Thursday, March 10, 2005

Stoker's green

It is very easy to get behind when the webserver is acting up. It is not my fault. Honest.

Okay, it is sort of my fault. But sort of the server's fault.

Just so we are clear, this is the post I was supposed to get up yesterday.

After the last post on Mom's progress, she continued to improve. The initial dysphoric challenges were emergence of a previously unappreciated Lady Godiva streak and severe agitation. In spite of being quite cold at times, we had little to no ability to keep Mom dressed for the first day. That seemed to wear off on its own and was replaced by an increasing level of agitation about everything and nothing. Poor Mom. Tuesday was the last day of severe agitation as it directly correlated with the amount of morphine Mom received and her pain dropped off quite well on Tuesday.

The other major problem encountered in this stage was the lack of an appropriate restraint system in the orthopedics wing. The choices basically appeared to be do nothing and hope for the best, stare at her continuously and hope not to fall asleep or tie her down while agitated and frightened. As you can imagine, we were underwhelmed with the options. Now, we believe for the most part at least that Mom is out of the danger zone for trying to get up on her own. But the risks should we be wrong were too great. One of the nurses recommended a service that we could pay to sit with Mom in the night so that we didn't have to worry about falling asleep. This seemed a brilliant idea and Kelly jumped on this problem with her characteristic vigor. Turns out you are supposed to make reservations two weeks in advance.

Does this make sense to any of you? To me, that is like trying to make advance plans for an emergency appendectomy...

Happily, as usual, Kelly simply steamrolled them into submission. This left us with 7am to 11pm to cover- much more tenable for Rol and I. Just to be clear- I know what you are thinking... you are thinking, 'Why did they not call me? I would happily have stayed up all night sticking myself with a safety pin to stay awake or covered for a few hours during the day.'

We know you would! You guys are amazing. Unfortunately, the dysphoria made being around Mom disquieting even for hardened medical professionals and made her resist being around anyone but Rol and me.

Anyway, this definitely were improved by Tuesday and there was even some talk about shipping Mom to Stallworth then. Blood work showed that Mom's red count had dipped a bit from an already lowish zone and so it was decided that it would be in Mom's best interest to receive a transfusion instead on Tuesday and transfer Wednesday. The anemia is probably mostly the result of a syndrome called 'anemia of chronic disease' where the body stops making red cells when sick to avoid having free iron around for bacteria to use as a growth medium. There is a heck of a lot more to this but this is probably a plenty good explanation for government work. There was also probably a small component of red cell loss from the surgery but the main thing was that having severe anemia is exhausting and makes everything harder so it made sense to fix it.

So Mom received two units Tuesday and we all counted the hours till we could transfer back to Stallworth...


Blogger steinie said...

Speaking of anemia of chronic disease... For those eager beavers who would like to know more about it in exhausting detail, there is a review article in this week's New England Journal of Medicine on just that topic. This is the type of thing about which clinical pathologists get all hot and bothered. Love you.

3:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home