Nan Mustard's Recovery

This blog is a record of Erin (Nan) Mustard's recovery.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Applesause Please!!

Its a great day here in Boston!
Althought Nan had less than a perfect night of sleep she is sure going strong this morning. When I got here at 6:50 she was awake and ready to get up into her recliner. We waited until the surgery team came to examine and repack her incision then Dana and I helped her move from the bed to standing up to sitting in the recliner. Today we tried fewer pillows and it ended up more comfortable for her. She stayed in the chair for 1 hour 50 minutes. She was in the chair when the swallow tester came calling. Nan had been practicing since yesterday but with a bottle, the lady used a spoon of water at a time and it sort of threw off Nan's rythmn. However when the applesause came out she ate the entire carton. So for now she officially can't have water yet but she can have up to 3 soft foods like yogurt, applesause, jello or pudding. She was and is elated with the progress and licked the carton dry. Finally she decided that being back in bed would not be such a bad idea but before she went back I left to have breakfast in the caf and she dragged over the computer, well she and Dana did and she read some emails. Does this sound like progress to you? Sure looks like it from here. Right now shes watching an old Clint Eastwood movie and considering snoozing a bit. I'd say she deserves it after the morning she has had. And of course we have not heard or seen from PT yet and they will walk her, exercise her and do lots of good things to help her gain her strength.

Today I'm going to do a dry run on the T, the above ground transit system, which is rumored to go all the way to the airport. I need it because I have to be at the airport in the morning fairly early and I don't want any hitches getting there at all. Nan thinks she can spare me for the hour or so it will take to figure out the system. Should save a lot over using a taxi which is nearly $40 each way. I find it hard to even consider that I am leaving here for 4 days when Nan can't come home with me. She is finding it tough to consider as well. But all she says to me is, GO. I will be able to attend to business on tuesday pm, all day wed., all day thurs and friday morning before I leave SF at around noon to come back. Dana and Roxanna will be here and Marilyn is coming up on Wednesday. I will hate missing her improvements that occur on a daily basis. I can see us leaving the hospital now in a fairly short time, not months at least.

I will probably not be blogging an early report tomorrow since I will be in the air and the laptop is staying here with Nan in case she feels up to starting emailing. Wouldn't that be great!

Her incision is continuing to progress in slow healing, it ought to with all the expert eyes that check it out every day. I finally was able to persuade the team that Nan needed better protection on her nephrostomy tubes, I found one completely lose the other day, one pull and it would be out of the kidneys and she would have to go through a surgery process to put in a new one. Now we have two pull points covered with tagaderm so if she snags the line it won't be so likely to pull out of her back. I just keep pushing on some things and other things I hang back and watch. The care level in this step down room has been very good. It can't be as good as ICU because the ratio is one to one there but they are very attentive and they listen carefully to our concerns. We are very confident in the medical attention Nan has received from day one, all the way from Dr. B to Susan our nurse today. Dana Farber Cancer Institute people have been totally great and it looks like Nan will be able to start Gleevec and the other new drug now since it can be taken with applesause. That is great news because the tumors come back at an alarmingly fast rate after surgery.

It is often difficult to place the events of the past 35 days in perspective. I believe that it was God's plan that we be here in Boston when the blockage became severe, that Dr. Bertagnolli still be in town on that day, that she be willing to consider and then carry out the surgery, that a ICU team be ready to handle GIST surgery cases, that God's glory could be seen as He again and again guided the medical teams through unchartered waters, that Nan had an enormous desire to live and fight back. Now we are here a month later and Nan looks like Nan again, she is gaining strength every day, is feeling pretty good, is even being allowed to eat today and is healing up nicely.

I have learned a lot of things about people and about myself while we have been here. A person is really capable of a lot more than they think they are and other people even strangers can render a lot of help. The east is know as a place where people keep to themselves and don't reach out. However when given a chance to do so they are great. I have me many anxious people in the ICU waiting room and have become prayer pardners with many of them. We know the details about our patient and about their patient, about where we live and about where they live. The ICU can be the loneliest place in the world at first. Jason was especially good about talking people through their pain and fears. I now stop by the ICU waiting room to see if there are any new relatives waiting for word. I can tell them things they need to know, where the cafe is, where the nearest rest rooms are, where they can get blankets and a cot if they need such, how to work with the ICU nurses to help them help the patients, about my first night so they can know they are not alone in the process. I would also urge them to consider talking to the chaplin, the team is very good at the hospital and they are helpful.

Well time to get going I guess and do the test run to the airport. Got several things to do today before sleeping tonight. It will certainly feel different to be heading home without Nan at my side but I really think we are on the way finally for the next trip with her. Please pray that Nan will keep improving every day, that her kidneys will work better, that her incision will continue to heal, that her strength will increase.

Thank you for being there for us in every way.

With love,

Tim, Nan and Dana


  • At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Tim, Erin and Dana

    So glad to hear that Erin is starting to eat a little, that sure was great news. The Lord has heard our prayers. Erin you are doing great, keep up the good work. Tim I will call you so that we can get together when you come home. I know you are very buisy but I need to see you maybe on the 4th it would be good.

    Talk to you all soon

    Mary Puente

  • At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Nan and Tim
    I was so glad to hear that Nan was able to eat today, God is so good.
    He is with us all the way and answers our prayers. I had my surgery and I'm doing good. Thanks for your prayers for me.
    Judy - Tracy

  • At 10:26 AM, Blogger Gerry & Barb said…

    Hello to Tim, Nan and Dana, I'll bet that applesauce tasted good. What a treat for you dear Nan! We will all miss Tim and the blogs while he is gone and we will look forward to his return. Next time you get go with him, Nan. It's a beautiful day here in Lincoln and I saw the cutest little baby bunny out by the garbage can this morning and it didn't even move when I was close by. The mother probably told it to stay right there until she called. Well Dana, I know you will take good care of Nan while Tim is gone. It's so good that you can be there. Keep her moving! Lots of love to you all! Barbie

  • At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Nan and Tim,
    It is Monday morning and after having fed everything, I have a minute to read up on your wonderful progress. Yehhhhhh--applesauce, it's wonderful stuff. God truly answers prayers and you are living proof. Now that Tim will be flying back to CA to get his stuff in order, you can do the blogging Nan. You are amazing to be able to set up a rental car at bargain prices. So, maybe, if you are up for it, you can do a blog and Dana also. Have a really great day and we send you our love. Patty and Jack in Ceres.

  • At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dear Nan and Tim,
    What a joy to hear of the wonderful progress you are making. God is so good and He certainly has been an active listener to all the prayers lifted up for you. I continue to praise Him for what He has done and what He will do in your healing process.

    I thank God also for the gift of experiencing you during the few moments of testimony you shared with SOP on your DollyWood trip to NC.

    I also have been asking that God allow you to continue in your ministry of encouragement to others who are in dark valleys of trouble, trial and dispair. You are such a light for Him and a true witness to trust in His will and grace for each of us.

    Phyllis (SOP - NC)

  • At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Bob & Carrol said…

    Hi again Tim & Nan,

    We are delighted to hear the goood news of amazing progress this Morning. Keep the good things coming, the Lord will lead and will watch over things while You are gone Tim. Also He will take good care of Nan with the help of Dana and others who care so much for this Dear Lady of Ours.

    The "Dry Run " is a great idea I used the same thing while at U.C.D. with Carrol when We had to transfer Her from one Campus of treatment to another at 7:30 in the morning and time was of the greatest importance. It worked and put My mind at ease. The next day the move went with out a hitch. I also used that "Dry Run " idea while in Chicago one time and We were staying Downtown and Our Rental Car was parked at Mid Way Airport to avoid downtown parking fees. Again, it involved taking the "EL" Train and was a great success.

    Have a good Night of rest and a safe trip in the morning Tim. For you Nan , sleep well and dream of more good things to come . Food & Your Own Home, etc.

    We continue in Prayer for the Richest of Blessings to be poured out on You and for Your soon return to warm California.

    Much Love,

    Bob & Carrol

  • At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Nan, Happy 4th. of July.
    God is watching over you and things well get better and better.
    It's so good to hear you had something to eat today,what a good start. The ''Good Lord'' will get you srtonger day by day. Bless all the Dr's and medical staff. MAY YOU ALL HAVE A GOOD 4th.of JULY. Love and Prayers, Connie Vargas


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