Archive for November, 2009

11/25 Update

Hello all! This is Nathan filling in for Sheila.

Sheila has been very under the weather recently. So, I decided to give everyone the low-down on what’s going on. Back about a month ago, Sheila went on her trip to North Carolina. The weather was fantastic and the fall colors were beautiful; however, Sheila didn’t get to take it all in as she might have wished. She was often nauseous and weak. She was on a constant vitamin C drip and occasionally on another drip which I am forgetting right now.

With bed rest, Sheila was doing ok. Toward the middle of the third week her port started looking very sore. She called her naturopath who told her to take the IV out and then ordered antibiotics. She did as she was told and then made her way home.

After resting for a couple of days back at home, Sheila went to have her naturopath take a look. Her port had been starting to look a little better. Although, a few missed pokes for the saline solution combined with a couple of days of “festeration” and the port was looking terrible again. She tried and tried to keep the infection at bay, but it only got worse and worse.

By last Monday night Sheila had gone for three days with nausea and vomiting. She was unable to keep anything down. Sheri, Sarah (her sister-in-law ), and I urged her to go to the emergency room to get the port removed ASAP. Sheila was worried that medics and nurses would be unable to access any veins due to her dehydration. She wanted to wait until she could keep a few glasses of water down. Eventually, she was somewhat forced into making the decision of calling an ambulance (forget the water).

When the ambulance got to the house (about one full minute after being called upon) they were able to get Sheila’s vein immediately. They did it faster than I have ever seen, with as few problems as I have ever seen. We all thought BRAVO! and GOOD JOB! Later Sheila would realize…. Oh yeah, I have never weighed as little as I do now – my veins are probably all popping out in the open… no wonder why it was so easy. No matter what, I am glad it went as easy as it did.

It wasn’t until the next day that they were able to get her into surgery and remove the port. She had septicemia (when the infection travels throughout her body via the blood). Upon viewing a chest x-ray The ER nurse thought that she might have pneumonia. However, we would later learn that she has had some cancer spread or mutate somehow from the lymph nodes into her lungs (I’m not sure I fully understand exactly what the specifics are for this one). So, we now know at least one contribution to her coughing.

Also, we learned that her calcium level was a “15” when it should be lower than 10. Her nurse told her that she had had patients before who were completely loopy with a level of just 12. She got meds for that (again the name fails me) which had been previously offered – but refused because long term use causes jaw bone deterioration.

At the hospital, Sheila was put on all sorts of pain meds, antibiotics, and nausea meds. At one point, Sheila claimed to see Martin Luther King Jr. in the curtains and she was certain that there were murals under the paint on the walls. She was declared infection free for three days straight and allowed to come home on Saturday afternoon. Before she left, they installed a picc line for home IV’s. They have her on a few different antibiotics for about a week and then another until after Christmas. The long term antibiotic is delivered through IV. They are wonderful little balls that we can set up on our own without any kind of medical help.

Unfortunately, her nausea is persistent. Sheila is still having a hard time holding down anything beyond the occasional smoothie. We are currently awaiting word on whether she can get IV nausea meds (as she can’t keep down the pill form and/or it makes her more nauseous) and perhaps nutritional IV’s.

Sheila has been having a real tough go of it recently, but I know that with her motivation and all the love she receives, she will pull through and get back to the normal routine again.


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