Whoa. What the hell just happened?
One minute we are driving back from Houston, discussing how wonderful the doctor at M.D. Anderson was. He spent at least 45 minutes with us, and explaining how Prialt works, listening to our concerns, and being honest about the chances of success. He let us know that between 60 and 70 percent of people who try Prialt find the "sweet spot" where pain is relieved, and the nasty side effects don't take hold. He tells us to expect to spend a week in Houston while the proper dosage is tuned in through experimentation.
The remaining 30 to 40 percent are unable to achieve pain relief without the drug affecting their memory and ability to reason. He assured us that in this unlikely event, the side effects will go away completely within three hours of stopping the medication.
Given BR's history of failure with exotic pain treatments, we took time to discuss our options should Prialt follow suit. Unlike the Which Doctor, this doctor was not afraid to discuss how intractable pain crosses into palliative care, and finally into hospice. He felt that BR would best be served by a local palliative care doctor instead of a pain management doctor, and they will be providing a referral.
Ding! Dong! The Which is dead.
After a couple celebratory drinks at a Houston watering hole, we started making our way back to Austin. About 45 miles from home, I felt a strong vibration from the van. Thinking it was just rough pavement, I changed lanes, but the vibration persisted. Then the "check engine" light started flashing and we started losing power. Crap.
Now when BR and I travel, we are a lot like the Beverly Hillbillies. The van is packed with an entire hospital bed complete with mattress and rails, a shower chair, BR in his iBOT, a cooler, and a couple large suitcases. The van breaking down just completes the picture.
We rolled into a small convenience store on the edge of nowhere, where the clerk was quick to join me under the hood looking for the source of the problem. Nothing obvious was out of place, but I knew we weren't going to make it the final 45 miles. The clerk offered to call a friend, who just happened to have a garage right across the street. The mechanic friend was working late and agreed to take a look.
The diagnostic computer said that "the MAP readings were not changing from start to run" and that "cylinder 4 was misfiring". The friend changed the spark plug on cylinder 4, but it didn't help. We were stuck.
I thought through our options. How was I going to get BR and all our stuff home? Wheelchair minivan taxis are difficult to come by in downtown Austin, much less the edge of nowhere. It became obvious that the iBOT would not be leaving with us.
Once that decision was made, I called the neighbors from across the street, and they agreed to come fetch us in their SUV. During the 45 minutes it took for them to arrive, I realized that BR's hospital bed would also be spending the night at the edge of nowhere. The only piece of equipment that joined us was the shower chair.
So as BR sits in his shower chair in the living room, completely unable to do anything for himself, I'm working on the plan to retrieve the bed and iBOT in the morning. The mechanic friend will be digging further into the engine problems, but BR's independence and comfort can't wait for a repair. In the mean time, we will be sharing a bed tonight for the first time since we moved to Austin.