If this note is being read out loud for me, then that means that I, Maria Pisani-Brown have finally kicked the bucket. Who knew that the person who was like the cat with 9 lives or the energizer bunny rabbit would finally be taken down?
After having endured a mastectomy, chemotherapy that resulted in a Code Blue, left ventricle heart damage, and a stroke/TIA, surgery on my spine to put two metal rods in my back before radiation, multiple radiation treatments on my bones and even lung metastasis by the Grace of God I was still alive.
On Saturday, November 4, 2017 the world lost a beautiful inspiration. This coming Thursday, November 9, 2017 a funeral will be held at Annunciation Parish, 3 Combermere Drive, North York, ON M3A 2W4 at 10:00a.m.
How about how some of my roommates keep on croaking?
In my corner suite, I had a lovely 18 year old girl roommate for a while called Ally. She was a sweetheart but decided to get the hell out of here on Saturday cause she said she’d been here 6 weeks and the drs still weren’t helping her. According to her blood work she was getting worse and so she discharged herself. She used to be a Sick Kids hospital patient all her life because she was born with a genetic disease where her body creates benign tumours. She said the hospital food and care was much better over there. I don’t blame her from leaving. She told me the room was haunted and she was glad she had a roommate cause there were strange noises in the night and bangs and sometimes a white haired lady named Gertrude would come in and scare the hell out of her.
Well Gertrude did in fact show up early the next morning, so I rang the call button and told her there was a wanderer in my room.
It’s an interesting floor, this one. The north side has dementia patients who often escape from their rooms. Every once in a while you here code white or code yellow 10th floor and a room number and you know ones escaped. Can’t remember which one means the escapee is violent but Bobo looked outside my room one time and was laughing because this frail old lady was swatting at a nurse with her hands because she didn’t want to go back to her room. There is also an old guy with two canes that likes to go in other peoples rooms.
So when Ally left on Saturday I got a new roommate, a Greek lady. My Greek friend Cathy stayed overnight and was talking to the woman’s husband. I took a sleeping pill and was out like a light. Good thing too cause Cathy told me the next morning that the woman next door to me died. My respirologist came looking for me during the night and ended up at her bedside. Apparently her heart was bleeding into her lung so they told her husband to call their sons and they took her to a private room. Cathy asked me if I heard everything that happened last night.
I’ve been in this hospital now for 18 days and I’m beginning to go batty. I want out of here. I’m hooked up to oxygen on my nose and I feel like Frankenstein with bolts(drains) coming out of both sides. They are connected to chambers to collect the fluid coming out of my lungs. So far 5 litres have come out of my left lung. I can’t sleep on either side and my tailbone is taking the brunt of the pressure of me lying on it.
I wasn’t sent home because I got an infection after my procedure. I knew something was wrong because I started spitting brilliant yellow saliva and previously it had been clear. I was put on antibiotics. The first batch didn’t work so they had to give me something stronger. That new antibiotic ruined my stomach and I started throwing up what little food I could get in my stomach. One day I puked was green bile and pus. So much for trying to keep my weight stable while being in hospital. The hospital food has been awful. Dessert is those sugary fruit cups from China and there is no English translation on the top. Who knew how much sugar was in it? Was so glad when the week of antibiotics was over so I could try eating again. I still have an appetite but I can eat very little cause my stomach has shrunk. Luckily people have been bringing me a variety of food when they come to visit me so I’m hanging in there.
The first week here my roommate was Tom Jakobek’s (previous MP for the beaches) mother. We got along well. I was really sad when she left.
That night they sent me a snorer and it was pretty bad. I couldn’t sleep. The nurse gave me ear plugs but I was begging to move rooms even though I had a window spot. I needed to sleep. They found me another room and it was the corner suite (10B). Not only did it have more windows and counter space, it was bigger too. There also is a recliner for those poor people that stay with me overnight.
Nights are the worse for me. If I slide down my bed (which happens frequently on this air pressure mattress I’m on to prevent bed sores), I could suffocate on the fluid build up. I can’t get myself up on my own and feel better if someone is with me, helping me when I get into trouble.
On October 4, I had a really bad night. I knew something was really wrong and I thought I was going to die. My friend Deborah was with me and I called my husband in the middle of the night to come to the hospital.
The next day the thoracic team came into my room to tell me the X-ray from yesterday indicated that my left lung collapsed and they would have to do surgery now to drain some fluid out of there and get it working again (even though I had an infection). And they were going to put in a needle to aspirate me right in my room.
The left side has been draining well but the stuff coming out now is quite bloody.
The right side hasn’t been draining at all despite having blood thinners put in there twice to try to dislodge whatever was blocking the tube. The drs can’t move the tube and have been x-raying me to death daily (plus 3 ct scans). They couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t work. So last night a respirologist came to check my drains. I told her the left drain was fine but the right was a problem. She looked at it and said sometimes this blue saline connector prevents the liquid from draining especially if the fluid is thick. She removed the blue connector and voila the damn thing started draining. I told her it was a miracle. I’ve had respirologists come 3 times a day and no one figured it out. How come she knew that? She said she’s been here a while. The people who work here look like they are 12. Guess that happens when you get to be my age.
I was suppose to go to Mount Sinai on September 26 for a simple day surgery to drain my left lung as it was getting pretty filled up with fluid. It’s called a Thoracentesis. They freeze your back and stick a needle to aspirate the fluid in the pleural cavity. They can only take 1 -1 1/2 litres at a time. For me, even 500 ml causes me distress. My lungs have a hard time recovering when the airways in my lungs open up. I cough up slimy mucus for hours and it’s totally exhausting.
Unfortunately, after the procedure, I never left the hospital. I felt worse and was coughing up a storm. Vitals weren’t good so I ended up in the ER all night. Skipped the triage and went right to a special area for a nurse to keep an eye on me. I had a special oxygen mask that was hydrating saline and it was set at an oxygen level of 10. At home I had it at 2.
The ER is never boring. The guy next to me ended up having some kind of infection and his family was all eating from the same food containers with him so they all got quarantined somewhere else.
Then a man with pancreatic cancer and his family were placed next to me. He passed away some time during the night. Part of his religion was that the doctors were to do 2 hours of CPR before they could declare him dead. Then they had to put his body on ice because he was suppose to be buried within an hour. Bobo said two men in black came to get him. There was a huge pile of water underneath the bed afterwards.
The next day I was transferred to the 10th Floor. I think it’s for Acute Care patients, internal medicine and there is a lock on the door to keep some of the patients in here because they have Alzheimer’s and tend to wander around.
I was put in Room 39 B but shortly after I got there the Italian woman next to me coded. She received lots of bags of plasma earlier; looked like transfusions. She didn’t want to use the bed pan and started walking to the washroom with her walker. On her way back she got into trouble. The nurse came in and said she should never have gotten out of bed. Her adult son and husband had her on the commode and tried to get her back on the bed but she passed out. The nurse started screaming, “Hurry, pick her up and put her in the bed”. They grabbed her by the knees and under her arms and by then twelve people started running into the room. Some of them were responsible for getting me out of there as fast as possible but I was hooked up to oxygen which made things more difficult. I was whisked into the hallway as bedlam took place behind me.
My friend Cathy and her sister-in-law Emily were with me that night and they recognized one of the nurses from a Greek wedding they went to in Montreal. Emily told her that I was a friend of hers and to take good care of me.
The oxygen tank didn’t have much air supply in it and I soon was running out of oxygen so they put me in a private room! Hurray! And I got to spend the night there for free! The next day they put me back in my old room but I got the window because the Italian lady went to ICU. They had to take her husband to emerg because I think he went into shock and I think her son almost passed out. We found out she was ok after all that.