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Walking With the Bakers


We're Home

Written by Sue Baker.

Friends and Family –

We’re home! The Physical and Speech therapists re-evaluated Roger Monday morning and declared he could go home.

The results are not what we expected, and so we will have still more visits for radiation and chemo in the near future.

Nonetheless, we are home and getting some much needed rest.

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and thoughts!


He's Getting Fiesty!

Written by Sue Baker.

Family and Friends –

The transition to the 4th floor has done wonders for Roger. He has decided he will wear his own lounge clothes, thank you very much. Enough hospital gowns for him.

In the last 24 hours, the surgical team removed the drain and has allowed him to go without a surgical dressing. MJ and I are betting that he will have a permanent center part from the scar, but he says he may continue to shave his head….. yeah, right…

He worked hard with the therapy teams on Friday, and is now allowed up to shower, walk the halls, and read/converse/type to his own limits. We are working hard to now to limit day time sleeping so he sleeps at night. This morning, he took a lap around the unit, climbed a flight of stairs, showered and shaved.

He then declared that he would not eat hospital food for lunch and promptly staged a protest until the charge nurse called for permission for MJ to take him to the Subway in the medical building. We’ll not mention last night’s leftover pizza the boys took, shall we?

Rusty will stay in the hospital through Monday at least. The therapy team would like for him to have some intense physical and speech work as part of his recovery, so they are also looking at transferring him to Virginia Hospital Center before allowing him to come home.

The surgical team says the results of the pathology studies will be available Monday as well, and we’d like to have those before we leave Bethesda.

All in all, it’s been a good day and a half.

Rusty is humbled and awed by everyone’s expressions, thoughts and prayers. We truly appreciate you!

Thank you!


A New Day, A New Room

Written by Sue Baker.

Family & Friends

We celebrated Roger's transition to a regular room last night with turkey burgers & ice cream.

While he is tired (& who wouldn't be when awakened every two hours for something), his speech & cognition have improved greatly.

Mine are deteriorating....

Today is all about getting out of bed & feeling human... Working to go home this weekend..

Thank you for your thoughts & prayers! They truly sustain us.


An Intense 24 Hours

Written by Sue Baker.

Family and Friends –

It’s been another intense 24 hours. I apologize if you haven’t heard directly from me in the last 24 hours….. I’ve been working in fits and starts.

Roger’s first surgery went well, lasting about 4 hours. He recovered in the ICU rather than in the PACU, and did pretty well for the first 5 hours after surgery.

About 1 a.m., his care team noticed that he wasn’t responding as well as we’d expected by that time. A CT scan revealed that he had fluid building in the spot they’d just worked on, so back to the OR he went. He returned to his room about 4 to recover again. Needless to say, it was a sleepless night. Rusty claimed he slept the whole time, and he was just as tired as we were.

Yesterday, the nurses woke him every hour to “do tricks”…. Shake hands, drive his car, stick out his tongue. I think he’s already frustrated with those, and wants to move on to something else – like marathon running.

He had a follow-up CT in the middle of the day and a follow-up MRI last night. The surgeon was pleased with his CT; we haven’t heard about the MRI yet. The pathology report isn’t expected back until next week.

After the MRI, he was allowed clear liquids. He enjoyed a fine vintage of ginger ale and ice chips. He laughed for the first time after he sipped his drink. He said real food tasted so good! I’m thinking he’ll enjoy jello a lot more today.

Today, we expect to be working on getting him disconnected from the IVs and moving a bit more. His speech and understanding of context works much better now than it did yesterday morning. He certainly has the “eye roll” down pat.

The boys have been staying with wonderful friends just down the street from us. They are doing OK through all of this.

Thank you to everyone! We have felt your prayers and know we have been in your thoughts.


Today's the Day!

Written by Sue Baker.

Family and Friends –

Roger had a great day yesterday! He held court from his hospital bed and completely drained the battery on his cell phone twice talking and typing.

We visited with all of the care team at one point or another, and got all the details of the plan for today.

About 6:00 last night, the residents came in and offered to shave his head and place the glow-in-the-dark markers for the MRI and ultrasound machines they will use in the OR today. If you’ve ever seen AMC’s Breaking Bad, you now have a mental image of Rusty’s current appearance….. they did leave the eyebrows and the mustache!

The boys visited for awhile last night as well. They are being themselves, and were more interested in finding YouTube videos to show than in talking…. I guess watching You Tube is communicating in some way….

OK, back to the point…. The surgeons plan to begin at noon today, and they expect to be about 6 – 7 hours in the OR. Rusty will return to his ICU room after Recovery, probably not until the early hours of tomorrow morning. As he says, though, it will be harder on MJ and me since we don’t have beds and we missed out on the nice medications he will have. He and the surgeons plan to allow him to sleep through the entire process. Good thing, I think.

Thank you for all of your prayers, thoughts, words and deeds! We appreciate you so much!

As always, if you need to call, please call me, as Rusty says he’ll be unable to take calls today…. And tomorrow you may not get the response you’re looking for. :->