February 7, 2008

Two Saturdays ago Ward and I went skiing. We’d wanted to go for a long time, and it was so much fun. After we got home I was so sore. I just thought I was really out of shape, because I was hurting so bad. By Monday my soreness was gone, but I was having major pain when I slept. It felt like I was just being cut from the inside when I would breathe. I thought it was gas and I took Gas-x and Kid Pepto Bismol (because that’s all we had) but I kept having this pain.

This Monday night was terrible. Ward and McCady had been sick all night and while I was up with them I felt like I was going to die, because of the ripping pain. It was weird though because if I moved around and if I could get through the pain enough to move something inside me around. suddenly I felt better and I could breathe again. Tuesday morning I went with McCady to NowCare to have her ears checked. While I was there I decided to ask about my chest. The nurse practitioner—her name is Shiloh said it was probably just acid reflux (Not that I’ve ever had a history of that), but maybe she would do a chest x-ray because maybe I’d cracked a rib skiing. I had McCady and MaLeah with me as Ward was home sick and Maiya stayed with him. So I went in to have my first x-ray and the rad-tech came out saying, “Are you a smoker?” I told him I wasn’t and thought, what a weird question. He persisted, “Did you used to smoke?” I told him no and he said he needed to do some more x-rays. He kept heh-hehming and coughing. And making disapproving noises and I was getting worried. I said, “I know you can’t tell me anything, but is there something bad?” He told me he must speak with the practitioner immediately. He came back and did two more x-rays, then led me back to my exam room and everybody that was working in the clinic stared at me really weird.

The nurse practitioner came back into the room x-rays in hand and said, “I have no idea what I’m seeing here. There is this huge mass in your lung. . . I’ve had Dr. So and So review these films too, he doesn’t know what it is either and you need to get to the hospital right now. I’ve got you scheduled for a CT scan.” I called Ward, but couldn’t get through because he was on the phone with Gaye. I called Gaye (she has call waiting) and said I have to talk to Ward right now. He called me back and I pretty much lost it. He got Gaye to come down, but she had to come down through the canyon so it took forever.

Ward looked at the x-rays they sent with us. He was very concerned, but didn’t know anything. Finally Gaye got to our house and we went to the hospital. We had to wait forever it seemed to have the scan, and this Rad-tech didn’t say a word to me, he just must have more experience with this kind of thing. They held us there until the Radiologist read the scan. He couldn’t talk to us because he isn’t my Dr. so he gave the report to Shiloh, the nurse practitioner. Again everybody in the office stared at me, with pity looks. I knew nothing. They handed me a phone so I could talk to Shiloh. She asked if I was alone and was relieved that Ward was there with me. She said, “It’s not good. I’m making an appointment with a pulmonologist for you right now. We’ll try to get you in by the end of the day.” Well, she called me later and said they couldn’t get me in until Wednesday. I had no information, nothing to go on. I called her back and asked her to please prescribe some antibiotics for Ward. He was so sick and I needed him to help me. She did and I am so grateful.

I talked to Jeremy Booth and he gave me some advice and some recommendations, then I called Randy Vanderpool, he’s a respiratory therapist who works with these guys all the time. They both recommended that I not go see Dr. Anderson, but that was who Shiloh had made the appointment for. I was very nervous, but his office said I couldn’t change my appointment to the other pulmonologist unless I waited two weeks. Our insurance is crap and the nearest pulmonologist even covered by our insurance is at University Hospital and I didn’t feel like I could leave my kids and go down there, just choosing some name out of a preferred provider list. So finally Ward and I decided to keep the appointment and go out of network with Dr. Anderson and stay local. How grateful I am for that! I called Mom and told her, but told her not to tell anybody else. She said she and Dad would come to the appointment with me the next day, because Ward needed to go to work.

Wednesday Ward was planning to go to work. He got up and got dressed, but then when I went in to the kitchen to help him get lunch he literally collapsed to the ground. We called Lani to help us cancel the day and I helped him back to bed. I called Verl and asked him to come give Ward a blessing. I was so distraught at Ward being sick and it snowed another four inches. Ward was asleep, I didn’t want him to know what I was doing, but I went and borrowed Joyce’s snowblower and snowblowed our driveways. Verl got there and scolded me for snowblowing, but he gave Ward a much needed blessing. Jodi called me and told me that she loves Dr. Anderson. She’s been working with him extensively lately and Jeremy just didn’t know him, so not to worry about seeing him.
By 10:30 Ward was feeling so much better and he insisted that he come to the appointment with me. I told him that I’d called Ogden Regional three times and they couldn’t find my x-rays and I was going to have to go without any films. I’m so grateful he was feeling better. He put on his doctor voice—called the radiology department and they found the films within five minutes. We raced to Ogden Regional and got the films. The lady there said that the Radiologist hadn’t completed the report, but she didn’t care if it was illegal she was sending an unofficial report because it was too important. We raced back to McKay Dee Hospital. I read the report on the way back. It said that the thing in my lung was 7cm by 9 cm and that there was more than one, but the lymph nodes didn’t look enlarged. Mom and Dad met us at the hospital and took the girls. We waited for an entire hour to see the Dr., the front office lady even came out and tried to reassure me that I would like Dr. Anderson and everything would be fine.

We got into his office and I have never been so impressed with a doctor, seriously. He was professional and personable and smart. He’s blunt, but that’s what I want. He spent and hour with me getting history and doing tests. He pulled up every report he could get on me, every chest x-ray I’ve had in the past three years (which was only one and I feel really stupid about that. I’m supposed to have them every 6 months) then he said to Ward, “I want to talk to you alone.” Later Ward told me he just wondered how frank he could be with me. I’m sure he thought I’d lose it. He came back in the room and told me, “Of all the people I’ve seen in the last year, you are the one I am most excited to treat, and to help. I am going to take care of you.” We then discussed treatment because he thought it was my melanoma at that time. He sent me back to Ogden Regional and they got me all ready to do a bronchiotomy. Randy was there and the RN was Holly who lived by us in South Ogden. I felt so comforted that I knew these people and after being numbed down my throat we waited another hour for Dr. Anderson to show up. It was quite the party in there, lots of talking and making connections and trying not to talk about the big thing in my chest. Finally he got there and they invited two student nurses, three rad techs, two respiratory therapists, Ward and the Doctor into the room. It was a ton of people. Ward asked if he’d reviewed the CT scan. He hadn’t so he went in and took Ward with him. When he returned he was acting strange. Before they put me out they asked if the student nurses could come in. Dr. Anderson looked like he was going to cry, he said, “Anne Creager! Anne Creager is a teacher. She doesn’t care if there are students here!” Then quietly he leaned down and said, “You are going to be just fine.”

I was out of it for the next few hours and when I came to they were wheeling me in to have an MRI on my head because of my migraines. The hospital was basically empty by then it was seven-o’clock and I’ve never been so happy to get out of somewhere. Mom kept the girls and we went home. We had so much discussion about so many important things. We are so grateful that Heavenly Father had pretty much sent Ward to the floor that morning because otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to be there with me through all of this day. We talked about our kids and about the future and then Ward said I couldn’t talk anymore because the doctor said I wasn’t supposed to after having that thing down my throat. He just wanted me to quit talking about what to do with my retirement money and who I wanted to speak and sing at my funeral.

I’m so grateful for what I have. There have been a lot of tears over this last couple of days. Everything is unknown--still. But I do know that Heavenly Father’s in charge and the things that seemed so important last week don’t even matter now. I am so grateful to know that even if I don’t get to be here as long as I want, I know that I get to have Ward and my girls forever. I’m so grateful to know that. I don’t know how I would live in this world if I didn’t have that knowledge.

1 comment:

Karla said...

Oh Anne. I loved reading this. I have heard the story before but it is just interesting to hear it again with more detail. That is so true that we are so lucky to have an eternal perspective on things!