Saturday, February 28, 2009

Propped Up

Each day seems to bring a new milestone, small as they may be. Today's milestone was that Krista used the bedside commode.

We had asked for one to be delivered yesterday but it takes some time for certain things in the hospital. (We also asked for a walker, but the charge nurse said that getting one from physical therapy is like getting the broomstick from the Wicked Witch of the West!) Before Janelle got here, the nurse started encouraging Krista to push her physical abilities, which was a bit confusing given the OT and PT's encouragement to make progress in "baby steps". We got her up to sitting position and checked to see how she was doing. She seemed OK, so we helped her up. She took a few steps toward the commode and slowly turned and sat down on it.

Nothing was happening at first, so the nurse stepped out to give her some privacy. I sat down next to her in case anything went wrong. She started having some diarrhea, which was somewhat expected. As she sat and did her business, she very slowly began to lean forward. I asked her if there was anything wrong, but she didn't respond; she just continued slowly leaning forward, and started having labored breathing. I reached out to support her and found that her whole body was completely leaning into me. Her eyes were open, but she was completely unresponsive, and the gasping breath was getting worse. Keeping one hand on her to prop her up, I reached over to push the call button, and began to pray over her having no idea what was going on. By the time the nurse showed up, Krista began to regain control and breathing.

Krista later said that after the diarrhea she felt weak like she was going to sleep but couldn't say anything. She fainted or, in medical terms, had a syncoptic episode. Her body has become accustomed to the horizontal position in bed, and the vertical sitting position accompanied by the strain of the diarrhea produced a temporary excessive drop in blood pressure. The nurses were really glad that I was there to catch her. With her platelets being so low, a fall can be very dangerous. Since she didn't fall, there shouldn't be any lasting effects from the fainting. Thank you God for orchestrating another close rescue! We are certainly going to be more careful now, giving her more time to adjust to different physical positions.

Fortunately, there were no activities scheduled for the rest of the day. We had a nice visit from the Norby family. Ursula and their kids had been in Germany over the holidays taking care of her father, who had Alzheimer's for over 10 years and passed away while they were there, and helping her mother with the many arrangements necessary after her loss. The children had done well seeing their grandfather in a deteriorated condition, so they felt comfortable allowing them to visit with Krista. Krista had her first good look at herself since the ICU incident today and was surprised how "bad" she looked. We all encouraged her that she had made incredible progress. I think that Tobias and Gracielle's pleasant interactions with her may have helped her to not be as sad about her appearance.

Krista was pretty weak all day. Her blood pressure has been higher than normal so they are starting her on blood pressure lowering medicine. She also started saying that her mouth and throat pain is extending down into her mid-chest and that she is feeling like her throat inside is swelling, making it more difficult to swallow. She drank Cinch shakes, juice, and chicken broth again today, but began having feelings of nausea later on. Poor Janelle had to help Krista through a really difficult vomiting incident while I had stepped out to get some dinner. Krista's been resting since then, though the general pains are still quite high. Her platelets were quite low tonight, so she got a transfusion from an A-positive "compatible" patient-directed donation. Just a reminder to all of you who are continuing to donate blood and platelets: your ongoing donations are still making a huge difference -- thank you!

What a privilege it is to be able to participate with God in preserving the life of one of His loved ones.

[God speaking] "Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all you who remain of the house of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since you were conceived,
and have carried since your birth.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am He, I am He who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
(Isaiah 46:3-4)

No comments: