Please note this was not finished by Maria before she passed away

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.

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Funeral Date

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.

Gotta Love That Lorazepan

So what shall we talk about today?

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.

Nope.

Not a thing.

Gotta love that Lorazepan,

October 14 Life In Hospital

Oct 14

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.

Sept 26 Thoracentesis Gone Bad

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.

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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.

It’s Carnival Time In The ER

August 1, 2013

Felt like I was drowning, so I asked my brother-in-law, Sal to take me to emergency at Mount Sinai. Unfortunately it was bad timing. Early evening isn’t ideal. Usually means a long wait.

There were 2 paramedics and four cops for one patient. Not sure what he did but the nurse told me not to sit near him. Then there was a young pregnant mother yelling at everyone. First she accused them of hiding her son in the back. Later she screamed she had to pick up her son at 5:15. The paramedics told her that her neighbour has her kid. Sal chucked and said that’s going to be rather hard since it was 7:48. Her mother and grandmother arrived a bit later and the daughter said why won’t they let me leave? They checked her anal cavity and everything else. Her relatives told her maybe if she behaved herself, they would let her live.
There was one guy who looked like he had flesh eating disease on his toe and another guy who looked like his appendix was in trouble. I felt sorry for him cause that looked painful.

Eventually I had my blood tested and a chest scan which revealed that my lungs were full of fluid, particularly the right side (which was partially collapsed due to an earlier radiation treatment). They told me I had lung mets. Because I was already on oxygen to breathe, they had to put me in one of their glass rooms where I spent the night. Otherwise I would have been in the hallway because they had no beds available in the hospital. They had to keep me until the next day to drain my lung.

It was in my glass compartment that I saw Jessie James across from me. His name? was tattooed on his arm amongst a variety of other tattoos. When Sal was in the hallway he asked him to come in and count his money. Sal thought he was blind because Jessie James was wearing big, black sunglasses on his face. So he started counted the money for him and one of the bills fell on the floor. Jessie told him he dropped one. Sal was speechless. Why was he counting the money for him if he wasn’t blind? So Sal returned his money and told him he had $230. Then he came to my room and told us what happened. My sister Angie arrived by then and we laughed.

Then another patient with an accent arrived next door screaming that Via Rail poisoned him. He put up quite an alarming fuss until a nurse came in and told him to stop being so loud. He protested and kept yelling. Jessie James overheard the conversation and ran out of his room and in a very big voice yelled, “SHUT UP!”  The poor nurse then told Jessie to go back to his room and that he is NOT ALLOWED to YELL at patients. He said he was only trying to help. She ushered him back to his room.

Shortly thereafter the guy next door started puking his head off. It wasn’t ordinary puke either. It was seven unbelievably loud waterfalls. It sounded like his vomit was exploding all over the room. Thank heavens I couldn’t smell it or I would have died. Just hearing him barf was enough. That poor nurse had to change twice because of that patient. I seriously don’t know how the cleaners in the hospital and nurses do their jobs. I could never do it. Never, ever.

Bobo then came to visit with Frick and Frack. We told them about Jessie James and Bobo walked out over to his room, sat down and started talking to him. Figures. Frack kept peering through the curtains to see what was going on outside. Bobo went to buy Jessie James a hot chocolate (amongst other things) and quickly became Jessie James best friend. And you how I know that? Because Jessie came to my cubicle in the middle of the night and told me that Bobo was his best friend. That’s why.

Jessie also disappeared for some time and came back with about 10 packages of candies (like Jube Jubes) and hospital security staff on his tail. Earlier, Jessie could be seen walking the halls in nothing but a diaper….until the nurse caught him and told him he needed to put some clothes on. I didn’t see the diaper when I looked out the glass door because of a partition. I thought he was stark naked as he looked at me through the door.

At 2:00 in the morning, just as I finally started falling asleep, Jessie came to knock on my door and say, “God Bless”. Bobo told me he was Christian and had some sort of terminal liver disease.

During the early morning, I looked outside to see Jessie carrying two “Its a Boy” and “It’s a girl” balloon bouquet entering his room. “He must be a kleptomaniac,” I thought. No wonder he had three pairs of sunglasses in his room. Five minutes later, an angry woman ran into his room, grabbed the pink bouquet and said, “This one IS MINE”. I wonder if Jessie made it all the way to maternity to get those.

Eventually, I was sent to have my lung drained. They froze my back and put a needle near my shoulder and drained 1.26 litres of honey coloured fluid. Luckily I had my oxycocet pills on me because I didn’t want to feel the pain. I coughed a lot after the procedure trying to expand my lungs. Best case scenario was that the remaining fluid would dry up and I’d be okay. (But that’s not what happened).

Went back to the ER and waited until they had a room available. Both Jessie and I got a room at pretty much the same time. Jessie told me to tell Bobo to come visit him in Room 312 so they could play chess.

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The decision to leave the hospital was an easy one. The old lady next to me in the semi-private room had a commode next to her because she could get to the bathroom. I think she broke her hip, but truthfully, she could get around much better than me. So when she had a dump, it was so intoxicating I would start to heave. I would jump out of my bed and try to run out the door. That’s kind of hard to do when you are attached to a bedside oxygen hose that was too short for my quick getaway. The only way out was with my portable oxygen tank which took some time to set up. I would look at my older sister with tears of in my eyes, pleading her to “Get me Outta Here”. She warned me once that something was happening but I didn’t get what she was getting at. But I did after that.

We couldn’t return to my room for hours because of the smell. It was that bad. Then I just wanted to leave.

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Returned to the ER the following Thursday at 6:00 in the morning at the urging of who Bobo calls Dr Kavorkian, my palliative care dr in Vaughan. He gave me an expiry date. October 8 on the bell curve.

It was very quiet in the ER with only one other patient. I finally discovered what it would take for the ER department to move super fast like on TV. I sipped some water which went down the wrong way. I started coughing like crazy. Couldn’t catch my breathe. Security ran to the back and alerted everyone and suddenly I had an entourage of nurses and doctors around me. “What’s wrong?”, Someone asked me. “Can’t breathe” and all of the sudden I was whisked into a back glass room. “Cool” I thought, now this is fast service. Then the next thing I knew a crazy dr started digging into my arm with a needle to find a vein. She didn’t get it right away so she started moving it sideways, back and forth, back and forth as I’m screaming my head off.

She asked me why I was there. I told her my palliative Dr saw me last evening and I needed a permanent drain for my right lung because it was full of fluid. “Why didn’t you come last night?” she questioned. “What is your Drs name?” I didn’t want to get him in trouble so I told her I didn’t know, it was the first time I met him. She was mad.

Wasn’t looking to promising to get the procedure done, but they did manage to squeeze me in between two patients at 2:30. Drained 900 ml of more fluid. I now have a tube in my side between two ribs. I won’t be able to take baths anymore and if I get an infection I’m as good as dead, I think.

They discharged me quickly and told me to get out of the hospital. Germs.

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Things are not looking so great. I’ve had a lot of fluid drained from my lung everyday by a home nurse. If it was only 300 ml, the nurse would only have to come every other day. But I’ve had 600, 700 and 500ml over the last few days. And to make things worse, when I drink water, it sometimes goes the wrong way. The nurse said my muscles in my esophagus aren’t working and neither are the muscles in my chest to breathe. So I would have to buy a thickener to put in my liquids by Nestle. My sister bought it. You know what’s in it? Corn starch and sugar. GMOs and sugar to feed my cancer. Lovely.

By the way, I had a CT Scan. I have a fractured pelvis and something is going on with my tailbone. It hurts. My ilium bone (left hip) is gone and is being taken over by soft tissue. Osteoporosis and cancer. My liver is still clean. I attribute that to the artesunate therapy I get from Germany. Really wish my lung was okay but it’s not. Time to face reality. I gave it a good run, but am suffering from battle fatigue. Eight years is a long time for a person in my condition. I know I would have been dead a lot sooner if I did conventional treatment. I just think my amalgam toxicity, mould exposure and Lyme disease didn’t help my immune system keep the cancer away. And stress didn’t help either.

I just worry about my kids and not being there to help them through the good times and bad. Too soon to lose their mother at their ages. It’s never a good time, really. Frack cried and said I wouldn’t be at his graduation and I wouldn’t be a grandmother and it wasn’t fair. Why couldn’t it have been somebody else? I told him his wife would probably still have a mother and she would be his children’s grandmother. I worry about him. He has trouble expressing himself verbally. I think Frick will be okay. She is so mature for her age and I know she will take care of Frack. It hurts me that I want to be there for them and I can’t. It really isn’t fair. My heart is broken.