Surgery Update #3

That's her on the left doing her Tai Chi.  She loves this pic, it was taken by a professional photographer and made it in the local paper. (Photo credit is on the image.)

That’s my sister-in-law on the left doing her Tai Chi. She loves this pic, it was taken by a professional photographer and was published in a local paper. (Photo credit is on the image.)

I went to the hospital around noon today to do check-in. My sister-in-law remains in the ICU and is still sedated – although not as heavily as she had been before.  She moved her arms and responded to the nurse as her position in the bed was shifted.  Her blood pressure is a little on the low side and she remains on a respirator.  The intent is to keep her intubated for a few more days to allow her body to focus on fighting infection and healing.

She has had four infusions of albumin and I believe she has had one blood transfusion.  The swelling in her belly, although not as pronounced as on Sunday, is still quite significant.  Although this all sounds quite alarming to a non-medical person like me, the nurses and doctor have assured us that she is progressing well.  Certainly, despite all the tubes and machines around her, she looks as well as anyone can in that situation.  Her skin tone has improved since she was admitted and, she’d be pleased to know, her hair is holding up great.  (God I love this woman!)

I can hardly wait until we can actually chat again – she’s keenly interested in all the comings and goings in our little town. Last night was election night so even though she’s sedated I told her all the results — because I know she will be very happy with them.  Keep those positive vibes headed her way.

A Visit to Emergency

Unfortunately things have not gone as planned for my sister in law.  She came through her surgery well but had some swelling and discomfort while recuperating in the hospital.  Still in all they discharged her on Thursday and she went home where her two sons were staying to provide her support and assistance while she mends.

On Friday I went over and did check in and decided that perhaps us women should stick together and brought her home to my place.  Her sons were okay with it and she agreed so we packed her up and brought her home.  That night her discomfort increased although the pain didn’t.   Her legs were still quite swollen as was her belly.  She had no appetite and no desire to drink or even move.  We tried to keep her moving but it winded her, absolutely took her breath away.

On Friday, she had a restless night and the painkillers caused her hallucinations. It was difficult to get her up on Saturday morning.  Her breathing was very labored.  Apparently she has used puffers in the past and asked me to go pick them up from her house.  The prescriptions were quite old but she used them anyway and seemed to get some relief.  Still she seemed over the course of a couple of hours to get worse not better.  Around dinner time we made the decision to take her to the hospital.  She went by ambulance which was the right choice – she was seen immediately and needed to be.  She had developed a complication that required immediate  surgery.

Gas from her intestine had leaked into her abdomen and was pushing up her diaphragm.   No wonder she was feeling short of breath!  It was quite remarkable that she wasn’t in pain – she was struggling to breathe yet was not really experiencing pain.  The doctors at the hospital moved quite quickly to get her diagnosed – she was in and back for a CT scan in record time.  So it’s 1 o’clock in the morning and here I sit, along with her son, waiting to get the all clear from the surgeon.

Cancer is the darnedest thing.   It’s like that tumor was still trying to wreak havoc on her even after it was gone – one last kick at trying to make her life miserable.  The surgeon said it would be a couple of hours in the OR. It’s likely we will get the update by 2 a.m.