Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 26 afternoon update

Mom's still fighting the ventilator, but today the interpretation of her actions isn't so positive. Instead of viewing this as her attempt to wean herself off the machine, the docs today seem to think that Mom's overly rapid breathing, possibly motivated by so-called "air hunger," is a response either to the cancer in her brain, which may be forcing her into this pattern of respiration, or to the infection in her body.

The docs are adjusting meds and Mom's position on the bed in order to provide her maximum comfort-- all this in an effort to relieve whatever stresses are elevating her blood pressure and making her breathe so fast. They've once again increased her fentanyl (pain medication), and have administered a diuretic to help her expel the fluids currently swelling her body. Mom's been swollen since she entered the ICU: the docs had hooked her up to a lot of saline solution to try to rehydrate her.

Mom's lungs contain a good bit of pus; suctioning brings up large quantities of dark, sometimes bloody material. Her eyes were halfway open when we arrived, and her tear ducts began bleeding while we were there. Although she's been periodically receiving drops, this hasn't been enough to stop dryness and irritation, hence the bleeding. The nurses have cleaned Mom up and have administered a new type of eye drop, one with petroleum in it, so that the drops will coat Mom's eyes and protect them longer. I asked one nurse why no one had considered taping Mom's eyes shut to protect them. She replied that one major reason was that Mom's eyes were her only means of communication, now, and it wouldn't be right to take that away. I don't quite buy that explanation; if the docs need to see Mom's eyes during a procedure, they can simply un-tape or uncover them.

Mom's condition today doesn't give me much hope that she'll be leaving New York anytime soon, if ever. There's a good chance that she's "septic again," as one doc put it. With the chemical cocktail that's been coursing through Mom's body for months, Mom's immune system has been devastated, and she's now vulnerable to just about any opportunistic infection.

Not knowing quite what else to do, I'm now off to get a much-needed haircut. After that, I'll begin prepping dinner.

UPDATE: The salon is closed, but will be open Monday. It's rainy outside, and I have no desire to find another salon (even though I saw several up the street during my long walk up York Avenue in early December). Monday, then: the shagginess will end.


1 comment:

woodarty said...

I keep remembering another Christmas time long ago when one of the "boys" got sick and Ned replace him on his knees, so there were still 3 "wise guys" in the Christmas pageant.
I believe now there are 4 wise guys giving their most precious treasure to Suk, surrounding her with love and care.
With love to all of you, Kay