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ICU deja vu

January 28, 2010

Being back in ICU with Evelyn is all too familiar. We are already seeing the same nurses from five months ago & the trip down the hallway isn’t as disconcerting as the initial visit. Evelyn looked much better Wednesday afternoon. The lasix (diuretic) had removed an enormous amount of excess fluid, her stomach area was not as distended, face not as puffy, breathing did not appear to be as labored and she was actually laying back almost horizontal indicating her lungs and heart were not as stressed from her internal sea of fluid.

So what testing did she encounter on Wednesday? I’m still not certain what all went on. She did have an isotope gallbladder test. Results back to the family is still pending. Why a gallbladder test? Apparently her lack of food over the past many months (after the nasal feeding tube was removed at Thanksgiving) caused that organ to shrink to almost nothing. This can certainly cause a lot of intestinal upset. Her spleen problem continues. Her platelet count increased to 30,000 and up to 60,000, then dropped back to 30,000 (due to her spleen consuming the platelets and blood cells). Mike, Kim & I have all been brushing up on our internal organ functions. Basically the spleen helps recycle old blood, platelets, and houses white blood cells. Right now it’s much larger than it should be due to all the extra blood/platelets it’s trying to destroy. Not a good thing to have happening.

If the doctors are able to remove more excess fluid, stop the spleen from destroying platelets and shrink back to normal size then they will be looking at inserting a feeding tube through her abdominal wall to the stomach. No more nasal feeding tube option. I’m pretty certain Evelyn likes that idea!

We are all stressed out from this change of events. Everyone has noted an inability to focus on tasks. Mike was very flustered on the drive down yesterday, unable to really concentrate on how to get to the hospital.  This was one of the first times we have witnessed this behavior, with exception to last September. We made an extra 20 min tour through Eugene that left Shannon, Dave & I… plus Mike too, laughing like crazy. We met Kim at the hospital parking lot so we could make a “visit in numbers”. This method is often preferred by our family because it makes it less stressful on individuals. Not certain how Evelyn likes it but we don’t care. She told Lee to tell everyone not to come visit because it’s difficult for her to talk, but we ignore that request. Others should do likewise. If you want to go see her, then do it!

Lee has taken up his “normal” routine of two visits a day to ICU. We had dinner with him after our visit. He made a big batch of potato soup, Kim picked up Metropol Bakery bread and beer from MoC (Market of Choice- the hoity toity market out on 29th & Willamette). Earlier we had stopped by Outback Steakhouse for beer and nosh to settle nerves after the mom-visit (not the best but we did discover a new brew pub down the street from them that the group might try on Friday.)

We really wish Tom was closer to share in the  family bonding time. Kim talked with him on Tuesday night and he might get Family Medical Leave time off. It’s hard for him because he has only been working the new job for 6 months (supervisor position for blood donations with the Red Cross in Bend.) It must be very difficult being on the outer fringe of it all. We are trying to keep him updated on developments.

I’ll be heading down for an early afternoon visit on my own and post more info when it comes.

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