Tuesday, June 2, 2009

back in the ER

We're back in the ER as of 4:30 today. We left home around 3:45 and, not trusting MV Hospital after our last experience there, we drove Mom to Fairfax.

Mom had seemed groggy before an afternoon nap. She had also sounded a bit distant and confused, and had been wincing, as if in pain. Dad tried to give her some Tylenol, but she repeatedly refused it.

Sensing something was up, I asked Mom to perform some coordination exercises for me, using her index fingers, one at a time, to "swoop" between my own outstretched fingers. She performed less well with her right hand, which is what I expected, and not cause for concern in and of itself. As the nurses had done about a thousand times a day while she was in the hospital last time, I asked Mom to grab my fingers and squeeze them, then do a series of push/pull exercises. She performed these as well as she had at the hospital.

But when I tried to ask Mom what my middle name was, or whether she wanted to see a doctor, or whether she wanted to take the Tylenol, she simply stared at me and said nothing.

Dad and I let her drift into a short nap while Dad called some docs at Fairfax Hospital. When Mom woke up not long after, she said, "Oh, my" and held her head, obviously in extreme pain. She gladly accepted the Tylenol this time, and after I asked her a few more questions, I saw that she wasn't even answering with a simple nod or shake of the head. I asked Dad to check Mom's temperature, as she had been patting her own cheeks and neck as if she were checking for a fever. She was over 102.

Mom had taken the Tylenol at 3:30PM. We were on the road at 3:45. Significantly, she didn't try to resist when we told her she was going to the ER: she obediently put on her shoes and helmet, and got in the van with Dad's assistance. Dad sat in the back seat with Mom, massaging her temples as we drove.

Right now, I'm in the ER waiting room, waiting for my brothers, whom I texted along with my third brother, Mike. Mom and Dad are inside, having a history taken. I imagine Mom will get a bed in a few minutes. Sean texted that he is on his way; David will arrive after work.

UPDATE: Mom has once again been admitted to the Neuroscience ICU. She's being transferred as I write this (10:05PM). We haven't gotten a coherent answer as to the source of Mom's rash (which has now spread all over). One doc suspects the vancomycin; another advocates the "contact dermatitis from the electrode leads" theory. Another possibility is infection. The docs are also doing a blood culture; results will be available in 24 hours. Still no word on the CT scan, and we have no clue as to whether there's some sort of causal relationship between/among the rash, the fever, and Mom's altered state.

Mom has been "in" and "out," cognitively speaking. Sometimes she's coherent enough to know today's date, where she is, and who we are. At other times, she looks at us and says the wrong name, or utters what sounds like gibberish. I'm impatient to know the CT results. I want to know what's going on in Mom's head.

If it turns out that Mom has an infection that might be related to the PICC line, the line will have to be taken out, and another one will have to be put in.

UPDATE 2: Mom is scheduled for an MRI in the morning. According to Sean, who visited her first, the doc says that the CT scan is unclear, but we could be looking at either tumor regrowth or infection in the brain, either of which could affect her cognitive ability. Tumor regrowth has been my fear for a while; it's why I'd been agitating for an early MRI after the second surgery. It sounds morbid, but I'm hoping the problem turns out to be bacterial.


1 comment:

woodarty said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the fever and necessity for going to the ER. I keep all of you in my prayers and will check with you before coming. K