One more entry from Angela. Hopefully, this is the last blog post I will have to make on Olaf's behalf. Not only has he lacked internet access the last few days, but even more so the energy/desire to write or read his blog - it makes him too sad. While Olaf is a guy with many emotions and generally not afraid to express them, he usually has them under reasonable control. Not so last night.
The PEG was not usable for the first 48 hours, but he needed to stay in hospital for IV antibiotics. After 4 days in hospital, he was feeling very trapped, so with much cajoling we convinced them to let him go home for the night on Saturday. As a physician, I would be able to administer his IV medications myself, so armed with a bucket of filled syringes, we left the hospital on a night pass.
All afternoon he had been shivering uncontrollably - possibly from hunger, or possibly from going stir-crazy on the ward. I dropped him off at home with his mother, and met up with friends for Dim Sum (dining out has become a rarity for me and I was quite excited). Near the end of dinner I got a call from Olaf asking me to come home right away, with little explanation. I found him in the throws of a panic attack, complete with shaking, uncontrollable crying, and hyperventilating. This was something I'd never seen him do. He's mentioned frequently how happy he is NOT to have phobias of small spaces, needles, etc. Yet the last couple of days, he had become increasingly anxious about getting put into the mask, and had even asked his doctor for some sedatives before his most recent radiation treatment. Fortunately, we still had some on hand last night. I gave him one, and together with some reassurance and slow breathing, he settled down. But he was a beaten man, with no physical or emotional reserve with which to cope.
In the morning things seemed brighter (as they so often do) and we went back to then hospital to finally begin tube feeds. While we waited for the pump to arrive, they squirted an ounce of liquid food into the tube. That was vomited up shortly thereafter (apparently a little too much for his stomach to handle). However, once the pump was set up, he tolerated the rather meager 2 tablespoons per hour it feeds him, with minimal vomiting. Whether it's the 300 or so calories he received today, or just the psychological impact of knowing he was getting nutrition, he looked and felt much better today.
The current plan is to stay in hospital at the Health Sciences Centre until Tuesday so they can monitor any electrolyte changes from refeeding. He'll try to get passes for a few hours out once in a while just to maintain his sanity, and hopefully go home on Tuesday morning. Keep your fingers crossed for a new blog update then from a happier and less hungry Olaf!