Tuesday, September 28

A busy day for Mr Morrell

It was a wild time in hospital room 1221! At least five doctors and a parade of technicians and nurses vied for Ben's attention and body; Ben had two more procedures and we actually got a non-hospital staff visitor. I'll try to make some sense out of it all.

1. bronchoscopy results: they were just looking for pneumonia, but found that Ben's left bronchial tube is 50% closed up, most likely due to his lymph node and tumor pressing in on it. At the moment this doesn't affect him much, but if it continues to tighten there could be some serious problems. So as a preventative measure, on Thursday he'll be getting a stint put in. This is a sort of internal brace which will keep the tube open. Fortunately, inserting the stint only requires another bronchoscopy (no cutting involved) under general anesthesia (cheer from Ben).

The only scary part is that there may be something else in the lung beyond this - the nurses couldn't get a good view of it with Ben coughing. So on Thursday they will also look closer and do a couple biopsies.

2. cardiograph results: due to the surprises in the bronchosopy, Ben had a cardiograph exam today - like an ultrasound for the heart. He and the tech hit it off and found that the inside of his heart is good and normal. Yay!

3. barium swallowing test: the theory is that Ben got pneumonia because he is having trouble swallowing. If food is choked on, it can fall into the lungs and cause this kind of infection. So Ben was given a barium-covered mini-marshmallow, which he was miraculously able to swallow in one piece. Its progress was tracked down his throat and showed that it got "stuck" in three places along the way - not swallowed smoothly at all. I guess because Ben's always had a strong gag reflex we haven't taken his swallowing problems very seriously, and neither did the doctors. But now that we know it can hurt him so much it's time to... do something. Yeah, we haven't heard what the plan on this is yet. Probably tomorrow.

The only other excitement came from hearing that Ben's liver function has suddenly spiked. The liver* doctor said it's probably either a reaction to a couple of the antibiotics or a lab error.

No tests tomorrow, so hopefully Ben can some rest. He could definitely use some prayers - this cancer-fighting road has gotten more complicated and discouraging lately.

*Not the exact title she went by, but non-medical speak for what it meant. I can't keep all the jargon straight.


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