Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
October 23, 2022 [printfriendly]
If you have been following my Cancer Journey, you know that I have extolled the virtues of my wife, Sue. She has been my pillar of strength, my motivation, and my sounding board for many, many years.
In August 2019, I entered Hospice because of a series of pathological bone fractures. As you know, it is very rare to enter hospice and then be able to revoke it. I attribute my health today to Sue. She gave me some tough love while I was in Hospice in September 2019. All this was happening as Charleston was preparing for Hurricane Dorian. By the beginning of October 2019, Sue helped me to redirect my cancer journey and revoke hospice.
She is an amazing woman who also has guided me to restore my quality of life. I love my wife. I owe my success to her.
Now she is needing my strength.
When Bad Things Happen to Good People
On Sunday, 10/9/22, Sue was having trouble catching her breath. She never complains about any medical issues no matter what they may be. But on that Sunday evening, she was in the bedroom changing her clothes. When she emerged, she looked pale. In a quiet voice she said, “I can’t catch my breath.” I asked her if she wanted to go to the emergency room.
She quickly answered, “Yes!”.
I immediately knew it was bad.
I called the ambulance which arrived within minutes. I couldn’t accompany her to the ER because of my bone fractures.
After a couple of hours, the ER doctor called me and said that Sue apparently was having internal bleeding and possible kidney failure. They were going to admit her to the ICU as soon as a bed was available. The physician thought she would be transferred that evening to a downtown hospital.
Early Monday morning after being transported, Sue was seen by a myriad of medical specialists in the ICU. She was hooked up to various monitors and an IV.
And then the tests began.
Needless to say, it has been a harrowing experience for her. Although she is an RN, it’s scary when the tests are being performed on YOU! And it’s scary when you don’t know what is wrong. And you don’t know what you don’t know.
It seems that many medical complications were contributing to her need to be in the ER that Sunday evening. It took a week before all the physicians had integrated all the results of all the tests to come up with a medical plan to restore my wife’s health.
I visited her in the ICU for a few hours a couple of times. However, I am not able to be with her physically in her hospital room every day. So, writing about her as I am doing now is cathartic for me.
As of this writing, it appears that she in turning the corner and beginning to improve. She was transferred out of ICU and into a cardiac room on 10/16/22. Sue tells me that she is starting in-hospital physical therapy soon. However, she is not stable yet, and her medical team is working diligently.
The plan is for Sue to stay in the hospital for a few more weeks while she undergoes physical therapy and continues to stabilize her overall health.
We Go Back a Long Way
Sue and I have spent decades together. She and I were married in 1969. That’s longer than most of you who are reading this have been alive. We met in the 9th grade. Sue tells the story about telling her mom after she met me in the 9th grade that she was going to marry me someday.
Both of us grew up in Baltimore, MD. While in dental school in Baltimore, I was in the “early commissioning program” for the Air Force. Both of our children were born in Baltimore while I was in dental training.
After I completed dental and specialty graduate school, the Air Force sent us to the Charleston Air Force Base in SC where I was the Chief of Periodontics for my 2-year obligation. Since we loved Charleston, Sue and I decided to make the city our new home. I went into private practice for the next 44 years but stopped seeing clinical patients when I was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in 2018.
We currently have two adult children and 3 amazing grandchildren – two of which are in college now. How time flies!!
Sue and I have built a beautiful life together. Like all love stories, we’ve had our challenges, and this latest one has been hard.
I cherish my wife. Sue means EVERYTHING to me!
Changes Are Coming
When Sue finally is released from the hospital, there will be some new and great things happening. As the chapters of a great novel introduce the reader to a new situation, our new life chapter will introduce us to elder living and internal discovery …
- We will sell our home and move into an independent senior living facility just a few miles from where we live today.
- As a surprise for Sue, I purchased a Sleep Number Climate 360 Smart Bed with adjustable frame from the Sleep Number Store in North Charleston, SC. And let me tell you that all the transactions were handled on the phone with the store Manager, Erin. Erin is the most customer friendly, efficient, empathetic individual I have met in a long time.
- As a team, Sue and I will continue to help one another.
- Our new living environment will be supportive to her and my medical issues as well as provide many varied social activities.
- I will continue to provide all the services I currently offer on my website – they just will be coming from our new location. By the way, I may get preoccupied with learning mahjong and playing bingo. 🙂
- And I will be enthusiastically praising the virtues of an animal-based diet with all the residents I meet at our new location as well as the head chef.
One day before I published this Blog on my Website, Sue took a turn for the worse.
She is now in the SICU, Surgical Intensive Care Unit.
I am waiting to hear from her medical team.
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