Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Guardian Angel Marie
From Marie's lastest e-mail:
Another long day of waiting without a whole lot of progress, but some more real info (and we're still not going backwards!)...
John's brother, Wayne arrived this morning, and I think it will be a tremendous help to have him here to keep John sane. John and I continue to actively monitor Uma's every movement and every alarm on every one of her many machines, taking notes to ask doctors later, trying to get a handle on things and to better understand what's going on. Today was a little rough on her, as they tried to decrease her sedation levels. She reacted quite strongly, with vigorous movement on her left side, increased heart rate, etc. She definitely wants to wake up...but they still feel she's not quite ready. The neurological loop we discussed hasn't come around, though she continues to open her eyes and move when spoken to. Later in the afternoon she began shaking a bit - due to the sedation decrease, most likely - so they ultimately decided to put the level back where it was and give her some more time.
After the nightly rounds, the Doc Squad discussed with us some more concrete plans, as well as Dr. Hershfield's (Uma's main doctor in charge) feeling about what to expect right now. He told us that "in his heart of hearts", he feels that this is going to be a long haul. This is referring to this period of time in the hospital, waiting for her to awaken to undergo initial in-patient rehab. This is not a bad thing. In fact, we are relieved to finally hear what the doctor (and his 25 years of neurosurgery experience) has to say in the way of a prediction of some sort. One thing he discussed at the end of that conference included the phrase "when she undergoes her long-term rehab..." WHEN, not IF. This guy never commits to anything when he talks to patient's families, so we are heartened by the idea that he does think she will come through this, however difficult it may be.
As far as bare facts -
Her intercranial pressure is steady, and the drainage from her brain is definitely less red today - a good sign.
The testing lab grows more and more certain that the suspected infection in Uma's brain drainage tube was due to a contaminant in the sample, and she does not have that issue. [Her numbers didn't indicate an infection, so they got suspicious that maybe she was fine.] They are treating for it just in case, until the results come back for sure - probably tomorrow. The doctors say this is a very good thing (duh).
Her WBC count (white blood cell) and her blood pressure indicate that her pneumonia is improving. Hopefully they will not need to drain fluid with the needle, like they were considering earlier today. The doctors also seemed pleased with this.
They have decided to do the PEG (feeding tube into stomach) and probably also the trach (breathing tube into throat) on Friday. This will make her much more comfortable as she begins to wake up over the next however many days, and it will greatly reduce the chances of infections of all kinds. These sound scary, but are common and safe procedures that will be much better for Uma.
Please continue to send your good thoughts about Uma relaxing, healing, draining blood, completing neurologic loops, etc etc. As much as John and I want her up and awake already, she is just not ready...and that's fine. We can be patient.
posted by Erica at 10:47 PM