Day 360, Year 10: Unexpected Visit to the ER
Date: Monday, October 5, 2015
Weather: Partly Sunny and Warmer
Location: AstraZeneca Hope Lodge, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood, Boston, MA
We made an unexpected visit to Mass General’s ER tonight and Mark is still there. The visit is probably just precautionary, at least that is our hope, but his oncologists insisted that he go to the ER for a CT scan looking for a possible blood clot in his lung. Evidently this can happen as a result of the chemo and radiation. We still don’t have the results of the CT scan, so Mark is still in ER and I am back at the Hope Lodge.
I’ll back up for a minute and explain how this came about. I drove Mark to Boston today for his late afternoon radiation treatment and weekly appointment with his radiation oncologist following the appointment. I was with him because I had made a last minute decision to stay with him tonight instead of heading back to the Cape. It’s a good thing I did. When he meets with his radiation oncologist, he first meets with a nurse, and then today he met with a resident that will be present for the liver radiation treatments that begin on Thursday, and then he met with Dr. Hong. By the time Dr. Hong came in, the nurse and resident had already grilled him about his report that when he eats, climbs steps, or bends over, he has a hard time catching his breath and his heart rate soars. He can walk on flat ground all day long with no problem, but if he just barely bends over, he has the problem. This started shortly after the radiation treatments. Dr. Hong had the nurse hook him up and go walking with him—no change in heart rate or oxygen level, but when he bent over, his heart rate soared. So they sent a text message to his primary oncologist, Dr. Kwak. After a bit of a wait, we were told that a visit to ER would be the prudent thing to do. So we headed there immediately. And we waited. And we waited. And we waited. It took only minutes to get registered and sent back to an examination room where he was told that he would have to have blood work done and wait on the results of that before the CT scan could be done. He was also forewarned that he might have to spend the night. He was sent from the exam room to another waiting room and that is where we waited for hours for the blood test and then the scan. After the scan, they took more blood and then wheeled him to another area called Urgent Care. A doctor and a resident met with him and explained that he would probably be in this area most of the night. I was getting ready to leave when a nurse came in to make sure he was comfortable and told me wait a bit longer while they made a decision on whether to keep him in Urgent Care or send him home as there were no beds in the hospital. Once it became clear that he had to have a repeat blood test at 4 am, I left and came back to the Hope Lodge. He will get the results of the scan sometime during the night and that will determine whether or not he has to be admitted to the hospital. If we are very lucky, I’ll get a call after the 4 am blood test telling me to come get him. It will be the first time in my life that I look forward to a call at that hour of the morning!