Marty's Joke of the Day

Marty's Joke of the day is an internet column that I've written for more than 5 years.
I tell humorous stories about my "sweet wife" and raising our 4 young sons, named #1, #2, #3, and #4.
After 5 years of story telling, in August of 2005, doctors found a brain tumor in son #4.
Our focus here has changed little as we still try to find humor in our lives.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

8/30 - Truckers have lungs too!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tuesday is the day that son #4’s home health nurse comes in. She
came around mid morning; she and son #4 talked and talked the whole
time. She changed his PICC line dressing, got a set of vitals, and
asked my sweet wife how everything was going.

Now with everything son #4 has been through, he’s now learning a
lot about anatomy. The other day he said, “Dad, I want my brain
back.” I corrected him and said, “No honey, it’s your bone that you
need to get back. Your brain is still there.” So now he’s asks for
that every once in awhile. And today as his nurse was listening to
his chest he said, “I have lungs.” She said, “Oh isn’t that sweet.”
Then he blurted out, “And my mom has lungs too!”

Oh boy...

And, he’s eating better too. Tonight we took Brother-in-law #2’s
family out for dinner, celebrating son #4’s recovery so far, and to
thank them for taking the other 3 boys for days on end. We went to
the all you can eat Chuck-o-rama buffet. We didn’t want to gross
out the other patrons, and son #4 hates to wear his helmet when
he’s sitting down, so we took a baseball cap for him. It covered
most of his scar, and he looked just like a mini-me truck driver.
He ate like one too. Three full plates plus desert. I think his
body is still trying to catch up!

Enjoy today’s Jokes!

Reader Comment Section:

All quiet today. No comments.

Monday, August 29, 2005

8/29 - PICC me out'a bed...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Ahh... the first day of school. Son #4 has been getting tired
early, so he went to bed early Sunday night. The other three boys
were excited about the first day of school, so even though we made
them go to bed early, they couldn’t sleep. Then, this morning, son
#4 got up at 5AM, and woke the rest of the house up. So, the boys
weren’t late for their first day of school, but they were a little
crabby tonight at family night.

Son #4 is getting healthier every day. But, he seems to get tired
after awhile, and he doesn’t like his helmet. (Although he’s put a
bunch of stickers on it and it looks pretty cool.) When we went to
church yesterday, he was a celebrity. The teachers all said how
amazed and happy they were that he was back. In the main children’s
meeting, they presented him with a pillow case that they had all
signed with get well wishes. He wrapped it around his shoulders and
you couldn’t wipe the smile off his face if you had to. The doc
said that if he was sitting still or laying down that he could take
off his helmet, so when he asked to take it off I did. You could
hear the other little kids say, “oohh... ahh...”. I think son #4
liked the attention.

We got a call from son #4’s surgeon today. He said that it looked
like the tumor was a low grade ependymoma. They sent off part of it
to Johns Hopkins and the Mayo clinic to make sure. We have an
appointment with the oncologist on Thursday to talk about
treatments. We’ll find out more then.

The bills are starting to come every day now, and we’ve only had a
dozen guesses of what the total will be, so feel free to give me
your guess. I think my guess of $175,000 is going to be low, so
guess away. Anyway, a couple of people have asked if we’ll be ok
with all of the bills. Our insurance has a yearly maximum out of
pocket figure that we’ll be able to meet, so we should be fine.
This hospital is also a non-profit hospital that will treat anyone
regardless of their ability to pay. If you want to find out about
giving something, or donating time, go to
http://www.ihc.com/xp/ihc/primary/ and click on “Giving and

Enjoy today’s Jokes!

p.s. Oh, and you guys on the coast, keep dry and safe 'eh?!

Reader Comment Section:

>Son #2 just walked in. "Dad, I just pulled out another tooth."
>"Oh, that's cool. Where is it?" I replied. "I just put it in my
>wallet with my other one."

…When I was about 12, I finally got around to losing the last of my
baby teeth. Unfortunately, we were staying the summer with my
grandparents. The first tooth fell out at dinner, so we washed it
off, and under the pillow it went… BUT, as I lay down that night,
the tooth next to it finally popped out too. Too tired to tell
anyone, I simply stuck it under the pillow too. Well, the tooth
fairy was not paying much attention that night, and the second
tooth got left. The good news, it was picked up the next morning
before the bed got made!
Jen B.
Morrow, Ohio

>The home care nurse came in today and showed my sweet wife how to
>do a heparin injection in his PICC line each day

What is a PICC line?
Richard S.

[A PICC line is a “Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter”]
[And thanks for supplying a more detailed answer to your question]

Thursday, August 25, 2005

8/25 - Staples, Stitches, and Teeth

At home with a helmet

Thursday, August 25, 2005

On Tuesday morning before they let son #4 out of the hospital, I
think he was starting to like where he was. He had mom or dad there
24/7, any and all the food he could eat, his own TV, etc. So, when
my sweet wife asked him if he wanted to go home, he wasn’t quite
sure. But about an hour before they let him out, they came and took
5 staples from him head. 2 where the ‘bolt’ was (measuring
intracranial pressure) and 3 staples where the drain for the big
incision was. That was the only time we saw him cry at the
hospital. He was ready to go home after that.

Today he told my sweet wife, “Mom, I don’t like staples.” She said,
“Oh, how about the dissolvable stitches they put in your big cut?”
He replied, “I don’t like stitches either.” Then my sweet wife
said, “Oh, then how are they going to sew you back together?” He
said without missing a beat, “Don’t let them cut me.”

Yeah, that makes sense.

Son #2 just walked in. “Dad, I just pulled out another tooth.” “Oh,
that’s cool. Where is it?” I replied. “I just put it in my wallet
with my other one.” He said. “With the OTHER one?” I asked. “yeah,
I haven’t gotten around to putting it under my pillow.”

Oh, I guess he hopes there’s tooth fairy interest if he saves it...

Enjoy today’s Jokes!

p.s. Have a Great Weekend!

Reader Comment Section:

May I comment on your estimate of medical costs? Will you peg it on
the un-discounted fees, or the fees after your PPO network
discounts are applied?
~Jim [our resident health insurance broker form TX]

[Good point Jim. I’ll use the full billed amount for the contest,
not the lower ‘allowed’ amount.]

[And, we got our first bill today. It’s for the eye exam back on
the 11th. For an electroretinography and the Visual Evoked Potential
test. I’m so happy we have insurance. I’ll wait for a few more
guesses before I start spewing out numbers.]

Just a thought----My wife is a nurse in child care---she mentioned
that there are some pills for kids that should not be crushed, as
the potency may be interfered with if not taken whole. Please
inquire with the pharmacist in the future.

[Excellent Call Don. Yup, we did and they said those could be
crushed. But, you’re right, it’s very important ask your

If we guess right do we get the bill as the prize????? ROTFL

[Now there’s an idea...]

Dear Marty and Sweet Wife: I am so glad to hear your little one is
home and doing quite well from the sound of your messages. So many
prayers have certainly helped him. God must have big plans for this
young man so he is letting him get well. I will continue to pray
for all of you as you continue to face this challenge.
~Shirley T.

[Yup, I expect one, if not two grandsons from #4 named after me!]

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

8/24 - I'll start the bidding at $175K

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I now know why the make medicines in liquid form for little ones.
Son #4 had 3 doses of his steroid left to take. (I think they’re
just trying to buff him up to play in Major League Baseball...)
They were in pill form. These are supposed to help brain swelling.
He had one pill yesterday, and 2 today to take. This morning my
sweet wife put the pill on the back of his tongue, told him not to
chew it, then had him drink a large glass of water. After he drank
the water, he came up chewing the pill. He said it was, “Yucky!”
but took it all. My sweet wife crushed up tonight’s dose and put
some maple syrup with it. It seemed to go down easier.

Things are working their way through his system naturally today,
I’m very happy to say, and with no major complications. The
neurosurgeon wants to see him in 4 weeks, the ophthalmologist at
the same time, and pathology said they’d call when they got the
results in, and oncology wants to see us after that. The home care
nurse came in today and showed my sweet wife how to do a heparin
injection in his PICC line each day (to prevent blood clots in the
line) and said they’d be by once a week to change his PICC line

So, it will be us getting him stronger for the next few weeks at
home. (And, by the way, he’s doing even better today. He’s walking,
talking, playing video games, and laughing at his 4-year-old fart

I don’t really know how much his 11 day hospital stay will cost,
but I think I’ll take guesses from everyone. After all the bills
are in, I’ll announce the closest guess. Here’s what I’m basing my
guess on. 7 days in PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care). 2 surgeons and
a fellow for surgery on Sunday 8-14. 2 Embolism specialists
(Embolists?) from a different hospital, and a cool real time video
game console that help steer the tubes of goo to the tumor, on
Wednesday 8-17. 3 more neurosurgeons on Wednesday 8-17. 24/7 of
‘personal’ nurses with him while in the PICU. (2 days it was 2
nurses to one patient) Tons of drugs to keep him asleep and at
least 5 bottles of pediasure once they finally put in a feeding
tube in (6 days after they put him down). 4 more days in the
hospital regular care. 4 or 5 orderings a day from the room service
folks, including 5 pieces of cheesecake during the first 2 days.
One stuffed purple dragon from the CT scan guys out of their
‘special’ closet, one stuffed bear on Wednesday bingo that he won
while asleep, two tired parents, and two tired ‘fill in’ parents
watching 3 extra boys for several days.

My rounded out guess. $175,000

Luckily we have an out of pocket max per year that we should easily
be able to meet, but it’s fun to look at the ‘real’ numbers. Email
me your guesses, and I’ll keep them secret until after all the
bills come in.

Enjoy today’s Jokes!

Reader Comment Section:

Did you know that based on scientific studies in which one patient
with the same ailment as another was prayed for without knowing it
recovered faster than the one who was not prayed for.
~Megan L.

[There’s lots of information on the web for both sides (saying it
works, saying all of the studies were fraudulent), but, I know what
~I~ believe...]

Dear Marty and family,
I am utterly astonished, but delighted, that Jimmy was able to come
home so soon. It's amazing! He has made great progress. What about
the flap of bone:are they going to reattach it? In any case, it's
wonderful that he is seemingly back to normal, with no paralysis,
etc., and able to be with you again so quickly. I'll continue to
pray for a complete recovery.
~Marianne R.

[They tell me that the bone flap is in a freezer somewhere back at
the hospital. I hope someone doesn’t mistake it for a soup bowl!]

Marty your really have no idea how many people everywhere fasted
and prayed for your son and your family. Son #4 is really quite a
charming young man and many of us waited anxiously for any news at
all. I am glad you are getting such good ward support. It is so
important. It will be a long time before you and your wife will
sleep soundly again. Our prayers will continue to be with you.

[And I was so hoping to get a good night’s rest sometime this
month. I know it didn’t happen last night. We’ll see about tonight]

Glad to hear the little guy's feeling good!

[So are we!]

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

8/23 - What goes in, must come out

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Another up and down day today. I called my sweet wife at the
hospital today (Yes, she pulled a double shift...) and asked how he
did during the night. She said that around midnight last night, all
the food he’s been packing in for the last 3 days, came back up. It
was just after they gave him some oral steroids. They weren’t sure
if it was because he hadn’t gone out the other end, because of the
oral steroids, or something in the brain. They took him down for
another CT scan today, but everything looked ok. They also cleaned
him out from the other end mid morning. My sweet wife said that was
an experience she didn’t ever want to repeat.

Anyway, they decided to let him go home today anyway. We have a
home health nurse coming tomorrow morning to check on him and give

They say that kids heal better at home, and he has been doing even
better since he got home. He’s been walking all over, jabbering
like he normally does, and already had his Sunday school teacher
come over and visit. He still has that big smile plastered on his

Enjoy today’s Jokes!

Reader Comment Section:

Pretty quiet today

Monday, August 22, 2005

8/22 - The big cheese cake caper

Monday, August 22, 2005

Things are getting back to (relative) normalcy. My sweet wife took
her turn staying at the hospital last night. I think she did her
shift better than I did the night before, because when the 3 boys
and I got to the hospital by 8, and she looked her usual radiant
self. She said son #4’s sleeping schedule was a little off, and he
wanted to play and watch TV between 2 and 4AM this morning. He was
eating cereal when we got there, and the second we walked in he
plastered a big toothy grin on his face. So big that he almost
couldn’t keep the milk in his mouth. It’s wonderful to see him eat.
Oh, man... It’s just wonderful to see him. I hadn’t realized it,
but when he was on all of the sedation meds, he started getting
‘puffy’. In the days since, he’s been going in his bottle like a
racehorse, and now he looks like he’s lost some weight. So, it’s
good to see him eat. I think he’s ordered cheesecake 3 or 4 times
now. (Which is also my sweet wife’s favorite too. Hmm... I
wonder... Naw, she wouldn’t do that. [grin])

Speaking of cheesecake; we had some neighbors bring over dinner
last night. They said there was a “little German lady” staying with
them, who wanted to make dinner for us. We had German goulash with
dumplings. They dumplings were a little different fare than my boys
are used to. Some ate them, some tried, then wouldn’t finish them.
I taught them that if they went on church missions to other
countries, that they should not offend their hosts by not eating
food that was served to them. I also taught them about the age-old
German tradition of pastry cutting. I told them that Germans
usually cut their pastries in different sizes, and to show their
elders respect, they let the oldest person choose their pastry
first. That lesson worked until I got the biggest piece of
cheesecake and started laughing at them. I’m so mean.

My sweet wife said that the nurse practitioner said that because
son #4 had so many other doctors to see (ophthalmologists, speech
therapists, helmet fitting guys, etc.) that they would probably
send him home tomorrow, not today. Whoa. Already? I guess the
surgeon wasn’t kidding when he said a couple of days. So, tomorrow
may be the big day for Jr. If I’ve got time, maybe I’ll get a big
sign and balloons saying “Welcome Home!”

I worked for half a day today, just to get my feet wet with work
(and to try save some of my vacation). It was really good to see
friends at work, and see how concerned they were. One friend said,
“We all sat around reading your message on Thursday and cried and
cried.” Oh, wonderful, I knew I wasn’t a great writer, but I didn’t
think I was all that bad. (grin). Some also wanted to know how long
I’ve been doing this. I told her more than 5 years. I said, “Here,
read to your hearts content at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/martysjotd/ “

An update on son #4. He went to physical therapist today and walked
a little, rode a tricycle, and played trucks with her. I updated
some of the pictures at http://www.artistmelody.com/pcmc.htm

Enjoy today’s Jokes!

Reader Comment Section:

Sunday, August 21, 2005

8/21 - Craniotomy vs Craniectomy and the Bone Flap

Sunday, August 21, 2005

[ed. note. Ever wonder what the difference is between a Craniotomy
and a Craniectomy is? I knew because of my medical terminology class,
but now you can too. Marty]

Just a quick Sunday update. As I left for the hospital yesterday morning
to see son #4, I didn’t think that I’d be staying overnight. But,
when it came to leave last night, son #4 ‘asked’ that I stay with
him. Those hospital chair beds are not the most uncomfortable
things to sleep on, but they’re darn close. At noon today, I was
never so glad to see my sweet wife and 3 other boys walk in so that
she could take “the 2nd shift.” It’s good to be back at home, (but
I’ve still got to take that shower!)

Yesterday when I said son #4 couldn’t sit up, he couldn’t by
himself. But, when sons #1, #2, and #3 walked in the door today, he
sat right up with a big grin on his face. (But only for a minute
before he plopped back down.) He’s also been playing catch with the
3 boys and me. We’ll stand around his bed and he’ll throw a small
stuffed basketball that he got from a friend, back and forth to us.
Since he had cheese and crackers (and a slice of cheesecake) last
night, and this morning he had 4 (half) slices of French toast,
they decided he didn’t need his feeding tube any longer. He’s only
got his PICC line in, and 4 electrodes taped to him. He’ll probably
keep the PICC line when he goes home. I spoke with the surgeons
this morning, and told them I was concerned about his lethargy and
weakness. They said not to worry about it, that it was normal. They
said from their standpoint he was doing excellent. I also asked
about the bone flap and a helmet. The head seems almost a normal
shape, but they said that’s because there is still brain swelling.
They need that part of the head to be sort of a sunken in shape
before they’ll put the bone flap back on. They said that could be
up to a month. (So he’ll get a helmet until then). They also said
that in the best case scenario he might be able to leave the
hospital in a couple of days. Cool!

Enjoy today’s Jokes!

Reader Comment Section:

[216 comments and counting. Wow... thanks. Here’s a couple]

my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Just wanted to let you know that I have put your family & your dear
boy on my church's prayer list -- and also sent it on to my family
& friends. We are all praying and lifting up Jimmy to The Master

Prayers are going up for your little Man.

Prayers and best wishes for your son and all of your family have
been sent out from us in Missouri.

You have the prayers of the S(----) family in Seymour, TN, and we
will be passing your precious little boy's needs on to our Sunday
School class in the morning.

I am praying for Jimmy! Lord bless your family. Texas

I’m the pastor of Westgate Baptist in T(----). Your son will be
listed as a prayer request in the bulletin tomorrow. I also fast
each week one day early in the week, and will be praying at that
time as well.

My prayers are with you, your sweet wife, and your other 3 boys at
this traumatic time for your family. Keep your faith strong and
know that everything is in God's loving hands... New Mexico

I am secretary in our primary at church. I told the kids about your
son. All the children agreed to pray daily for your boy. I will
update them on this new news.

God be with Jimmy! Japan

God Bless son #4 and his family too! I am praying for a healthy and
speedy recovery for him! Inshallah (God Willing), he will be just
fine!! Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Hang tough, Marty. Kids are tougher than we are. Pittsburgh, PA

Our prayers are with you. New Jersey

By the grace of our loving God, I pray that the surgeon, his staff,
and all associated with the surgery, be guided by the Holy Spirit
of God... [conts. with an excellent prayer] ...I will continue to
lift all of you in prayer. I am looking forward to a GOOD report!
In Jesus name, Rev. C(---) W(---) Sun City, AZ


Thank you for keeping us updated on your son's progress. No matter
what happens I know with your faith that the Lord will support and
sustain you... ...Thanks again for keeping your readers "in the
loop", it is very thoughtful of you. In Virginia

As a three time winner with cancer, maybe my prayers will help. My
wife and seven kids join me.

Our prayers are with you... Teaneck, NJ

[The list goes on and on and on. You guys are just awesome!]
[Now, I want to tell each and every one of you, that I have a much
stronger testimony of fasting and prayer now. I had prayed my heart
and soul to Him, and then asked everyone I knew to do the same. Son
#4’s name was on church prayer rolls around the country. His name
was on the altars of several of our temples. On the day of the
surgery, we had my family, church ward members, all of you, plus
many others fasting and praying with us. I couldn’t think of
anything else we could have done. That day I really REALLY felt
your prayers. It was just indescribable. I KNOW the Lord heard our
prayers. I KNOW He listens to each of our prayers. I KNOW this was
his will, and I am so grateful to Him that the surgery turned out
well. I know our family has a long road ahead of us, but I also
know that whatever happens, we’ll be able to handle it. I love you,
my readers. And I thank you every so much for your help. In the
name of Jesus Christ. Amen.]

[Thanks for listening. Now, on to the jokes...]

8/21 - Home sweet home...

For those of you just reading the blog, and not getting emails, I wasn't able
to update the blog yesterday from the hospital network. Here's Saturday's update:

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A rare Saturday issue indeed. Son #4 is now in the regular hospital
getting better, and said he wanted me to stay over night. So, he's
sleeping and I'm watching TV and writing this update. For those who
get the email issue only, I forgot to tell you that I posted some
pictures of son #4 the other day. They're at

We've had one heck of a week. There have been ups, downs, sideways,
and inside outs. But, we've had some really caring people helping
us out. Praying, calling, and really caring. Family help of course,
but a friend of mine who I've known since HS is a great example of
little things that count. He's had several children up at this
facility, so he knows what's needed in a care package. He brought a
bag full of goodies. Drinks, chips, munchies, and a good book too.
It wasn't huge, it wasn't expensive, but it was really thoughtful,
and we really really appreciate it. We've also had the church
Relief Society bring in dinner for the last several nights. What a
blessing to come home and have a home cooked meal waiting for us.
These are just awesome folks! And then there's the guys where I
used to work with at front line support. I still work with them
online, but since I left there almost a year ago, half of them are
new faces. They took up a collection and sent son #4 a huge stuffed
dog and sent quite a bit of gas money to boot. The dog has made son
#4 smile a bunch in the last 2 days, and the gas money has made it
easier not to cry when filling up the tank. Thank you so much

Now, and update on son #4. They moved him into his own room about
noon today. He's off sedation, but still sluggish. He's moving both
sides about the same, but he's pretty weak. In this hospital
they've found that if they let the kids order food `room service'
style, that they eat more because they're getting what they want,
the hospital saves money because there is less waste, and because
the kids order when they want, they don't have such a rush during
meal times. So, son #4's first "wish" food was blueberry
cheesecake. He ate the entire piece. Through the day he's had
cheese and crackers, lots and lots of Gatorade, a scrambled egg,
half a piece of toast and a little ice cream. He can't sit up by
himself yet, so there's a lot of help involved, but he's getting
better. We're still waiting for the pathology report to tell us
what kind of tumor he had. But, "The pathologists don't work on
weekends." So it will be at least Monday before we find that out,
maybe longer.

Anyway, I found a lot of medical humor on the web today. I'll share
a few in the email version. But one caught my eye;

A well-known rich businessman's wife broke her hip. The businessman
got the best bone surgeon in town to do the operation. The
operation consisted of lining up the broken hip and putting in a
screw to secure it. The operation went fine, and the doctor sent
the businessman a fee for his services of $5000. The businessman
was outraged at the cost, and sent the doctor a letter demanding an
itemized list of the costs. The doctor sent back a list with two
1 screw $1;
Knowing how to put it in $4999;
$5000 total
The businessman never argued.

That makes me wonder. I have a maximum insurance out of pocket
amount that I'll be responsible for, but can you imagine how much
this whole thing will cost? We've been here a week today, and they
still have the bone flap to put back in, and he hasn't even started
any kinds of treatment yet.

Maybe we should have a contest to see who can come the closest on
just the hospital procedures. Hmm... I wonder.

Enjoy today's Jokes!

p.s. A reminder; I can't access the site to update the web log from
this network, so the blog won't be updated until tomorrow. For
those getting this by email, enjoy a few medical jokes.

Reader Comment Section:

Hundreds of emails. Hundreds. I can't answer most of them. Sorry.

Friday, August 19, 2005

8/19 - Pfftt...

8/19/2005 10:22 AM
Things are going well this morning. They took son #4 off of the paralytic drugs last night, so he’s he can move around, but they still have him sedated. He woke up a few times this morning and moved his hands, feet, and eyes. He keeps mouthing the word ‘out’ saying that he wants the breathing tube out. The plan is to take him for an MRI today around 11, then when he’s back in his room, they’ll turn off all of the sedation drugs all at once. He’ll be on his breathing tube until they are convinced that he can do ok, then they’ll take that out. They’ll watch him for at least 12-25 hours then may transfer us to the ‘floor’. Depending on what type of cancer/tumor it is, will determine how long he’s in his new room. We still haven’t gotten the oncology report back, and it may take some more time, but we want to make sure they find out exactly what type of tumor it was for further treatment.

8/19/2005 2:32 PM
When son #4 had MRI this morning, they gave him some more relaxing type drugs so he wouldn’t move. He still wiggled his feet and still wasn’t all the way asleep. So, now that they’ve taken off all of the drugs, and we’re waiting for him to wake up so they can take the breathing tube out, he’s fast asleep. Go figure. The neuro surgeon just came up and said things look really well on the MRI. There were no pieces left in there, the brain looks like it’s shifting back in place, and the swelling looks good. My sister #2 came up to visit, and I think she and my sweet wife are both feeling a little better about life. There was an announcement overhead that said, “Attention attention everyone, there is a 75% off sale on everything in the gift shop. We will close in 45 minutes.” At first my sweet wife said, “Naw, I’ll stay here.” About 15 seconds later they both grabbed their purses and headed to the gift shop. So, here I sit, all alone, listening to classical music, trying to be quiet so as not to wake up son #4. He’ll have plenty of time for that all night.

8/19/2005 8:20 PM
We’ll we’re home again. We had some good neighbors bring over hot dinner for us when we got home, and then we went to a cub scout pack meeting where son #3 got his Bobcat award. A nice mellow night. One thing that did happened that I think my be a good sign, was when the nurse was taking out son #4’s IV’s on his feet, and then changed his hospital pants (“We don’t use the ‘d’ word when they’re already potty trained” said the nurse), she asked him to move a little this way, then that way. And he did. When he got all taped up and the blankets back on, he let out a huge ‘pffftt…’ I kind of smiled and looked at my sweet wife who was on the other side of the bed. She smiled, and we both looked at son #4. He had the biggest grin on his face, and his tummy was bouncing up and down like a bowl full of jelly. Even though he had his breathing tube in and couldn’t make any noise, he was laughing pretty hard. All of us, including the nurse laughed for a good long while. We now know that at least his little boyish humor is still in tact. Weekend updates may or may not be forthcoming. I suspect we’ll be moved to the ‘floor’ tomorrow sometime, and just recovery time after that.

8/19 - First pictures

I've posted a few new pictures of son #4 and his stay. Warning, one is pretty graphic.

Click Here

Thursday, August 18, 2005

8/18 - Long days...

Thursday 8/18/2005 4:06:11 AM
Even though we got some great news yesterday, I think my body is getting used getting up in the middle of the night. So, it was another early morning. Last night as they brought son #4 back into his room after the surgery, the nurses, respiratory techs, attending physicians, and anesthesiologist were all standing around smiling, and happy. Nurses I hadn’t met before but just saw on the floor came up and said “congratulations”. Later I asked one doc if they weighed the tumor so I could send out an announcement saying, congratulations, Marty, his sweet wife, and son #4 are the proud recipients of a 8 oz, 4 inch long cancerous tumor.

Between the first and 2nd surgery’s yesterday, son #4’s surgeon came in and spoke with us. He told us again what they were trying to do, how they were going to do it, and how long things would take. The he said, “Oh, just a minute” He leaned over with his pen to son #4’s head and wrote his initials right next to his huge, 12 in long horseshoe shaped, bloody, 60+ stitched, incision. I assume this was to remind him what side of my son’s head he was going to operate on. I almost asked him if he was going to put an arrow pointing to it that said, “cut here”. But, he didn’t seem like the joking type.

Thursday 8/18/2005 9:22:56 PM
Last night we figured that my sister-in-law #2 had had enough of watching 6 boys for several days, so we insisted they come home with us. At their cousin’s house, there is so much to do that the boys love. They play computer and video games for hours and hours, all day long. So after we got home last night and got settled in, son #2 came up to me and said, “Dad, there isn’t anything to do here.” I suggested he start with taking a shower.

Son #4 is doing pretty well today. We took a trip to CT today, to get an x-ray. They also put in a feeding tube. (Finally, after 6 days…) They took him off of his paralytic drugs, but are keeping him pretty sedated so he doesn’t move around. As the nurse started to put some moisturizer on his lips because they were getting dry, she said, “I’m just going to put some chap-stick on you.” is eyes came over a little and he shook his head “no”. He also woke up and when I asked if his head hurt, he shook his head no, but shook his head yes when I asked if his throat hurt. (because of his breathing tube) So, he’s coming out of it… Tomorrow is an MRI, and then they’ll slowly take him off of the sedation drugs. More updates tomorrow. (And I should be able to start sending out the jokes again soon…)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

And up up we go!

Wednesday – 10:30AM
They took Jimmy for his first surgery just before 9 this morning. They took him to the special cath operating room, with all sorts of radiology equipment. They plan to run some lines through a main artery in his leg, through his body, up through his brain, and just before the tumor. Then they put some mixture in the vein to block blood flow to the tumor. The tech has just come out for the 2nd update and said that he’s about half way done and he’s put in about 7 or 8 patches of blocking goo stuff in. (He said it’s a mixture something like ground up glass and blood coagulation stuff). If this weren’t my kid and I weren’t so terrified, this would be interesting stuff to study. But, I’ve decided that working at the clinic on computers is about as close as I want to come to some of these poor patients. For now it’s so far so good. The tech has said his numbers are good, his pressure is good, respiratory rate, etc. While he’s been asleep for the last couple of days, they’ve had to add more and more paralytic drugs into his system. He’s what they call ‘light’ under anesthesia. In his room on Monday while under tons of anesthesia and laying in bed, he sat up and tried to talk, was listening and looking around fine, and when the nurse told him to lay down and go back to sleep, he did. So, they’re watching him close. The plan is to finish up with this procedure and then take him in to his other surgery about 11:45. That’s the plan anyway.

I feel so hopeless. I keep trying to figure things out that I should be doing. I’ve given him several father’s and Priesthood blessings, had the Elders from the church give him a Priesthood blessing. I’ve rallied the family, ward, work, and 5500 JOTD readers to fast and pray for him. It’s all in the Lord’s hand now. I know, that whatever happens, Jimmy can be ours forever.

Wednesday 2PM
They finished up the 1st surgery by about 11:00 AM. The surgeon was able to block 2 main vessels going to the tumor, and several little ones. There was one that also fed good tissue that he didn’t block, and they’ll try to get it during the next surgery. They just took Jimmy in to his 2nd surgery. They should be able to update us in the next few hours. Since my work has blocked access to the website where I put updates, I’m going to go out and find a hotel that has high/speed internet access and try to connect there.

They think that the type of tumor is an ependymoma, but the tests still haven’t come back from pathology. So now it’s just a waiting game.

Wednesday 5PM
HALALUJIA! Doc came out, said it went much better than expected. He said the difference between Sunday and today’s surgery was like night and day. The anesthesiologist said it was almost disappointing that it was so easy. (Oh, maybe to him!) After they ‘embolised’ two main arteries and a bunch of little ones, it made a huge difference in getting the tumor out. They left the bone flap out, so that the brain can swell and do it’s thing, but he said with the tumor gone, there’s extra room so things should be ok. Doc said they are going to leave him under until at least tomorrow morning, then if everything goes ok, they’ll start to wake him up. There still could be problems with weakness on the right side, and problems with the eye, but we’re still not sure until tomorrow or later. Said the oncologist would talk to us and see what type of treatment we’ll be going on from here. Your fasting and prayers made all of the difference in the world. Thank you thank you THANK YOU! We're not out of the woods yet, but as my #1 mom says, we're a heck of a lot closer!


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Before the roller coaster plunge

We spoke with the nuro surgeon about 11:45 this morning. He showed us the CT scans from yesterday, the morning after the surgery. It appears that the brain is pushing the tumor out of the head through the bone flap (where they left the bone out of the skull). He said that even if they radiated it today, we wouldn’t see results soon enough. He said it appeared to be a fast growing tumor, so they were between a rock and a hard place, and that after talking with his partner, they want to do another surgery and take it out tomorrow. There are risks, including too much blood loss, weakness or paralysis on the right side of his body, and others. He said it wouldn’t be easy but on the other hand it may come out just fine. He said sometimes it’s easier to operate the 2nd time around, because they know what’s going on. They may have a team come in before surgery and try to block the blood vessels to the tumor, but there are risks of that also. They’ll do another CT scan in the morning, and do the surgery early afternoon. My sweet wife and I are asking all who would be willing, to fast and pray tomorrow for Jimmy and his surgeons tomorrow, on Wednesday, August 17, 2005.

Early Edition

Tuesday, August 16, 2005 – 3:00 AM

Here are some random ramblings and thoughts. (What else could I do
but ramble at 3AM?) I actually got a little sleep last night. We
sent son's #1, 2, and 3 to cousin #1's house last night. My sweet
wife and I went down at 10, and I didn't wake up until 2. After
rolling around for an hour, I figured I could do something more
productive and wrote this issue. So, here you go.

After the MRI on Saturday, and most of the day Sunday before
surgery, son #4 was typical `Jimmy'. He was bouncing on the bed,
rolling around (getting tangled in all of his lines) and flirting
with all of the nurses. They kept saying that he's stolen
everyone's hearts that met him. The CT tech even went to his
`special' closet and gave him a big stuffed purple dragon. After
the MRI on Saturday and after they admitted him, they had him on a
lot of IV liquids. It was in one end and out the other. They
wouldn't let him get up to go to the bathroom, so they had what the
nurse called a `special bottle' for him to go in. He thought that
was the coolest thing in the world. The first time he went, he
hesitated and looked to my sweet wife and me for reassurance. We
told him he could go, but I smiled and said, "But if you ever try
this at home..." He laughed. Then, about every 45 minutes after
that he'd say, "I want to pee in my special bottle!" He'd jump up
and do his business. One time he asked the nurse, "Why are you
shutting the curtain?" She replied, "For your privacy." He thought
for a second or two and started to say something, then just said,
"Oh, ok." And did his business.

Sunday before the surgery, we kind of told him that there was a
`big bad germ' in his head that they were going to take out. He was
ok with that, until just before surgery when we told him `how' they
were going to do it. He said, "No dad. Don't cut a hole in my head.
Don't let them hurt my body." Talk about heart wrenching. Then he
crawled onto my sweet wife's lap and went down for a nap. He slept
all the way to the operating room where they put him all the way

Monday we spent the entire day at the hospital with him. In the
morning they had him heavily sedated. But every time an alarm went
off, they wanted to move him or give more medicine, he would
partially wake up and try to speak and move around. He wanted to
know what was going on and didn't want to be asleep. They kept
increasing the dose of his meds so he could stay down. Finally in
the afternoon they gave him something called a paralytic to put him
deeper into an induced type coma. They don't want him to move
around at all while his brain is still swelling. He's doing well
according to the PICU nurses. His numbers are all in line (His
blood pressure, reparatory rate, ICP [intracranial pressure] etc.)

We've had scores and scores of emails, and dozens of phone calls
and visitors. It started to get a little overwhelming and one of
the nurses said, "I've seen people even put up websites and update
people." Wow, I thought, I've got one of those! So, I'll just
update everyone via martysjotd.blogspot.com and hope we don't have
to tell the whole story 15 times a day. Thank you so much for your
prayers and well wishes. Jimmy sends his love too.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Down the roller coaster we go...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Down down down the roller coaster we go.

Things got worse after our first surgeon's update. It's a lemon-sized
tumor. They were only to take 10% or less out before his blood loss
was too much. They left his skull off for the swelling, sent a piece
of the tumor to the lab to see what kind it is. Preliminary results
aren't good, but we have to wait for the full report. They may try
aggressive chemo and radiation, but only after the test results are
back Tuesday or Wednesday. He's in heavy sedation with 2 tubes in his
head, one in his neck, 2 in his hands and one in his foot. This is
tough news indeed. They're putting in a PICC line today, and putting
him in an induced coma so he won't move around.

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Middle of surgery

6PM MST, Sunday
First, thank you all VERY much for your prayers and thoughts. It's
really helped.

They let us know at 5PM today that he'd been in surgery for 2 hours,
there was less blood loss than expected with such a vascullar tumor,
but they have given him one unit of blood. He's been stable through
surgery so far. They've sent part of the tumor off to the lab, and are
still working on the rest. They don't know how long it will be before
they are done, but they'll let us know in about an hour.

I'll update you more when I know...