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out of hospital


Don M

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I got discharged from the hospital yesterday. I had acute respiratory failure. I was in for 5 days. I can breathe better now but am not where I was before i went in. They say that I may have possible congested heart failure as one of the contributing factors. They also think I had pneumonia and a possible flareup of COPD from some small emphysema at the bottom of my lung. They treated it as if it were pneumonia and I improved a lot in the first 24 hours. I am using oxygen at home and have portable tanks for walking around. I expect I will go off the oxygen within a month. I don't have all the medical details at the moment, but intend to get copies of every thing and go over it. It all came on quite suddenly.

I suspect I took too much hydrocodone for some arm pain, although I was under the dosage limit, the stuff made me nod out a lot and it may have been a significant factor in my respiratory failure. The arm pain was from a botched chemo delivery. I have had one chemo infusion on June 10th. The needle worked loose out of the vein at some point and a lot of the stuff went in my arm muscle instead of the vein. I am not going to do chemo again until 7-8-08. I am going to have a "pic" line installed so that the chemo can be delivered without any danger of the stuff going into my muscle again.

Don M

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Don - how did I not notice you weren't on for 5 days?? I am sorry that this happened to you; however, really glad that you got good care and are back at home.

When I had my surgery I ended up getting too much of the pain meds (still well without the realm of what was allowed) and apparently my body doesn't require as much as most - anyhow, you guessed it - same as you - respiratory failure. The nurse told me they had to give me something that would take ALL the pain meds out of my system as she said my heart rate kept dropping and my pulse was getting weaker. I guess I knew that was going to hurt because she said I begged her not to do it and told her I would stay awake and then it wouldn't happen anymore. Well, she didn't listen to me and I can honestly say I can't remember when I have gone from 0-100 in 5 seconds or less - the pain was absolutely horrid. So, by the sounds of it I am not alone in my reaction. My doc told me later I should get a Medic Alert bracelet stipulating this reaction and I suppose now that you reminded me I will get on it.

Anyhow, so happy you are ok Don.

Linda

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Hate to hear about all you've been thru. I'm so glad you're home now and I hope things just get better from here on out. You continue to be in my prayers. Please keep us posted on you as you can.

((hug))

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Hi, Don.

So glad you made it through this latest ordeal and are back home again.

Unsolicited advice re your oxygen:

Even though you don't expect to be on oxygen long, I suggest strongly that you purchase an oximeter so that you can track your oxygen levels, my reason being that since this isn't a "permanent" situation, your supplemental oxygen needs will vary depending on your level of physical activity; and the condition of your lungs at any given time. It is important that you keep your blood oxygen between 91 and 95% as any lower than 91% can cloud your judgment (not to mention heart and brain damage) and any higher than 95% can cause carbon dioxide poisoning (all this learned by me the hard way during my radiation pneumonitis episodes).

REI (sporting goods coop) carries oximeters for about $160, but I think you can get them even cheaper ($60+) by ordering online (a member of my lung cancer support group ordered from Devon, which is at http://www.devonsuperstore.com/pulse-ox ... agodeTz7tw ) Neither of these are "professioinal medical" models: the REI is for mountain climbers and is probably more accurate than the $60 one (I have an REI and have checked it against the one in my doc's office and it's always within 1%).

I also had a PICC line during my chemo last year and can personally attest to the benefits of buying a "sleeve" so that you can take showers without having to wrap your arm or hold it outside the shower. :(

Missed your presence, but just figured your arm was unhappy with the keyboard. I sure hope you get to feeling better quickly, and in the meantime, keep us posted!

Carole

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.--the late, great George Carlin

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Hi Don So sorry this happened to you....I've been thinking about the chemo leakage into your arm, and it seems like I read somewhere that just a drop of chemo on the skin can leave a scar. So can imagine it really hurt to get so much chemo in your muscle.

As far a the congested heart, it certainly can cause sob. My sob really decreased with the stents - a pretty easy procedure too compared to what we've been through.

I hope you feel better soon Don.

Prayers,

Barb

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Don-

I am so glad you are out of the hospital. John had a chemo leak into his arm on his second chemo-- it was horrible-- he had to have about 12 shots around the site to neutralize it. After that he had his port put in. Is there any reason you're getting a picc line instead of a port? The port is much easier to care for and the risk of infection is less.

Rochelle

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Hi Don,

I am so sorry to read all these troubles you have been having. I sure hope they have you straight now and you will just get better and better. I hate thinking you were in the hospital and we didn't know it. Is there anyone who can post for you if you are unable? Well, I just hope that doesn't happen again. You take care. My prayers are with you.

Hugs,

Sue

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Thanks for your support everyone.

Carole, I have been thinking abut getting an oximeter and I think I will from the website you posted.

Rochelle:

this may be the last chemo I do. My cancer has been slow growing and i don't want to go lopsided on the treatment side effects and sacrifice a good year or 2 of reasonably good quality of life. So i figure to use the pic line for the rest of the taxotere and then wait and see awhile.

Don M

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Don M: ...i don't want to go lopsided on the treatment side effects and sacrifice a good year or 2 of reasonably good quality of life.

That's basically where I am now, too, Don. The Alimta infusions killed my quality of life when they caused my radiation pneumonitis to recur, destroying my strength and energy, upping my oxygen needs, and forcing me to up my Prednisone levels again.

It's going to take me at least 3-6 weeks to recover even partially, and after that the only chemo options left to me (docetaxel and navelbine) each have less than a 20% chance of slowing (let alone stopping) progression. Like Alimta, they both have side effects and at this point, I'm just not willing to consider sacrificing even a month's quality of life for a few extra months of miserable survival.

Carole

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.--the late, great George Carlin

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