Saturday, July 30, 2005

Denise may have turned the corner :O)

Great news! Be edified that all the prayers, support,
and well-wishing IS WORKING.

Last night (Friday) the doctor told me that "I think we
may have turned the corner." He was encouraged by
Denise's progress. This was a glorious contrast to the
doctor telling us Thursday that we would lose Denise
if her lungs didn't start to improve within a day or
two. The lungs improved overnight! Let me tell you how
well it worked since you've all been pulling for us in
that specific area...

Yesterday afternoon, the doctor showed me Denise's
chest x-rays. He showed the inflammation/fluid getting
worse (appears cloudy) and worse through the x-rays.
Then the image taken Friday morning showed about 2
days worth of improvement! Denise used to need a 100%
oxygen concentration from the ventilator when on her
back, and 80% when on her front (they have this weird
contraption for flipping her on her face, which helped
her breathe better). At the moment, they have her on a
70% concentration while on her back. She's doing well
enough that they're not going to flip her anymore
(good... it was risky). Instead, they brought her a
bed that gently tilts side to side every few minutes.
I won't go into why, but it helps (it's a milder
version of flipping her on her face). They've been
able to tilt her bed up because her blood pressure has
improved enough to pump blood to her brain, and
they've even decreased the blood pressure meds. By
tilting up, it gets more fluid out of her lungs. Also,
her kidney function has been increasing, so she's been
able to get rid of more of the massive amounts of
fluids that they have to pump into her body (and that
makes for less fluid in her lungs). So the lung
situation is going very well. I guess that lots of you
have been putting us on prayer chains, and it looks
like it's working!

Her vital stats continue to remain at acceptable
levels (given her condition) or are ever so slowly
getting better (apparently she will be there for

The latest twist is that yesterday morning, the
infectious disease specialist called to say that
Denise probably does NOT have Rocky Mountain spotted
fever after all. I won't go into the technical details
of why it took this long to figure that out. They now
think it is probably Valley Fever, but they'll have to
wait a week to be positive. Again, I won't go into the
technical details, but the coccidioides immitis
(cocci, pronounced KOK-SEE) fungus that is the cause
of Valley Fever looks too close to several other nasty
things to be able to tell just using a microscope. If
you have the time and are interested, you can look up
this stuff on the internet. Or pray for my wife.

Someone pointed out something to me that I can't
believe I didn't see earlier. That ordeal we had with
Gracie a couple years ago at Children's Hospital in
Los Angeles was probably preparation for having the
hope to deal with Denise's situation now. Gracie was
carried through that against incredible odds, with
none of the organ damage that the doctors feared. How
great it would be for Denise to come back home with no
adverse side effects from all this treatment! It CAN
be that great... I've already seen it!

So here are the next points of concern:
- The causes of Denise's problem are elusive and
involve waiting games. We'd like to find out what's
going on so it can be properly treated.

- If it IS cocci, a side-effect of the meds involves
high fever, which Denise has struggled with throughout
this illness. The cure might make the fevers worse. We
don't want damage to brain cells.

- We'd like to see fast improvement, and there's a
LONG way to go. When a doctor smiles, or says "Wow!"
when looking at blood gas results in astonishment, or
describes improvement as "remarkable," those are good
things. We'd like more of them so Denise can come home
& be mommy again.

- All of us are worried about Denise when the time
comes for her to wake up. She'll take the loss of our
baby Daniel pretty hard.

Thanks again for your support in every way. Keep it
up, as while Denise is improving, she's still in very
bad shape. They have started letting non-family
members visit, as long as they're with a family
member. Methodist Hospital's rule is 2 visitors for 10
minutes. But they've let us stretch that a little here
and there.

Thanks again! We're blessed to have you all in our

:O) Phil


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