Thursday, August 18, 2005

2 days of news, and jury duty

Today was our one-month anniversary for this ordeal. Denise went into the hospital the 18th of July. Sorry for not posting yesterday, and posting so late today. Here's the scoop:

Yesterday: CT scan of abdominal area & pelvis, with contrast. Contrast... I guess it's like paint or something so the organs show up better. Denise is an artist at heart, so I hope she appreciated the contrast. Anyway, that showed lots of fluid buildup around bowels. The question is: why? Also, they drew blood to do some blood cultures. I learned that they have regular tubes for adult blood samples. And they have child-sized tubes as well. They've been using those pediatric-sized tubes for Denise all along, because they don't want to take much blood from her if they can help it. Fever crept up to 103.4. She vomited yesterday. Nothing was aspirated, though. The vent mode that had been serving her so well (bilevel) was down to a very low level of help (40% oxygen concentration, 0 PEEP, 18 cm/H20 pressure, for those that will ask) and they tried switching over to a different mode called CPAP. I rushed home. I looked it up. I learned a lot. But then Denise started doing poorly in that mode, so they switched her back to bilevel again. Oh well, at least they thought she might be far enough along to try.
Yesterday she was asleep most of the time. When she was awake, she was sort of catatonic... eyes open, mouth open staring at the ceiling. But then between about 3 & 6 pm, she became more alert. At one point the nurses washed her hair & braided it, then tilted her bed up & feet down (like a recliner... this bed is so cool!). They were joking about how it's almost like going to a spa or salon, and Denise seemed to be getting a kick out of that. I had to leave to get home for dinner with the kids and she did big puckery kissy lips, so as to lure me back for another smooch. I fell for it, easy. When I got home, there was a jury duty letter for Denise in the mail. I had to have the doctor fill out the form to be excused. I *did* hesitate, though... given some of the verdicts we've seen over the years (Blake, Jackson, and let's not forget "The Juice"), I started to think that maybe, just maybe, Denise was exactly the type of juror they were looking for to sit on the next big celebrity case. Anyway, the doctor wrote in that her condition will remain for 6 months, she'll be well enough to serve on a jury in 8 months. The other stuff that the doctor filled in on the form is completely illegible (can someone please post a comment that explains why this seems to be a common trait among doctors?).

Today: As is typical, some things get better, some get worse. High fevers (they're lowering the heparin to see if the fevers will get knocked down). Brutal Valley Fever infection still going on, plus the p. aeruginosa, and some other fungus that's yet to be identified. We were really hoping to not find any more nasty things to deal with.
Electrolytes are doing zany things due to the meds, so that requires a balancing act.
For those asking, albumin is at 2 (should be 4). It's "a
protien made in the liver that assists in maintaining blood volume in the arteries and veins. If albumin drops to very low levels, fluid may leak into tissues from the blood vessels, resulting in edema or swelling."
Hemo went down to 7, so she got another transfusion (she has developed what they call "minor antibodies"). But white count went up to 15 (neupogen stopped) and platelets went up to 108. Really, somebody should assign ticker symbols to these things... I *am* watching them closer than any stocks right now.
There will be another paracentesis today or tomorrow. There was also a CT scan of the head and some other neurological tests to try & find out why her nerve conduction is so weak. Which leads me to the next topic...
When Denise is alert, she can move neck, face, mouth, and shake her legs some... that's about it. She's *very* weak. Can't give a thumbs-up or wiggle fingers. So they need to find out if it's caused by the steroid & other drugs, or from "Critical Care Neuropathy." When we find out results from the CT scan, then I'll know where to even begin asking questions about getting her strength & movement back.
On the good side, they again lowered her vent pressure (down to 15), still has 40% oxygen, still maintianing about 97% saturation. Cookies and gift certificates to In-n-Out Burger appeared in Denise's room (THANK YOU!). And we finished "To Kill A Mockingbird" tonight. If you've never read this great story, now I've got a copy you can borrow. I was thinking of bringing in some books that Denise hasn't had time to read and let her pick what to hear next. One of the nurses said I should bring in a romance novel & read it, and the nurses could hang around the room and listen in. Maybe I'll buy a great big Fabio poster to put up in the CCU instead.


Blogger Call Me Grandma said...

I am praying so hard for you, your wife and family.
Dear Lord please heals this beautiful lady,so that she can go back to her young children. They need her...Amen
May God bless you with all that you need.

August 19, 2005 6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your continued updates. Your spirit, faith and love are amazing. You and Denise are in our prayers.

The Treydtes, MO

August 19, 2005 6:49 AM  
Anonymous alyson and paul metzdorff said...

phil-here are some good books to read...
the five people you meet in heaven(mitch album)
the mermaid chair
a good earth(pearl s. buck)
the reader(robert schuyler)
just a few ideas...I might add that the good earth is a little feminist, but very artistic in a sense, you might not like it, but denise will...stay positive and god bless everyone out there.we love you..

August 19, 2005 7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil - Please know you have much love and support going for you and Denise. Your family remains in my heart and prayers daily. Please carry on with your loving attention to Denise, it means so much.
-One of Your Hospital Nurses

August 19, 2005 7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil, I'm still passing your updates on to many friends, family, & churches, where many continue to hold you up in prayer. I've had people I don't even know at my church come up to me & ask how Denise is doing. Be comforted & strengthened by the love of the body of Christ, brother. Our God is truely amazing & is bringing about miracles in Denise! Let the nurses know that another nurse is praying for them also - they are like warriors in Christ's kingdom. And give that sweet granddaugter of mine, Sophia, a kiss for me. Timing has just not worked out for me to be able to do it myself this summer. May you experience God's love & peace today in a special way. Biana (Niccole's mother-in-law).

August 19, 2005 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Phil,
Much prayer going out and up for you guys . . . and I mean "much"! your updates encourage us, inform us, and promote PRAYER.
Jury duty? Yes, I think she is more qualified than many for recent decisions . . .
love,Terry and Ron

August 19, 2005 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PTL for every improvement, miracle, and heart touched by this ordeal! Continuing to pray for Denise and praying for the right situation for you and the kids this fall.
Re: the scribble. My guess is that one would have to write fast to take LOTS of notes in medical school. So you create your own shorthand. And after a while you can actually read the stuff! So why go back!?
Tell Denise her PCS family continues to pray and loves her!!

August 19, 2005 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May God continue to bless you and your family with strength to help Denise through this difficult time. I don't know your family, I got the prayer request from a friend of a friend, like many other posters here. I have been praying for your family for a few weeks now, and will continue to do so until Denise is home with her family. God is truly blessing you with a wonderful hospital staff, and we know Denise will be healthy before long. God Bless!
The James'

August 19, 2005 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pulling for you,

Lord, oh Awsome God, Heal this woman and let her get well soon, may you guiding touch and healing hand be on her and may she be well.

In Jesus name,

August 19, 2005 9:34 AM  
Blogger RedSoxRepeat_05 said...

Pulling for you,

Lord, oh Awsome God, Heal this woman and let her get well soon, may you guiding touch and healing hand be on her and may she be well.

In Jesus name,

August 19, 2005 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't know us, but I am Josh Grogg's aunt. (Little Sophia's something or other!) I just wanted you to know that your faith and trust in God have been such an encouragement to us. (You are a great writer, by the way!) Isaiah wrote, "Who among you walks in darkness and has no light? Let Him trust in the name of the Lord." Know that we in Phoenix are praying for you and Denise and your family as you walk through this time of darkness. May His light and peace continue to surprise you and comfort you in the midst of the pain. He is there and He is still in control.

In His love,
Bernice Gudgel

August 19, 2005 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are so excited to hear the great news coming from your end! It is so exciting to know that God is answering prayer, even in little ways. Denise has come so far already! Praise God the Father!

Another decent book...Tortilla Flat (Steinback)

We would love to know how Gracie and Jacob are doing...and God has given you for the "in school" arrangement. We are praying fervently with you.

Rachel and Matt Treydte, ID

August 19, 2005 7:55 PM  
Blogger The Ravasdys said...


We are praying each day for a miracle and complete healing for Denise. We know that He is able to do immeasureably more than we could ever ask or imagine.

I recommend a Nicholas Sparks book for romance. The Notebook or The Wedding.

Love, The Ravasdys

August 20, 2005 12:14 AM  

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