Thursday, June 25, 2015

Staying With Larry

Sorry it has been a few days since I posted to this blog. We have been busier than normal.

My brother-in-law Larry Clark had a bone marrow transplant as part of the treatment for acute myeloid leukemia about 15 days ago. He is in the process of recovering from the chemo and transplant and the doctor thought he was well enough to come home. His wife, Andrea brought him home on Tuesday of this week.

One of the side effects of the medication is it causes severe dehydration, so he must drink three liters of liquids per day to keep his kidneys functioning. The magnesium in his body is also depleted, so we are giving him a magnesium solution every day.

Kathi and I stayed with Larry yesterday while Andrea was at work. Kathi got him to drink two boost drinks and a liter of water, while we were with him. She also fed him part of a tuna fish sandwich and two helpings of watermelon during the day. His appetite is gone and most foods do not taste good to him right now, but he has to eat to regain his weight and strength. He is down about 40 pounds from his desired weight. Food intake is a real battle because he is weak and listless and would rather sleep than eat. Kathi is a good pusher and encourages food and drink into him frequently.

This morning we took him to the Gene Therapy clinic on the eight floor of Methodist Hospital in the Medical Center. They took six vials of blood for blood tests and infused more magnesium into him. He also has a sore between his little toe and the toe next to it on his right foot that appears to be infected. Tomorrow we will take him to see a podiatrist before going back to the clinic.

I am not real clear on the schedule for next week, but I think we will take him to the clinic MWF. They will give him the magnesium and take more blood for tests to assure he does not need infusions of blood or platelets. On days when he does not go to the clinic, we will administer the magnesium solution at his home. The magnesium solution comes in a sphere about the size of a baseball and it is delivered under pressure. All we do is connect the tubes and open the clamp on the tube and the solutions begins to flow. Larry has tubes going into a vein in his neck to simplify infusions.

Our plan is to be here to help when and where we can until he is past the critical stage of recovery. I am anticipating three months where more attention is necessary. Everyone recovers at a different pace, so I am not sure of the timing. I suspect he will be on anti-rejection meds the rest of his life.

Another problem he has to consider is insurance. He is still on medical coverage from his employment before he retired. He will soon be 65 and have to go on Medicare. He is gathering information to make an intelligent choice about his insurance needs.

Kathi and I will be in the Pasadena, Deer Park and La Porte area for the foreseeable future While we are stationary I will continue discussion of our 2005 travels. Look for that in my next post.

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