Thursday, August 11, 2005

Denise waking up

I got a smile today!
Things are really flying right now. They reduced and then stopped the sedative yesterday (Avastin). Early this morning, Denise's dad called to say she was opening her eyes. I rushed over to the hospital, and she is slowly coming out of the mother of all hangovers. When I went in the room, she gave a small smile (and then promptly passed out). She's struggling to keep eyes open, trying to speak (impossible with the tracheostomy), move limbs, etc. She's able to follow simple command (stick out your tongue, open your mouth, move your foot, etc.). At one point, a nurse was looking at a wedding picture that's stuck to the wall and asked how old Denise was when she was married. Her mom said "23 or 24," and Denise weakly mouthed "twenty-four" immediately (ding-ding, correct answer!). Overall, she's in a haze, having hard time getting used to all the new tubes & needles. She must feel kind of clueless, like Keanu Reeves was in the Matrix, when he woke up with all those weird hoses (you're probably reading this and saying, "Uh, Phil, when ISN'T Keanu Reeves clueless in a movie?").

They started her on a new antibiotic yesterday called Tygracil. Really new. So new, the pharmacist hadn't heard of it. So new, a Google search only brought up one result just now. There was a blood thinner (Heparin?) started yesterday, then discontinued in prep for removing some fluid from Denise's pelvic region today. It was similar to an amniocentesis, but with a different target (I can't remember the name of the procedure... post a comment if you can think of it, please). They used ultrasound to guide the needle and avoid damaging anything. I don't know if they've started the blood thinner again or not at this time. The hematologist said that the blood is stable. So it ain't great, but at least it hasn't gotten worse. Her protein requirements are through the roof (200 compared to the normal 70). Hopefully, today's fluid draw will shed some light on the fevers, the blood use (her spleen's enlarged due to busting down so much blood), and give the team of doctors a good idea of what to do next. Denise also developed another pneumothorax today (we knew this was a risk as long as she was hooked up to the vent). Doesn't seem to be nearly as big as the first one. The doctor decided to leave the lung tube in from the previous one, so it's coming in pretty handy right now.

Denise's fever has been in the 101 range all day. We were happy to see that, since it had been in the 104 range for a few days. I got some encouraging insight from the neurologist yesterday. I was worried about the high temp causing brain damage. He said that it shouldn't be much of a concern. Apparently, the high temp is one part of the trouble, the other part is dehydration. No problem there. Denise is plenty filled up with fluid. Even at that, the heart is what to be worried about before any neurological problems. He said that when there are heat waves, the biggest risks are the elderly (I already knew that) and alcoholics. The elderly tend to have less of a perceived thirst, so they tend to get very dehydrated. Alcoholics drink plenty and get filled with fluid, but it's not the same as being hydrated with water.

Overall, it's been nice to see Denise waking up. Please bear in mind, though, that she's still sick enough to stay in the critical care section. She's still got quite an infection, blood concerns, and something else going on that they hope to figure out from today's fluid draw.

I'm still obsessing about what to say to Denise about losing the baby. Nobody's going to need to tell her it's happened. I just don't know what to do next. It's very frustrating to not quite be able to read her lips yet (movements are very weak). Her mom was pretty sure that Denise was mouthing the word "baby" shortly before the nurse asked us to leave so they could clean up Denise.

Today's episode of Purpose Driven Life said that "God doesn't waste a pain." Painful experiences are used to enable you to have the compassion & empathy to most effectively minister to others somewhere down the line. I've been aware of this concept for years. It was just kind of comforting in a way to be reminded of this, in the midst of all the pain we're going through now.

On a side note, Denise's skin looks really good. Her face looks like a porcelaine doll's (but more tan... her color's actually pretty good considering what she's been through). It was brought to my attention that the fever was pretty dry for a long time... sort of had the same effect as going to a spa in Palm Springs. And with all the antibiotics, fungicides, and other drugs she's been on, any organisms that even *thought* of turning into pimples ran away, wetting their pants in fear.

Thanks again for all the cards & emails to Denise's room. I've got every single one posted, and we've just got one more wall to cover. Thanks especially for the prayers. I think we're *completely* covered in that respect.


Blogger Jessica said...

Wow-great news! I'll be continuing to pray for Denise's health and this difficult conversation you have coming up.

August 11, 2005 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Phil
You Don't Know me but i am a friend of Lynn Reuda. I have been praying for Denise and I am so excited to hear That she is doing better. What an answer to our prayers. Our God is so Awsome and what a miracle. I will continue to keep her and your family in our prayers. I pray that the lord will continue to strenthen Denise and she will continue to improve every minute. I pray that the lord will continue to hold her in His arms and that he will continue to strenghten you. Denise is in the arms of Jesus. I pray that the you will continue to feel Gods presence. Remember The loving arms of Jesus arm wrapped around you family and His presence is with you 24/7 God bless you
In christ shannon

August 11, 2005 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Trudy Campbell said...


I wanted to share this verse with you and Denise when you mentioned painful experiences: Romans 5:3-5 "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trails for we know that they are good for us -they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." (from the Living Bible)

I check this web page each day and each day there is always exciting and wonderful news. Thank you for the updates. My prayers for you all are constant throughout the day.

You'll know what to tell her when the time comes - wait for the right time.

Sincerely Trudy Campbell

August 11, 2005 10:03 PM  
Anonymous Hovel Babikian said...

Praise God for the recent news. May God give you and your family and abundance of strength. We will continue to pray for you. I check the website before going to bed each night. Keep trusting in the Lord.

Hovel Babikian

August 11, 2005 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Cindy Wert said...

So glad to hear the news as I am sure everyone is. Love you all!

August 12, 2005 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Phil,
Tears are streaming down my checks as I read this miraculous news this morning! PTL! We certainly do serve an awesome God. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to pray and be a part of your family. You are a living testimony, and wow will Denise ever have a testimony to share when she is finished with this journey. I love you guys,
Kathy Larson

August 12, 2005 6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad to hear the news. The prayers will continue here for everyone. I will be heading for Deni's soon and will certainly give her the good news. God bless one and all
Shirley and Paul

August 12, 2005 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Brigid Nelson said...

I am soo glad to hear the good news today. Tell Denise i love her and wish i could be there.

August 12, 2005 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Denise I am excited to hear how you are doing coming out of sedation. Denise keep up the good work. I am encouraged to hear how responsive you are.


August 12, 2005 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Mary Anne Cunningham said...

Thank you for your informative blog. What wonderful news today.
We'll keep praying. You are giving us all a "faith boost."

Love, Mary Anne Cunningham

August 12, 2005 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Pauline Tcharkhoutian said...

Dear Phil
What great news! You have no idea how happy we are to hear this news. Continue trusting the Lord, He is faithful.
We will continue praying.
Pauline and Vahe Tcharkhoutian

August 12, 2005 8:10 PM  

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