Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Update on the knuckle head I'm married to

Five years ago, an eminent and world-class surgeon performed an experimental and life-saving surgery on my husband, and he is supposed to be monitored by this surgeon regularly, at least once a year. Supposed to. So after this recent hospitalization, he went for a follow-up to see his surgeon and got read a very long, loud riot act. My husband had, apparently, blown off this year's check up. So today he had to sit there while this man, to whom he owes his life, said things to him like, "You have been a non-compliant patient!", "I'm trying to keep you alive," and (the one that really got my Ph.D. husband) "I thought you were smarter than that!"

So here's the deal. My husband's hemoglobin count is high enough that he could have a stroke or throw a clot at any time. He had two phlebotomies last week and his count is already right back up up to where it started from. He's having another one tomorrow, and will keep having them until the count is controlled. He's also having an angiogram this week to see the state of his veins and (here's the really bad part) if the shunt the surgeon made for him five years (and that prevented my husband from having to have multi-organ transplant!) ago is still functioning.

My knuckle head is thoroughly humbled and promises me he understands, now, that ANY physical weirdness (e.g. headaches every day and chest pains!!!) will be taken seriously and immediately reported to me and to his doctors. We have agreed that if he doesn't listen to me, all I have to say is, "I thought you were smarter than that," and he will behave and do what I tell him to do.

I've been concerned about his daily headaches and fatigue for a long time (didn't even know about the chest pains) and am glad to have more info about what's going on in that complicated body my husband lives in. But it is nerve wracking to know what thin ice he's been skating on. I'm trying not to flip out about the fact that he's still at risk, until they get that hemoglobin count down..... The surgeon has yelled at him, which has more impact than any yelling or nagging I can do. And now we await test and treatment results and hope he doesn't have to have surgery again.

I'm exhausted, but hanging in here. Hope to be back chatting with you all soon. Thanks for all the notes, thoughts, and emails. They're much appreciated.


yellowdog granny said...

what is it with men and drs..and taking care of their health...jeez..stay on his ass...tell him you don't look good in black...and you hope your next husband takes better care of hisself...

candles lit..prayes sent..

Elizabeth said...

Thanks dear. And I like that "I don't look good in black" line!

sageweb said...

Hang in there...my thoughts are with you and your family. Big Hugs!

jason said...

men with doctors.
We're so stubborn. I plead guilty too.

more cowbell said...

Oh no, I'm so sorry, Elizabeth. Well thank goodness he's there now and has had a wake up call. Yellowdog-G is so right about men and all things medical -- my dad recently had thyroid surgery, and he was such an awful patient that my mom, a former psych nurse, who's had tons of experience with difficult patients, walked out of the room. He wore a turtleneck at Christmas so his mother wouldn't know about the surgery, and wouldn't let mom tell us until after the fact. Brat!

Keep us posted, and stay on his ass. He'll tell you he doesn't like it, but it's a lie.

D-Man said...

Hang in there. He sounds a lot like my Troy.