January 10, 2011

A Typical Day

Hello! I should first introduce myself. I'm Larry, Dennis' brother. I spoke to him on the phone yesterday. He asked me to apoligize to everyone about falling behind on the posts and to provide an update for him. There seems to be much to share so I will do this in two posts I think. Today, I will try to describe his typical day.

  • 4:00 am - Awakens and has a can of food, which goes in through the gastrostomy tube in his abdomen. He has lost a lot of weight but it has stabilized, as long as he takes nutrition on a very regular schedule. Afterwards, he tries to get back to sleep again.

  • 6:00 am - Gets up and does his morning ablutions. A particularly important part of this is a lengthly session of mouth washes and rinsings. With his saliva glands almost out of commission, this is particularly important, both for comfort and hygiene.

  • 6:45 am - Heads off for Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach for his daily radiation session. Lieska drives each day.

  • 7:30 am - Appointment begins with putting the mask on and getting locked in place. Next comes aiming the equipment, followed by a taking a CAT scan which requires 2 or 3 minutes. Evaluating the CAT scan to ensure everything is properly set up takes another 4 or 5 minutes, and finally comes the radiation, which itself last about 6 minutes.

  • When finally released from the machine and the mask, they head home again where he has another can of food through the G-tube.

  • 9:00 am - They are off again. Next is a trip to the doctor's office for hydration. Dennis gets hooked-up for a liter of water via the Port-A-Cath point in his chest. They have begin to add some supplemental magnesium and potossium as both get depleted by the radiation treatment. During this period Dennis brings along his eyecover and earplugs and usually is able to sleep about an hour and a half out of this two hour procedure.

  • When they return, Dennis is pretty well exhausted for the day. Lieska changes and heads off for for work at about 1:30 pm.

  • And then for the most part Dennis sleeps, awakes for brief periods to add a can of food, do some mouth washes and rinses, and is back to sleep.

Tomorrow I will add some additional subjective comments that Dennis shared with me.