Sunday, January 24, 2016

#SOL16: Uncertainty Again

Winter Night (M.A. Reilly, 2014)
It took my son and I hours to dig out after the big snow this past weekend. Neither of us could get the snow blower to move, let alone work, and so we tackled the two feet of snow with two shovels. Rob normally mans the snow blower. While we worked to remove the snow, I was unaware that my husband was being treated for what a doctor would later tell me he thought was a urinary tract infection at the rehabilitation center he has been staying for the last two weeks.

On the morning of December 30, I called for an ambulance because Rob could no longer walk nor stand for any length of time and nothing Dev and I could do could help him to get down the three steps from the house to the car in order to go for a chemo treatment.  Rob was transported to the hospital where he remained. On January 8 he had spinal surgery to reduce the spinal cord compression that the malignant lesions wrapped around his spine had caused. He remained in the hospital five more days and after being fitted with a spinal brace was transported to an acute rehabilitation center where he remained until tonight.

Although I see Rob each day, this past weekend was the exception given the 2 feet of snow.  I was unaware that Rob was even ill. He had told me early in the morning that he was in pain and taking pain medicine.  I foolishly assumed he was talking about his shoulder as he had hurt it earlier in the week.  Throughout the day, I tried calling him and each time I grew more concerned because either he did not answer or when he did he was just waking up and was so unclear.  At 5:00 I called the nurse's station as I was so worried and learned there that Rob was being treated for an infection. Apparently the infection was painful--painful enough that he was drugged and was largely incoherent each time we spoke. The nurse told me she would have Rob call and when he did he had difficulty carrying on a conversation.   I let him rest and tried again and because of the heavy narcotics he has taken, our conversation was one-sided and his speech was incomplete and largely unclear. I called the nurse again at 7:00 after talking with Rob and not understanding anything he had said. There is no terror like the feeling that the man you love is away from you, your care and no longer sounds anything like himself.

A little after 7 a doctor from the center phoned and said they were going to send Rob to a hospital as they were worried given the fever he was running (fever, what fever?) and they were not equipped to diagnose what was wrong.  The initial diagnosis of an infection may not have been correct. His kidneys have stopped working.

And so now, Devon and I wait in the emergency room at the hospital for Rob to arrive. The last time he was home was the morning of December 30, 2 days after our 25th wedding anniversary. This is what it is like when your husband diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer is beyond your care, beyond your touch.


  1. So sorry--words from near strangers are, of course, little comfort, but silence is worse.
    You and yours are in our thoughts and prayers.

  2. Mary Ann my thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. Please know I am thinking of you. I wish I could give you a strong hug.

  3. My thoughts are with you Mary Ann. Holding you all very close to my heart.

  4. Thank you for your writing. All my best wishes.

  5. Your strength amazes me! Sending you love.

  6. I just came across this heart wrenching post. Had no idea you and your family are going through all this. I'm so feeling for each of you. As you know, I just lost my mom to cancer. She had stage four ovarian cancer for seven years. At 82 she decided to end her chemo treatment. More and more it robbed her of quality of life. For over a year she felt much better and enjoyed time with family and friends. Her sense of humor and love for the simple things in life shined brightly until the last couple of days of her life. Thankfully, she didn't suffer and was at home with my brother and sister-in-law when she died. I believe she's in a far better place.
    I lost my mother and it hurts, but Mom lived a full life. I don't know Rob's age, but guessing he's in his forties. He still should have so much more living to do, so many wonderful times to share with you and your son. My heart and prayers are with all of you. Sending love and hugs your way.

  7. Mary Ann. Know that you are all in our hearts. Holding Rob high for comfort and healing. Hoping to see you soon.