Wednesday, June 3, 2009

awaiting results

Mom apparently had her MRI earlier than expected, and I was away when it happened, writing up my earlier blog post and awaiting a phone call from either Dad or Sean. I was a bit peeved that Dad didn't tell me about Mom's MRI before I got back into the ICU around 4:30PM. Despite the early MRI, however, we were told that the results would not be known to us until the docs had managed to work through their backlog (this makes it sounds as if Mom is always the lowest priority; having one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer apparently doesn't cut it when the hospital triages its patients).

Dad and I decided to leave the ICU somewhat early-- around 7PM-- in order to go home, get some dinner without paying a fortune for it (we've been eating at the hospital cafeteria a little too often), and get to sleep early. We'll be waking up around 5AM and arriving at the hospital around 6:30AM in order to try and intercept the docs, who are often frustratingly hard to catch.

Our hope is to hear about both the MRI and the EEG. The EEG will give us some indication of whether Mom is, in fact, seizing. While Dr. Kerr is leaning toward the seizure theory to explain Mom's oscillating mental state, this remains a surmise pending confirmation. The MRI, meanwhile, will give us a better idea of whether Mom's brain is being affected by the remains of the tumor, or by yet more infection (the latter seems less and less likely: Mom's blood cultures indicate no new bacterial growth), or by some other factor. Dr. Kerr reminded us that the brain tissue will have reacted to the recent surgery, probably by swelling, and this in itself might be enough to explain what is happening to Mom.

I still have no clear idea about the rash and its relationship to Mom's other symptoms.

Though I was peeved at Dad for not keeping me up to date, I made him dinner when we got home. How could I not, right? Dad's been a real trouper; he fed Mom her breakfast, cut up the pieces of her lunch to allow her to eat it on her own, then fed her again at dinner. Mom seemed, at times, a bit too weak to feed herself; at other times, she was able to grasp and manipulate food either with utensils or (as happened with a dinner roll) with her hands. For most of the day, Mom was quiet, talking to us mostly through her facial expressions and body language. But she smiled for me before I left for the evening, and that's all I wanted from her.

We all felt bad about leaving Mom alone after 7PM, but Sean very kindly drove to the ICU to be with Mom a while, starting from 8:30PM. I'm glad he did this; I'm glad Mom didn't have to face the evening with nothing but her retinue of wheezing, beeping, clicking machines for companionship.

Another round tomorrow.


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