Thursday, February 17, 2005

Cuppa Joe

Okay. Now that Mom has had her day to shine in pictures, I will bring everyone up to speed on the current state of affairs medically...

Complications first:
Mom has developed a long large clot in her right arm that extends from the elbow to the armpit. It is definitely not a good thing but is something that can be treated medically.The process involves Mom receiving shots that will decrease her ability to form new clots so that her body can devote itself to breaking down the big one in her arm. It will probably take a long time for the clot to fully resolve and will be a concern until lit is gone as it is above where the IVC filter is placed. But this is definitely something that can be addressed.

It is pretty certain at this point that Mom did have a bout of pneumonia, probably when her temperature and white count were up. The Xrays that showed 'cloudiness' in the right lung a few days later support this. For all the non-medical types reading the blog, one interesting thing about chest Xrays is that changes in the lungs often lag about 3 days behind what is actually happening. So Xrays can be normal with pneumonia if it is early and can be abnormal after it is gone. This is important to understand as we suspect that the pneumonia is getting better even though it is only lately present on Xrays. Knowing that Mom has been fighting pneumonia, the doctors will probably want to be very conservative in deciding when to remove the tracheostomy tube as that allows them to easily suction off the exudate (goo) from her infection. In addition, the secretions will probably get significantly worse for a day or two when Mom is transferred as they are jarred loose by the movement. In the long run, this will be good but it will probably make for a couple stressful days when we get back and so we preemptively ask for your patience when that time comes with regard to visits and calls.

Last night, Mom finally got the MRI of her neck and so she was a bit dopey this morning. There was evidence of ligamentous injury on the study and so Mom will have to continue wearing the collar for a number of weeks. It is disappointing that she has to stay in the collar but very good that they were conservative and ran the MRI. Otherwise she might further injure the area while it is healing.

Now for good news:
Mom is really starting to wake up. Yesterday she was sleepy all morning but finally became alert in the late afternoon. At that time, while Brian was in with her, she started coughing badly. Before Brian could ask if she needed suction, she grabbed the sign Roland made her and pointed to suction. The nurse, Kevin, was there and was able to take care of it immediately. [We love Kevin by the way- he was super with Mom.] She went on to use the sign again two or three more times, so we really felt confident that she could read it and process its purpose.
This afternoon the sign was made redundant. Mom has a lot more focus with her speaking and my eyes are doing better at lipreading so we are over the sign. Poor sign. One brief flash of glory then resigned to the landfill.

Brian had to leave today. It was very sad for all of us. He will be joining us again in Nashville as needed but it felt so very strange. The ride back from the airport was quite peculiar for both Rol and me. It was the first time, since this remarkable journey began, that the three of us were not together. Not that we will ever be apart again. Brian and Mom got some good time together last night and this morning. She understood that he needed to get back to little Hailey.

Tonight's super-spectacular moment came when Roland and I went in to say hello. As is our custom when we arrive, I futz edwith this and that while Roland had his hello (then I usually sneak in for mine). Roland and I had picked up coffee on the way in and Roland took a sip before taking off his jacket. Mom's eyes lit up and she fairly shouted 'Is that coffee?' if it is possible to shout without making noise. Roland looked quite startled and said, 'Yes it is, honey.' So eager, Mom queried, 'Can I have some?' and was quite wroth when we had to deny her. Quite a positive thing for Roland as well to see that Mom is really in there.

Looking forward to sharing more of the journey as time permits. With love, as always,

jacqui

3 Comments:

Blogger Carissa said...

It does my heart good to see how much progress Pam is making. It is truly a miracle!! I cannot wait until she is back in Nashville so all of us, from VCC to BCC, can shower her will love and affection.

Much love to all, especially to the "S" team!!

Carissa

7:53 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

I LOVE the "Is that coffee" question that Pam made......some of my first experiences with Pam in my early days in VCC involved feeding our addiction at First Pres by searching for coffee cups to contain the precious liquid..............I never told her how grateful I was to her for putting me in the back row of the bass section right next to the coffee pot........I would inhale the stuff all through rehearsal. So please send her my thanks....if she ever wondered why there was so little left at break......Pam, I admit it.....it was ME! Although, I think you knew all along.

8:00 AM  
Blogger anne and ben said...

yikes, roland and jacqui, surely y'all will pay for denying pam cafe yesterday. she will remember that and i can see her getting starbucks hooked into an iv as soon as she is well enough to ask for it. reminds me of all of our great conversations at starbucks that we try to schedule once a week. i miss those days. when she gets better, i might have to catch her up on all of her caffeine and have starbucks chats once a day for several months. tell her this and that i look forward to it. tell her that the point is to drink it, not to wear it on our shirts! ;)
love and thoughts to y'all,
anne gregory

6:53 PM  

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