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Last Year's Diary

Medical Diary, 2001
Year Six Living with Cancer


May 3
CT scan of the chest.  
May 8
Office Visit and review of the last CT.  Nothing new.  Dr. Sharma prescribed a, Duragesic® "pain patch" that dispenses fenatyl for the chronic pain she has been complaining about.   
May 16
An urgent call at work today from Raquel that she was taking Neila to Presbyterian's ER. Neila had called her asking her to come over, and when she got here her mother disoriented and shaking uncontrollably. She began vomiting and Raquel got her into the car with great difficulty. I got permission to leave work early and came to the hospital where I found her still quite disoriented, confused, and throwing up. They ran some blood test (inconclusive, white blood cells were normal), and an x-ray, which showed the right lung full of fluid. There was also a new "mass" in the upper right quadrant that I don't remember seeing before. They finally decided to admit her. She is not responsive, and looks glassy-eyed.   
May 18
The sonogram was inconclusive.  Dr. Sharma ordered a full CT and Dr. Andrew Gottesman, a gastroenterologist Dr. Sharma called in to check for a kidney infection, ordered a "DISIDA" scan, a type of radioisotope renal scan, to try and pin down a spot on her kidneys that appeared on an x-ray.  This will be done over the weekend.  
May 19
CT scan. DISIDA scans are not done on weekends(!!!). Neila is still very disoriented and having hallucinations.
May 20
She woke up disoriented and aphasic, though by the end of the day she had begun to speak a little and for the first time realized where she was.   Dr. Gottesman dropped by and went out of his way to assure me it was probably not cancer, since lung cancer only rarely metastasizes to the kidneys.
May 21
Neila woke up alert and back to normal, and went to the DISIDA scan at 8:00 am.  Dr. Sharma came by afterwards.  Although he had not seen the CT images from Saturday, he had gotten a preliminary report that they were normal.  He ordered an MRI of the head and an EEG, just to be sure there was nothing going on in her head, since we don't have an explanation for her disorientation and aphasia.  The MRI should be done this afternoon and the EEG tomorrow morning.
May 22
Neila is back to herself and stable.  She did the EEG early, and then we waited for Dr. Sharma until 5:00 pm.   He had the results of the exams except the EEG and all were negative--in other words no abnormalities  He thinks the aphasia and confusion could be the results of the toxic effects of the infections she had, or, a seizure.  The neurologist, Dr. Daniel E. Krampitz, should have the EEG results tomorrow, me he has already told Dr. Sharma that since Neila has a history of seizures, she should take anti-seizure medicine regardless of the EEG results.  She should be out of the hospital tomorrow afternoon.
May 23
Going home! Dr. Krampitz, the neurologist, and Dr. Sharma both came by early and cleared her for discharge today.  The EEG showed some "spikes," as Krampitz put it, and the MRI showed some "slowing down" of mental abilities, but there was nothing her aphasia and disorientation could be attributed to.  Dr. Krampitz even backed off on the anti-seizure medicine, though he recommends we pay close attention to anything unusual.  Since the only really concrete thing they found was the infection (the gallstones are too small to be of concern right now), and because she responded well to antibiotics, Dr. Sharma gave her another round to take at home.  We were home by noon.   top

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