Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The First E-Mail From My Hospital Bed

This is the first e-mail I could find that I sent out after going into the hospital on June 5, 2009, addressed to a couple of my siblings. This is part of the "archive" purpose of the blog. I will continue to add posts containing these, interspersed with much more complete accounts that I will add as I go along.

Cindy and Jay,

I will rely on the discretion of the two of you, in terms of how far the following should be disseminated at this time. Probably you should avoid disturbing the elders, at least until the situation becomes clearer.

Thursday afternoon, while awaiting the results of a battery of blood tests and getting ready for a P.T. session and a bone scan Friday, I suddenly began to experience waves of painful and uncontrollable spasms that began with the violent contraction of the diaphragm and some of the rib muscles, and eventually sent two thunderbolts down both legs, all the way to the toes. A neighborhood doctor friend came over to see what was happening, and immediately called 911. I was taken to the ER at Christiana Hospital in Wilmington, where it took several hours for the seriousness of my situation to become apparent enough to the big machine to cause me to be routed to an area where things started to happen. I was given unlimited Valium to calm down the spasms and effect pain relief, and eventually given an MRI and a bunch more X-rays. I was given a bed for what was the rest of the night, and steroids to further calm things down. Friday morning, a resident came around to tell me that there appeared to be some bone spurs bothering some of the nerves, plus at least one and possibly two compression-fractured vertebrae, and that my case would be taken over by a neurosurgeon. I was moved to a room in the neurological surgery wing, and given a CAT scan. Friday evening, a neurosurgeon and oncologist stopped by tell me the true story. The "compressed" vertebrae are actually being undermined by tumors. Many other vertebrae show very suspicious spots. They are taking a bone marrow sample for biopsy Monday morning. A variety of other tests must be run to determine the best course of action, but it seems likely that both surgery and some form of radio/chemotherapy are in my near future.

I don't quite know how to end this e-mail, since I doubt that it has sunk completely in yet, but it appears that I may now have to fight for my life, assuming we caught this early enough to even make that still possible.


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