The Pleurisy Adventure

September 27, 2011

Thank you everyone who leaves comments for us on our blog, you all lift our spirits and give us something to look forward to.

Guest blog post time! Sam here this week, and that’s right, I’m guest posting on my own blog. I offered to do posting duties this week, and Leslie sprang at the opportunity to take a week off. There was some danger and excitement last week, during what I like to call the Pleurisy Adventure. It was a little rough to get through, but Leslie was singularly wonderful, and friends and family were more kind and helpful than we could ever ask for.

E.D. treatment

It's one kind of adventure, at least

The week after cycle eight was uneventful. I was feeling OK and going to work every day. Near the end of the week (which is usually when my white blood cells counts are lowest and my immune system is weakest) I developed a runny nose and a nasty cough. I didn’t think much of it but Leslie was appropriately concerned.

Fast forward to the next Monday morning at 3:30 AM. I’d been thrashing around and groaning all night, keeping Leslie up. I skidded in to wakefulness and realized I was sweating and it felt like my chest was sore. After some very hazy and halfwitted deliberation (“maybe I’m just hot, I should move some blankets… I probably just pulled a muscle or something in my chest”), I took my temperature and it registered at 100.6. We were off to the hospital.

I'm ready to go, is he ok?!?!

Packing for a stay of unknown length at 3:30 AM while in a state of hurried distress ain’t easy, but we did pretty well. The Emergency Room was empty so we got in right away, and the admitting nurse took my temperature, which was now up to 101.1. He got me a wheelchair and wheeled me over to my room. The nurses and doctors there were all great, and they did some poking X-Raying and questioning, then got me started on antibiotics and medicine for the chest pain, which was now pretty bad.

Doctor Hoot, who did not live up to his name (he didn’t hoot once!) but was a great doctor, was initially worried that I had a blood clot in my lung. He said those are one of the only ways to get a fever that isn’t an infection, which I thought was interesting. He also said that lung blood clots make part of your lung tissue die, which sounded very bad, so I was hoping that wasn’t the situation. After a shift change and getting moved to a different E.R. Room,

(I have to digress here and say that Hospital folks refer to the “Emergency Department” instead of the “Emergency Room.” This means that they talk about the E.D. instead of the E.R., which always makes me think of Erectile Dysfunction. “Emergency Department” may not be as common a term with non-hospital people, but I think the humor of saying things like “the E.D. nurse” outweighs the unfamiliarity, so from now on I’ll say E.D. instead of E.R.)

ahem – getting moved to a different E.D. room, we waited for and eventually got a CT scan on my chest. It showed that I did not have a blood clot. Yay! The doctors settled on a diagnosis of “pleurisy” caused by pneumonia, but they still weren’t sure what kind of infection caused the pneumonia. Pleurisy was a new word for us and it means an inflammation of the outer lining of the lungs. Even now, a week later, they don’t know what caused the pneumonia.

Pleurisy will slow you down

An extended stay in Hotel Vanderbilt

That all took about 12 hours.  It was very distressing and scary. At about 3:00 PM, when we were all sure it wasn’t a blood clot (yay!), I got transported by two EMT’s out of the E.D. to my very own room. Things are a lot quieter up in the normal patient wings of the hospital. We had a succession of wonderful nurses for whom we were very thankful. We are continually amazed by how smart, caring, and competent our doctors and nurses and Vanderbilt are.

Hi Tu!! You'll make a great nurse at Vandy when you graduate =D

For the next three days we were living the high life. Friends and moms brought us delicious meals, nurses got us free grippy socks, and remarkably funny and kind people from the nutrition department brought us trays full of colorful lukewarm inedibility. Towards the end of our stay, I actually got a lot better at ordering from the nutrition department. The key is to think about which foods on the menu take very little expertise to make, and can taste good when served tepid.

I think I'd rather eat the socks

Pleurisy is very painful, but the docs and nurses kept the pain well controlled. On Thursday morning the doctors decided that I could come off my IV pain medication to oral meds. They sent us on our way later that day, and we came home to our two smelly cats and our welcoming bed.

The most important part – Looking back and laughing

Lotsa bumps

We knew that getting from a cancer diagnosis to the end of a successful treatment wouldn’t be easy, and this is just one of the bumps along the way. It was scary at times, and definitely less than comfortable. Having Leslie by my side to comfort me and stick up for me made it easily tolerable though, and even fun. I almost want to go back =) I think I’ve told Leslie I love her more times since we got out of the E.D. than in the year we’ve been married (which was lots of times to start with). She is an amazing woman, I just can’t get over it. Rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night with chest pains helped me realize what I’m really thankful for, and she’s at the top of the list. Mom and Dad, and Kate and Neil, you guys are a fantastic family.

Thank you everyone who reads and leaves a comment, or sends a card in the mail, or sends an email saying Hi. It’s great to hear from you guys, and it sure keeps our spirits up. An extended thank you to our Moms and Tara for coming by the hospital and bringing us cheer and (much, much better) food.

Hopefully I’ll be able to commandeer the blog again soon for another post!

Sam

18 Responses to “The Pleurisy Adventure”

  1. Leslie said

    You are my life. Thanks for always being so fun with me. Also, I’m glad you don’t need real e.d. treatment.

  2. Sandy said

    So good to see you this morning, Lesiie… I love you two can laugh at even the most difficult times… know there are lots of us that love you and are praying for you! — Sandy, Steve, Kasey, Alex and, of course, Addison…

    Ok Addison loves you but not so sure about the labrador prayers…..

  3. Mom & Dad Hackett said

    Guess what Thursday is—your first anniversary.
    Congrats on a year to remember.
    Love You

  4. Kate said

    Sam you are a great guest blooger! (And Leslie, a most wonderful host.) FYI guys, the first wedding anniversary is traditionally “paper” (or “clocks”), but you guys could start a new family tradition. First anniversary Bledsoe style = free socks. The good news is, one imagines, it gets better from there.

    Much love from Kate, Amy, baby Nina, and the two-, three-, and four-legged friends. (It’s the chickens with two legs… we don’t have, like, apes.)

  5. Nina said

    Reeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Ba ba ba ehtlt. Mmm mmm mm.
    (translation: yea!!!!! Uncle sam got home from the hospital. )

  6. Alex said

    What, no clavicle-eating this time? No superimposing Sam’s head on a different body?? 🙂

    Sam, It’s been good getting back in touch with you through gchat. I was really surprised and glad to know that your spirit/energy is seemingly unphased by what’s going on physically. Hopefully nerdy conversations about solid state drives, Boxee, and wireless networking has helped to keep your mind off of pleurisy and E.D…

    Looking forward to the next post.

    – Alex

    • Anonymous said

      Sam &Leslie,
      I am grateful you two are home and doing better!
      I love you both very very much and look forward to seeing you
      both (& Jay of course) when I return from
      visiting my beuuteefull grandaughter!
      All my love, dad Jack
      (iPhone posting me not so good)

  7. Kevin said

    Sam
    Good to hear from you man. Both you and Leslie are incredibly strong, brave, and inspirational. I think of you guys often. Keep it up!

  8. Whitney said

    Excellent work with the blogging, Sam! It’s nice to see that the cats remain a constant regardless of the writer.

    I’m glad that you two have the best hospital care, and the best partners, to help you through this. Tell those lung linings to shape up!

    Love,

    Whitney

    • Jim Sobery said

      TWO OLD FAMILY RECIPES:
      1. I hope you don’t have to make another emergency run to the hospital, but to be safe pack a bottle of McIlhenny TABASCO Sauce in your bag. My veteran cavalrymen in combat added this to the tasteless army C rations and it greatly improved our date expired canned ham and lima beans.
      2. For extremely old recipes complete with humorous clip art on Youtube – Paleo In A Nutshell Part 1: Food
      http://youtu.be/uCFZoqmKf5M
      Look up the title on youtube if the link doesn’t open.

  9. Bill said

    Sam,
    First off, so glad that the “speed bump” was just that, and that you’re able to look at it with such a great perspective.
    Secondly, you lived up to the “leslie standard” when it comes to your guest post. But, I will agree with one of the commenters above that I’m a little disappointed there’s no gratuitous use of your now exoskeletal clavicle in the post this week. We’ll need to work that bad boy in whenever possible.
    Last, but certainly not least… know that all of us Bledsoes up here in Seattle are thinking of ya daily… and if there’s anything that we can do from afar… know that we’re there for you two.
    All our love,
    Uncle Bill & Aunt Colleen, Nick & Ben

  10. gene & judy mckittrick said

    Sam & leslie, So happy to see you both in such good spirits. Know that you are always in our thoughts and prayers. Please post how many cakes or food like substances you receive for your annniversary dinner. Love to all of the family and HAPPY ANN IVERSARY!!!! P.s. nice job on the blog Sam

  11. gene & judy mckittrick said

    Forgot the most important part.

    food ahaped like a sock.

  12. Tara said

    Not too bad for a substitute blogger Mr. Bledsoe :)I am glad to see you all are back at the 10406 and getting settled into the “normal” routine again. I do have a question about the kitty cat in the suit case picture…did your other two cats get jealous you all used a stand-in? I have to believe there is one (or 100) pictures of Theo or Bebe getting in and out of bags or suitcases! The kitty is kind of cute that was used though! 🙂 We will have to do Italian Grinders from Which Wich again soon!

  13. Therese said

    So, so sorry to hear about the speed bump! I guess Good to know that Sam just likes to keep things interesting, which is, of course, the secret to a great marriage. 🙂
    Second is helping out with the blog. Good job on that, Sam. Love the cat pix.
    Happy anniversary to a great couple. Hugs and prayers for you both. FYI, La (has Whitney mentioned La?) asked about you both, and said ya’ll are on her prayer list.
    Take care; we’re all rooting for you.
    T.

  14. Tu said

    Hey Sam I hope your doing better and didn’t have to go back to the hospital since I last saw you. You guys were the best patients I ever had.I hope to see you guys again but not in the hospital 🙂

  15. Carrie said

    Sam, you should be VERY proud of your blog post!! GREAT JOB! I was so sad to hear that ED had you down the other week. It’s nice to know just how hard the trauma team works. Wink wink!
    I love how you love my sister. You don’t just say it with words; you show it with your actions and affection.
    Congrats on the 1 year wedding anniversary! They say the first year of marriage (under normal circumstances) is the hardest. Your love for one another is anything but normal. This past year has been extremely hard; however, it is your effortless marriage that has helped you overcome it.
    I love you guys!
    P.S. That is the cutest kitty I have ever seen!

  16. Bonnie said

    Sam, you are a Hoot! and a hard act to follow with your grace and humor during very trying times. I think of you and Leslie often and I know you will get through this fine.
    Love,
    Bonnie

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