U know Ur in Trouble When the Dr Calls!

So early this morning before I even got out of bed, I got a phone call from my family doctor. Oh.., that can’t be good I thought when I heard her voice. It’s not the secretary.

“Ahhh, I got your blood work back and it looks like you need a blood transfusion,” she said. “However, the problem is that every place where you can get this done is closed today and I don’t even think they can do it for you if you went to emergency.”

“It’s my lucky day,” I thought. I’m not going to emerg today. Happy New Years!

“So how low does your hemoglobin have to be when you need a transfusion?”, I asked.

“The low 80’s,” she answered.

“What am I at?, I questioned her.

“78…. I’m surprised you are still walking.” she responded.

“Well I wasn’t walking last week and I turned yellow, but I’m better now.”

“What do you want to do?”, she asked me.

What can I do? I’m going to party? Everything is closed until Monday and that’s when I’m suppose to have a CT Scan. So I’m going to do nothing right now. I don’t really care anyway. I’ll send Germany an email and tell the dr to send me something. This happened to me before.
“Just don’t get cut until then,” she said, “And get into hospital if you start bleeding for any reason”.

“Even a hemorrhoid?”, I asked.

“Even a hemorrhoid”, she answered.
WTF? Now I’m going to be shitting blood too? I don’t think so!  Holy crap!

By the way, did you happen to get the results of my latest MRI?, I asked her.

“No,” she said.

Well, apparently I have extensive metastatic disease throughout my bone marrow again.

She didn’t say much after that. I think my doctors are more worried than I am.

I had a nice burger yesterday hoping to get my hemoglobin up. I’m eating more now, but I now weigh the same amount I did when I was in university. Bobo says I’m getting pretty skinny. My scale says so too.

The conversation in the car went really well on our way to the market.
Who wants to give me some blood?, I asked.

Aughhhhh! No way, cried my brood in the back.
“I will”, said Bobo, my universal O type donor husband.
“Good”, I said. We just need two needles and a tube and we can attach ourselves to one another! True love!

Happy New Year Folks. I need to drink some blood tonight. I’m turning into Dracula’s wife tonight!
Cheers to 2016!

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Held Hostage at Sunnybrook Parking Lot

Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015

I had one hell of a really awful experience today at Sunnybrook Hospital.  I lost it.  Here is my story.

I went to see my radiation doctor today.  I could see he was really concerned about me and told me I was looking a little bit darker and yellower.  I told him that was nothing.  Last week I was really yellow, but I was feeling better now.  He ordered some urgent blood tests and told me he was going to get in touch with my oncologist because there was evidence of metastatic disease in my bone marrow.  I told him that happened the last time I went to Germany and it wasn’t.  He didn’t look convinced and asked me if I wanted to have a chest x-ray done right now because of my coughing and I told him no because it was getting better.  And besides why bother when I was going to have a CT scan next week anyway.   

stressedSo I went and got my urgent blood work done and was anxious to get out of there because I parked my car at the Rip Off Money Sucking Sunnybrook Parking lot because I’ve been having problems walking lately and couldn’t make the trek from a side street.  Bobo was with me and we started putting in the $14.25 fee into the machine.  It ate $5 and wouldn’t acknowledged that I paid.  I pushed the help call button.  No one answered for a while and I started getting ansy.  I pushed the help button about 10 more times until someone answered.  I told the lady the machine ate my $5.  She said she would send someone to help me.  So what happens.  Nobody comes. 

I push the button again.  I told her no one was coming, I had 2 kids at home alone and I wanted to leave.  She said someone was coming.  Well, no one came for over 15 minutes.  I asked a nearby security guard if he could help me.  He said he could not.  I pushed the button again and again and again.  I think by that time the woman was ignoring me so I gave up.  Cancelled my transaction.  The machine gave me $9.25 back.  Still missing my $5.  Took the card and decided to take it up with the parking lot attendant.  Spoke to the valet parking lot attendents.  They told me they couldn’t help me, but to get into my car and drive to the other attendant who should address the situation.  Well, you know what happens when I get to him?  He wouldn’t let me out of the parking lot.

special kind of stupid

By then my nerves were shot.  I told him that the machine ate my money, here was the rest of the money ($9.25) and I wanted to go home.  He said I couldn’t leave until he spoke to his supervisor.  Well he was on the phone for a VERY long time and there were a lot of angry people in cars behind me who also wanted to leave.

Saint....I-Have-My-Limits

Then I lost it.  I told him to give me the phone, I wanted to talk to his supervisor.  At this point I told her that the stupid machine ate my money at the Odette Center and I paid for my parking and if she didn’t get this guy to open the damn gate I was going to ram my car through it.

The parking attendent took back the phone and the driver behind me gets out of his car to find out what the problem was….at which I yelled back that the people here are stupid idiots and the bloody machine ate my money and these people wouldn’t let me out.

So my husband told me to park the car in the lane so no one could get out and we would walk back to the Odette Centre and wait for that special someone to arrive to open up the machine to get my $5 back to prove we paid the $14.25.

So I turned off the car.  But I couldn’t get out of the car because it was too close to the booth.  I thought I was going to loose my mind.

calm punch ppl in face

Then I told the attendant to phone the police.  Call 911, I was being held hostage in Sunnybrook Parking Lot.  I really wished I had my phone at that time because I would have done it.  Then my husband threw another $5 at the attendant to pay for the rest of the $14.25 and then told him that he just stole another $5 from us and he wanted to charge him with theft when the police arrived.

I think that scared him because he opened the gate. 

But I wasn’t going to let that rest.  This had gotten past the point of sanity.  I was LIVID.  I told him I wanted his name and his supervisors name and phone number because I was going to lodge a complaint.   

I phoned her a little while ago.  She agreed that what happened to me was not acceptable and she would phone me tomorrow morning and find out what went wrong.   

I don’t know who owns these stupid parking lots at the hospital, but I, for one, am tired of being gouged $4.75 every half an hour.  It’s not like terminally ill cancer patients have a choice in the matter of where they can park.  We are stuck for hours waiting for doctors appointments and scans while the meter keeps on ticking.  Someone is getting rich on the behalf of ill people.  It is not right.

And why is it okay to keep people hostage in parking lots after they have paid?   If the machines don’t work, hire human beings WITH BRAINS who can THINK when a problem arises or here is an idea…..make PARKING FREE at hospitals.    

Hey, I know.  Get the drug companies to pay for hospital parking.  They are making over $270,000 per patient in 5 years.  Two patients should cover it.

Pompeii

image

One of the things on my bucket list was to go to Italy and go to Pompeii which I find fascinating. Fat chance I’m getting there any time soon as having cancer has a point of killing you financially.  I really hope to go there though.  One day.

imageSo Buba bought me and the kids tickets today to go to the Royal Ontario Museum to see their Pompeii Exhibit. It was really neat but difficult to handle because Frack was in charge of pushing my wheelchair around and he is nuts. I barely had time to read the information cards before he would whip me around to see something else. Boys! I tell you. A different breed. He wanted to know what all the plaster casts were about but was too impatient to read about it himself. Lazy bum. So I would speed read the excerpts and tell him a story about it in hopes that he would remember something about what he saw. It was hard work!

Here are the models of how the archeologists painstakingly found the bodies buried under the ash.

  1.  Very hot ash and pumice bury the victim early in the eruption of 79.
  2. The body lies buried underground.
  3. The body slowly decays creating a hollow, still including skeletal remains.
  4. Archeologists fill the hollow with plaster.
  5. The plaster hardens.  The cast of the body is carefully excavated.  The ash is chipped off.

imageimageimageimageimage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a dog tied to his leash and a family who hid in their wine cellar and ran for it when they thought the coast was clear (briefly of no ash). Unfortunately for all 13 of them from that cellar, they were caught running through their garden and died of a flash of intense heat from the volcano.

Apparently there were approximately 12,000 inhabitants in Pompeii at the time of the eruption, but they only found about 1,550 bodies. There is still 1/3 of Pompeii that needs to be excavated near the shoreline. Wonder if and how many escaped by sea? I imagine running in a metre of ash after a couple of hours after the first mushroom volcanic explosion would have been close to impossible. By the next day Pompeii was buried under 4 metres of ash. As big as my house.  From what I understand wouldn’t most of the people die right away from the initial gas explosion? No oxygen. Wouldn’t they have been cooked from the immense heat? How about being pelted by huge rocks dropping from the sky as they were trying to run to get on a ship by the sea?

Gotta go see the real Pompeii for myself and blog it!
There were lots of beautiful Roman frescos and marble statues/busts to see, but this exhibit is only open in Toronto until Jan 3, so your days are numbered if you want to go.  But buy your tickets online before they are sold out and skip the lines.

I lost my cell phone and it’s dead.  I know  it’s in the house somewhere but I can’t find it. So if you are trying to message me, it ain’t happening. I hope this isn’t like the time I lost my engagement/wedding rings. It took me over 8 years to eventually find them.

My iPhone 6 will be ancient history if I don’t find it in 8 years. Sigh.

When I got to the ROM and requested a wheelchair, all 10 were out. The guy at the coat check told me to leave my number and they would call me when one was available. Ha!  No phone.

Had to go back every once in a while to see if someone returned a wheelchair. Eventually I got one.

I really miss my phone. Where r u?  I miss u so much.  Pls come back.

Another Year Without Christmas Shoes

Well, I survived another Christmas. My husband asks me every year if he needs to run out to buy me Christmas slippers yet. Ha ha. He’s got Christmas Slippers part one and two if you want to watch it. Just don’t ever return them.

Unfortunately I have been sick for about 3-4 weeks. The wet, damp mouldy weather we’ve been having is making me cough up a lung as I’m allergic to mould. Today is the first day it’s actually snowed which I’m hoping is going to help. Either that or I’m going to have to go somewhere hot where there is salt water. I’ve got to find a way to dry up my lungs.

I had a blood test over a week ago and got some really bizarre results. (low wbc and rbc, low hemoglobin, low hemocrit, high LD, high B12 and high ferritin. I’ve been getting cramps in my legs and I cant walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath and having fast heart beats. The nurse at my Drs office told me to go back and redo the blood tests because my blood coagulated and it probably wasn’t accurate. I asked her to put the requisition into the lab and I would go the next day. I went, the requisition wasn’t there. They called up to the office. The secretary said she didn’t know anything about it and the nurse wasn’t coming in until the afternoon. I left. Got a phone call from the nurse later telling me she forgot to put in the requisition but she would do so now. Too late been there twice. Didn’t feel well enough to go back again. So I don’t know what’s going on with my blood work.

On Christmas Eve I had my family coming over at 4:00. I also had to get my two shots in the stomach by CCAC at 2:40. I figured I had plenty of time to pick up the sushi dinner I ordered at Niji’s and the halibut and chips from Fish Joy. But I was wrong. I spent 2 1/2 hours running from one clinic to another one and back to the first one because they lost my file and none of the nurses could give me the shots. I was so desperate I told them I would shoot them into myself… just tell me how to do it. “I can’t do that,” I was told. I was pissed. Spoke to the supervisor on the phone who told me to return to clinic #1 one because that was the only place that had an experienced nurse who could give me the Zoladex (40 degree angle, 16 gauge large metal needle with a hollowed out inside with a pellet). And you know who the experienced nurse was? The same goof I had in clinic #2 I was trying to avoid because he needed two try’s to get it in me in September. Are you kidding me??? I told him, “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I think that before Princess Margaret Hospital outsources its patients to get these needles, they should train you to do it first. This is ridiculous. I don’t want to be tortured.

My oncologist is going to get an earful when I see him. I never want to deal with this Nursing (?) company ever again. I’m certain that this clinic was the same bunch of idiots who sent a nurse to my house 5 years ago to change my picc line with bloody gloves!

And I now I find out from a friend of mine that they can give you one three month shot of Zoladex. If my oncologist only wants to see me every 3 months, then why can’t his nurse (who knows what she is doing), give it to me? I told him the problems I had been having trying to get this shot. Why didn’t he suggest the 3 month needle instead or something else that the CCAC is equipped to deal with? WTF?

And now to my next problem. Decided I’d better try and get the results of my MRI from Carepath in case I ended up in the hospital. I was feeling pretty rotten. So rotten that I didn’t make it to rehearsal or Christmas Eve service at my church which I have been singing for over 25 years.

The good news is that the tumours I got zapped at T8, T9 are stable (you could have fooled me because I still wake up in pain like someone shot me in the back every morning). There is also evidence of 2 cysts in my neck at C7, C8. But the bigs news of the day is that the technician wrote that there is metastatic cancer throughout my bone marrow OR I have developed something called myleofibrosis….which when I checked on the internet is some sort of blood cancer/leukaemia brought on from too much radiation. In other words, my spinal cord may have been fried and I have some sort of scar tissue which is causing me not to produce enough red and white blood cells.

Now I have been down this road before when I came back from treatment in Germany and I was told I had cancer throughout my bone marrow and I didn’t. I’m not about to have another bone marrow biopsy to prove them wrong again. I will just wait it out.

I’m betting the technician has never seen little piggy stems cells at work and doesn’t know what to call what he is seeing in my bone marrow. My appointment with the radiation guy is at 3:00 on Wednesday. Maybe I’ll get some real answers then.

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It’s Off To Emergency We Go

Friday, December 4, 2015

Sunrise PicHaven’t been blogging because I have been insanely busy lately.  All is good.  Coached boys volleyball team.  Went to a workshop at Art For Cancer Foundation and painted this sunrise picture.

WellspringGot a ticket on Tuesday near Sunnybrook (they changed the no parking sign to no stopping which I didn’t notice).  I’m contesting it.  Hoping the judge will be nice and reduce the fine at least.  I went to a free cooking course at Wellspring and didn’t want to pay the $24 parking fee for 2 1/2 hours.  Unfortunately that wasn’t my only problem that day.  The cooking course was pretty much all raw vegetarian and a bit of cheese.  I’m lactose intolerant (makes me cough up phlegm) and my German dr told me my stomach intestines were inflamed and I should only eat cooked veggies.  Boy was he right.   My tummy hurt for a couple of days.  Lost a couple of pounds too.  Because I wasn’t eating much I figured I needed some nutrients so I asked my daughter to make me a veggie juice on Thursday night and then I felt really horrible after that.  Didn’t make it to my cancer support group meeting because I felt so ill.

At 3:45 in the morning, my dear friend who is staying with me thought she was having a heart attack.  She came to the right place.  Pulled out my heart monitor.  Everything was high (systolic, blood pressure, pulse…mentally recorded time and rates).  Gave her as aspirin (remember the time).  Phoned tele-health….was not happy that they have a ten minute recording about getting your stupid health card before you even get a chance to talk to anyone.  Got dressed.  Out the door and into the car with cell phone and ill friend in tow.  Destination…Sunnybrook, Trauma and Heart Attack Central.  I decided to take her there because I was afraid that if I called an ambulance that they would take her to Scarborough General (30 seconds away from my house), a fate worse than death, and I valued her life. 

Why not Scarborough General?   I dunno.  Maybe it’s because of the time I stayed there overnight and they didn’t bother giving me a nurse after surgery.  Maybe it’s because of the time I had heart problems and I arrived at the ER and there was nobody there and I waited 15  minutes for a triage nurse to appear at her post…that’s when I got back into the car and went to Mt Sinai.  Maybe it’s because I had a mammogram there 13 years ago and no one bothered phoning me to tell me there was something suspicious there.  Or maybe it was because the last time I went there ER Doctor told me that the next time I had an emergency, not to come here because they didn’t know what to do with me.   Anyhow, I think you see my point. 

imageDid you know that at 3:55 a.m. in the morning you can go 100 mph on Lawrence and get all but one green light? Meanwhile, my friend was talking to good ole tele-health and answering questions.  I knew, as I was driving, that she hit 5/6 red flags for a heart attack (chest pain, pain in back, shortness of breath, nausea, and sweating).   That nurse was SLOW!  Holy cow.  By the way she essentially told me to shut up and to let the patient answer the questions.

imageBy the time the tele-heath nurse finished evaluating her…..”You need an ambulance”…. she tells us after she has painstakingly punched into the computer all of my friends responses,  I was less than 4 minutes away from Sunnybrook.  So I told her just to send the information to them as we were nearby.   She told me to drive cautiously en route.  Too late for that, chickie!

Now, you would think (after watching ER and Greys anatomy shows on TV) that someone would be greeting us at the ER door, but you would be wrong.  It seems to me that they don’t care as much if you’re having heart attack symptoms than if you are having a stroke (in which case you have a 4 hour timeline to get some injection in you to break up the clot or you could possibly face permanent damage and they could face a law suit).  Two people ahead of us.  Triaged fairly quickly, then registered by 4:10.  Told my friend we were in it for the long haul because they would need to get her blood work done and wait 4-6 hrs later to check the troponin levels to see if in fact she had a heart attack.  She called a replacement for work.  Guess what time she got the blood work done?   7:10.  Just in time for a shift change at 7:30. 

imageWe met an interesting man in the second ER waiting room.  He shared his medical problems with us.   I was amused as he kept asking us for our opinions on his condition (he was having problems with his heart, he drinks and smokes, and his friend wouldn’t let him buy the heart drugs his doctor prescribed him). 

imageI could tell my friend was getting exasperated by him and wanted to thump him in the head, particularly when he started discussing his hemorrhoid problems.  Oh how I wish my husband was with us!  I could just imagine how that conversation would have ended up.  Sometimes you get some interesting entertainment whilst in the waiting room.  My friend emailed me and told me he was missing a few screws upstairs.

Shortly thereafter, he was called for a review with a doctor.  It lasted less than 4 minutes and he was discharged. I don’t think he even got a prescription for his hemorrhoids!  He was told to go see his family doctor.  It was just after 8:30.

My friend got her first set of blood work back.  Normal, thank heavens.  But we still had to wait for the other one (troponin) and they wanted to do a chest X-ray.  By 11:00, my friend was really tired of being there.  I told her, “Don’t worry, they have to get you out of here in 8 hours from the time you arrived or they have to admit you.  Anything more than 8 hours also requires an extra billing to OHIP who requires an explanation as to why you are still there waiting for a diagnosis.   Sure enough, a resident quickly told her at 12:00 that she did not in fact have a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism and she was free to go.  Right on time.  “That’s what my friend told me,” she answered. 

734376_591741964188594_1624691723_nDrove my friend to her worried sister.  She was going to take the bus, a very long 3 hour bus ride and her back was still hurting her so off we went in my car.  I spent the night with them.  We had delicious Thai food for dinner.   It was very nice spending some quality time with the two of them.  Their apartment is so cool.  They have giraffes in their living room with Santa hats on all their heads!  She should be an interior decorator.  I’d hire her! 

Drove home the next morning.  Will try to catch up on sleep tonight.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

sidewalk fall leavesHi.  Not feeling so great.  My wacky cough is back.  I usually get this in the fall because I’m allergic to mold….too many dead leaves on the ground.  I don’t do well when it rains either.  Get headaches and feel like total crap. 

Also was a bad girl because I ate cheese last week.  Not a good idea when you are lactose intolerent.  I don’t fart.  I just cough up a lung. 

Waiting for the snow to come so I can feel better.  Either that or I’m going to have to drive somewhere hot with salt water to dry out my lungs (that’s what my allergist told me years ago). 


Wonder if a sauna would help.  Sigh…..

Wednesday, Dec. 9

Currently hooked up to vitamin C I.V.  Hopefully will start feeling better soon.  Blood pressure was pretty low when I started.  Had my chest/cough checked.  It’s clear, so it’s not bronchitis.  Damn cheese!  Damn mouldy leaves.   My cousin says she loves it when I swear in my blogs!