I don't know how patients without an advocate manage their hospital stays. Karen came in sick and disoriented plus she's a cancer patient with a variety of medications and a complex medical history and at every step to both the ER and Hospital admittance someone is asking her questions that are hard to answer for the perfectly healthy.
We do physical exams and blood work weekly to stay on top of the changes that the chemo is producing in the body and then modifying medication regimes. There's enough trial and error to make cancer treatment part art. (or witchcraft?)
Our doctor (whom we love) is very proactive concerning the two biggest problems we face in palliative cancer care; pain and nausea. He tries to prescribe pain meds potent enough and on a schedule to prevent the pain from gaining the upper hand. The pain can become like a wildfire out of control unless treated vigorously at the onset. The same with nausea.
Despite all the medical records input it sure seemed like every shift at the hospital wanted to treat both the pain and nausea differently. This was especially true with the meds that the pharmacy label indicates as "if needed" or "as needed". Trying to get those "as needed" in a timely fashion seemed to mean different things to different people.
I've finally met all the aids, nurses and doctors from all three shifts and at last we're on the same page concerning the schedule and dose of the ongoing meds.
A procedure to drain fluid from around a lung is scheduled for tomorrow and then several more days of antibiotics ahead.
If Needed Medicine Bottle, photo by William Evertson
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.