Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In The Bosom Of A Bad Buffet

It was very nice of my mother to come up from Carlsbad to give me some breaks today. Thanks Mom! It really helped us deal with the many flavors of pain and suffering today; the last two days being a complete smorgasbord.

On one table of our smorgasbord, there was emotional distress brought on by two different members of the hospital staff. One member brought distress through hygienic carelessness, the other through wretched interpersonal skills. I will not go into details on these, but please pray for the staff here. All the rooms in the transplant wing are filled and it may be taking a toll on them; that in turn affects their ability to care for Krista. She has been very concerned about what has happened (and rightfully so), to the point of tears, but this shouldn't be her burden right now. She needs to feel safe and comfortable with the help staff so she can endure the unsafe and uncomfortable physical things she's going through.

On another table of this smorgasbord, there were physical challenges: low platelets, low red blood, fevers, chills, heavy inflammation, and generally feeling yucky. Her tongue was so swollen they ordered x-ray pictures to make sure that she would continue to be able to breathe. Fortunately, she hasn't had any blockage. We suspect that the swelling and inflammation are an abnormal build-up response to benedryl, and stopping it seems to have helped bring down most of the external, visible swelling, though she still isn't able to swallow food.

And the last table in the smorgasbord proved to be the most excruciating of all: agony. A drop in platelets today (to 12,000) came with some kind of bladder dysfunction. Her urine has blood in it, and she is experiencing aching in her bladder and in her lower back that earlier this evening she rated as a 9 out of 10 (with 10 being the worst pain possible). We were concerned that this may have been some kind of kidney failure, but the doctor tonight informed us that the blood tests show that her kidney is working properly. He also press-tested her back and identified the source of the pain in some muscles in her lower back. The pain was excruciating, but, thanks to a new morphine drip (that replaced the Dilaudid drip after some severe vomiting), the pain is much more tolerable and she has been able to get some sleep now. They are hoping that the platelet transfusion today will stop the bleeding in the bladder. It may have stopped already if the visible color is just residual blood getting flushed out. We'll learn more tomorrow.

It breaks my heart to see her go through all this. The doctors say that the two weeks following the stem-cell transfusion are the worst part of the process for the patient. That makes tomorrow a half-way point of sorts, and helps us see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Answer me when I call to you,
O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
(Psalm 4:1)

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