack a bag with her meds, treatment synopsis, living will and wait for the emergency workers.
I'm not sure why there are four of them; The first two are listening and understanding the complexity of the situation. The cop and the two late comers are just in the way. My biggest fear is by rushing they are going to break more bones. They slow down and we gently move her from upstairs into the ambulance.
Karen's not oriented; doesn't know where she is, who she is or what's happening. This plays out several more times with various nurses and doctors throughout the day.
I'm not sure what was going through my mind. It was going to some dark places given our luck with this cancer.
Blood and urine samples were rushed to the lab. Bearing in mind that rush still means hours of uncertainty. In the meantime she was so dehydrated from such long periods asleep she received two units of saline. She also had a fever I didn't pick up on.
Tests came back positive for a pneumonia and antibiotics were started.
I was never so happy to hear a bad diagnosis as this. It is something that can be fixed. We haven't heard that in quite a while. Karen has been admitted to Middlesex Hospital and is resting quietly. She's already much improved, alert and oriented. Profound thanks to Teri, Flip, Cynthia and Roger for helping us through this.
Karen should be released in a couple of days.
Frans Masereel - Passionate Journey
William and Karen - Karen and I have been married for 41 years. Karen's breast cancer has reached stage 4. This is what happens next.