Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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Kevin here.

Sorry for the intermittent updates. I don't write them at the hospital, preferring to spend my time with Mike when I'm there.

As of Wednesday afternoon, what we know:

Michael is still in the hospital. For those keeping score at home, this marks the 23rd consecutive day of being in a hospital, although there was a brief break last Thursday, where he got to be checked out and spend part of the night at home. Only to come back in on Friday morning to get checked in again.

Which sucks. In a really huge way. I'm not sure I understand how much it sucks to be in that place, where your own body is trying to kill you, and parts of you are failing. Mike described this in a text message last week, during the first leg of this stay: feels like I'm made of duct tape and cardboard, and they're just trying to patch me up while another bit starts to fail. 
 So, why is he still in the hospital?

Several reasons. Fair warning: medical details follow. 

He has two infections, or perhaps the same infection in two places. He has an E Coli infection in both urine and blood, indicating that it's fairly serious. The blood part is minor, as these things go - the doctor we talked to today talked about a spectrum of various degrees of blood infection, with some serious shit at the top end. Mike's near the bottom, but this is still something they take seriously, with IV antibiotics for multiple days. He'll also likely have oral antibiotics for multiple days after the IV.

He's also having a lot of trouble breathing, and thus far the doctors aren't seeing something that explains the breathing troubles he's having, so the first of his two scans today was a CAT scan aimed at trying to get an image of his lungs. When we get that, we may know more about the amount of tumor growth, but the real data is on the other side of a PET/CT scan, which the doctors haven't ordered thus far. Being on oxygen all the time sucks for a variety of reasons, but it's better than suffocating.

The second scan was done in Nuclear Medicine, and was a scan aimed at his right kidney, to make sure that the double-j stent they put in almost two weeks ago is still working, because he's not urinating. At all. His "perc neph" which is the drain they installed in his left kidney, also about two weeks ago, is working just fine, and he's pretty much blood-free, which is a very nice change. But still, that's a problem.

He's also retaining a lot of fluid in his legs - a condition called edema - which again, is moderately confusing to the doctors, since there is not currently any clotting going on that would explain the retention of water.

And he's not up and walking, since all of this is going on, and his back still hurts like hell from the degenerative disc condition, and so on.

We're aiming at Friday, because that's when the IV antibiotics will have run their course. Things may change between now and Friday, of course, but from what we know now, it's a good target.

- Kevin


Cathy Crea said...

Lucky for Michael, duct tape is pretty miraculous stuff. Embrace the duct tape parts!

Deborah in MN said...

It's hard enough to read this, so I can't imagine how hard it is to experience it. All my love to both of you. I want to be there for you and with you.

Gregsly said...

My thoughts are with you all. Kevin, thank you for making these updates and there's certainly no need to apologize, they are much appreciated.

lsikora said...

Kevin - So sorry that Michael, and all the rest of you advocates and saints, are going through this, and here's holding on to prayers and positive thoughts for the IV antibiotics running their course by Friday, and Michael getting to come home!

John Slade said...

I happen to have heard that Michael IS at home Friday so that's great, hope you get some good time just being quiet in your own place. And may the back pain retreat!

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