cautious optimism...

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#1
I've said more than once that the ordeal Gina and I are going through was like a rollercoaster ride. Well, since the last time I made a hospital report it's been more intense than any rollercoaster ride in existence. It's not all bad news so don't get too discouraged as you read this. This is a long post with some good news at the end. (I'll bet most of you skip straight to the bottom before reading the rest of the message.)

Gina had started to improve and then the nausea returned and she couldn't keep anything down. This went on for a week or so and then things really got nasty.

A doctor, one of the best, tried to put in a new iv line one night. The type they wanted to put in is called a central line and when it goes in high on the chest under the collarbone it is called a sub-clav. That's what he tried to put in. When they told Gina they wanted to put one in we both requested that it be done by Dr. Fox. He had put 3 different ones in during other hospital stays and always got it right on the first try. It was as if he had x-ray vision and could see right through the skin and muscles to the veins. The nurses all think he walks on water. He's also very cocky, but then as Mark Twain said, "It ain't braggin' if you done it."

Unfortunately, this time it didn't work that way. He tried 3 times and failed each time. He thought it might be scar tissue that was causing the problem. Regardless of what caused him to fail, the whole affair turned out to be a disaster. Keep in mind that she is on bloodthinners to prevent clots. The probing caused a hematoma in the area he was probing. It also led to extensive bleeding. Her whole side from the armpit to her upper thigh turned dark purple. It was one huge bruise. Worse than anything I've ever seen and I've seen/had some bad ones.

She spent a night in agony and then they transfered her to the ICU. She spent 2 days in intensive care. They had to give her 4 units of blood during those 2 days. All I could think of was the old saying about adding insult to injury.

The bruise has pretty much faded away. The hematoma is still present, but it has reduced in size somewhat and will eventually go away. Most of the discomfort caused by that experience has also faded away.

The one good thing about that whole event was that it required them to change her meds somewhat. This seemed to help with the nausea. It didn't go away, but at least she could keep things down. Her appetite is better although the nausea is always close. She still has problems, however I think it's pretty clear that they are caused by the meds. This isn't a lot of comfort to her right now, yet it gives me hope that as she eases off the meds the other problems will vanish as well.

The liver abscesses are apparently completely drained. They pulled out the catheters today. They were supposed to run a fiber-optic lens down the tubes to take a look, but they apparently changed their minds and just pulled them. The CT scans they'd taken were pretty clear so maybe they decided to spare her the discomfort, or maybe it was more a matter of economics. I hope it was the first reason.

They are now saying that she can come home Thursday or Friday. Hallelujah! We may yet have Christmas at home together. It seems like they are rushing her out of the hospital. This too could be affected by economics - the insurance has run out. It always seems like it happens quickly tho so maybe I'm just imagining things.

Like every other time she has been discharged, it is both joyful and scary. I told her tonight that everyone who heard about it was thrilled to hear she could come home. We, however, know enough to also be somewhat apprehensive. The best term I could come up with was that we were both cautiously optimistic.

Once she comes off the antibiotics we'll have to monitor her temperature closely. If she starts running a fever it may be an indication that the abscesses have returned. That will mean another trip to the hospital.

The doctors still have one arrow in their quiver. It is a combo med called quinupristin/dalfopristin. Apparently the two drugs work in some cases if they are administered in the right ratio. I did some research and found that it can sometimes be effective in cases like this one so I questioned one of the doctors about it. He said he thought the infectious disease doctors were holding that in reserve in case the other antibiotics stopped working. That makes sense. During my research I also found a doctor who has published extensively on the subject of resistant micro-organisms, including this particular one. I plan on asking the infectious disease doctors to contact him to see if he is aware of any ongoing studies or as yet unpublished articles on the subject that might suggest an additional course of treatment. I'm not about to quit fighting yet. And, neither is Gina.

Anyway, she's coming home!!!!! I'm excited, the dog is excited (although he doesn't understand why yet), and Gina is excited.

Wish us luck.
 
#3
I too read the hole thang! But only because you issued such a challenge to do so.

Please yes, add me too to the excited list.

I was on the back porch swing just this evening, and thought about Gina. Funny huh? oh I thought about you too John!

prayers and hugs :grin:
 
#4
Yep, I'll go on the list with the dog, the Queenslander, the Texan, you and Gina.
Oh, and yes I read it all the way through and didn't feel the need to jump ahead at all :)

I am a bit worried that insurance can "run out"! Your system of health sux. (ours isn't much better but we lie to ourselves)
 
#5
... (ours isn't much better but we lie to ourselves)
So do we. We say we have the best health care in the world. That might be true if you are a millionaire. It sure doesn't hold true for the rest of us. All you have to do is look at the statistics compared to other advanced countries.
 
#7
Yep I read the whole thing but would have skipped to the end if you hadn't commented.

Fingers crossed for you both and a quiet uneventful Christmas.
 
#8
Thank you for the update John ... and I read the whole thing through interest. :wink:

It's fabulous that those abscesses are drained, and that Gina can once again return home. Economics or Medically-correct decision? We can only hope and pray it is the latter. I can fully understand your mixed feelings .... scared joy, fearful elation, anxious excitement ... what oxymorons. What a rollercoaster your on.

Through your posts here and our personal exchanges, I know what a wonderful job you've done of making Gina's every day, so much better than it would otherwise have been. She has little to smile about in her life at this time, but what smiles she has have been provided by you. It's going to be great for you both, having her at home again and, like everyone else who's posted, I share your excitement. Great news! :grin:
 
#9
Thanks for the report John. I too read it all the way through!

I'm very pleased for both of you. I also hope that the decision to let Gina home is a medical one and not an economics one.
 
#10
Gosh, John, I too read until the end. I woudl have anyway, but because of your advanced warning, I knew it was going to sound better rather than worse by the end of your post :)

Happy to hear Gina's finally doing better - even if she had to go through absolute pits to get there.

Here's for a nice Christmas at home for the two of you :)
 
#11
Hi John, I really feel for both Gina and you. I don't know what to say really. Y'all have been going through this for quite a while now and I know it is not quite over yet but hopefully it really is finally beginning to end with Gina getting better. Be a great Christmas present wouldn't it? Anyway I also read the whole thing through with interest. It really concerns me that your insurance has run out. The state of the medical situation here in the US being so money hungry and facing what y'all have without insurance is....... Maybe the insurance will renew with the coming year. Anyway my heart goes out to both Gina and you.
 
#12
The insurance issue can be resolved. I'm currently working to get insurance through a high-risk pool that is available in our state. It will be quite expensive, about $500 per month, but cheap when compared to the costs of medicine and hospitalization. This is available to cover pre-existing conditions if you have lost your insurance through no fault of your own, which is the case here. The policy will be retroactive to the date her other insurance ended.

We are also working to get her qualified for Medicare. You can qualify if you are deemed disabled, or expected to be disabled, for twelve months or longer. Since she has been hospitalized for much of the last year that shouldn't be a problem. This process, however, takes months to get through.

It's this in-between period that may prove difficult.
 
#13
She's home (and the dog was happy to see her)

Well, we're home and getting settled in. Gina is resting up to recover from the excitement of the trip home and the extra exertion compared to a normal day in the hospital. I'm taking a short break after getting the car unloaded. It's amazing how much junk you can acquire in a 3 month hospital stay. Pretty soon, I'll start fixing something for a light supper. Probably shrimp and angel hair pasta. I don't think she's ready for a pot roast. :)

Wish us luck,

John
 
#15
Hey, glad you got Gina home. About time too ;)

Shrimp? Is that the most suitable food for her system which is so fragile?

I'd have said some chicken would be safer.
 
#16
Shrimp is easier to digest than chicken. It's less dense. She also happens to love shrimp. Can't get enough of it. As it turned out, she didn't feel up to a real meal, so all she ate was some angel hair pasta dressed with some butter and salt and a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese.

She's sleeping now. I couldn't sleep so I got up for awhile. I slept less than 4 hours last night and it's 1am now and i'm still awake. :(
 
#18
Good news mate.... baby steps now - carefully does it and all being well she will get stronger just a little bit at a time. Good luck
Neil
 
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