Thursday, June 18, 2009

appointments and other matters

If I'm not mistaken, Mom will be seeing Dr. Mirali, the plastic surgeon, this upcoming week. Dr. Tonnesen, the radiation oncologist, called to say that, based on his talks with Dr. Leiphart et al., he wants Mom to resume her in-tandem therapy on July 6 at 2:20PM.

Two major events have to have happened by that date: (1) Mom has to be declared infection-free, or to have made satisfactory progress with her antibiotic regimen (she gets another daptomycin push at 8PM this evening); and (2) Mom's scalp has to have shown sufficient healing, because radiation hampers the healing process. Back when Dr. Butler visited us, he said that Mom hadn't had enough radiation, after only two days' treatment, for there to be much concern about over-irradiated skin. He was confident that Mom's scalp would heal normally. I hope Dr. Butler is right. Dr. Mirali was more cautious, putting the odds of success at 65%.

We have several more appointments to schedule, and we're awaiting more calls about home care. We are also talking with members of the church about the installation of a handicap access ramp for Mom, to make life easier for all of us when it comes to getting Mom into and out of the house. As for wheelchairs... we've had offers from several different people (and we were told today that Inova can also order one for us, along with other home care items like a shower chair, etc.). My own feeling is that we might need two wheelchairs so as to avoid the problem of tracking dirt into the house and/or having to stop and wipe down those large wheels every single time.

Yesterday, I saw that the ER had a nifty little shopping cart-style wheelchair that was both light and sturdy. It seemed to work well for Mom, and looked easily transportable. It'd be great to have something like that inside the house: it would turn sharp corners with ease. The only real disadvantage with such a chair would be the smallness of its wheels: Mom wouldn't be able to propel herself anywhere. That's not a major concern right now, given Mom's overall weakness, but at some point she might become strong enough to want to give self-propulsion a try.

Lots to think about.



Anonymous said...

We should work toward mom becoming more self-sufficient with the goal of her being able to walk again on her own power. She should not get comfortable in a wheelchair. Core body strength is key to overall health.


Kevin Kim said...


Yes, I agree, but this has to happen in and around near-constant visits to the hospital over the course of the next few months. During much of that time, Mom is going to need a great deal of help simply to get to and from the car.

In the long term as well, having these measures in place-- wheelchair, access ramp, etc.-- will be beneficial, as Mom's condition will inevitably deteriorate.

By the way, Sean and I agree that it might be better to transport her in the small Honda, which is far easier for her to get into (stepping down) than the minivan is (stepping up). The only real disadvantage is that it's harder for a helper to crawl into the sedan from the other side and reach across to grab and steady Mom as she's brought into the car.

Anyway, something to think about.