My husband, Huey, is a Vietnam Veteran. He has had over fifty surgical procedures to fix a shot gun wound to his face and has been on Morphine for the pain ever since. That was twenty years ago.
Up until now, he never found a doctor who would assist him in weaning off it… that all changed this Wednesday. Enter his new, although temporary, doctor. This man was touched by Huey’s plight, and agreed to help him kick what other doctors shied away from. He prescribed a liquid, fast release form of the medication, which we duly collected on the way out. After the appointment, we shopped and bought some fried catfish… back to that later.
Thursday, Huey began to feel unwell after the first dose of liquid. We thought it was because he was switched to fast acting liquid from the slow release pill the VA had always put him on. He had managed to get the amount down to 15 mg once a day from 60 mg twice a day in the space of a month, a few years ago. There-in arrived the brick wall. The pill does not come in an amount less than 15mg. He was on the lowest dose available. I hasten to add that he did this on his own. No one seemed prepared to try anything new in order to help him continue his deductions, until now.
He felt more and more unwell. He was vomiting like crazy and couldn’t even keep water or his meds down. So much that he went to hospital. Now… Wednesday night we had another ice storm, so Thursday all roads were icy and slick. Everything was white.
I was unable to accompany him, since I could not drive on ice, especially with my limited experience and confidence in driving. Even if I had gone in the ambulance along-side him, I would have had difficulty getting back home to look after our two dogs. I supposed that taxi drivers would be unwilling to drive in such conditions either. So, I reluctantly stayed home. Off they popped with Huey and his new meds.
An ER nurse called me. Asked me why there was 250 ml less in the bottle when I had administered only 2.5 ml. I had to think, and suddenly it occurred to me (after she rang off), that the bottle they supplied had a neck too small to fit the little syringe – also supplied – in order to fill it. I had transferred a small amount to a more suitable vessel to fill the syringe (which was to be taken orally – no needle involved). I called her back, as soon as I remembered, and all was put to rights. I again had to apologize for being at sixes and sevens.
Yesterday, I phoned the hospital when I awoke, to find out where they had put Huey. I decided to leave it until then to allow them to look after him without interruption.
I was told the room number and ‘would I like to have the direct phone number’.
So, after a short time I managed to talk to Huey. He was still throwing up and not feeling – or sounding – too good. He said that the doctor there was trying to put him back on the pills, that he is trying to get off, and send him home… whilst he was still being sick. I spoke to his primary care team, and his own doctor, apparently, can’t do anything whilst Huey is in the ward, so can’t counter that at this time. He has to speak with the doctor in charge of his ward.
Complicated, isn’t it.
So, I called him back to give him that news, feeling a bit like a ‘piggy in the middle’.
An hour later he called. They did tests and discovered he had food poisoning, which he has suffered from before many times. He does tend to get it very easily, which is why we rarely eat out, or have take-out food. Damage limitation.
Back to that catfish… I had eaten it too, but was absolutely fine… never-the-less, I threw what remained of it out, just in case.
By yesterday afternoon, I was told that he was NOT now going to be put back on the pill. Either his own doctor had intervened after all, or they finally listened to Huey himself. Either way, it was good news. He seemed to be feeling better in the evening, and had stopped vomiting, even managing to eat some supper.
On to this morning. When I spoke with Huey, he was feeling, and sounding, a little better, stopped being sick, but said his bones ‘are about crawling out of his skin’. He is now on 2 mg every 6 hours by I.V. They want to hold him at that for a few days to let his system get used to the change. The staff there are taking really good care of him. I knew they would.
I busied myself with household chores and firewood collection, partly to keep busy and partly in preparation for Huey’s eventual return home. They have told him it will be at least a week.
With this news, our thoughts briefly turn to my oath ceremony, (for citizenship), on the 17th… next Friday. It is looking like Huey will not be able to go with me, which I deeply regret. In this event, I would be going to this extremely important and special event alone… Huey suggested asking my dear friend, and expressed deep concern at me driving all the way to Fort Smith and back on my own. He is right, of course. My experience and confidence – or rather the distinct lack of both – with driving has not equipped me for a such a journey, solo.
I have asked my dear friend, who would love to accompany me on the 17th. In the absence of Huey being able to go with me, which would be the ideal, I could think of no one I would rather have by my side next Friday than her. However, she is awaiting important news of another kind before she is able to commit yet. Hopefully, this will work itself out, one way or another 🙂
Now; 11pm 1.11.2014:
Update time. He has continued to eat without retribution and they just brought supper – cereal and a PB cookie… which he is looking forward to eating. They also administered his meds. 10 and 4 (am and pm) seems to be the time for that currently, until they deem to let him go to 6mg a day. He is still doing better.
Perhaps on Monday, I will be brave and venture into town with Georgie Girl, the Jeep, to visit him, it seems as if he will be up for visitors by then. For now, my plans go no further than tomorrow, when I shall try to cross the creek once more, to get that trash in the box, ready for Monday, (trash pick-up day here). Huey assured me again that they are taking really good care of him. It makes me extremely thankful and reiterates my feeling that he is in the right place. I know that I could not do any better here than they are… far from it! I have so much respect for the VA hospital here…