Thursday, November 28, 2013

On The A - Line

Just when I thought it was safe to get out of bed - I should have taken a second look. The other morning I woke up feeling better than I had in quite some time. However, within minutes of getting up, I was laying on the floor nauseous and exhausted. I lay there a while thinking with a little rest, it would be easier to get up and finish getting dressed for my appointment with my Oncologist.

I did manage to get up, but when I stood up, the nausea turned very quickly to actively throwing up. I did make it to the car, pan in hand. My wife began the drive into Houston's Medical Center. By the time we got into town, my pan was full. By the time we got to the parking garage at MD Anderson, I found I could not get out of the car. My wife retrieved a wheel chair. I struggled out of the car and into the chair.

Having given up my pan, we stopped at the desk for a barf bag. Throwing up into it, I noticed for the first time the "coffee grounds" look of what I was throwing up. I knew what was happening, and I knew it wasn't good. I was throwing up blood.

When we got to the Doctor's office, I could no longer sit up. Instead, I stretched out on a sofa. They called me a minute or two later, but I didn't have the strength to get up, and I could only communicate  somewhat incoherently. My wife filled them in on what she knew of what was happening. Shortly after they got me into the Doctor's office, all hell broke loose. I was now throwing up bright red blood and  coughing it up as well. It was also coming out of my nose. Someone was asking me if I could stay in the wheelchair long enough to get to the ER. I agreed, I could, but I would have agreed to any thing at that point. All I really wanted to do was lay down to sleep and be left alone.

Before I knew what was happening, I was in the ER being prepared for the insertion of two Arterial
Lines. I'd never had an arterial line inserted while conscious before, but I had helped insert them and I knew they were hellishly painful, but what was I to do. It was either let them establish the lines or die. I was so overwhelmingly tired I might have chosen to die, but no one gave me that choice. I had bled out half of my volume of blood. There really were no choices.

The doctor began to insert the long needle deep into my right wrist and dig around for the artery. Even in my weakened condition, it was all I could do to stay still. The pain was almost unbearable. With the arterial line in my wrist, stitched to my skin to hold in place and patent, they began immediately to infuse blood while a second larger bore arterial line was established in my groin. The pain was intense as the physician struggled to get the line just the way he wanted it and then stitch it to me so it would not move. That done, they began to run more blood into me at a fast clip.

Within a very short time, my body began to change from a very pale white to pink. I was still foggy, but I knew I was going to live. There was no pain from the hemorrhage or the surgery, but my wrist, my groin and my penis ached from the assault of the catheters which had been inserted. My arms looked like I had been in a fight with  a couple of cats. There were needle stick marks up and down them from where they had tried to find veins that would tolerate a catheter and, of course, the venous catheters that marked their ultimately successful stick. In another few minutes I was transported to ICU where I was to remain for 4 days without food and without water except for the IV bags which were constantly flowing their contents into my arms. More often than not, ICU patients are not fully conscious. It is a blessing, a blessing I did not have. Believe me, there is no allowance for one's dignity in ICU. Neither is there any time to sleep. Nurses and technicians are in and out in and out. Monitors are sounding their shrill warnings almost constantly. It is impossible to get comfortable with the tubes running in and out of ones body. The slightest movement is likely to cause a tube to crimp, and the monitors began their obnoxious warnings.

After five days, I was released to home with warnings to take things slow and easy. There was no need to warn me. I didn't have the energy to cuss a cat!

I'm feeling better today for the first time, but my energy level is still low. There'll be no family
Thanksgiving for me. My immune system is too low to be around a bunch of people, especially the little kids. But now that I'm getting better, I'm glad they ignored my pleas to leave me alone. Life is not what I wish it were anymore, but there are still so many blessings to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving day and every day.

As a part of taking it easy for a while, I'm not sure when the next pictures will be posted, or the next blog written, but I hope you won't forget me. Check back every few days to see what's new.

I hope you won't just celebrate Thanksgiving watching the Cowboys game. I love football, but there is more to life. Take time to actually name a few of your blessings and be thankful for them. Life is really short, and it hangs on a very thin string.


Jack Scott


  1. Jack, I am so sorry that your health took a quick turn for the worse. Our bodies can be fragile indeed, and cause us great pain when stuck, prodded, etc. It was very good that your wife was there to get you to the hospital, not having to wait for EMR. Your attitude of thanksgiving after days of agony is just what I would expect from you. Please know that your fellow bloggers are very thankful for you and all your contributions to our world. You have helped so many, and may you soon be doing just that some more. Blessings on you!


    1. Thanks David. I really appreciate hearing from you. I'm beginning to feel much better, but still weak.

      Jack Scott

  2. Jack.... You're in my thoughts and prayers, take care of your self and don't fret about us the time being at least. Be Well and Get Well...

    1. Hey Gerry, thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers. They mean a lot to me.

      Jack Scott

  3. Jack, so sorry to hear about your cancer and hospital issues. I will also keep you in my prayers. Hope you have a speedy, and ultimately, final recovery.


    1. Roger, I appreciate your contacting me and I especially appreciate your prayers. I am feeling better each day physically. I am struggling a little, mostly in a good way, with how quickly I slid to the edge of death's door.

      I made the mistake of thinking because I have metastatic cancer I would die slowly and painfully with time to say my goodbyes and take care of my last affairs. The reality is cancer patients are still susceptible to all manner of death. The hemorrhage was lightening quick and the massive loss of blood brought me quickly to the edge of death in a most peaceful and painless manner. All I wanted to do was close my eyes. The rest of the world just kind of slipped away from me as if in a fog.

      Thanks again Roger

  4. Thank you for sharing, even if I couldn't bear to finish reading. It reminded me too much of my treatment for stage-3 colon cancer. I recall one nurse who couldn't get the needle in and had to call for assistance. Hellish is correct. My wife's a nurse. Only heaven knows what I would've done without her at my side,.It's been 7 years since my last round of chemo, which came on my wife's birthday. Chemo left me with a heat/cold intolerance but I'm alive and well. I wish you all the best You'll understand when I say we don't understand what sick is until chemo has made us sick. God bless.

    1. Thanks for your confirming comment RockHard. Yes, your right. Chemotherapy can only be understood via personal experience. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. (I don't think I have a worst enemy, but you get the point.)

      I'm glad you beat the colon cancer. That makes it somewhat worthwhile in retrospect, but does nothing to relieve you of the horrible experience.

      In spite of the chemo and the pain and lack of energy, I'm finding things that make my life worthwhile. That is all I can do for there is as yet, no cure for Prostate Cancer. All they can do is try to slow it down.

      Last year my wife and I flew more than 25,000 another 7,000 or so miles checking off the items on my bucket list. I'm thankful we have the means to do such a thing.

      Those of you who participate in my blogs and in my Yahoo group and take the time to comment or correspond with me do more for me than you can ever imagine. For a dozen or so of you, participation has turned into friendship and friendship has brought you into my home. I consider it a great thing to participate in.

      I've always been a philosophical person. The illness has sharpened that bent. Decades of bits and pieces of knowledge have begun to come together for me in a better understanding of the forces that mold us. As you and I and countless others know, illness is an effective if usually unwelcome molder of our lives and beliefs.

      All things being equal I'd just as well have been able to do without that particular mold, but in all honesty it has been a valuable part of my life. In my younger days, I sweated the small stuff all too often. I don't do that now, I assure you.

      Thanks again for your comments. May God continue to bless you and your family and keep you strong and well.

      Jack Scott


I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott