Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Baby Steps

Ever since we left the ICU, the doctors have been telling us "Tomorrow you'll see the physical therapist", but the PT never came until today! In her visit, the PT gave Krista some exercises to do in bed to strengthen her leg muscles. Krista was able to do most of them with effort, but not too much trouble. The whole-leg lift was harder, but the PT said that was to be expected. She asked if Krista wanted to try to stand up, and of course she did. That ended up being the hardest of all. Very slowly we rolled her onto her side and then up to a sitting position on the edge of the bed with her legs hanging out. The PT raised the bed so that her sitting position kept her feet just above ground level and tied a safety belt around her to catch her if she fell. Then Krista slid herself down the edge of the bed and, holding onto the walker, pulled herself up into standing position. The PT had her do a couple of steps in place and then put her back into bed. The exercise was really difficult to do, but she was determined and pushed through and got a much earned nap afterward. The prescription is for bed exercises twice a day, and Janelle helped her later with the second round while I got lunch and a shower.

The oncologist said that Krista was getting really malnourished and that it was important for her to get some food into her. Her white count was down slightly today (to 1.1 with 400 neutrophils) and it may be having a hard time increasing without proper nutrition. On the other hand, the oncologist told us that the neutrophil count is near enough to 500 that she could be a candidate for leaving the hospital if she were more self-sustaining.

Leaving the hospital doesn't mean going home. They transition patients to a nearby hotel for a couple of weeks to a month to be close enough to get daily checkups and get emergency care if needed. The problem is that insurance has declined me twice for coverage there. I'm going to try one last appeal with a doctor's letter, so please pray that it will work out. The insurance company is being hard-nosed because my policy only covers lodging if the distance is over 100 miles from home, and UCLA is 95 miles from ours. Ugh.

There are three big things that need to happen for Krista to leave: 1) eating regularly, 2) being able to walk, and 3) reducing the need for dialysis. I think having a tangible goal helped Krista immensely today, because it led us to a more focused prayer after which she fought through the pain and managed to down one-and-three-quarters Ensures over the course of the day! (An incredible feat since yesterday she was barely able to swallow spoonfuls of the stuff.)

Her red blood count was down today, so they gave her two pints of O-negative which were marked "patient directed." That means that one of you kind people out there donated it for her, and Krista was wondering who out there has O-negative blood. You can send me an email to moe4jesus@gmail.com and let me know who is. Karen and Marc Amling have been donating platelets and found out that their platelets were marked as "compatible" with Krista. She was happy to hear about that, since she is getting "patient directed" platelets twice a day to get her levels up to 50,000. They were at 28,000 earlier, and she had another transfusion this evening.

Our friend Regina in Santa Barbara has a friend, Rhonda Gordon, who lives in Los Angeles. We had not met her before, but she surprised Krista and Janelle with a visit today bringing cards from Santa Barbara friends and some food for me. I was sorry to have missed her (I was out getting lunch) but it sounded like they had a very nice visit together. We keep hearing how encouraged people are with Krista's progress. May today's baby steps encourage your faith even further.

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

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