Friday, June 26, 2009

The Medical Maze

It has been three weeks since we entered the maze of the great Houston Medical Center. And what a lot of twists and turns it has been.

The first thing I want to tell you is that if you are going to see a doctor or you will be in a hospital waiting room, be sure to bring your own reading material. I think that funds for magazine subscriptions have been cut. I didn't see a magazine in any waiting room newer than six months old if you could find a magazine at all.

Next, there are vast areas of the hospitals where cell phones do not work. There are no pay phones and the hospital phones that are for visitors to use are usually sitting on a corner table with people sitting on each side of it so that you have this very awkward situation of standing there over two people holding on to a phone receiver with a short cord trying to tell the details of what is happening to your loved one to the family on the other end of the connection. The people sitting can't help but hear. You have no privacy. Of course you could leave the waiting room and go find a place where the cell phone would work but then you risk missing the doctor if he comes out to give you an update.

I haven't had too much of it so far, but hospital food is still institutional food. They have spiffed up the cafeterias and made them more into food courts with more choices and St. Luke's Hospital even has McDonalds right there on the first floor of the hospital. The food isn't bad. It is adequate but it wouldn't take long to get tired of it.

Now for an update on Ned. We are still in testing mode. You would think that they would just schedule every test known to man and be done with it. That is not the way it is done. First you do this test and if it comes back with questions, then you do the next test and if it comes back with questions, then you do......well, you get the idea. This is all time consuming. It takes a few days to schedule the test, a few days to get the report back and what do you know, another week has gone by. We've spent most of the last three weeks waiting and eating...but the eating part is another blog entry. At any rate, one more test today and then we think that treatment will start sometime late next week. It is going to be six weeks of radiation and chemo. The oncologist said that Ned probably will not lose all his hair but it will thin out as will his mustache. I can't stand a splotchy mustache so he may have to shave the rest off. I haven't seen him without a mustache since the 1970's. Mm.....wonder what his kisses will be like without the mustache.


Babs said...

I know this is all frustrating. I learned to have a knap sack with 2 apples, water, nuts etc., one of those neck pillows and a travel blanket. Then I added a book, or two. It was my survival bag. Do it. You'll be glad you did. Oh and a notepad for notes of the names of the things they say that you couldn't possibly remember.

My love to you both. And all these tests are necessry so they do the right protocol to make Ned well the fastest and ya'll can get back to San Miguel.

American Mommy in Mexico said...

Sounds like Babs has good advice. Thoughts go out to you.

Mexico Cooks! said...

Billie, please give Ned a big hug from Judy and me--and get him to give you one from us, too. Our thoughts and prayers are with you both during this trial.


Nancy said...

I'd add an ipod or some kind of music player to Bab's bag...

How is Ned doing through all this? How are you doing?

I appreciate you updating the blog - it is probably the last thing on your mind - but I know that there is a large "family" of people out here who are sending support and love to you and Ned.

Hugs to you both.

1st Mate said...

Billie - thanks for updating us on the situation in Houston. What a tedious ordeal! God willing it will all go well and you and Ned will be back home soon. The survival bag sounds like a really good idea.

Cynthia said...

Billie, hope the time passes quickly until you guys are back in your Mexican hometown enjoying the good life.

Heather said...

Sorry you're spending so much time at the hospital. I know how that feels hanging out with our babies in the NICU. I can't wait to stop eating cafeteria or restaurant food. I want my home-cooked favorites which I will be making plentifully when both the boys get home.

My thoughts are with you and Ned and I hope everything continues to be fine. I know numerous people who have fought cancer successfully in our family.

You are so cute wondering what his kisses will be like without his mustache!!!