I do believe that my last entry involved Butch being hospitalized due to an infection, and the decision for him to stay in long-term care, while there was aggressive treatment to get rid of the problem. It was determined that his problem involved liver and possibly gall bladder. After some tests (sonogram, CT scan, frequent blood checks), it was finally determined that the problem was not an infection, per se. The oncology team concluded that Butch's problem is that the cancer metastasized from pancreas to the liver. The only way to know for sure is invasive and Butch's strength and heart are not good enough for him to survive the biopsy. No chemo or radiation is recommended, due to his weak heart, primarily. In doing research, I can see that his symptoms match liver cancer. So a couple of days ago he was removed from the antibiotic IV and moved to hospice, also at the VA hospital. After many in-depth personal discussions, as well as conferences with the various doctors and medical professionals in the different departments involved in his care, it has been decided that he will be staying there and not returning home (unless everyone is surprised by some sort of miraculous happenstance in Butch's 82-year-old body). (The prognosis: 6-12 months.)
Of course, all this occurred a day or two before I obtained new supplies for his sick room here at the house. Oh, well . . . I'm sure I can find uses for the bed pads and other items that I now have in abundance. Meanwhile, friend Kevin is helping Butch by creating a transfer device to help him move from bed to commode or wheelchair, taking various desired items to him (including his mail-in ballot), and assisting with minor repairs, etc., around the property. He may also get a power wheelchair (not scooter) for use in the facility and a type of prosthesis to help him with some mobility, however minimal.
Since he has been off the IV antibiotics, Butch has been getting his appetite back and is actually consuming measurable food. Surprisingly, to those who know him well, he is drinking little, if any, soda (yes, I have a large stockpile of diet caffeine-free Coke, some of which I will be taking to him - I can drop things off, but, because of CoVid, can't personally give them to him). He says things don't taste good or right . . . food with salt is too salty and, hard to believe this from him, sweet foods are too sweet. No more chocolate layer cake! But today his doctor told me that he is off insulin as his blood/sugar is at a good level and is manageable with his food. Speaking of food, his oncologist told him, and me, that Butch no longer has any dietary restrictions: he should eat whatever he wants (sort of a bribe, I guess, to get him to take any nourishment, however miniscule)! Of course, since he doesn't really want anything, that allowance is not as welcome as it would have been just 6 months ago!
Butch and I did not expect to have this many years years together (44+), partly due to his tendency to engage in some less-than-safe activities, as well as his health issues. At this point, we are thankful for having had so much time together. We talk on the phone at least twice a day, I have access to his health professionals to ask questions, we started a couple of years ago to move various things (contracts, ownership of various items, accounts, etc.) into my name alone, I have his complete power of attorney to handle necessary details, and there are many wonderful people who have made themselves available to help in many ways. We may be in a pandemic, but we have been blessed over and over.
I will continue to update this website as there are things to report. As I've said before, thank you for being in our circle of friends, family, and colleagues. We wish everyone health and safety and we move into the last months of the year.
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