Since her release from the hospital after surgery to remove the tumor from her kidney, Connie has been recovering in our Critical Care Unit but also returning to hospital to have regular chemotherapy treatments.
On Monday 3 August she was admitted to the hospital 30 minutes from New Day to have her 5th round of treatment, but as soon as she walked in the ward she vomited so they weren’t able to start the treatment. Instead they spent the week running tests and trying to find out what the problem was, and by Thursday she was diagnosed with an intestinal blockage and was scheduled for surgery in a Beijing hospital on Friday.
This was clearly bad news, but the timing of it was amazing. If the symptoms had begun to present themselves even hours later, Connie would have started the next round of chemotherapy and her immune system would have been too weak for her to be able to have the surgery that she urgently needed. This sense of miraculously good timing continued throughout Friday, as Karen explains:
There was a massive line of cars waiting to park outside the hospital, so our driver dropped us off at the hospital entrance and joined the line for a parking space. In the hospital, we could clearly see on the X-ray that there was a blockage in her system, from the place where the tumor had been removed. She needed to have a CT scan to figure out what the blockage was, but the hospital didn’t have a CT machine, so we needed to take her to another hospital to do it.
Connie was unstable and we needed to move fast. The hospital we’d transferred her from that morning had put her on an IV to try to give her enough strength for the journey, but now it was going to take even longer. We called the driver and he didn’t pick up his phone, but when we walked out of the main doors of the hospital he was right outside, having just reached that point in the line for a parking space! Then, at the other hospital, there ‘just happened to be’ a parking space right by the entrance, which is highly unusual to say the least.
We lined up to pay for the CT scan and then went to a different building to have the scan. There was no line at all, which again is highly unusual. Even right after we got there, six more people suddenly appeared in line behind us.
After the scan we took her back and she was put on an IV to get her ready for surgery. Then we were able to go down to get the results of the CT scan. The films slowly came off the computer, followed by the report explaining the results. I watched Sharon’s face as she read it (I don’t read Chinese well enough). A big grin appeared. “The report says that it’s NOT another tumor”.
It turns out that part of Connie’s intestine had been damaged, either by the massive tumor in her kidney or during the surgery to remove it. At 4 pm she had surgery and the surgeons were able to remove the damaged section. Three days later and she was out of ICU, and we look forward to having her back at New Day again soon.
Pictures from the hospital: soon after surgery and then just five days later.