September 13, 2009
The swelling in her legs had gone down substantially. In fact, they looked pretty normal, all in all, though some still persisted. Even better, the rash/infection was much reduced. When I last saw her on Monday night, pretty much from her knees down was a bright, fierce red. Now it looks like a fading sunburn and is obviously going away.
Unfortunately, that infection is the one thing keeping her from going on the transplant list at the moment. Doctors won't perform ANY surgery if the patient has an active infection going, let alone something as major as a transplant. I know someone who needed to have a tooth pulled once, and they made her wait a week while a minor infection went away.
The bad news is that, because her liver isn't doing its job, her kidneys are being pummeled by the crap it isn't filtering out. As a result, now they're beginning to go south. Now, normally that's a worry, but really not all that much of one. A liver transplant will fix the filtering problem and the kidneys usually just bounce right back. The docs, though, are concerned that they've been damaged enough that the belief is that they won't come back.
Okay, well, the "good" news in that case is that a dual liver/kidney transplant is pretty much the most common dual transplant there is... and if there's a liver available, a kidney is usually there, too. Another bit of "good" news from this is that all of this will put her even higher on The List once she gets on it. Maybe not at the very top, but close enough that she'll be able to see it from where she'll be.
But all is not wine and roses. Because her kidneys are like a boxer that's taken one too many shots to the head at the moment, they're not doing much in the way of ANYthing. Even being cathed didn't help matters... and by Saturday night, the docs were hearing fluid buildup in the lungs. So her liver is going south, her kidneys are going south, and now she's got all the symptoms of pneumonia (without actually having pneumonia, if you get what I mean).
Monday, they're going to start her on dialysis to take the strain off her overtaxed kidneys. This is a GOOD thing, as she should be feeling better almost immediately, but it's still a traumatic thing to think about.
Finally, her neck is starting to suffer from the effects of having been flat on her back for the past month. The docs have had her lie down with her feet elevated, and while you might not notice at first, that position does put a strain on the neck and shoulders. Now try it for a month straight. If her hospital bed is flat, it really begins to hurt... and then she begins to scream; it's that bad. The only position truly comfortable is sitting up in a chair... which doesn't do the swelling in her legs any good.
From an emotional standpoint, that's what got to me the most. They've got her on a good painkiller, but even that doesn't take away all the pain (they can't give her morphine; too hard on the liver and kidneys). I know what real pain is like... 13 kidneystones and falling off a loading dock and dislocating your ankle badly enough that the foot ends up pointing backwards will do that... but I can deal with my own pain.
I spent 14 hours with her on Saturday, about 4 hours on Friday, and about the same Sunday before I had to come home, and I'm exhausted. So exhausted that I burned the hell out of my right arm on a pizza pan making dinner. And I feel guilty that I'm not there with her right now.
She's in the right place, with the right doctors and nurses, doing the right things for her. I know all that. But a part of me thinks... knows... that I've failed, somehow.
Good to hear that they're going to do dialysis. I was thinking as I was reading that it was what she needed, until I got to that point.
I understand your feeling of guilt, but I don't know what else you could be doing beyond what you've done.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 13, 2009 11:59 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Avatar at September 14, 2009 12:12 AM (vGfoR)
Like Avatar said, let us know if there's anything we can do. And best wishes to Momzerduck from all of us.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at September 14, 2009 04:48 AM (PiXy!)
Posted by: HC at September 14, 2009 01:01 PM (y+7vV)
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