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

in hospital to regain health

I’m now at Emergency with Mom again, but it’s not what you might think. Floyd’s here, too. Mom asked me if I wanted to go with her to her doc appointment. I haven’t been for a long while. It was at the Jack Addy clinic. Dr. Imbulgado, the cancer doc, came in and talked about the past 3 weeks since Mom’s fall and all the problems she’s been having. Since the cancer has increased in size & area, the doc suggested increasing the dose of Tarceva, the cancer med, from 3 to 4 per week. He said every day would be ideal, but Mom wouldn’t hear it – too many side effects.

He told Mom he wanted her consider palliative care doctors. She said all along that she didn’t want to, but since her fall 3 weeks ago she’s had no energy, pain in her ribs and back, no appetite despite appetite meds, and gets out of breath walking 15 feet from the table to the living room. She finally agreed to see someone. A palliative care nurse (forget her name) came in, asked questions, and began an assessment for Dr. Ireland, a palliative care doc. Dr. Ireland completed the assessment and is running tests for glucose (blood sugar) among others. Mom’s list of complaints is shortness of breath, no energy, lack of appetite, back & rib pain.

The hospital system has no spare beds – is “bulging” as it is – but Emergency might have some. They made some phone calls, and we’re now waiting at Emergency for a bed. Mom expects to be there for a few days before returning home. We’re waiting for admittance.

pics & vids:

on bed in Emergency with Floyd
Annette in hospital 20170814_115141 on bed in Emergency with Floyd.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170814_115145 on bed in Emergency.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170814_122844 on bed in Emergency, to Angela.mp4
Annette in hospital 20170814_164417 intravenous needles.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170814_164452 on bed in Emergency.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170814_164504 on bed in Emergency.jpg
Annette in hospital 20170814_164638 Emergency room.jpg

Uncle Al passes away

This blog entry is about Uncle Al.  It has affected Mom considerably though, so I’m posting it here.

I got a message from cousin Sherry Aust today that uncle Al Johnston passed away. We thought it was this morning, on his 90th birthday, but it was actually last night. He called Phil Harder, his friend, and 911. By the time they got there, he was lying on his bed and had already passed away. He was 89 – born July 4, 1927 – died one day before his 90th.

I was going to go see him again this year. I went last year, and we had a good visit and a lot of fun.

Glenn’s last dinner in Lethbridge

Justin: We all went out for Glenn’s last dinner in Lethbridge.  Mom suggested Smitty’s, but I suggested we should try something we haven’t had in a while – Taco Time.  There was a little confusion about where it was, but we found it.  The meal was good.  However, Mom was really weak at the end of it.  She walked slowly out of the restaurant and climbed into the car.  Not very often I see her that weak.  But this has been pretty common the past more than a week since she came home from her surgery.  I think she caught a flu bug while in hospital.  This has made her very weak.

surgery pretty good, flu

Justin: Mom went to her doctor’s appointment.  The powder treatment for around her lung has gone almost all the way around the lung cavity.  I’m not sure, but it is apparently supposed to travel around the entire lung to be effective.  I’m supposing that the fluids around the lung will carry this substance to where it needs to be.  The doc said this was not great but pretty good.

Mom’s appetite pills … well, firstly, it is not Dr. Oviat who prescribes this, but rather Dr. Kisuk.  Mom doesn’t see her for another couple or few weeks.  Secondly, Dr. Oviat strongly suggested this prescription was not a good idea since there are so many side effects from any time of appetite-altering drug.  So it has been decided that Mom will not pursue this.

It seems likely that Mom caught some sort of flu while in hospital causing her fever and some of her weakness.  She seems to be recovering from that but is still weak and must lie down a couple of times per day.

Monday evening she did not wait up for me to arrive home from work (close to 10PM).  She left word with Floyd and Glenn that she apologizes for this.  Of course, there was no apology necessary, but she felt it nonetheless.  This evening she did wait up.  Glenn made dinner twice in the past week, and Floyd also.  She would ask if it was okay for her to go to sleep early (around 9 or 9:30PM).  She simply cannot stay awake and visit.  She feels it is her duty to do such things but now understands that she often times cannot.