Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mostly Good News, Increasing Blood Concerns

The doctor just said that overall, today is a positive one. The vent mode Denise is on continues to serve her well. She's increasing the number of breaths that she's attempting on top of what the vent is giving her. They're going to wake her to the point of trying to get her to respond to simple physical commands. She won't be coherent enough to understand Einstein's Theory of Relativity or anything like that. Then again, neither she nor I were ever coherent enough for that. The chest x-ray shows mild lung improvement from yesterday to today. She's better able to get rid of the carbon dioxide buildup, as well. Doctor says that since oxygenation is going well, they'll be able to put the breathing issues on the back burner (but continue to watch it).
The gastrostomy tube is being tolerated well. They'll keep adjusting the nutrition they give her.
Uterine exam shows good contraction after birth, and bleeding is about right.
One of the nurses that was gone for a few days came back & noticed that Denise isn't as swollen.
Ultrasound of legs showed no clots. I didn't think to ask about results from abdominal & female organs ultrasounds. I believe that these will point the direction to take (or not) in treating the possibility of SPT (previous post).
The most recent cultures don't show any growth of viruses, bacteria, or fungus that we're not already dealing with. That's good to hear.

So all in all, it was nice to again hear so many things going well (when in critical condition, I think that "going well" means "stable" or "not getting worse").

With all those things being stable, the doctor is focusing more attention on some blood concerns. Denise's hemoglobin count has been drifting lower. It's at 7.5. Doctor said that they usually try to keep it up to at least 10. But since Denise seems to be doing well with the oxygenation, current thinking suggests that hemo can go down to 7 and still be adequate to keep her oxygenated. So the doctors have a puzzle of figuring out what's going on with the blood. I was told that she may be developing antibodies to the blood from other people (so they don't want to give too many transfusions if they can help it). Or there may be bleeding in the gastro-intestional tract (they'll be checking... I think I remember hearing that the steroid could be causing some bleeding here). Could be a bone marrow problem. Could be due to the infection destroying a lot of blood. could be that Denise has developed antibodies against her own blood. I don't like the thought of her having developed an auto-immune problem. But we'll have to wait & see what the hemotologist & other specialists have to say. When you're on this many drips, and when there have been so many procedures done, the side effects can come from just about anywhere and very hard to pinpoint.

About Denise missing mommy, lots of you were reading my mind when emailing the suggestion of having the kids tape record themselves for Denise. I've got the recorder ready to go! Now that I've got my work schedule pretty much nailed down, I'm going to start contacting those of you that have offered to help with the kids, as well as looking around for child care. Since the kids don't have mommy, I'd like them to stay together so they at least have each other. I'm aiming to keep care fairly consistent, and close as possible to home for the coming months. Thanks for the heap of emails! Not only is it nice to post them on the walls for when Denise wakes up, it's been super-edifying to read all the well-wishing & prayers, offers of support, short notes of encouragement, long essays on how Denise has touched your lives... all of it! Keep it up, and keep up those posts to the blog (both encouraging and medically technical). Someone brought up that this will be a great thing for Denise to read some day. Darn tootin'!


Anonymous alyson and paul metzdorff said...

we're ready whenever you decide to start calling for backup, there is a few of us out here in illinois who are willing and waitng!!! We continue to miss and pray for all of you!!!
alyson, paul and isabella

August 10, 2005 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hank&Jinna Nelson been thinking and praying for Denise since the day we found out. Miss everyone and wish we could be there to help in other ways.Thank you for letting us know day by day how Denise is doing.

August 10, 2005 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Phil,
If they do need blood for transfusions, I am a universal donor for infants. Don't know if that means my blood is less prone to causing antibodies, but let me know if so. Can't wait to see Denise back up and around and kitchy :) Love you both and Gracie and Jacob too.


August 10, 2005 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Phil,

Sounds like they are now focusing on the blood thing, but it's not necessarily getting worse. All of these unusual readings can be - as you pointed out - coming from the meds and from the infection and the other things that have happened along the way eg lung stuff.

Don't let it get you down, it's just time for us all to change the focus of our prayers for her. There will likely be a series of these changes of focus along the way, and that's just part of it.

You hadn't mentioned whether they had started any blood thinning. That might be something to do gently since there is also the low red cell count. But anyhow the clot issues are a reminder on that and I'd like to hear what they're doing.

August 11, 2005 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Brigid Nelson said...

I pray everyday for Denise. I wish i could be there w/ you guys in your time of need. Everyone in Illinois is praying for Denise to have a speedy recovery. Give my love to Gracie and Jacob. Phil you are doing a great job keeping everyone posted and you are a great husband and father. Stay Strong. God Bless.

August 11, 2005 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diane Evans and family continue with heartfelt wishes and prayers. Mark is also a universal blood type and is ready and waiting to donate, just give us the word! Phil, you continue to amaze us, keep handing in there. Love to the four of you, keep fighting Denise, we're with you! Love, Mark, Diane, Sky and Caitie

August 11, 2005 12:50 PM  

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