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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

6 Best Ways to Make a Friend’s Hospital Stay Better

1. Ask Before Visiting

While many people appreciate visits, it’s not always possible due to hospital rules or how the patient is feeling. Call ahead to find out if your friend can have visitors and feels well enough to see you.

2. Help Out Without Being Asked

When it comes to taking care of things back at the house, don’t wait for your friend to ask for help – they have so much on their mind. Just take care of the yard work and whatever needs doing.

3. Give a Goodie Bag & Small Gifts

The most common advice: Give small gifts or a goodie bag to keep someone with a lot of time on her hands entertained.

4. Bring Reminders of Home

Little pieces of home are a way to personalize a hospital room. Their regular pillow, favorite coffee mug, photos, or the local paper can help the new environment and schedule feel normal.

5. Feed Them

A home-cooked meal in the hospital can be rare, so it’s extra-appreciated. For family of the patient, gift cards to local restaurants give them a change from the hospital cafeteria.

6. Offer Notes and Well Wishes

Whether it’s a card in the mail or a message on a CaringBridge website, encouraging words can go a long way to boosting someone’s spirits.

Cancer Updates

My parents & all their descendants together for the first time!
I had my second CT Scan after my 8th treatment. It showed more shrinkage in the spot on my liver and some of the spots in my lungs. The spot on my spine does not show up on CT scan, so that will have to be looked at later with a PET scan. So we are still moving in the right direction with chemotherapy; meaning we will continue on this regimen for at least 2 more months.

Some of the spots on my lungs are not shrinking. This could be due to their not being cancer spots. Apparently spots of debris breathed in from working so many years outside in the dirt get into one's lungs, according to my Oncologist. It seems particles of fungus and other stuff gets stirred up and settles in there over the years. We will have to eventually determine what those spots are.

I also might have to go into surgery, again, for a liver resection. The doctor will consult with my surgeon about that soon. If that happens I will need to stop the Avastin infusion 6 weeks prior. The surgery will have to be done at Vanderbilt Hospital.

My symptoms are are still manageable. I am happy about this, though they are not easy to deal with.

I still have super intolerance to cold. I wear polar gloves to get into the refrigerator and can only drink and eat warm or hot food and liquid.

I have the pins and needles in my fingers and toes as part of the irreversible neuropathy I am developing. My legs are weak. I can still climb a few stairs, but going down is rough. My legs become shaky and have no strength. I keep walking for exercise. Some days I walk well and others I don't. My legs hurt to the touch, maybe due to loss of strength or maybe due to neuropathy.

My nose hurts like crazy when I touch it. Blood comes out when I blow it.

I have very high blood pressure, especially when I try to become active. And I get tired from just walking around the yard.

Unlike most cancer patients, I keep gaining weight. I have not lost my appetite at all, but have little to no activity. This leads to my weight gain. It also plays into my increased blood pressure and fatigue.

I'm sorry about my phone situation, for those of you trying to call me. It only works when I'm in the city for medical appointments. That's just part of live in rural areas, so reaching me through email or google hangouts is still the best alternative.