Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bob and the Mayo Clinic Part 1

Spring in Phoenix.  The Saguaro cacti were in bloom with their little hats on.
 To continue with my chronicle of our Phoenix adventure, I need to back track to the first week we arrived, about April 4th, the day Bob was discharged from Paradise Valley Hospital. (See my past blogs if you missed his stay;  How Our Winter Went and Annie's Knee Replacement.  just click on these titles to get caught up).  As I mentioned we were not convinced he was cured but bought all the medicines and followed the diet they gave us even though it was kind of crazy.

The landscaping around the Mayo Clinic was beautiful with all the different cacti in bloom.
  Bob seemed OK and helped me run around doing hospital visits to Annie and getting groceries, medicines, etc. Just about 2 weeks after his first hospital stay, he started getting some stomach cramps. We immediately called Bob's gastrointestinal Dr. in Denver (we still didn't have a primary Dr. In Phoenix). We didn't get to talk to him but his nurse relayed the info to him and from what little he knew, he prescribed something for intestinal spasms as needed. By the time we got the medication the cramps had stopped so Bob didn't take any. Of course, this all occurred late Friday so the Dr. wanted an update on Monday. The weekend went by with no more pains so Bob didn't take any of the medicine and dutifully reported to the Dr. on Monday. We arranged to give him a call if it recurred.

This hall was a familiar path for us!
  Meanwhile we had about decided Bob should go up to Denver if this kept up. Carla was driving down to Phoenix to help me with my 2 patients and to drive Bob up to Denver if need be.  I would stay and help Annie who had not even been home from the hospital a week when all this started! Carla arrived Monday and all was well. About early afternoon on Tuesday, Bob started acting weird and we knew the stomach troubles had begun again. He tried the pills for stomach spasms but no dice!  Annie mentioned that Mayo Clinic was only about 10-15 minutes away so Carla loaded her dad up and took off for the emergency room there.  I called the Dr. office in Denver and they said that was the best move.  At home, Annie and I continued with her CPM and exercise regimen. Carla kept us posted as they again did CAT scans and put a tube in his nose down to his stomach. It was gross and poor Carla had to handle it without me there. She stayed with him while they checked him into the hospital for observation but again diagnosed it as a small bowel blockage which would resolve itself.

Bob and his nose tube along with several others.  He had it in for 4 days this time.
 Carla got back about midnight after Bob was settled into his room. JJ and Ozzie arrived to see Bob on Thursday on their way home from Micah's. JJ had bought a new motorcycle in San Antonio so we now had a car from Colorado, a car from Wyoming and 2 motorcycles in front of Annie's house. The next day JJ and Ozzie left after making sure the Drs. had everything under control. That night Paul and his girlfriend, Ash, arrived in her little white Cube with the big eyelashes.  (Ash, I need that picture you have!) It was getting so crowded out front that they had to park across the street in front of the neighbors. They spent the night with us at Annie's, visited with Bob the next day and then Carla took them out to one of the casino resorts to stay on Saturday night. While there, Paul dropped a few quarters into a slot machine and won $1800! Lucky guy! I had been spending time at the hospital and running back to Annie's every 3-4 hours to keep her on schedule and get meals ready.
The Paul and Angel Harvey Atrium.  This is the entrance to the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Scottsdale.
  I finally got to talk to one of the doctors and also the nutritionist. We still didn't know what the plan was for Bob but the main doctor for his team agreed with us that he couldn't continue living like he had been with them pumping his stomach every 2 weeks. So you can imagine our shock when the surgeons recommended a " conservative" approach of no surgery and just diet and exercise. We all argued with the young resident surgeon that brought us that news and we weren't very polite about it either! We discovered that the surgeons do have the last word and finally a more experienced one had a talk with Bob explaining why they didn't want to do the surgery and left it up to Bob to make the final decision. Meanwhile we did some research on the Internet and were mollified, too.  We would give it a try. Sunday was Easter and by afternoon Bob had eaten 3 meals with no problems and they sent him home! Not before he made a small bet with the surgeon that he would be seeing him again in about 2 weeks.

A view from the 3rd floor down into the atrium.  This was the floor Bob was on.
 Carla stayed until Thursday and she got to do some shopping and looking around in Scottsdale. We also planned a "field trip" for Annie to a casino and another one to "The Keg" for dinner. She and Bob both enjoyed the outings but none of us were as lucky as Paul. We sent Carla home and all went well for another week. Bob felt good and Annie was improving daily. Time was slipping by and I was beginning to think maybe Bob was going to lick this after all. As many of you know or can guess, this was not the case!

A patient and family lounge that overlooks the atrium.  You can hear the live piano music wafting up from the first floor here.
 Check back tomorrow for the shocking conclusion to this story.

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