8-12-11 Friday +9 months

Status: As you know, I have been feeling less well these last two or three weeks, culminating in shortness of breath for most minor daily activities, which I thought might have been a gastrointestinal bleed, however my visit to Hopkins yesterday confirmed what it really was.

Events: Came in for my routine visit on Thursday, which turned out be anything but routine. I was short of breath even on the ride up to Hopkins, and my initial checks showed an oxygen saturation level (percentage of red cells saturated with oxygen) was 82 % (normal is 95-100 %). When the GVH doctor who we were seeing heard that result, she got quite excited – but not in the way that you’d like a doctor to. She immediately ordered a chest and sinus CT scan, paged my transplant doctor and began the process for admitting me to the hospital. The CT scan, in fact, showed cloudy spots on both lungs. The likely diagnosis is pneumonia, but they’ll find out for sure with a bronchoscopy. More on that later.

They put me on oxygen and eventually headed me up to Ward 5B, the bone marrow transplant ward, which I had happily left so many months ago. The familiar nurses were so kind and welcoming, glad to see me, but not to see me back of course. Doctors started me on broad spectrum IV antibiotics to fight the lung infection. Had the usual restless night in the hospital, which meant I was pretty wiped and slept all day today.

My bronchoscopy was set for late afternoon today, requiring that I not eat or drink anything after midnight. They finally brought me down for the procedure around 4:30PM . The idea was to look in the lungs and take a few snips so they could better identify the organism that’s taken route there – that way they can better target the antibiotic. But as we well know, things don’t always go as planned. Unfortunately there was an emergency in the bronchoscopy recovery room where I was waiting for my procedure to start. A patient went into cardiac arrest.  Thankfully they were able to revive her, but they had to cancel the last few procedures of the day – which meant me. They’ll try again on Monday, and in the meantime just keep pumping me with the big-time antibiotics.

Comments: My transplant doctor wagged his finger at me and told me I should have called him on Monday when I felt faint and ended up having an unexpected rest on the carpet. He told me not to wait next time. Lisa told me she has taken over all doctor calling responsibilities and will not listen to the doctor/patient when he insists she not call the doctor.

To say that I hate to be back here is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong – the transport folks were actually very nice today, the nurses are top notch, I have my private room of course. However, there is no place like home. That said, with cloudy lungs there’s no place like the hospital, so my plan is to let those antibiotics do their work and then get out of here as quick as I can.

The good/bad news is this means a resumption of the blog on a more regular basis for the next few days at least. See, a silver lining in everything.

Hope your summer is more restful!

Love,

Bruce

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14 Responses to “”

  1. Catherine O'Brien Says:

    Oh I hate to read this. but not as much as you hate going through it. I can see I really need to concentrate on you. My prayers are with you. Love,Catherine

  2. Shelley Fleet Says:

    Bruce, I read your blogs faithfully and I am so proud of your spirit and staminan and I can feel the love you and your family have for each other. Just want to reinforce the silver lining behind every cloud! Now you get to eat delicious hospital food!!
    Continue to stay strong.
    Shelley

  3. judy moss Says:

    Oh man!!! We hate that you are sick again and hope and pray that the pneumonia clears up quickly and easily. Get some rest and take care of yourself….listen to Lisa and the doctors. Be a good patient so you can get out of there and go home. Just know that we continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. We will be anxiously awaiting your next update.

  4. Mitzi Krockover Says:

    Bruce,
    So sorry to hear you are having another challenge. Hang in there and know so many are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.
    Glad you are taking a rest and letting the medicine “do its thing”.

  5. Aileen Says:

    Sorry to read this–but glad you are in the very best hands (and the Hopkins staff helping Lisa get you back on track)–Will be pulling for a short stay with that wonderful Hopkins staff–Aileen

  6. Lewis Lefkowitz Says:

    Judy and I are really glad to hear that Lisa will now be your medical decider.

  7. Wendi Says:

    So sorry to hear this. Hope for some smoother ground after this hurdle.

  8. Bill Israel Says:

    Dear Bruce — Like you, we’d rather see you at Bethany Beach! Nonetheless, we’re grateful for your news, even if it’s not what you (or we) would hope. You have the world’s best attitude for riding out obstacles, and the support of all of us who love you. Thank God for Lisa! -Bill and Eileen

  9. Henry Miller Says:

    Just another bump in the road.

    Hang in there and remember that so many care for you so much.

  10. Barbara McKee Says:

    Bruce. You deserve the best so get over this obstacle quickly. My thoughts are with you!

  11. wendy dan Says:

    You know what they say about “Assume”. And a Wet noodle lashing from the medical team as well, huh. Guess you won’t do that again. But so know what that’s like when you aren’t feeling well and make many assumptive leaps about what’s causing what, diabetes, GVH mouth issues, medications, etc. And the last thing you want to do is call the Dr to make an appt. Been there, done that.

    Guess life’s little lesson is to check in with the medical team about every “little” thing, which we would perhaps prefer to call a “consultation”.

    What a long list of to do’s to get well.. It’s a full time job. But I can’t wait, maybe almost as much as you, for you to get that long awaited promotion at the end of this gig and move on with the rest of your life. Here’s to that sooner than later……

  12. Johnny De Philo Says:

    hey bruce, always thinking of you and the myriad of silver linings you have provided. we love you and are cheering you on from the other side of the atlantic. big love x

  13. B J Stiles Says:

    And a hearty hello from San Francisco. Since connecting with you (belatedly) I’ve told all of my UCSF health care team about you, and your blog. So, now I get to hear them all rave about this Dr. Dan guy and how impressed they are with your Hopkins team! Hey, gang, what about ME? Answer: your next MRI is August 29th; stop whining.

    Love/hate all the shared experiences with being hospitalized!

    Many hugz for good results today!

    B.J.

  14. Bill Schaffner Says:

    Bruce and Lisa:

    I gnashed my teeth when I heard of your recent events. Pneumonia sure is a warning signal that something substantial is not right – that also was the first chapter in this saga. I’m sure glad you are where you are – Hopkins gives me confidence (although I wonder that they did not do the bronch emergently on Saturday….) And I’m sure glad that Lisa is there to keep things together.

    We love ya!

    Bill

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