We’re going to use this blog as a way to update folks on Mom’s condition. This first post will be long, but future posts will be shorter. First, some background for those who don’t already know…
Mom had difficulty walking for some time now due to her hip. She had hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, Sept 17th. That went seemingly well. She was discharged. She was dutifully doing her in-home therapy. While she wasn’t quite able to do an Irish jig (not sure she ever really could), she was able to get up and get around the house with the assistance of a walker or cane.
This past Saturday morning, Oct 12, she told Dad that she had a bad pain in her side all night and didn’t get any sleep. It was bad enough pain that she asked Dad to take her to the ER to have it checked out. They went right over to Kennedy Hospital – Washington Township, which is also where the hip surgery was done. In the ER, they discovered, via a CT scan, several blood clots in her veins, one in her leg, and clots in her lungs. The docs put her on blood thinners to help with the clot. The CT scan also showed a mass on her left lung and her adrenal gland, which will have to get checked later.
She was moved to a private room in the Progressive Care unit, on the blood thinners, and has been there since Saturday.
On Sunday morning, her hemoglobin blood levels dropped from 8.0 when she was admitted, to 6.7, which is considered low. Above 13 is normal. Low blood levels means that she is losing blood somehow. Hemoglobin helps red blood cells spread oxygen through your body. Low levels of hemoglobin could cause anemia, an illness that makes you feel weak, tired and look pale. The doc immediately ordered the blood thinners to be stopped until higher hemoglobin levels.
85% of the time, this type of bleeding is in the GI tract, so they ordered CT scan of the abdomen to see if that’s where the blood loss was. The low blood level are now the top priority and the clots moved down a notch. To prevent any additional clots from reaching the lungs, the doc ordered a Greenfield filter be inserted in her vein. The filter was scheduled for Monday.
On Monday, her blood levels had dropped even further, to 5.9. The doc ordered 2 units of blood, in order to get the hemoglobin level up. She got the first unit of blood this afternoon and was still working on the second unit early this evening. Each unit takes 3 1/2 hours to complete. The CT scan of the abdomen came back and did not show any blood loss in the GI. Other tests confirmed that finding too. We asked to consult a hematologist and she ordered more blood tests. The filter was inserted mid-day, which is good because before that she had to stay in bed, and now the filter allows her to get up out of bed briefly.
So, the question now is what is caused the blood levels to drop? More blood test results will be in tomorrow and will hopefully provide some answers.
We are somewhat frustrated at the slow turnaround in getting test results back and determining the next course of action. We are considering a transfer to Penn, where there are more resources and more experts available.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.