We stayed in Donnelly ID for 15 days over the 4th July. Steve was feeling pretty bad, had trouble breathing and spent the last night in the bathroom. There were no Urgent Care practices nearby so we ended up in the ER of St Luke’s Hospital in McCall, thinking they could just give him something and we go on our way. He’d seen his doctor only a couple of months before so he hadn’t been negligent in his healthcare.
He was quickly diagnosed with an enlarged prostate and badder fluid retention.
This was a very small hospital with only 8 beds and was probably serving patients with minor water and skiing accidents.
Once we realized this wasn’t an in and out deal, Chris was shown a parking spot in the Employee parking lot, they were very accommodating.
Once he was admitted everything started to go wrong, plus he wasn’t acting himself and the medical staff were being very negative, one even telling me to prepare for the worst. Trying to access his medical records and his doctor was suddenly an issue, and from what they were saying, he was rapidly declining.
They inserted the first of what was to be a series of catheters lasting for 5 months. And he was placed on high levels of oxygen
A day later they decided he should be airlifted to St Luke’s in Boise. An ambulance whisked him off to the McCall airport, loaded him into a helicopter for the 45 min flight, and just like that he was gone, leaving Chris in the McCall hospital parking lot holding his CPAP machine.
How Steve got from McCall to Boise, above and how Chris made the journey, below. I kept telling the doctors that I shouldn’t drive to Boise just yet, as they could discharge him and I would just pick him up in the car. I couldn’t believe that his condition was so critical. I drove the car down to Boise the first day, then decided to stay at a local hotel for a couple of nights before it became apparent that I couldn’t avoid the obvious.
Time for the big girl knickers, and drive the coach and Jeep down to Boise, not an easy drive but at least I’d driven the beast a couple times in the past. But the tanks needed dumping and I needed fuel and somewhere to park once I arrived in Boise.
I planned ahead, did a dry run in the Jeep scouting dump stations to make sure it was easy in and out, good thing I did, as the first one lead me to a dead end, then refueling, the first gas station I’d selected had recently moved, so managed to find an alternate. That discovery trip took 6 hours and along the way I left my phone in a toilet in Weiser ID. Not to worry, I’d be back the next day and pick it up but not before Steve called and spoke to a strange lady in a town he’d never heard of. Somehow there was a note on the door of the coach when I finally got back to McCall saying they’d found my phone and for some reason that was really comforting.
Then with the help of my very good friend Suzanne, who just happened to have a friend, Tom, who lived 15 minutes from St Luke’s Boise, who met me in the parking lot to help me get into my parking spot, I arrived at the hospital which would be my and then our home for 6 more weeks.
Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Steve is placed in the ICU along with their COVID patients. Fortunately they moved him to the Telemetry unit after a couple of days where they could monitor him. Steve’s being probed, prodded and tested by all the specialists, oncologist, urologists etc.. his kidneys were suspect, his heart showed signs of atrial fibrillation. The wound care people then got involved, due to an infected ulcer on his toe (diabetes can be blamed ) and which had been evident for months, but had never received this kind of treatment. For days I was warned of the negative outcomes until I refused to listen. I remember saying to one of his nurses, ” if you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t tell me” Steve’s cousins are all nurses in New York, so I was able to take copious notes and call one of them for translations.
Taking some time off, I walked around downtown Boise, known as the City of Trees. I’d also looked around for an RV campground as it appeared we’d be spending quite some time in Boise once he’d been discharged. Of the 20 campgrounds in or near Boise nothing was available until winter. Because of the lack of affordable housing, people have taken their trailers to RV parks for a short term solutions.
Setting up for Steve’s return. Oxygen was delivered
The wound care gave him a boot to keep his toe in place
But after 3 weeks, he’s home and ready for next steps. Physiotherapy 3 times a week, continued wound care and a prostate biopsy. The final words from the urologist as we were leaving were, ” I assume you were told you have cancer, right?” Well, no, but we know now.
We’d stay in the parking lot for a couple of weeks of physio and to be signed off from wound care as “cured”, a bit of a stretch but we’d been in the hospital parking lot for 6 weeks, time to move on for the biopsy and the resulting treatment and watch the toe and get a diabetic shoe.
Many thanks to Tin Roof Tacos, Banano’s smoothies which we frequented constantly, and were steps away, and the fabulous flagship Albertsons who offered the ultimate in prepared foods and a five minute walk away. They were all truly lifesavers