About Mike D.
This is really my loved one’s story. In September 2019 Alan fell in the shower and broke his left femur he texted me a message that he fell in the shower which I didn’t see for about 20 minutes as I was in a training class. When I called him he said that he managed to crawl out of the shower and call 911 already and they were at the front door ready to break it down to get in to help him, I told him, Nooooo! The back door is open! So they were able to get in without destroying the front door! They found him laying on the floor halfway between the bathroom and bedroom.
I drove as fast as my hybrid vehicle would go to the hospital ER, Alan was conscious and said he had been given a shot of pain medicine in the ambulance and another after he arrived at the ER. They had just gotten him back from taking an MRI when the doctor came in to tell us that he will need to have emergency surgery to repair the break, he advised that he also will be needing to consult with another doctor as he believes that there is a lesion near the break and that it looks like cancer. But they will have to take a biopsy while they’re in there to repair the leg. Poor Alan, he said he felt like a statistic and a cautionary tale at the same time.
I was very lucky as the company (DaVita) I just started working for has a policy of work/life balance and I had no problem taking time off to be with him. Later after he recovered and was sent home from the rehab center, I was able to be with him 24 hours a day 7 days a week for 3 months. Alan was doing great and his bone was healing nicely. Unfortunately, Alan was diagnosed as stage 4 with several metastases in his pelvic area, he had to have radiation to counteract the bone lesions. The radiation oncologist said they will wait 2 months for his break to heal. This wasn’t enough time. They decided to give him radiation in December 2019, Unfortunately, this had the side affect of killing the healthy tissue that was starting to knit the break in his broken leg. We did not know that until several months later. But what did occur was he was
beginning to feel more and more pain in his leg when he walked. He was on heavy doses of morphine by this point! Things came to a head in April 2020, when Alan became very ill. This happened after he was given a cortisone shot in his left hip as the orthopedic surgeon felt that the pain was most likely the result of sciatica in his hip.
A few days later I woke up around 4am to find Alan thrashing about in his bed, his blankets scattered about and he was freezing cold. I rubbed him all over to raise his body temperature and put 5 blankets over him before he began to feel warmer. That morning I called the doctors office to request permission to take Alan to the ER, this was at the beginning of the Covid crisis, so the doctor advised that unless his temperature was more than 101 Don’t bring him in. She said call back if his temperature goes up.
Next day, sure enough with a temperature of 101.5 and continued shivering and aches, the doctor relented and said That with his symptoms I should bring him to the ER. I thought for sure he must have Covid-19.
After spending all day at the ER running tests they sent us home after midnight! Next morning the ER doctor called to say that Alan has a blood infection called Serratia Marscesens, which is caused only by tainted medical equipment and to bring him back to the Hospital asap! They verified the infection was mainly in his left hip where the cortisone shot was. He had to have surgery again to clean out the hip and started on liquid antibiotics to kill the infection! After 2 weeks in the hospital he was sent home to recover but continued to get daily injections of antibiotics for 7 more weeks.
During this process the pain from his left leg was intolerable, and they put him on 50mcg of fentanyl! We found out later that the pin holding the rod in place was broken!
Finally, the Orthopedic surgeon advised they can do a 3rd surgery to remove the old rod and pin plus the entire left hip and ball joint to improve the chances of his recovery. This happened in July of 2020, During all of these challenges Alan never gave up, he always kept a positive attitude, he called the Unity prayer line every night for healing prayer, His determination and positive outlook was an inspiration for me! I was able to apply for and receive unemployment as a caregiver and my job with DaVita was kind enough to place me on their rehire list even though I was never able to return to work as Alan needed full time care for the foreseeable future.
Dr Robinson, Alans palliative doctor was able to draw down the medications he was on which is a miracle in and of itself and now he is on a single pain pill, only as needed.
Alan is now going to a gym to improve his conditioning and work on his stretching. Little by little he is getting better every day. We are planning a celebratory cruise in May as a reward for all of his hard work! I have taken care of Alan previously but this was totally different and far more intense then I ever imagined. I have also cared for 2 little dogs this entire time and dealing with my own health issues, I have chronic Hepatitis B and NALD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) and DDD (deteriorating disc disease), Spinal Stenosis and Spondilitheses and will have surgery after the cruise. Which I haven’t thought much about as I’ve been too busy keeping our lives running. But honestly, seeing my life partner go through some horrific things and dealing with the side effects with humor and grace and always telling me that he loves me every day, is my reward.
Thank you for letting me share my story. Maybe someday I’ll tell you all the funny stuff I had to leave out.