Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A few Days later...

So much has changed...yet nothing has changed.  Mom is still doing well.  Her vitals have all stabilized and the infections are under control with the many different antibiotics she is on.  She is determined to get up and work past the pain and weakness every day, and she is doing remarkably well with that.  She is still at the same hospital in Nevada and will be there until we can find a bariatric surgeon in the Seattle area who is willing to accept her as a new patient in the serious condition she is in.  The feeding tube placement scheduled for a few days ago never happened because, according to the radiologist, mom's insides are so messed up that there is not a feeding tube long enough to get past the hole in her stomach and into her duodenum.  So, she is still on TPN (IV nutrition) and will stay on that until they can get a feeding tube in her, or until the hole in her stomach heals completely and she is able to go on a liquid diet by mouth.  We have been warned that at best, this will take at least 2 months, and maybe much longer.  We are hopeful that we may have found a surgeon willing to take her on in Seattle, so we are hoping that we'll be able to transfer mom to Seattle this week.  We'll find out for sure in the next couple of days.  If the new doctor feels she is on the right track to recovery, she will probably be able to go live at her home and have a home health nurse come each day to take care of medications and feedings, etc.  The really unfortunate thing about having so many of us family members all show up to be with mom at the same time is that now, 3 weeks later, we all have to leave.  I flew home today and am now back in Texas and Jarom, the last family member with her, will leave tomorrow morning for Idaho.  Mom, we all wish we could still be there with you.  We love and miss you.  Keep fighting!  We'll all be together in 3 months at our Yellowstone Family Reunion!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Long Day of Rest

Today is Saturday and there were no tests or procedures scheduled for today.  Mom is using the time to rest and prepare for the attempted feeding tube placement tomorrow.  Her vital signs are all normal and her labs are coming back closer to normal.  I'll post tomorrow as soon as we know if the feeding tube placement was a success or not.  Jarom (my brother) arrives tomorrow afternoon to finish out what we are hoping will be the last few days at this hospital before we can transfer her back to Washington.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday's Update

Another great day!  Thank you so very much for all your prayers and caring thoughts and cards and flowers!  All the doctors and nurses come in and remark how loved mom must be by so many people.  Thank you for doing all of this for my mom.  The doctor decided not to attempt the feeding tube placement today because he wanted to give her insides more time to heal before they attempt it again.  So the plan is that they will attempt the feeding tube placement again on Sunday.  They will also repeat the CT Scan on Monday to see if the hole in her stomach is healing on it's own, and if the pockets of fluid in her abdomen are still sterile and non-infectious.  If everything is good and we can get mom stable, we are hoping that we may be able to have her transferred to the care of a doctor and facility near her home.  (So all of you Snohomish people, I'll keep you posted!)  The good news of the day is that her white blood count is down to normal levels, and her vital signs are good, and she is continuing to gain strength.  We have been told that this will be a long road to recovery.  Mom will probably be attached to tubes for weeks to months even after she gets out of the hospital. However, mom is going to make it and we are so grateful for the miracles that have happened thus far!  Thanks again for being a part of this with us!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday's Update

Another great day!!!  Mom is improving so much.  Her white blood count was down today to almost normal and she is gaining strength.  She is still on oxygen, IV nutrition (TPN) and a whole bunch of IV antibiotics.  Tomorrow they may attempt the feeding tube again.  Mom is feeling so much stronger and is able to get up out of her hospital bed and get to the bathroom all by herself.  She can also push her own IV stand and walk down the hall without assistance.  More flowers and cards arrived today and Mom has been so lifted to read them.  She wants you to know how much she appreciates knowing that so many people are praying and supporting her.  Thank you so much for your love and concern!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday's Update

The feeding tube was pulled today because it could not get past the hole in her stomach and the inflamation.  The radiology team will attempt it again in a few more days once more healing has occured.  Mom is so grateful to have the tube out.  She actually made a huge leap forward today.  She was so lethargic and weak since the attempted tube placement yesterday and she stayed that way until around 1:00 pm today.  Suddenly mom's eyes fluttered open and she looked wide-eyed around the room and said, "I need to be doing something.  My life is being stolen by this hospital bed."  So she pulled off her covers and told the nurse she wanted to get up.  She  pulled her own IV stand as she walked down the hall.  Then she sat up and painted for about 2 hours.  She is doing great!  She had a blood transfusion last night which really helped.  She is so thankful for the beautiful flowers and cards and letters and all of the messages on the blog.  Thank you all!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Grace under Fire

Mom is showing her true grace as she continues to keep fighting even under pressure.  We actually had a really positive day with mom feeling stronger and all of us feeling very hopeful that we would not have any more setbacks.  However, when they tried to put in the feeding tube today there was too much inflamation and blockages to allow it to pass through her stomach where the abscess and hole is.  So the tube is currently half way in and half way out...they are hoping that her body will naturally pull it down past the blocked areas.  Thanks and keep praying. 

Thanks for your prayers

It looks like our prayers are being answered.  Mom will still be here for a long time, but she is starting to make slight improvements now. Today she is getting a naso-gastric feeding tube. Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers and well-wishes.  Mom knows she is loved and it really means a lot to her and our family. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Waiting Pattern

Well, we just got the results from the CT Scan this morning and they are really inconclusive.  Today's CT Scan shows "no change" from the earlier CT Scan.  So, they are still showing multiple pockets of fluid, which could be infectious or could be sterile.  She also has a leak from her stomach/bowels into her abdominal cavity so she has drainage tubes sticking out of her to drain the infectious fluid.  Again, this leak may heal on its own over several weeks or it may need surgery.  So, we are just in a holding pattern to see if her vital signs start to improve or to see if they start to get worse.  If they improve, she has a chance of healing without surgery.  If they start to get worse, we'll have to take action despite the risks.  The Dr said it's 50/50 which way it will go.  Sounds like we are in for a long wait holding our breaths.  Mom is still on oxygen, IV nutrition, many different antibiotics., and all the tubes and wires.  She may need a blood transfusion in the near future.  Since we are in for a long wait we are sending my dad and sister Becky home since they have been here the longest...(my dad has been here for 2 weeks now.)  My aunt Wyonne, my Grandma and I will stay here for the next several days.  We'd love your cards and letters to brighten up mom's hospital room.   Keep sending your blog comments and emails...we are reading them to my mom and she is touched and smiles (or cries) every time we read her one.  Thanks for all your support!

CT Scan at 10:00 this morning.

Mom is being prepped for it now.  We'll update as soon as we know anything.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We need a miracle tonight!

Things have not improved.  We are waiting for tomorrow morning when Mom will have a second CT Scan.  The original doctor said this morning that he did not recommend any treatments or procedures at all, but just to wait and see if the infections heal on their own or if they get worse.  When the second doctor came in she informed us that the original CT Scan still showed multiple abdominal abscesses, and she recommended Interventional Radiology immediately to try to drain the abscesses.  However, we wanted to give mom another day to gain her strength for whatever is needed after the CT Scan.  So, the plan is that tomorrow morning she will have a second CT Scan and once reviewed we will be making decisions on treatment...either Interventional Radiology, major surgery or if we get a miracle and the abscesses are gone, then continued medical treatment until she gets better.  So pray for that MIRACLE tonight!  Mom is currently on oxygen, IV drips, a PICC line to her heart, antibiotics, and a whole bunch of other tubes and wires that I don't know what they are.  She has a bedsore, swollen body and is very weak,but she is conscious and coherent.
We are starting a "Card Campaign" so we can brighten up mom's hospital room with letters, pictures and cards from friends and family (and strangers too!)  If you would like to send a card or letter, the address here is
Wendy Christensen, Room 225
Rose de Lima Campus
102 E. Lake Mead Pkwy.
Henderson, NV 89015

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Holding Steady

After further consultation with 3 more radiologists and the surgeon and hospitalist, it was decided to go with another day of medical treatment before pursuing the 3rd surgery.  Mom is extremely weak and is back to not being able to eat.  I just flew in tonight so now we have mom plus dad, Becky (been here a week), Aunt Wyonne and Grandma Fern all here at the hospital with mom.  Jess and Jarom will be flying in in the next couple of days.

CT Results

The CT Scan results show that Mom has multiple pockets of infection throughout her abdomen. The radiologist recommended immediate open surgery to repair the area. However, the surgery is very serious and Mom is extremely weak. No one knows how much more her body can handle. We are waiting to talk with more experts to see which course of action has the greatest chance for Mom. If we ever needed prayers and fasting, it is now. If you would like to send a message to Wendy, please post it here and we will read it to her.
Thank you for your support!

CT Scan at 9:00 am

Mom is scheduled to have the CT Scan at 9:00 this morning, Nevada time. Also, Doctor #1 decided to start nutrition through her nose. I will post as soon as the CT results are available.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday March 18

This blog is for family and friends to recieve updates on Wendy's progress as she tries to recover from complications after surgery. I will try to update this blog each day. Today is the 10th day that mom has been in the hospital. She is at Rose De Lima Hospital in Henderson, Nevada. She has suffered through the original surgery, a second emergency surgery to clean up an abscess that burst, sepsis, a bedsore, possible pneumonia, extreme weakness and extreme pain since she entered for what was supposed to be a simple, safe, effective and easy mini-gastric bypass surgery. She was supposed to have the surgery one day and leave the hospital the next day able to take care of herself. It has been an emotional roller coaster for everyone as we have anxiously waited for news, feeling hopeful when we hear something good and then feeling hopeless and shocked as we hear something not good. Today was no exception. It started out okay. Our low last night was finding out that Mom's white blood cell count had risen from 13,000 to 21,000 yesterday. The Dr. said he'd order a CT Scan if it was still raised today. This morning, her wbc count had dropped slightly to 18,000 and the Dr. felt that because her other vital signs were okay, no tests or action was needed. A few of us expressed concern to the Dr. that because Mom was not getting any better, we felt it was time to bring in a second Doctor who specializes in what to do when things go wrong. We also expressed that we wanted to be proactive in doing tests so we could rule things out, rather than waiting for some urgent need because something turned bad. He said he did not think those things were necessary but that he would comply with our wishes. Several hours later, a second Dr came in to Mom's hospital room and examined her. Her temperature was raising...38.6 C at that moment which translates to 101.5 F. Between that and her white blood cell count being so high, the second Dr. feels Mom is possibly getting another infection. He ordered a CT scan, which will be done as soon as mom has fasted for enough time so her body can take the dye/contrast. He also said he was going to look over lab reports to find out what cultures and tests had been done. If appropriate tests had not been done, he was going to order them. A short time later, the blood guy came in to draw blood for tests. Now we are all anxiously waiting for the CT scan results and cultures to come back. If a leak or infection is present, a third surgery may be necessary. This is critical timing as we wait to find out the news.