Yesterday morning, I met Vernon and his ‘drivers’ at the Fountain Valley Medical Center so that once again, Dr. Duong, the Vascular Surgeon might check his AV Shunt that was put in last April. His first check-up was in the summertime, it still hadn’t healed enough, and with school starts and more dialysis hours throwing appointments off until this month, Dr. Duong revealed that of the two branches of his fistula, only one had merged properly to the artery—and that one had settled too deeply within the upper arm to be reached by needle. Therefore the doctor suggested another surgery to fix the problem. After that, it would take another three weeks to heal properly.
I hate to admit it but I believe sometimes doctors run around and around with various procedure and medication ideas, hoping something will stick. A lot of money is spent on keeping someone alive, and half the time, its just hopeful thinking, calculated risks. Unfortunately, Dialysis is a necessary evil and we have little choice but to keep moving forward at the various doctor’s suggestions.
It could be a blessing that his arm isn’t ready yet though. The Dialysis nurses and technicians are concerned that he won’t tolerate the pain and poking of a daily needle or that he will become agitated as he so often has been and start grabbing at the wires in his arms.
I am hoping to see a more consistently relaxed version of Vernon as we work with the mat and the oil. So far, there is improvement, but there has to be enough improvement that the staff and doctor agree to let him sit longer per session. Also at the moment, when I go, I can just get back in time for Justine’s school pick-up, this would change if we add more time. So we need to make sure it will work if we are going to change the schedule again. Getting back our fifth day could be problematic once we give it up.
He was great, despite unlocking the seat belt too often to be safe, and I did notice him winking at me a few times. No picture, but it happened. And he admitted it too.
Next stop was the Dialysis Center itself. He was still great, which was unexpected considering how long he had been up, being transported from place to place. Not only did he wink at me in the Drs. Office earlier, he wanted to kiss me on the lips over and over again. I must say I did feel special: he still has a way of doing that when he wants to. It’s good to know that a major part of who I fell in love with is still alive and kicking.
The problem is: WATER. He still wants water so much. I could get in trouble for saying so, but I have decided that my time away from the care home is my opportunity to give him water. We do little sips at a time. And if he holds his head just right, chin tucked low and to the right, he can swallow small sips without even coughing. I’ve asked for more water at the care home, but I know he tends to dislike tube feedings so I think often the carers give him just the minimum. He does make it hard for them, I know.
Yesterday, I came in with ice water for him and a coffee for myself. He immediately noticed the coffee in my hand, as he always does when I have one. I’ve been taking my coffee black since he lived with us, but still, I let him have a small taste.
He hated it and made the funniest faces. The session went on, and almost two hours later, he said, out of the blue:
“I really regret that your coffee tastes so bad.”
It was a disappointment…so much of one he remembered it for two hours. That’s good, isn’t it?
Today, I fed him water again. It’s so hard to deny him this simple thing, especially as he begs for it. As Ive said before, I do believe this is a primal urge that makes one feel ‘human’ when satisfied. I told the on-duty nurse about this idea as she was checking Vernon’s numbers. I told her I believed it would help him improve cognitively as well as physically (especially with so much time on the detoxing mat.)
A little later, Vernon said: “You know, what you said earlier about the water really made ssnse to me.”
I had been giving him little super-sized dixie cups, half at a time, coaching him through the side-swallow, although most of the time he seemed to remember before he got confident and started coughing uncontrollably.
“Because when you think about it, the amount of water is really not very much. It’s only a plastic thimble.”
After that, he kept asking for a mere thimble of water.
I try to slow him down, but how can I not oblige a little?
I’ll be back tomorrow with the PEMF mat, expecting good results yet again.
One more thing…I thought Vernon had been gaining weight recently as his face has filled out so much, but I am still concerned because after being weighed yesterday, I found he was still only 102 pounds. He doesn’t look like it in his face though…so I am concerned there may be some something else going on. Also he was very often confused in his words again today, more than he has been lately. The doctor has ordered tests and an x ray.