Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More News from the Center Ring

So much to tell... Mom's condition remains, for the most part, the same. They continued weaning yesterday (she was on CPAP most of the day- a lower level of support than she'd needed earlier in the week.) The plan today was to wean her off completely and, if she did well, remove the tube. They turned off the vent. Her respiration rate and oxygen saturation in her blood both stayed in a very acceptable range, but she indicated she felt like she was working very hard to breath. I think that since they had turned the vent down the day before, she had been working on deep breathing and she had just tuckered herself out. I may also just be wishful thinking... The doctor decided that it probably would not be best to remove the tube or take her off the vent. I stepped outside the room after he had examined her and asked about her lungs. The right side, the side they did the talc pleurodesis, is remaining free of fluid. But the only reason why it is clear of fluid is because she has a chest tube in. It is still putting out a lot of fluid and will likely continue to do so. The bad news is that the procedure to make the lung stick to the pleural space and hold it open didn't work. It is not something they can repeat, so we may need to go to Plan B. The option is to put in a small tunneled catheter into her pleural space. We can drain the fluid every few days which will give her relief and keep the fluid from building up.

The left side is another issue. They drained it late last week to give her more reserve. But despite them removing the fluid, the lung did not re-expand... at all. I looked at the chest X-ray from this morning and the lung is clearly "shriveled" up. Also the space is starting to refill with fluid. There isn't much they can do for this lung. But many people are able to function very well on just one lung.

They will continue to try to wean her, but if she is not able to do so by next Monday, mom may need to consider a tracheostomy. She has written notes to us that she still wants to fight. Her spirits are very good and she jokes and writes hilarious notes from time to time and has asked me to bring in Halloween candy for the staff. Now that she is getting the proper oxygen and nutrition, her humor has returned. She has said (written) that she wants to try the trach if need be. I am so glad she still wants to fight, but I wish I could be there over the next week because so many decisions (big ones) are going to be made. I have every confidence in Aunt Nell to help mom through this. The family has written and emailed and let me know how wonderful Nell is at caregiving (I was pretty aware already.)

So despite that I watch 'Dancing with the Stars' and still can't tell one dance from another, I'm getting pretty used to the dance we are doing here... Two steps forward; one step back... Two steps forward; one step back...

No comments: