Karen’s Health Journey – Tuesday, November 6

As you can probably tell by now, I use this blog not only to provide you information of Karen’s status but also as a way for me to filter through the tsunami of emotions and deluge of information I experience through this process. So, forgive my indulgence.

Let me make Karen’s current situation more clear. Since Saturday night she has been mostly unconscious. Now that needs to be explained. It is as if she is in a deep sleep. She moves her head, arms, and legs but not in a coordinated fashion. She will open her eyes at times. At first, when she did this, I would rush to her side to try to talk to her, assuming she was waking up. More recently, I will only try to communicate with her if her eyes are open for an extended period of time.

As I have mentioned, she can respond to all basic commands communicated by the staff. If they ask her to open her mouth, she will. If they ask her to stick out her tongue, she can. But when anyone asks her questions that require more than a yes/no response, she attempts to respond only to fall back asleep.

Last night, my son Andrew and his daughter Rachel came to visit. I hoped, knowing how much she loves her grandchildren, she would be able to muster the strength to communicate more. I had the feeling she recognized we were all in the room and I felt she tried hard to talk to us but she was just too weak.

When I left last night, I took her hand and said I would be back in the morning. Her eyes were open and she was able to whisper: “I want to go home.” I explained she was too sick to go home but as soon as she was able I would honor her wishes and bring her home.

I will be honest, her request has been gnawing at me since. I know for a fact if she could see how she looks with six bags of IV fluids over her head, an IV line in both arms, and catheter in her neck, and a feeding tube down her nose she would be less than happy with me. She would ask why I let things get this far.

Yet I have had some brief conversations with her and she did agree, as best I can determine, to proceed down the medical path we are on. So I am still convinced we are doing what we should to this point.

I am trying to remain optimistic. I have had lengthy conversations the doctors caring for her to help ground me in reality. If she does respond to her treatment, she is looking at a lengthy rehabilitation process. She may be unable to come home for a month depending on her abilities.

I have been asked if she has brain damage. There has been no indication of this. She has never gone without oxygen and she can follow simple directions. So no one seems concerned about brain damage. But those of you who have Googled sepsis will know that a loss of mental abilities can result. So at this point, we have no idea what the long-term effects to her mind will be.

When I left the hospital last night, the nurse gave me great optimism. He said that looking at all her readings and the trend of her treatment resolving some of the chemical imbalances, she seems to be responding quite well. While that was great to hear, I realize their optimism is based on a very low bar. Patients in the ICU are all critically ill.

This is not the most optimistic of posts. To be clear, her status as not changed. She is critically ill but in stable condition.

If this is your first post, please click here to get the full story of Karen’s Health Journey.

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