Back to the hospital

Mom did great yesterday.  She got a good night’s sleep the night before.  Was up and around the house, on the computer, watching the Red Sox game last night.  She sounded very good.  I came back to Boston yesterday and Alice is up now, staying with my parents at their house.

This morning, when Mom woke up she was having difficulty breathing, so Alice and Dad called 911 a few minutes ago to have the EMT’s take her back to the hospital.  EMTs are there now and just read her blood oxygen levels at 84, where normal is above 90.  

Home

Mom is home and sleeping in her own bed. We have an oxygen machine in the dining room with a 50 ft tube that can reach throughout the house. We also have 5 cylinders of oxygen for portable use when out of the house. I picked up a Pulse Oximeter at CVS, which measures oxygen level and pulse. It’s a matchbox size device that you put on your finger and it measures in about 10 seconds. Neat little device. 

Dad’s exhausted too, both physically and mentally. A good night’s sleep will do him wonders.
Mom is sure to enjoy not being woken up at 5am to give her daily morning blood sample. 
I really have to commend Carolyn for her tireless support for my parents during the past few weeks.  She’s been an advocate for my Mom and I’m so proud to call her my sister. 
Alice has agreed to extend her stay here to help my parents with her outpatient treatment and many upcoming doctor visits.  She will take a ton load of stress off Dad’s shoulders and I thank her for tremendously for her sacrifice in being away from her own family. 

Discharge orders being written for today

We thought there was a possibility that Mom would be discharged tomorrow, but the doctor and physical therapy agree that she’s strong enough to get around at home now.  So, he’s writing up the discharge order now and we will be taking her home later today.

The Home Care staff is preparing the resources we’ll need at home, such as oxygen and monitors.  A nurse will come to the house to periodically check Mom’s blood levels.

She’ll be on coumadin blood thinners to help with the clot. 

She’s very relieved to be able to leave the hospital and go home.

Noon update

Mom had a good night, slept well.   Had a good breakfast and finishing up lunch now.  She looks good, feels good.  Alert, joking and laughing. 

Her blood levels are 8.5 today, so that is good and stable.  No IV’s or treatment currently.   Actually, I stand corrected, they just hooked up the usual antibiotic drip.

Docs will be in late this afternoon to discuss when to start blood thinners.

I’m planning on heading back to Boston tomorrow and Alice is flying in tomorrow, so she’ll be staying with my Dad for a few days.

Thank you for your good wishes.  We are relaying them to Mom and she really appreciates them.

Early morning update

Mom had a great night last night.  She had a good night’s sleep.  Her blood levels are up to 8.4, which is good.  Still low, but much better. 
Mom looks GREAT today.  She’s much more active and alert.  She looks SO much better than yesterday.  Sitting up, laughing, joking. 

Monday update

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.

Updates on Mom’s condition

Thanks to everyone extending their best wishes and prayers for Mom.  

I am composing a longer update right now, and will then try to post more frequent updates as we learn more.   

When Dad had his surgery, we used this blog to get the word out on his condition and it really was effective in reducing the volume of phone calls that Mom had to answer or return.   It can be stressful to keep up and make decisions on her condition and to keep everyone up to date, all at the same time.  I’ve sent more txt messages in the past few days than I have in months.

We want to keep everyone up to date with the latest news, and we will use this blog as a way to do that.

Please note that Mom requested the phone in the room to be disconnected, which we did. She’s requesting no incoming calls right now.  It’s difficult for her to reach the phone and she needs a lot of rest right now.  Thank you for your understanding on that.  Knowing Mom, she’ll be back on the phone soon.