Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Pseudomonas again, Fevers, Heart, Kids visit

We've completed 7 weeks in the hospital, and here we go into week 8. Denise's condition over the last few days has been marked by a return of very high fevers (high as 105.1 tonight), racing heart rates (into the 160s a couple times), increased ab swelling, and today, the return of pseudomonas bacteria, now in the latest blood culture (I believe that previously it was only in a swab performed by the ObGyn). I don't know if I'm more discouraged at her having fevers and not knowing the cause, or finding another infection in another place.

Denise started looking a little better after starting the 5000 calorie per day diet. She nodded when I asked if she felt better & more energetic. She moved her arms & legs a little more than usual to prove it. When alert, she moves easier and with more coordination. She was able to write "I need to shop" fairly legibly. I asked her what she needed to shop for and she held up a part of her gown and made the classic face that says "Eeew, I hate this color & pattern."

The kids came in for a visit on Sunday, I believe. Denise was more alert earlier in the morning, but was on the decline by the time we arrived. This was Gracie's third visit, and she did great, as usual. This was Jake's second visit. He was too sleepy for the first visit, and this time he got scared, cried & screamed. Denise, thought not really able to animate her face much, looked very hurt that Jacob didn't want to come to her. After some soothing and becoming interested in some of Gracie's doctor kit toys, we were able to sit him on the bed next to Denise. Gracie was using her toy stethoscope on Denise, and Jake picked up the cue, using a toy syringe to give her an injection. Eventually, he kissed her hand & our short visit had a happier ending than beginning.

Yesterday Denise must have thought she was at Arcadia Methodist Day Spa, because she got her toenails painted. I think some of the staff have taken her on as their special project. Denise loved the attention. And tonight I left the hospital unusually early, and happened to run into a friend from high school that I'd lost touch with. That was one of those neat moments where if one of us were 5 seconds earlier or later, we would've missed each other.

Let's see... what else? Because of the massive amount of "food," her blood lipid and blood sugars are up now, and that needs to be dealt with. Denise's other chest tube is out now (I wonder if it fell out or if she pulled it out, now that I think about it). So there are no more chest tubes. Doctor says that her vent is on such low pressure, it should be OK. She pulled her PICC line out of her arm today (second time she's done that), and a new one was inserted. There was another CT scan of the ab done tonight. Yesterday we noticed something looking like a boil on her left wrist, and it's warm to the touch, with red around it. With all the infections that she's been dealing with, I'm pretty paranoid and will be keeping an eye on that. I've slept well maybe three or four nights since this ordeal began. A friend let me borrow some Ambien the other day and it worked incredibly well... I got to sleep fast & didn't feel groggy at all when waking up. I asked my doctor for it but instead was given some Temazepam. You should see the long list of side effects for this stuff! Well, I'm giving it a shot anyway. If I don't post for a few more days, somebody come to my house & wake me up.

Thanks a million to my friends, neighbors & family that have supported us in every way. We're getting meals, excursions for the kids, fun sleepovers, yard work, child care, shopping runs, car repair, house work, prayer support... you name it. I'm not feeling the usual amount of self-suffiency that I usually have. I'm blessed, humbled, and feeling incredibly loved because so many of you have offered to help. Those of you that know me personally know that I usually prefer to be on the giving end of service, and feel pretty uncomfy on the receiving end of it. I don't like being a "charity case," I guess. But feeling so obliterated as I have been lately is changing my perception of receiving. I ran into someone at school the other day that reminded me that doing a good turn benefits two parties: the giver and the recipient. If God tells somebody that is willing and able to help, "Hey, go help Phil's family" and I say, "No, you don't have to do that," that really robs someone of the joy of serving. Just one more concept that I've heard & agreed with in my head many times over the years, but living this life right now is really driving the point home in a very real way.


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