Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Most of Krista's lab results continue to move in the right direction, but the progress is really slow. The INR value is still high, though, and they would really like to see it come down.

One very good improvement yesterday is that she began having bowel movements last night. They had given her a laxative earlier in the day since it had been two days since her last one. With her liver not functioning properly, the digestive system stops getting natural stimulation. Since she responded to the laxative, it's a good sign that the intestines are continue to be operable. Since she hasn't eaten in a long time, they are also going to try giving her some liquid nutrition to see if she'll digest it now. If not, they will begin a nutrition drip. Adding nutrition may signal the body to release some of the fluid it's holding onto.

There is still no sign of urination so they stopped giving her Lasix (since it's no longer doing anything) in an attempt to minimize the medicines she's receiving. The kidney specialist had recommended taking a day off between dialysis, but it appears that the "team" has decided it's more valuable to get rid of the excess fluids, so the dialysis machine should be coming soon. I like this team... they keep making decisions that make sense to me, like making fluid extraction a priority. They also are continuing to give her Lactulose, which I learned has the double-benefit of "drawing out" ammonia (which could help her mental state) and drawing water into the bowels to stimulate defecation. There has been a problem digesting the Lactulose, so hopefully with the new intestinal motion she'll be able to uptake it today.

Platelets are at 40,000 today. Her red blood count is low, so she's getting 2 pints of whole blood transfused. I spoke with the oncologist yesterday about when to expect signs of the grafting (an increase in white blood counts), since today is the two week marker after the stem-cell transfusion, but he said that everyone is different and, since cord blood develops slower than adult stem-cells, it may be a while longer -- maybe a week more? They are really concerned about the possibility of infection until it picks up. I also asked if the liver/kidney problems were going to affect the grafting, but that is not expected (although it is something of an unknown).

Krista's mental acuity continues to decline. The doctors ordered a CT scan of her head later today, just to make sure that all this trauma hasn't done any permanent damage. She is uncomfortable and confused, and she completely removed the oral tube and tried to remove the bladder catheter yesterday. We've been trying to keep her calm and away from the tubes, but it just wasn't working. Though it breaks my heart, we had to restrain her hands to keep her from hurting herself. She really hates not being able to move her hands, and continues to hopelessly struggle against the restraints.

In between the bowel movements, the phlegm-suctioning, and Krista's panic over her imprisonment, I was kept up until midnight and awakened frequently throughout the night. I had the TV on and caught part of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He had on Bill Mahr, and as they talked I began to see a startling spiritual parallel with what is going on physically with Krista. Both of them are struggling against the very things that are the only chance for life that they have; Mr. Mahr against religion in general (and Christianity in particular), and Krista against her life support systems. I don't mean to pick on Mr. Mahr; his railing is just a very public expression of the sin nature that is in all of us. As the Scriptures say:

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way...
(Isaiah 53:6a)

That's exactly what the sin nature is -- a tendency to choose our own way over God's. And, like Krista pulling tubes out, we are deceived into thinking that our way is going to be better, when it actually puts us into completely unrecognized danger:

For the wages of sin is death...
(Romans 6:23a)

In Krista's case, the only solution for her is to yield to the restraints, whether they be vocal exhortations or physical bonds. The spiritual equivalent is yielding to God's Word:

...and the LORD has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.
(Isaiah 53:6b)

...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23b)

[Jesus speaking] So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
(Revelation 3:19b-22)

If any of this rings true with you, I would love to discuss it with you. I know that Krista would, too, if she were capable. We're both only overcoming all this because of the strength God gives us.


Anonymous said...

Mike, thanks for all the updates. We're continuing to pray especially for peace for both of you. In Him, Naomi and Barnaby

Anonymous said...

God bless you!

When reading your post about Bill M and Krista it is easy to see the parallels. I want God to show me what is in my life that I am railing against. Even something that is for my life support yet I am fighting it.

I think blindness to this is easy because it's easier to deny we are fighting against something than admit we are struggling and need to deal with something.

We love you all...
Doug and Cheryl