Take a load off

We had our appointment with the oncologist today, in preparation for mom’s start of chemotherapy on Monday. Her bone scan looks good. There was something suspicious in her chest CT, but he said he was not worried about it.

My mom’s had a couple very rough days, feeling very uncomfortable with her distended abdomen. He stopped moment and looked at her and asked if she was in pain and she said yes. He then told us that he would arrange for us to go to the hospital’s radiology department and he would have the fluids drained.

The diagnosis is called ascites, which basically means fluids in the abdomen. So we walked over to the hospital’s radiology department and she underwent a simple procedure that drained four and half liters (yes, you read that right) of fluid from her. The pressure immediately alleviated and mom’s pants are now loose again. What an immense relief for her. The entire procedure took about 30 minutes. Although mom has some pain from where they inserted the catheter, it’s a vast improvement.

I’m growing increasingly annoyed at some of these doctors. This oncologist is the THIRD doctor we’ve lamented to about my mom’s discomfort. And no one had offered or suggested this very simple treatment that would have spared my mom some agonizing days.

It’s a world of difference getting care here in Napa. The doctor’s office is across the parking lot from the hospital, which is a five minute drive from my mom’s house. There are fewer people, less hustle and bustle. Parking is easy and free. Also my mom worked in the hospital for years and she stops to chat with people in the hallway. It’s familiar and she seems much more comfortable here.

Meanwhile, we are gearing up for her chemotherapy regimen, which starts on Monday. I met with the oncology nurse while my mom was getting set up for her procedure. We got a stack of materials to review over the weekend, which includes a lot of detailed information about side effects, etc.

Monday will be a long day. The nurse said to prepare for a seven-hour ordeal. It’s hard to think about, but we’ll come prepared with an extra pillow and her books and some snacks and movies on my laptop.

But at least today we knocked one issue down.

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