October 26, 2018 Bend, Oregon

Mountain Above Bend
Mountain Above Bend

Medical Update

Sorry for the long delay in posting anything on this blog, but as some of you have probably guessed, I had a serious relapse of my Multiple Myeloma. As I have stated before, I did not want this travel/photography blog to become nothing more than a medical update blog, so since I am not traveling and have been confined to Bend for two months now, there has been nothing to blog about, other than health issues.

In late October, while I was staying at South Beach CG on the Olympic Peninsula, I began experiencing extreme fatigue and felt there was something seriously wrong. Since I figured I could make it the day’s long trip down to Bend and the oncologist that saved me a little more than a year prior, I packed up and headed south. I made it to Bend and drove up to a snow park near Mount Bachelor to camp. The following day I drove down to Bend and checked into the Emergency Room at St. Charles Hospital. I remained in the hospital for two weeks, including a three day stay in ICU where I since been told I came close to buying the farm, due to an infection that my nonexistent white blood cells could not fight off. My Multiple Myeloma had returned with a vengence.

My oncologist got me started on a new chemo regimen while I was hospitalized and that has now continued for the last six weeks on an outpatient basis. As was the case last year, I have been able to stay in the 11 space hospital camping area while I go through this recovery process again. This full hookup camping area on the hospital campus is once again, a true life saver.

Today my oncologist told me that I could probably resume traveling sometime around the end of November, and he could arrange for me to receive the last couple of months of chemo infusions at a hospital in a warmer climate. It does appear that I probably will get the cancer back into remission as the last few weeks’ blood numbers look very encouraging. So maybe this blog will resume in it’s former form by the end on November. Here’s hoping!

The Kindness of Strangers

As I mentioned above, when I arrived in Bend, I parked my motorhome in a Snow Park up near Mount Bachelor, about 17 miles outside of Bend. The next day when I drove down to the hospital, I locked Pearl in the bathroom with her bed, toys, water, and food, not knowing if I would have to be admitted to the hospital or not ( though I had a feeling I would be ).

My first concern, when the Emergency Room doctor quickly conveyed how perilous my condition was and checked me into the hospital, was how to get Pearl rescued. The solution turned out to be a Forest Ranger the hospital called who came to my bedside, took my info and motorhome keys, and drove up to the Snow Park and picked up Pearl and then delivered her to the Humane Society of Central Oregon in Bend where she could be cared for until/if  I was released from the hospital. On top of that, on his own, he went to the shelter to check on her two days later and relayed her status to me in the hospital, something he certainly did not have to do, but that was greatly appreciated.

Since the Myeloma had clogged my kidneys once again, I had to undergo treatments in the dialysis unit where they ran my blood through a centrifuge of some kind to filter out the Light Chains, though they did manage to keep me from requiring dialysis thankfully. This took several sessions over five or six days and lasted several hours each day. I can not say enough about how wonderful the staff of this department was at a very trying time for me.

The department head ( Mary) was very concerned about the welfare of Pearl ( maybe a little bit about me also ) and her confinement at the Humane Society, and insisted that she would go pick her up and keep her at her  home until I could take her back … and she did just that, with Pearl ending up staying with her for three weeks. And I might note that Pearl was reluctant to return to life in the motorhome after being spoiled with a fenced yard, being able to sleep in a real bed, new toys, and more pampering than she she ever gets from me. But she has readjusted now to her her prior dull life wth me, though she really looks forward to having Mary come take her for a walk every week.

The Dialysis Unit nurses and doctor were also concerned about my motorhome sitting unattended up in the Snow Park while I was confined to the hospital and asked if I needed someone to go up and get it and drive it down to the hospital and set it up in the hospital camping area. Talk about “above and beyond the call of duty”. Sure enough, two of the male nurses in the unit took my keys, drove to the Snow Park, prepped the motorhome to travel ( raise the jacks, stow the TV and lower the satellite dish, etc. ), and drove the motorhome back to the hospital, backed it into a space and hooked up the utilities for me so that I had a place to go when I got released from the hospital. I can not say enough about these kind folks!

If it weren’t for the freezing temperatures and snow, I would elect to stay here in Bend to complete my treatment, but living in the RV, I do need to get to a warmer climate before the snow does start to fall. I’ll resume some blog posts when I hit the road!

13 thoughts on “October 26, 2018 Bend, Oregon”

  1. Good thoughts and healing prayers are being lifted up for you. Hugs to you and Pearl. Can’t wait for more of your beautiful photos. You are an awesome photographer!!

  2. Bob! It is a pleasure to have cared for both YOU and my beloved little firecracker Pearl! She stole my heart~ I love our visits when I come to gather her for a walk. I look forward to your being able to resume your passion of travel and photography. And a continued friendship born from this dreadful disease. Life can be weird – with sweet gifts in all of it! You are a gem as well as your little Pearl. Cheers to wellness! Cheers to new friendships!

  3. You and Pearl are being looked after in such good ways. I’m so glad and was wondering how you were doing with MM. I myself have been going g through some months of chem/Infusions for MM – it’s good when numbers start looking good isn’t it. Stay as healthy as you can ok and get to some to some warmer weather when you can. We will all be thinking and praying things stay in line for you and they will!

  4. You had been in my thoughts. Glad to read your post. Sorry that you had the relapse, glad you are on the mend. It was heartwarming to read about the help you received from the forest ranger and the hospital staff. Pretty amazing!

    I travel solo with a kitty. One thing I worry about is something will happen to me and she will be stranded.

    Hope you are able to get back on the road soon to a warmer locale.

  5. I was worried because it’s been quite awhile since you posted. I’m sorry you had a relapse, but very glad you’ll soon be back on the road. The care you are receiving is topnotch and all the extra steps everyone took to ensure the safety of Pearl and your motorhome are beyond wonderful. I look forward to your next round of images and posts.

    Renee DeMartin

  6. Yes, I guessed you might be back in Bend. You are frequently in our thoughts. We wintered out last year in Enfield. House still not sold – almost 5 years on the market – and Joe’s health won’t allow us to do another winter there so we winterized the house and are now at Ft. Benning, GA for a week or so and then back to Texas and then AZ. So glad to know you are on the mind a bit. Please take care. I am so glad you have friends and supportive people available. Know you are thought of often. Take care! Connie and Joe O’Keeffe

  7. So sad to hear about your recent relapse but SO GLAD to hear that you’re now on the mend. I certainly enjoyed meeting with you at South Beach this year. I’m impressed that you managed to stay there for as long as you did. Take care and head for those warmer climes ASAP. Bend sure sounds like it’s full of wonderful people!!

    1. If not for the relapse, I would have exceeded my 51 day stay at South Beach that I had a couple years back. No one ever did check on me and how long I was there so I guess that means they still aren’t enforcing a 2 week limit.

  8. So sorry to hear about your health issues but thankful that you are in loving hands. There are still so many great people that are happy to help us when needed.

  9. I was so happy to read your new post, and to know that you were so well looked after at Bend. Good luck and good health. All best wishes.

  10. So sorry you are having to go through this again but so thankful that there are kind people who are willing to go above and beyond their normal duty.
    May God bless them for their kindness toward you and Pearl.

  11. Thanks so much for your update we were just mentioning that we hadn’t heard from you and were thinking it was health related. Even tho God puts us through hard times He also provides rays of sunshine and rainbows via special people to boost us up. Pray for Gods blessing and healing and also safe travels

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