Friday, May 27, 2011

More good news! (We hope it lasts!)

A few days later and we have even more hope now!  A day or two after the doctor pulled mom's drain out by 3 inches (to get it out of her stomach), Mom got up to try to walk a short distance and stepped on something soft.  She looked down and saw she was standing on one of her abdominal drains!  It had simply fallen right out of her stomach and onto the floor!  At first, this looked to be a major setback, because they were needed to drain any infectious fluid, but another CT Scan appeared to show that mom's stomach had sealed itself in the two days since the tube had been pulled out of her stomach and that it wasn't leaking anymore!  (I hesitate to even tell people this, let alone to actually believe it myself because we have had so many "ups" which have usually ended up with "downs" a couple of days later...however, so far this "up" is still looking good!)  Anyway, because the CT Scan looked like the stomach was not leaking, the doctors had her try to swallow some protein drinks.  After two days of that, she was still feeling okay and her vital signs were all still normal (no signs of infection) so this morning they put her on a full liquid diet and took her off TPN (IV nutrition)!  And as of right now, the plan is that tomorrow (Saturday May 28) she will be released to go to my sister Becky's house instead of living at the hospital!  So, that is the current news.  She (and all of her family) are feeling very hopeful that this good news will stay good this time!  We have felt the comforting feelings of peace and blessings from the Lord because of the prayers of so many of you!  Thank you for every time you mention my mom in your prayers!!!  I am not ready to say goodbye to my mom and I am so hopeful that I won't have to any time soon!  Thanks again!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Another Chance?

Shortly after my last post we found out some very surprising of Mom's abdominal drains was actually in her stomach!  (They injected sterile dye backwards through her drains and then did a sonogram to see where the dye went into her body.  It ended up going directly into her stomach.)  The doctor said that Mom would have never healed with that tube in that her doctor pulled the tube out by about 3 inches.  They are waiting about a week and then they'll repeat the blue dye test to see if, now that a tube is not in it, her stomach can actually heal on it's own without surgery.  We are all very hopeful that this will be the lucky break, or the miracle, or the chance that we have all been praying and waiting for!  Keep hoping and praying with us!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

More "wait and see"

In the past several days the doctors have been giving mom round-the-clock powerful antibiotics to help fight off all those infections.  They also gave her another blue dye test and it at first looked like her stomach wasn't leaking anymore.  However, the next day, her drains were filling up again.  This is a pretty big setback.  We are not sure why it looks like she is healing one day and then the next day, something goes wrong.  We really have no idea how bad she is cut up or injured on the inside from the original doctor.  Her new surgeon has been hoping that she will heal on her own, without surgical intervention, but with this latest setback, he said it is looking increasingly more likely that surgery will have to be done.  (If you remember, this would be a very risky surgery...the outcomes will be unknown.  It is a last-chance type of scenario if we have to resort to this.)  Even if surgery becomes absolutely necessary, at this current time, Mom is not in good enough condition nutritionally to have the would be too risky.  So, please pray that her albumin (apparently that is referring to blood protein) levels get into normal ranges so that mom could have the surgery if it becomes absolutely necessary. 

On another note, unfortunately, with this latest setback it also means that mom may not be able to leave Arizona to come to our Family Reunion in Yellowstone Park in July.  Because us siblings are all living in different states, we only get to have all of us (Mom, Dad, and their kids (including spouses) and grandkids) together once every three years...and this summer was our much anticipated reunion.  We have had 3 new babies born into the family since our last reunion in 2008 and have all been looking forward to getting together so much.  I have been hoping for a miracle...hoping that mom will be there with us, not just in spirit, but physically being there with us. 

So, if you have some time, will you please plead with Heavenly Father to heal my mom enough so that she is stable and can safely come to the family reunion?  If that is not Heavenly Father's plan, will you please ask for her body to show solid signs of healing in the next month so we know she will heal on her own without surgery?  And if she can't be healed without surgery, then will you please pray that her albumin and other "nutrition" levels stabilize in the correct ranges so that she has the best chance of having a successful surgery?

Maybe if we all pray very specifically, we will all be able to help in some way.  Thank you for caring about my Mom.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Infection? Positive.

Mom was told today that the test results showed that she did have an infection starting in the PICC line, plus an infection at the site of one of her drains, and the infection was also found in her blood.  So, thank goodness she was close enough to the hospital to get there quick and get immediate help before it was too late.  The doctors put her on 4 of the most powerful antibiotics possible in order to get these infections under control.   Because the PICC line was pulled due to infection, they are using regular IV lines in both of her arms to deliver nutrition and antibiotics.  Once her blood is "clean" and the infections are all gone, then she may be released back to Becky's house (Take II).  Because she is just not healing from whatever was done to her in Nevada, an open surgery may be necessary in the future, just to figure out what is really going on with Wendy's insides.  The CT Scans and x-rays can only show so much and we still don't know the full story of what happened in Nevada under the care of the first doctor, or the full extent of Mom's injuries from it.  Dad and Becky and Ryan got mom a bed and chair and set up a room in Becky's house for her once she gets out of the hospital.  Everyone is trying to stay hopeful.  That's the news for the day.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back Upstairs

Mom is being admitted again as an in-patient upstairs in the same hospital she was just released from.  They don't know yet the results from any of the tests, but the doctors decided to pull out the PICC line just in case it was getting infected on the inside.  (We've been told, "If a PICC line gets infected, you're gone.")  They are sending a part of the PICC line that they pulled out to the lab to test it for infection.  If it shows an infection, then that could be the cause of her fever, nauseousness, etc.  (I don't know what they will do if it doesn't show an infection.)  So at this moment, she doesn't have a way to get nutrition...she can't swallow anything because of the hole(s) in her stomach and she has gone through 2 PICC lines which have both been pulled because of possible infection.  She says she is feeling better already though just because of getting some saline through IV.  Tomorrow we'll hopefully find out more. 

I take that back

"Goodbye hospital" didn't last for long.  At this moment we are waiting for test results to tell us anything.

All I know at this point:  Mom has been feeling nauseous and this morning when I spoke with her I could tell something was wrong-more than it has been lately.  She was having abdominal pain, with increased nauseousness and fatigue.  My sister tested her temp and it was above 103 F.  She began vomiting along with the fever and chills and pain.  They called the home health nurse who instructed them to take her in to the emergency room.  They arrived around 5 pm or so and so far, Mom's blood has been drawn 3 times, she has been put on IV fluids and she is currently having a CT Scan.  Waiting for results...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Goodbye Hospital!

Last night Mom was given the green light to leave the care of the hospital for the first time in over two months, as she was allowed to go to Becky's house.  The cultures from the IR procedure, even though they looked and smelled infected, did not grow anything, so the Doctors decided to allow mom to try living at Becky's house instead of the hospital.  Before they left the hospital, Mom and Becky were given all the information on "How to take care of Mom" to flush her PICC line, administer medicines, give blue dye tests, etc. on their own at Becky's house (YIKES!)  In addition, a home health nurse will come to Becky's house to help take of mom.  Becky is very medically-minded and has often considered becoming a Doctor, so we'll see if she still feels that way in a few weeks/months!  (We really have no idea when mom is going to get better.  Our big hope right now is that she will be given permission to leave Arizona to travel to our family reunion in Yellowstone this July.  Of course we know she'll be in a wheelchair and we'll have to bring all her medical equipment, but as long as we can have her there with us, we'll be happy.)  Mom is still NPO-nothing by mouth- because she still has one or more holes in her stomach, as is evidenced by repeated blue dye tests.  We are hoping that eventually those will heal, but have been warned that that may not happen.  She still has her PICC line and through that she is getting TPN (nutrition) intravenously and several antibiotics as well as other medicine.  She still has drainage tubes in her abdomen which hopefully will continue to drain any blood, infectious fluid, etc. from her abdomen.  Aside from the medical stuff, mom is very excited to be out of the hospital and living at a real home, even though it's not her home.  She is excited to use her spa certificate to get a manicure and pedicure and she can't wait to get a box of hair dye to color her hair!  Dad arrives on Saturday and he'll also be more than pleased that he can visit with her at Becky's house instead of sitting in a tiny hospital room day after day.  So, we'll celebrate this new news and hope it lasts!  Congratulations Mom!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day in the Hospital

Today mom has spent her 60th day in a hospital.  She told me today that she has had to let go of hopes of recovering quickly and getting back to her life...she has to take it one day at a time...just get through each day and keep fighting to get healthy.  The blue dye test two weeks ago, and one just a few days ago, showed that she still has a leak in her stomach, so she is still on TPN through her PICC line...nothing by mouth.   Her PICC line started to show signs of infection outside, so they took it out and put a new one in her other arm.  Then Friday her CT scan showed that the pockets of fluid in her abdomen were still there and were not getting any smaller.  Because of that, yesterday mom had a procedure done in Interventional Radiology to try to drain the fluid.  They sedated mom and used long needles (like the kind for amniocentesis) and went into her abdomen.  They used a syringe to try to pull the "fluid" out. Instead of a liquid, the junk that came out was quite disgusting...a greenish/blue thick smelly is currently being cultured to see what kind of infection, if any, mom has.  Mom has been on all sorts of powerful antibiotics this whole time, but today she has started to develop a fever...she was at 100.4 at last check.  I am sure they will be watching her vital signs closely throughout the next several days.  I wish there was a happy conclusion to report...I keep waiting for it...but so far, all I can report is "she's still with us and we're taking it one day at a time."

For Mother's Day we all went in and got Mom a gift certificate to a spa to get a manicure and pedicure for when she gets out of the hospital.  She is looking forward to that.  Dad will be flying in to Phoenix this coming Saturday and will be able to stay at Becky's house and be with mom each day for 10 days.  We wish every woman reading this a Happy Mother's Day today!