Friday, February 20, 2009

St. Paul morning update

Steve slept little last night. He was assessed by the RN and then the doctor on call. Then he had to wait for his nighttime meds, which had to be ordered by the doctor.

Around 3 a.m. he required a breathing treatment to help with his cough.

His cough is actually better today than yesterday. He's been on oxygen since the ambulance ride. Maybe that's helped?

Dr. M and I have corresponded via e-mail. We were confused last night/early morning by the on-call doctor's assessment that this week's MRI revealed a smaller tumor. That's what the final report stated.

Dr. M clarified. The cystic part of the tumor -- the middle part -- is a little smaller now as compared with January. The radiologist who wrote the final report was focused on the cystic part.

What the final report didn't reflect was the slightly larger margins. Dr. M calls on the same radiologist each time to quickly read the MRI reports -- that's how we get results within hours of the scan. That radiologist knows Steve's clinical history and watches for very slight changes.

So, Dr. M and that radiologist agree that the margins are slightly larger, based on this week's reading and Steve's symptoms.

Again, little changes in the brain stem equal big changes in the body.

Two hematology/oncology residents were here earlier this morning. They went through the normal line of questions and neuro exams.

The young man (all the residents are younger than us, which seems so strange, because aren't we young?!) had an interesting bedside manner, which clearly needs to be refined.

His colleague asked Steve, "If you were to stop breathing, would you want a tube pushed down your throat?"

Steve was taken aback by the question and teared up a little. The female resident held his hand and reassured him that she always asks that question.

Then the male resident said, "You do know you have a bad kind of tumor, right?"

Ha! Really?!

I replied that, yeah, we're aware of the severity of the tumor and were pleased to have done so well for the past 14 months.

More details soon!


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you're both going through this right now. It does sound like the hospital needs to teach the residents about better "bedside manner" skills. I'm sad just reading about the way they handled the situation. Hang in there!

Laura H.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Can you fill out a comment card or perhaps ask to speak to the manager in that bedside situation?
On behalf of humanity, I apologize that y'all had to go through that.
Hugs and prayers,

Laura said...

That resident needs a little training and kick in the arse from Dr. Bailey (Greys, anyone?)! Y'all certainly deserve better care. I hope you find comfort soon and are home quickly.

Jennifer Bodurtha said...

Dear Steve, Tyra, Cooper, Katie, and the rest of the Damm family,

Just spoke to mom and she said that you are all always in their prayers. Add us CT clan to the prayer chain because you, of course, always are close to our hearts. This is such a big bloomin' country, but prayers don't have a clue about geography!!

Love Always from Jen, Alan, Kate and Russell

spokesnwheels :) said...

To the question..the male resident asked

You do know Steve has a high school friend who is like an unpaid electric bill... she'll put your lights out. :P

Hopefully that resident will be set straight... before someone like me crosses his path.

I'm sorry that you both had to experience this.

Jeffrey Weiss said...

I assume you have an advace medical directive --living will -- on file there that answers that question? If not, it's a question that *needs* to be asked. And while this guy's bedside manner may not be great, I dunno that there is a gentle way to ask whatust be a very specific question. I had to ask my dad the very same thing earler this week. Very hard.

Anonymous said...

As an RN, I would recommend reporting these residents to their attending. This is NOT acceptable behavior, especially on this type of unit and the persons in charge of their program will want to confront this. Meanwhile, enlist the nurses as allies to rein these doofus residents in- they will take care of them. heh heh

Chitnis and Chahal said...

I am not happy about either of the residents. Even the one that asked about the tube has to know better than to ask the way she did. I know that its important to talk about advanced directives and honestly no one teaches you this in medical school. Patient interaction skills have to be learnt on your own, its not that hard and takes common sense and compassion.
What the other resident said is totally unacceptable. How dare he ask a question like this. You are both intelligent people and he should know better than to blantantly ask something like this. I can't change anything about what happened but if it makes any difference, I can take this matter up with their dept. You just have to let me know and I can handle this correctly. I don't want anyone to get in trouble but we are at UT Soutwestern, we are known for our reputation and excellence in care, they should know better than to behave the way they did.
Please let me know anything I can ever do to help.
I am glad you are home, hang in there. Will pray for the next treament to work and the steroids to reduce some of the inflammation.
Hugs and much love!