soft voice, Tarceva

I was away in BC for 5 days and came back yesterday evening. Being absent for a few days, I noticed that Mom’s voice is really low and hard to hear. She just can’t push the volume out at all. She often asks Floyd to fill in when she gets winded telling a story. She’s obviously struggling for lung power and doesn’t have the capacity of even 2 or 3 weeks ago.
Mom is now on Tarveva seven days per week. The cancer has grown in volume and size considerably, according to her last CAT scan, so the doctor strongly suggested she use the cancer drug every day. As a consequence, she’s more tired than before and lays down several times a day.
In her conversations, it seems to me that Mom acknowledges that things are quite different now (since the fall several weeks ago when she broke her ribs) and that she knows she doesn’t have years like she once believed.


Last Thursday Mom and Floyd got a walker from the Canadian Red Cross.
Mom complained that it wasn’t as the doctor suggested – that it was all free – but that it was in fact by donation. As well, you don’t get to keep it. It must be returned to the RC when not needed. The RC suggested keeping it for three months. Mom felt that there’s a lot of misinformation given by the doctor and that she was talked into getting this walker.
As it turns out, she doesn’t really need the walker. It’s too cumbersome for use in the house. She’s better off using her office chair with wheels. Floyd pushes her around on it wherever she needs to go. She’s had it a few days now and thinks it’s really not useful.
So they’ll take it and the bath chair back, save the donation money, and buy a shower chair for $60-or-so from Shoppers Drug Mart or someplace.

Annette's walker Canadian Red Cross 20170822_131129.jpg
Annette's walker Canadian Red Cross 20170822_131155.jpg
Annette's walker Canadian Red Cross 20170822_131208.jpg

blood test, doctor apnt

Mom went for a blood test today. Routine, I guess. But this time they took two vials. “I can’t believe it,” she says.
There’s also an appointment this coming Friday to see the doctor about her CAT scan that she had done in the hospital. We’ll post something when we know.

short grab bar in bathtub

I installed a short grab bar in Mom’s bathtub. It’s only about 1.5 feet long, but it might be useful for when actually showering, like when sitting down on and standing up from her bath chair.

Annette’s grab bar (hand rail) near shower

bathroom hand rails

Justin: I put up some hand rails (grab bars) this evening for Mom to have a shower with.  She said they were nice but that she’s too tired tonight to have a shower.  At least her new shower chair and mat are there.

video: mp4webm avimov

Annette’s new grab bars (hand rails) for bathtub

Annette’s new blog online

Here’s Annette’s new health blog.  It’s an “upgrade” from previous versions.  Sorry about it being offline for so long.  I’ll try to keep a tighter rein on when the server being up and running.

I’ll backdate all entries previously posted on the old web.  All new entries should be after this one.

the morning routine

Floyd is gone golfing with Jeremy this morning. I’m here the kitchen table with my breakfast attending to Mom.
She’s been home a few days now. She’s tired most of the time. “I don’t understand it. I wasn’t tired in the hospital. I expected to be good when I got home. But I’m tired all the time.” I suggested she’s tired because she’s getting exercise. She just laid there in the hospital. She only got up to go to the bathroom.

She’s not on any pain killers now. Her back isn’t sore this morning. She and Floyd have their set way of doing stuff.

  • Floyd gets up.
  • Floyd puts hot tap water into two cups to warm them.
  • Floyd goes for a walk, sometimes to McDonald’s for a coffee.
  • Floyd gets home.
  • Mom gets up.
  • Floyd turns on the coffee.
  • Floyd microwaves half a muffin and pours a coffee, microwaves it, and puts a plastic lid on it for Mom.
  • Mom writes down stock market numbers from the TV (BNN – Business News Network, I think).

This is how life is. Not bad.

wants to go home

I’m visiting Mom now. She is doing okay but wants to go home. She’s not happy with the food. For breakfast, she had two pieces of toast, peanut butter, porridge (which she didn’t eat because she doesn’t like it because she’s never tried it), coffee (that she didn’t drink because she didn’t like it), and cranberry juice. She wanted a bran muffin, so I went down to the cafeteria, but they only have muffins with chocolate chips. She’s really hungry now (at 11:30am), but they nurses and staff are running around and too busy to ask what the menu is. Regardless of asking or not, they’ll bring what they bring. But they did announce that lunch will be 12:00 or 12:15.

Mom’s Tarceva, the cancer med, will be sent to the hospital. Floyd doesn’t have to go to the Jack Addy Cancer Centre to pick it up as he normally does.


A bit of news to report. Mom has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder). This is what’s causing her breathing difficulty, not her cancer – this according to Dr. Wilde, the hospital admitting doctor.

Dr. Ireland advocated for a room at the hospital, and the only way to get there is through Emergency – or wait for a long while for a bed. Hence the reason we waited at Emergency.

Dr. Wilde came to Emergency yesterday evening (8:00pm-ish) to discuss, in as much or more detail as everyone else has so far, Mom’s condition. He was the first to mention COPD. This came as a complete surprise to Mom, Floyd, & me. No one has ever said anything about COPD, but apparently it’s in Mom’s records, charts, reports, etc.

Spiriva, Ventolin, and Symbicort are all for COPD and have nothing with lung cancer. Her COPD can be caused by smoking, second-hand smoke, coal dust, asbestos, and many other contaminates. It is most likely from second-hand smoke. As well, this type of lung cancer is not generally caused by asbestos but likely by the COPD itself. The lungs are compromised, giving way to cancer.

After several minutes of awe and surprise as this new news, we went on with talking about something else – the Green Sleeve. This is where things get difficult. Yesterday Dr. Ireland talked with Mom about resuscitation. Mom burst into tears. I stood behind her and held her. The doctor simply wanted to know what Mom’s wishes were. She was very tactful and supportive but firm and honest. This must be talked about. She said it was basically up to her but that discussing it with me and Floyd obviously has to be done.

So Dr. Wilde brought up the Green Sleeve, a plastic sleeve that’s normally pasted to the fridge to let paramedics know one’s wishes in terms of what level of intervention is to be done should there be heart failure, stoppage of breathing, or any other life-threatening occurrence. Obviously Mom was really uncomfortable with this. Near the end of the conversation, she burst into tears saying, “I think everyone wants me to die!” Holy ***k. No! … It’s difficult, I know, but she’s missing the entire point. It’s about what intervention she wants. Floyd wants assistance, like breathing, heart, what-have-you, because he believes that if there’s a chance that she’ll pull through she should be given that chance. I can only say what I would want for me, not what someone else would want for him- or herself. I told Floyd while leaving the hospital that it rests on him, not me, because Mom said it’s up to him.
Now comes the difficult part of making if official. It must be documented in this Green Sleeve thing.

I’m at the hospital now with my coffee and bagel waiting for her to come back from her CT scan. I’ll go have a look now.

pics & vids:

Annette in hospital 20170815_093708 4C wing waiting area.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170815_093721 atrium.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170815_105724 message to Aizlynn re needles.mp4
Annette in hospital 20170815_111205 in 4C wing.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170815_111308 view from 4C wing room.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170815_115251 restroom.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170815_181750 food list.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170815_183750 bed controls.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170815_192321 resting.mp4
Annette in hospital 20170815_192338 resting.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170815_195901 intravenous needles.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170815_201005 Floyd, Annette hugging.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170815_201007 Floyd, Annette kissing.jpg