Monday, August 30, 2010

Chapter 3

It's Monday, one day shy of when mom was admitted to Parkland. Although she's climbing the walls she's still finding a smile. We know help is coming..and it's here.

A nurse today described Parkland as, "It may be ugly, but we get you fixed up here", and "the same bum outside may ask you again for money, but this nurse said she'd never trade this hospital for a fancier one. She said in all her 20 years of working, Parkland was by far the best with treating patients and also NOT turning away people....AMEN.

Saturday, Marshall insisted on going to see Nana and find out about her blood pressure. He's infatuated by blood pressure and the machine. I have to say he really likes pushing the buttons on her bed to make it go up and down. He loves anything mechanical! He and I played on it and he almost closed me up like a sandwich. Of course we kicked mom out of her bed before we dook it over, which was not a fight!

Saturday's at Parkland are a little quiter, plus you get FREE parking! We took Marshall outside to the grassy area so he could run some steam off, chase some pigeons, throw rocks (made him stop) and try to saw down a light pole with a stick. I love his imagination. Mom and I (my brother and family) have found ours...we imagine we have found our help in getting Mom treatment.

On Sunday, seeing mom is just vacationing :-), my Granny, Aunt Sue, and my Mother-in law, came up to shower her with goodies, love, books, and conversation. That was a nice treat! We had heard rumors of my mom getting transferred to the 7th floor, cancer floor, to receive her first treatment, but she's still in the same room as of today, Monday. A room had opened up for her, but someone from ER took it, which is fine. My mom has her patient hat on. Her sodium is now 130, almost normal!

We're hoping this evening, Monday night she'll be moved and we can start Tuesday morning with a chemo treatment we have all worked and faught hard to get. Hang 10 mom, I really promise you're almost there. At least you know where the eateries, vending machines are, and the front door for some fresh air. We love you!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Chapter 2

You might be wondering, why I think Parkland is like NYC? Well, I say that only because it seems as though it's a city within a city. People every where, all nationalities, lots of action, lots of people watching. I love NYC. Right now, I LOVE Parkland. It's been a ride getting to this point, but the light has been turned on. It will be brighter soon as they get the ball rolling.

Wednesday morning when I returned to Baylor mom had been moved from the Observation Unit, and her cell phone was on vibrate just as I left it and her. The good detective I am, I traced her down. She was now on the 5 th floor North Pole side and enjoying a private room. Still sceptic on the cleanliness of Parkland I walked her room to inspect. All I found was 'spirit', spirit from 1952 when the hospital was first opened. Wow, how many people do you think were in that same hospital room as mom? Yes, I weigh my mind down with stupid random questions.

Seeing this her 4th hospital to be in within 3 months we have a chance now to dissect, judge, praise, and exhale, we're hoping this is the last, but the beginning of a new game. Dukes up tumor, you're going down!! As Parkland now tells my mom..."WE OWN YOU NOW" to get you better!!

During the ER process several doctors and nurses told us what a difficult process it is to get into a hospital with no insurance for treatment. Yes, we had hoops, hurtles, and lots of tears. We're here now! Mom is repeating a lot of testing that she's already gone through, but it's for the best. This way they can determine the amount of treatment and scheduling. She could be receiving her first treatment in the hospital...our dream come true. Her next treatment will be Sept 10th. The radiation doctor said her radiation will probably be Monday through Friday, with Chemo treatment every 3 weeks. These are only words right now and could change once both teams come together for her MRI and CT scan results.

Before I left Wednesday mom traveled with me to the 1st floor. As soon as we got off the elevator it was like walking off the subway. Everyone in everyone's way. We found the vending machines, the main entrance to the outside world, the gift shop, and had the privilege of seeing a gentleman walking around with his catheter. Yes, had a been prepared with my cell phone I might have taken a picture of that just for this blog posting. :-)

Thursday I arrived back to Parkland after I worked 1/2 day at my job. Although I'm not at my desk I'm still working off my cell phone. I've been blessed to have a job where I can be mobile if needed. Thank you lord, and my boss! On the way I stopped at Whole Foods to get her a massive sandwich, chips, salsa, lemon cake (to share), and a dark chocolate bar. We enjoyed lunch while we waited for any new news. We stared out the window a lot, watched planes fly into Love Field, and channel flip on the TV. I left around 6pm, and my brother spent some time in the evening with her.

Today is now Friday. Mom is having a bone scan, and we are waiting for the Chemo doctor to come by with his plan and the results of her new tests. She is going good with her spirits and staying focused. Although a little bored she is managing with a cross stitch dealio.

We love you mom, hang in there and hang TOUGH!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

N.Y.C. (aka Parkland Hospital, Downtown Dallas)

Parkland, Chapter 1

My mom and I arrived at Parkland ER on Tuesday evening at 7:15. We were greeted by an officer who asked us to pass our purses to him so he could search through them. Then he said, “Walk through”, no “please” and no eye contact. Oh this? A metal detector? Ok, now I’m scared.

We walked up to a desk where a guy asked us why we were year and I briefly told him they story. He put her name into a system and then told us to go to the right of this room and sit down and wait to have your name called. We rounded the corner to find about 20 people sitting and waiting. At first I didn’t see any chair for us to sit in because there was trash and items that had been left behind so I figure someone was sitting in those, what looked to be available seats. I pointed and ask, “are these open”, the lady nodded yes. So we sat.

While in that waiting area, we head all kinds of conversations. Mainly in Spanish, which doesn’t bother me one bit. There were families with children, people hunched over in pain, kids drawing in their notebooks from their 2nd day of school starting, and a what seem to be a very knowledgeable drug addicted person who was randomly giving advice to people who may or may not have wanted to talk to him.

About 20 minutes passed and my brother arrived. Thank goodness, I felt safer, even though he showed up carrying his Apple laptop. He didn’t want to leave it in the car, but I was scared that he had it on him. Catch 22. We sat huddled together waiting for “DEBRAH BURNETT”?

Her name was called and we went into a very room to explain again why we were there. The lady typed in noted on the computer for what seemed to be 10 minutes of silence. Then she said, “ok, your daughter and son need to wait in this next waiting room and you’ll go back to the nurses and doctors”. She told my brother and I we could be waiting 1 to 2 hours in this next room. She opened the door.

No seats here. Lots of people waiting. We found a corner to stand and not before I could even put my purse down, the lady who we were just with came over and said you can go back now, but you have to get a pass at the front. Wow, that was a fast hour, so we thought Parkland knew she needed to seek care quickly since her sodium level was very low. We walked out passed the metal detector to get our hall passes. We returned within 1 minute with our hall pass to be searched again before entering. Then proceeded to the area where she was at. The war zone, the ER area.

Circling around, holding my breath for fear of getting sick we found her in the hall way area on a stretcher. Not in a room, but out in the open. There were a lot of people out in the open, sitting, and standing, and hunched over. Doctors & Nurses calmly running around (my compliments to Parkland staff). The time now was about 8:30 p.m.. We really thought we were being admitted pretty quickly. NOT.
After repeating my mom’s story about 45 times, getting some blood and urine tests, they said she will be admitted to the hospital. THANK GOD. So, we waited…and waited…and waited…

A ham sandwich and an eye brow plucked later, it was about 11:30 and we decided to send my brother (love you ‘eye brow’) home. He called us when he arrived home which was about 12:30 a.m.. I told him we were still in the same spot and we were ok. My mom tried to catnap while I stood over her and watched all the action taking place. I saw shift changes, heard diagnosis’s on people around us, someone singing "Amazing Grace, a man yelling out in pain, blood, guts (ok, no guts), and listened to the admitting clerks talk about facebook, pain killers, and what they want to eat.

Then 1:30 a.m. rolled, the nurse said they were going to take my mom upstairs to the next holding area, the Observation Unit. She said it was quieter up there and my mom could rest there until a room would be assigned. While the next area was a step up from ER, we still heard a man crying out in pain. Accommodations for me were still not good, so I told my mom I would go home and sleep for 3 hours and return in the morning. I hated to leave her, but I was beyond tired.

The next morning, I had a Parkland hangover….

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

While we are still waiting for Parkland's door to open, my mom has to have her sodium checked. As of August 19th it was 122 when Baylor released her, even though they had a target of 130. This morning my Granny picked her up in Waxahachie and drove her to Las Colinas (Thanks Granny)! We are now waiting for a phone call with her results. If it is low, we will take her to Parkland ER. We'll just push that door open ourselves!

I'm spending my lunch today writing thank you cards, wiping my mascara off that I 'thought' I might be able to wear today. Never thought writing out thank you cards would make me cry, but it has. My heart if just overwhelmed with everything right now. Heaven forbid a McDonald's commercial, or Folgers commercial comes on the TV. AND I'm staying away from sad movies. Give me slapstick comedies (80's take me away)!

In one of my thank you cards I write to Dr. Kancharla of Las Colinas Cancer Center, who opened her heart to us even though we're not in her office anymore and the lack of insurance we do not hold.

Dr. Kancharla -

My eyes swell while writing this note to you. I can’t thank you enough for your caring support, and guidance to help my mom Debrah Burnett. To receive a call from your office to let us know there was possibly HOPE was a blessing immeasurable. You have changed my prospective of “once you’re released you’re on your own”. So thank you from the top and bottom of my heart. A door of HOPE has been opened because of you and I am forever grateful.

Best regards

Christina Calderon

Off to the bathroom now to clean up my eyes. More updates to come...and thank you for following MY MOMMA.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"I Gotta Golden Ticket"

Family and Friends -

I'm sitting here staring at the computer trying to find the brain cells to update this blog. It's been a wild ride this week. First my mom is doing ok, and she's at home enjoying her own bed. Thursday night Baylor Waxahachie released my mom even though her sodium was low. The doctor who was over her at the hospital basically said there was nothing he could do and that she needed to seek treatment. We'll get back to this doctors action in a few..

So my brother went to pick her up around 7 p.m.. When he got her home I called her and told her to pack a bag and that I'd be there in the morning to take her to Parkland ER. You see, we actually had someone call us back to help. This was the Oncologist at Las Colinas. Her assistant called and said they had found out that if Ellis County Indigent Program denied her she could go to Parkland, a Dallas County Hospital. The Oncologist called Ellis County and told them how serious this to my mother's health. And apparently got pretty loud about it.

We were pretty overwelmed that Las Colinas Cancer Center called to follow up and give guidance to us. What a blessing, something we never even saw coming. Someone remembered, someone cared. Don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of understanding and compassionite people on the other side of the telephone. But all said "without insurance, the treatment is costly".

So, knowing we possibly had an avenue into Parkland, I said "Let's pack for camp" and head to the ER. I worked as much as I could for my job in the morning, then dropped my son off at daycare, and headed to Waxahachie to pick up MY MOMMA. On our way there I made several phone calls. One of which was to Las Colinas to let them know we were in route. They suggested we stay home, until they had heard back from Parkland. We thought...really how long could it take. We'll just get to Dallas and stay around the hospital while waiting for the phone calls.

I hope you're keeping up, because I might sound confusing! On the way there we found out that the Ellis County Indigent care had approved my mom. They told us they would fax or call Parkland. Waiting..waiting...waiting, I call and get another person with Ellis County. She said we had to come back to Waxahachie to the Hope Clinic where doctor there would fill out a referral for my mom to get into Parkland. The "golden ticket". Of course the doctor had to be briefed on what was going on which was painful, but needed. She called Ellis County, and Las Colinas Medical Center, AND Parkland. You can see how confusing it is. Once she connected the dots, she had wrote a referral and handed it to us.

Almost there.... We had to go to the Indigent care place that the Court House and hand them the paper. They reviewed, and handed us a typed piece of paper stating SHE WAS APPROVED! Although we were angry that all of this couldn't be 'faxed' or 'email' in this day in age. We were still happy. We went straight to Office Depot and FAXED the Golden Ticket to Parkland! We are now waiting for Parkland to call, which will be Monday. They'll schedule her first appointment. In the meantime if she starts to feel week, we'll go straight to Parkland ER. Other option is to go to Baylor Waxachie again and say...."HERE'S JOHNNY" and they will HAVE to take care of her.
Back to the Baylor doctor, I can tell you I will be writing a letter to the hospital administrator! This doctor never once checked my mom's heart, or the sweeling in her legs. She wrote her off as soon as he reviewed her medical records. With our hopsital experience, which started June 8, every doctor (and there were many) would check my mom's heart, ask her if she's hurting, etc etc. THIS doctor did not. And the Hope Clinic didn't understand why he released her and/or
transfer her to Baylor Dallas. Ridiculous!!! He's on my list!
I apologize if this is confusing or if there obvious typos, or bad grammer. I wanted to make sure I got an update out on the blog to where we stand right now. APPROVED. THE GOLDEN TICKET. Now, we wait for a phone call from Parkland for appointment time, or they see us sooner in the ER.
Las Colinas - YAY!!! Thank you so much for my momma weighing on your heart and that you didn't forget about her. WE THANK YOU.
I also have a very SPECIAL thanks to eveyone who has been praying for us, following my annoying play by play Facebook postings and this blog. We are overwelmed with all the love and support. We have also received several donations. THANK YOU. It fills my heart and helps MY MOMMA so much. Everything little bit helps, and we appreciate it!!
Much love to you,

Monday, August 16, 2010

A little bit of outdoors FOR MY MOMMA

Back in caring hands...

Just when you think you’re working fast, turns out it’s just not fast enough. My momma is back in the hospital. She arrived at the ER Thursday evening and they admitted her. Her blood reports from the free clinic showed a low sodium level, which was 120. Seeing it took them a whole week to get her results back a trip to the ER was unavoidable. Her sodium dropped to a dangerous level again, of 114. The ER docs and nurses couldn’t believe she wasn’t having seizures. Thank goodness!!

I know this frustrates my mom to know end. The little bit of light she had between hospitals was a blessing. Now she must look at the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu for the next few days. Last report sodium level was Saturday at only 117. They can’t bring up sodium levels too fast, so it’s a long process which includes a nice poke at 4 a.m. daily.

Update on paperwork madness:

*She’s got an appointment over the phone tomorrow with Social Security Office, 9 a.m.

*We’re still working on getting all the paperwork for the Ellis County Indigent program (she was in the process before this spell happened) I have contacted them and I aim to take them some more paperwork tomorrow.

*MD Anderson has a referral from her doctor

*UTMB has a referral from her doctor

*Medical City lung coordinator is keeping an eye out for charity opportunities

*Baylor has started the process for charity care and if also requesting all sort of data

That’s all I have to report as of now. She’s at Baylor Waxahachie and in good hands. We have also raised over $300 FOR MY MOMMA which helps with living expenses, prescriptions, etc. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Just thought I'd update you on the meeting my mom had at the Ellis County Indigent Program. She really hates that word by the way. I say it's H O P E! Love you mom! As we struggle back and forth on whether or not she returns to work the program has pretty much determined that for us. Ellis County basically wants my mom to take herself to poverty level. Meaning, no job, apply for food stamps, etc.

This is a hard one to swallow and seems so ridiculous since she is willing and able to work except she just doesn't have that "get out of doctor, free card" a.k.a an insurance card. So, she's got a few days to do what they ask before the can approve her. Once approved she'll go back to the free clinic in Waxhachie called Hope Clinic and we're 'assuming' they'll take it from there. Her sister is going to be helping her apply for the food stamps and medicaid. Thanks Aunt Sue (she works in this field and is the best to help her with any questions or directions).

Yesterday I found a clinical trial my mom would qualify for, but once I did more leg work they came back and said they did not have funding. She would still have to provide insurance. I guess I misunderstood what clinical trial really meant. Sure doesn't mean they're handing out FREE experimental treatments. It's a process in itself!

I did talk to a very nice lady with Pfizer Cancer Trails. She provided me with this link to clinical trials. She also told me that if I would 'ask' her for a certain PDF document of "Resources and Financial Assistance" that she could send it to me. Find that so weird that I had to ask for it like it's some sort of secret finding. When I got the PDF (please contact me for this because I don't know how to link a PDF yet) I was surprised to find so much information on a treasure map! Today mom has submitted her info to MD Anderson out of Houston through this link
We should hear from them by tomorrow or the next day. Crossing all fingers and toes (ouch).

I will be posting some other links along our journey so if you or someone you know needs some direction hopefully this will help. Again, email me for that PDF!

So....I thought this might be a quick update, but I am finding through this process that there's nothing quick about anything expect T I M E. In which I've taken too much your time today. Keep those prayers coming. More updates and information to follow soon!

Much love,

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Momma his Nana my son


My mom, Debrah Burnett was diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer. She is 58 years old with no health insurance. It’s to my surprise and sadness that if she had insurance she probably could have gotten treatment the day she was diagnosed. The world is upside down in health care matters, but the matter at hand is my mother and what can I do (and we) to help.

Right now, we're unsure if my mom will return to her contract work (with no insurance). So, our first fund raising effort will be through my friend Nicole and her Mary Kay business. All sales she receives on her web site she'll donate 25% to my mom. I realize you may not use Mary Kay products, but I do believe most people use eye make-up remover, lip gloss, sun screen, or moisturizer. There are also great gift ideas! ($2 shipping any where in the U.S. any weight.)

Several fund raising efforts and ideas are in the works. This is our first to launch. My goal is to raise $1000 through this effort. I won't ask you to email blast your entire friends list, but I would ask that you forward this to whomever you think might like to help. Any one can contact me with questions or concerns, etc.

Christina Calderon


All you need to do is go to Place your order and in the “COMMENTS” section type TEAM DEB (you may also leave a note for my mom there also)

If you have any fund raising ideas please contact me. Thank you!

"With GOD, everything is POSSIBLE!" Mark 10:27