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Sunday, March 29, 2009

And on and on it goes! Mom 32 Days.

Well...as the saga continues, they did not do the 3rd endoscopy. She was prepped, we were told it would be early am so naturally we all planned to be there. Late Tuesday evening the surgeon came in and verbally said no, they weren't going to do the procedure. However, thats apparently all he did. Her tube feeding was stopped at 12 mn which was part of the procedural prep, and in the am, the docs in endoscopy called the unit to say they were ready for her. One of the nurses started to do the last part of the prep, when my younger brother who'd gotten there early said not to, as he had been there when the surgeon said they weren't going to do it. So....back and forth. Communication has not been good. Finally, everyone realized they weren't going to and started her tube feed again etc. Surgeon still thought it was the ulcers. They continued to check her blood, and as it went up and down they would give her more blood. She continued to bleed, though for a day or so it looked like less; then she had 4 bouts of throwing up the bloody drainage junk, count went down etc. The whole week has been this way. They've continued to give her heparin for blood clots since she's not active, insulin due to the tube feed, IV's, meds for the ulcers, meds for nausea, chest x-rays done daily to check on lungs (trying to hold of pneumonia).

We still just don't know how things are going. One day or even part of the day things seem better then she goes back severall more steps. Her frustration and depression are apparent. Today, they got her a special bed. The hospital rented this high tech special bed to try and help her with the back pain she suffers. Fingers crossed that helps her tonight get a decent nights sleep. She's managed to be up in a chair about an hour the last 2 days but is in pain when she does so; and then is totally wiped out afterwards.

Thanks to all for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. I've continued to knit like a mad woman spending all that time at the hospital.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bleeding among other things.

Good grief, things just keep happening; and not good things folks. She's had maybe one good day after chest tubes were removed and things started going downhill again. Instead of being able to feel better or do more, much the opposite has taken place. They tried again to introduce food and she's been unable to tolerate it; brings it back up. Each day she has more pain; not less and got weaker not stronger. She was very pale and blood work showed her hemaglobin quite low, only 7.9. 12 is normal. They gave her 2 units of whole blood last Friday to bring up her level and thought it would give her an energy boast. We all thought her discharge in several of her tubes had changed color and looked like blood, but when we questioned it we were told no ...docs don't think there's a problem. The following day her hemaglobin had dropped yet further to 7.3...a whole point lower after getting 2 full units of blood. They continued to monitor her blood counts over the wkend and it dropped a little bit more; but not drastically so. Sunday they decided yes, she was bleeding and they needed to schedule an endoscopy to determine the source of the bleeding. This is a risky procedure for someone who's had stomach surgery; though they said they would be very careful. The concern is pumping air in there to see, and rupturing the stomach due to the stitches etc.

Monday they did the endoscopy but told us they still didn't know the source of the blood. Yes she had blood in her stomach, but there was too much for them to see to know what was causing it, so they wanted to do it again the following day. Today that is, Tuesday. Today, we were told the same thing; it was too bloody to know the source of the blood. They think the source is ulcers, lots of ulcers that they saw on day one of the procedure and again today. Though in both cases they say they are not bleeding ulcers, but they think they might be seeping, oozing. They want to do yet another one tomorrow. Get this! The main reason they want to do another one tomorrow is someone was suppose to prep her for todays test and didn't and thats why they couldn't see!!!!!!!!! This woman hasn't been through enough; now because of yet another medical persons fault she has to endure more?

She was out of it most of the day today, she's still bleeding, she's getting the prep and they will consult ....the surgeons and the GI guys to determine whether or not to do this again tomorrow. They're typing and crossing her again for more blood and checking her hemaglobin again.
***forgot to mention she got 2 more units of blood yesterday.

Tired, frustrated, worred and now we're approaching the 5th day since we first wondered if she was bleeding.

Spent all day at the hospital, came home for a break and will return again a little later this evening.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Good bye ICU, better??

Been a few days since I posted an update. I have mixed and confused feelings about whether or not Mom is doing better. She's left ICU, which means they think she's doing better; but we're up and down with that feeling. She's miserable, she's in pain, they've continued to do lots of test and she is well beyond discouraged. Monday late in the day (dinner time) they moved her from ICU to step down. The move alone caused her both emotional and physicial difficulties. Tubes get jostled during the rolling around process which causes discomfort. They began giving her food, but she didn't tolerate it well. She felt nauseated, full and nothing tasted good. She's not yet gotten her voice back since the respirator was removed. Getting help takes longer, larger unit, more patients per each nurse etc. Plus when they answer her call light over the intercalm she's not able to speak up enough to let them know what her needs are. Occupational and Physical Therapy came in and did a wee bit with her which cause her heart rate to get real high, her oxygen level to drop (thus oxygen put back on), and caused her more pain and tired her out. Medicated and a nap were in order. No sooner did she fall asleep til they came in and removed both chest tubes..............she said the pain was excruciating. She looked very bad after that and had a tough night, followed by a tough day of more nausea, vomitting, x-rays etc.

Obstruction? They're wondering, as she's full even when they aren't feeding her. After another round of x-rays (too many to count at this point), they moved her yet again to another floor. They discussed putting other tubes in last night and she was most upset about that. However, when I left around 10 last night I was told no tubes, and they were through poking and prodding...or at least for the night.

I don't know what to expect for today.

I've spent 3 days making phone calls and visiting rehab centers in and around my work schedule; trying to prepare for when she'll be released (as I think they do things too hurried and beds in good rehab centers aren't that easy to come by. I've toured 4 and talked to about 8, and have her on a list for 2.

I'm very wordy this am, sorry sometimes it's good --sorta of release for me to type about it.

HUGS to one and all for the prayers, please keep'em coming.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Today day 18, in ICU

Well by the title you can tell Mom didn't get moved out of ICU yesterday. It was another tough day with another feeling of going backward. Such a let down after you think it's finally going the direction it needs to. She was pretty uncomfortable yesterday with having several x-rays, a new central line being put in (arterial line); and an old one removed. Problem is Mom is a very very hard person to stick, draw blood, start IV etc. They have to really work, often get multiple people, and she ends up bruised head to toe. This is frustrating to her, painful and makes her anxious which makes her vitals jump and be less stable than they should.

The person who removed the central line didn't come prepared with what she needed to complete the job and left the room part way through to obtain supplies, somehow doing that the water used in conjunction with oxygen started pouring in through the nasal cannula. She thought she was drowning, as did my Dad who ran for help. That incident made both of their blood pressures sky rocket. Emotionally she was on edge all day, as was he. Her bed was soaked, she had to moved alot to get everything cleaned up which caused her to be in more pain and wore her out.

On the positive side, she had several bites of soup, juice, and jello yesterday. Her nutrition is still really coming from the tube feeding; but....they're introducting clear liquids for the first time. I think thats pretty exciting.

It sounds like if they need her bed in ICU today, she may be moved out; as they consider her stable. Being stable is obvioiusly a good thing; though she's apprehensive about going to a different part of the hospital. In step down areas and regular areas of the hospital you obviously have less nurses taking care of patients and thats a bit scarey.

Hoping today is a better day. I'm going to the hospital before heading to work. I do feel I need to try and get back to work again.

Again many thanks to all for the prayers, and well wishes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day 17 in ICU begins

Mom is still in ICU. She is doing better. Vitals are better, they've reduced her Oxygen level as she's able to do better now on her own. They removed the respirator and she's doing well with that. She still can't talk beyond a whisper. I don't know how long it will take to get her voice back since the respirator was in that length of time. But...the exciting thing is, she's doing far better than she was when they removed it the first time and had to put it back in.

She still has 2 chest tubes, but they are now draining on their own via gravity rather than being hooked up to suction which is another mini step forward.

She's still being fed by way of a feeding tube, though she has been allowed a few ice chips and a pop sicle or two which has been a real treat for her. She's more alert and though still in need of pain meds, it seems she needs them a little less.

We're very grateful to have her still with us and for all the wonderful support and prayers you've all offered.

She might....still a little iffy get moved from ICU today to what they call a step down unit. She still has much ahead of her and will still need lots of support and prayers in the days and months ahead; but for the first time I feel like she's truly turned the corner and is out of the woods.

HUGS and blessings to you all

Friday, March 13, 2009

2 Chest Tubes, ICU...Day 15

We got another surprise yesterday in ICU. Got there wanting a report on the callopsed lung and expected to hear update regarded the possible removal of the respirator. Instead we got news they wanted to insert a second chest tube for the other side of the lung. Apparently, even though puncturing her lung was a mistake and not what anyone wants the upside is that things were draining well. They felt draining the other side with chest tube rather than another needle extraction was needed to remove as much fluid as possible to increase her ability to breath when respirator was removed and to improve her vitals. So, another painful day for Mom. They pulled off quite a bit of fluid during the procedure and even more after by way of the tube. The got her situated, medicated again after the procedure and I think thats the most restfull I've seen her in this long 2 weeks. We all left, as visiting hours were over. Hubby and I headed back when visiting began again at 9 pm to tuck her in. I like to stay until I know she's sleeping and as comfortable as possible. Last night is the first time she was asleep when we got there and remained so. We checked on her 3 times before heading back home.

With any luck at all the next post will be that she's improving, and things are looking up. I thank you again for your support and prayers.

Knitted 2 pair of booties yesterday during our waiting time. Will toss some more yarn in my bag today as I prepare to head back to the hospital.

**Favor to ask
I posted a mini new post on my travel blog (it's nice to post something unrelated to the hospital, something I already have pictures edited for etc.), please stop in look around, post a comment or two. I'd really like to improve traffic on that page. Thanks!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another backward step in the ICU......

Yesterday , last night specifically marked 2 full wks Mom's been in the hospital-The ICU-, fluid levels seemed to be improving, vitals were leveling out some and we were feeling some encouragement. They discussed removing the ventilator/respirator but her throat was too swollen to do so. They added IV steriods to her long list of meds to help with that problem. Yesterday, that problem seemed resolved and they told us they might remove it today (Thursday). They decided she still needed to have more fluids off her lungs to help with the breathing and her vitals and did a double lung tap yesterday (one to each side), however shortly after doing so x-ray indicated the lung may have been punctured in the process. A scan was needed to ascertain that they did in fact punture the lung. Now, in addition to everything else she has a punctured lung and a chest tube was inserted. Another drain, another wound, something else to add to her pain and discomfort. We understand chest tubes do heal pretty well, but are quite painful.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. I truly appreciate it.

I left work early, as soon as I got the call and headed over. I've told them I won't be at work today, and am unsure what tomorrow will bring.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A Good Day in The ICU

Things are looking brighter for us in The ICU. My brothers, Dad and I had a consultation today with The ICU Doctor, got lots of our questions answered and received a pretty decent report. Test results have come back and things are looking better than they have for the last 5 days. She's still in ICU, she still has the respirator on; but....toes and fingers crossed we think we're seeing some improvement and we're told they definately do.

Thanks to all for the good wishes, prayers and the positive vibs......all are truly appreciated.

Just a mini update here. I am planning to go to work tomorrow for the first time since this all began. I'll have cell on naturally and go to the hospital after work; but ...it will be good to get back to some normal activity.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Day 11 in the ICU

Hoping to get a few things done here on the computer before we head back to the hospital for day 11 or 12 (think I might have lost track of which day it is). Yesterday was a more peaceful day. They elected not to drain the other side of the lung due to the possible complications of it. They may still; but are holding off. Likewise they did not yet do the eletrocard, they did do another chest x-ray. We know she has fluid still around the lungs and some around the heart. She appeared to be a little better yesterday with regard to vital signs; but no real results yet of all the cultures done on the fluid removed from the lung the previous day.

The ICU is such a sad place, so many critical patients and sad families. We've gotten to be an odd group there. We don't really know each others names, but we all ask each other each day how the loved ones are doing. Some are doing better, some not, it seems such an up and down yoyo for so many of us. Many of us stood a good part of the day, as the waiting room was so very crowded with families comforting each other. Some folks chat, some play cards, some read, some watch TV, I knit and or crochet as we share the day. We take turns visiting when it's permitted.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. I do hope to come visiting.


I would love the diversion of you all visiting and commenting on my travel blog, it helps to take my mind to other place.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Two days ago, they put the respirator make in Mom. She couldn't breath and was wearing herself out trying. She's had more blood work, x-rays and several other procedures. The last couple of days have gone backward, considerably so, rather than forward. Yesterday they put in another Arterial Line, removed 700 cc of fluid from one side of her lung. We were there about 14 hours yesterday and left last night feeling very low. The plan for today is to remove more fluid from the opposite side of her lung. They now question if she has fluid around her heart as well. It's almost visiting hours, and so I need to get ready. A brief call tells us she has improved; specifics though are not known.

Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers. My apologies for not being able to visit, or keep very current here. I'm behind on The Bridge (perhaps I'll get to do that later). I did manage to update Traveling Suitcase, I needed a diversion. Please visit, comment, rate. I look forward to your visits.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tough Day, & Followers??? The changes?

A tough day at the hospital. Mom is not feeling better; in fact she feels worse. She had less activity today; but had more pain and needed more medication. She's very frustrated and isn't shy about letting her frustrations out...on whomever is around be they family or hospital staff. Her breathing continues to be very labored. She is still in ICU, she is still holding too much fluid in lungs and elsewhere. Vitals are not what we'd like them to be. In a handfull of hours, she'll hit the 1 full week in ICU. I don't know what to expect of tomorrow, but am hopeful she'll be rested and doing better tomorrow.

I'm lost here on blogger...what happened to our followers section? Why did they change it? Do we have an option to change it back to the way it was? I see no reason to go through the motions of inviting everyone as a friend when we're already connected? It's time consuming for one and then I assume we'll have yet another list on our blogs? I already have my list of links that I visit, as do most of you. The other time consuming thing is when you click on the head/avatar you used to go to the person page which was great...now you don't. Now you have to sign in a 2nd time? What a pain, and then if you scroll down without signing in you get this whole long paragraph about the person, part of their bio which takes up space...all the stuff one would see if you went to their profile page. Then you have to pick a link before you finally go to their page. All of these steps slow down the works, plus it would seem use up bandwith? Doesn't that slow the whole net down? Then once you do that, you can't see anyone else on your followers list without yet another step...refreshing. I really dislike this, can someone tell me what I'm missing here? Why, when it began, and can we get rid of it?


Another cold day here in Central Ohio, I've updated my travel blog to help us all get through the winter...pop over no packing necessary.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A light at the end of the tunnel!

Mom is still in ICU, though several tubes have been removed. Breathing is still quite labored with the aid of oxygen; but the ventilator has been removed. We've been very pleased with the nursing care she's received and are very grateful for all the prayers and good wishes from you all. It's possible she may be moved from ICU tomorrow to a less critical care unit. We're taking one day at a time. The highlight of her day today was getting a pop sicle! She is still being feed through a feeding tube and I've not heard anything about it coming out anytime soon, so the pop sicle is more of a treat and pick me up then food at this point.

She's more comfortable today than she was yesterday and so we're hoping tomorrow brings more good news.

My best to you all, and again many thanks for your support.
(I did another mini update over on The Bridge, please pop over)

Projects in the works:
Baby Booties
2 preemie blankets
Opal ghan (I've not been able to work on this in 2 wks)
Completed 2 scarfs which will go to the Bridge (maybe I'll get pics up tomorrow)
Candy Corn Ghan (I've not been able to work on this in several wks)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Emergency Surgery

I've neglected all my wonderful blogging friends here of late. Initially I was out of town on vacation, and then once I returned have been spending most of my time at the hospital. My Mom has had a hernia for some time; that has now escalated. She was sick, over 24 hours at home and things were not subsiding. When you vomit that long and hard you get dehydrated and ultimately she ended up in the ER. Through x-rays and cat scans it was determined she needed emergency surgery. Her stomach and colon were twisted and up inside her diaphram. This is a very major surgery. Part of her stomach and colon have been removed. She has IV's, and drains-tubes everywhere you look. She's on a ventilator, has a G-tube, a colostomy, foley, central line, arterial line, and I think one other that I can think what it's called. She's in Intensive Care. She is alert, and knows we're there; though with the ventilator is unable to speak. She's got a very long hard road ahead and is listed as critical but stable.

They've turned of the ventilator a couple of times to see how she does breathing on her own; and that's quite a labor for her. As I understand it, she'll remain in ICU until they're able to remove the ventilator. The surgeon initially told us she could be in ICU a day or a month, he wasn't able to give us a time table; it all just depended on how she did. He said this is a major surgery for someone half her age. We feel like each day she's a tiny bit better, but they keep telling us she's not out of the woods; still much can happen so it's an hour by hour, day by day thing.

Since only 2 can visit at one time, and hours are restricted in ICU, we have lots of time sitting in the waiting room and I have taken yarn with me. It's nice to have something to work on, also helps to occupy my mind a bit. I've managed to finish the scarf I was knitting and have a 2nd one going; switching off a bit to work on a preemie blanket. Gotta keep mind and fingers busy, helps not to worry as much.

I'm behind updating The Bridge, but am chipping away, so please do swing over and check things out.

When things calm down, I'll come visiting.