Latest update as of 1/9/07 @ 11:00p.m.
Finally… a good 24 hours. Spent some time with Mom tonight and she was more alert and talkative than she had been the entire week. She kept saying to herself, “I just need to quit worrying.” When I asked her what about, she replied, “Everything.”
Mom’s mostly worried about my step-father, Larry, and their independent insurance agency in Van Horne, Iowa. I kept reinforcing to her that what she really needed to do was: eat, rest, get healthy. I told her that Larry was doing OK and that their employee, Amy, was doing her best to hold down the fort during Mom’s absence.
Mom had removed her feeding tube all on her own… AGAIN! So, in order for the doctors to NOT replace it, she’s been informed that she needs to eat. She had a little bit of left-over chocolate cake from her evening meal. Mostly, she ate the frosting. I can’t blame her… the cake was kinda’ dry.
Mostly, we talked about her physical therapy, which involves her getting out of bed and walking the halls. Mom’s comment was, “Gosh. It’s so hard…. I hurt everywhere.” I massaged her feet and she mentioned that the middle-toe on her left foot was awfully sore. It didn’t look swollen, but I had Emily, Mom’s evening nurse, to take a look. I’m not sure if she saw anything unusual.
Hopefully, we’ll have many more days of improvement such as this. Let’s all cross our fingers and say a little prayer. 🙂
Latest update as of 1/5/07 @ 5:00 p.m.
Mary is back on the 4th Floor JC West Cardiology in Room #4325, which is again a private room. Her phone is #(319) 353-9291. She was sent back late Friday evening, after my last visit at 8:30 p.m. She actually had another surgery on Thursday evening to install a Lumbar shunt. The back drain was pinched off on Tuesday morning and pulled out on Wednesday morning. She was set to move out of Surgical ICU on Thursday morning, but the incision in the back of her head was draining spinal fluid again so they required surgery to install the Lumbar shunt, which directs spinal fluid from the back to the abdomen thru a small tube tunneled under the skin from the back to the stomach area. This seems to be successful as the incision has dried and is no longer seeping fluid.
On the good side is that her kidneys are working enough to avoid dialysis since last Sunday. They did not do dialysis on Monday or Tuesday due to the Holiday, and her urine output increased dramatically to the point of being over the required amount on a daily basis thereafter. We hope this trend continues. Also, she has been up in a lounge chair for over four hours at a time on both Friday and Saturday.
However, she does not want to eat orally, so she is still on the feeding tube through her nose. The heparin was started again yesterday after being off since Thursday, due to the last surgery.
The largest concern at this time seems to be her mental status. She has shown some signs of outward anger since Friday and has wanted to keep her eyes closed and not say much for several days prior to that. We are not sure if it is because of her lengthy stay in the Hospital, her neurological state, a combination of both, or some other reason. They will probably do some more neurological evaluation on Monday.
Again, thanks to all who have acknowledged Mary’s situation in any way, but please keep her in your continued thoughts and prayers.
Sincerely, Larry Albers
(Dec. 28, 2007) from my step-father, Larry Albers:
Mary had another emergency surgery on her head on Thursday evening. The incision on the back of her head had started to show leakage of spinal cord fluid. They thought that it may have been infected so they decided to reopen the incision and check it out. Fortunately, they did not find any infection that they could tell but they did replace the dura covering and stitched it back up. They also inserted a lumbar drain in the lower back to alleviate spinal cord pressure from the inside of the incision. Also, she had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy today to check for the blood loss that she has been having of about two pints every three days but neither of them showed any negative results. She also had hemo-dialysis today for three hours removing another 2 liters of fluid.
Unfortunately, she is back in Iowa City at the Surgical ICU Unit on the 5th Floor again. She has had the breathing tube reinserted again, but will probably have it removed tomorrow morning. They took her off the feeding tube for the surgery and other procedures, but will probably start again tomorrow. Heparin anti-coagulant was also discontinued for the present. She had been very quiet and somewhat unresponsive the last week and it was attributed to dialysis, but there may be some neurological problems that may be surfacing.
Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she is still a very sick lady. Finally, thanks to everyone that has acknowledged her sickness in any way as they are all very much appreciated!
(Dec. 24, 2007) From my step-father, Larry Albers:
They released Mary from Surgical ICU on Sunday afternoon. She went to Floor #4 JC West – Room #4337. It is a private room with Phone #(319) 353-9599. She entered this same Cardiology Floor back on November 24th. The Neurology Department signed off on her care for the aneurysm surgery on her head, but the heart valve problem still exists. The original repair is still an option. She is now on kidney dialysis on a daily basis of approx. 2 hours at a time. They are trying to pull all excess fluid from her body to ease the stress on her heart. However, this is making her extremely sleepy, so it is very hard to get much out of her for several hours afterward.
Both the ICU area and the dialysis appear to have weakened mother’s body. The anti-coagulant of heparin seems to be alright at this time for her artificial valves and she will have to be on that if they do the heart repair. It seems as though it is not a question of if they do the heart repair, but rather when they do it, depending upon her body strength and stamina.
Thanks again for all your cards, notes, letters, gifts, flowers, phone calls, etc. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers for her continued care and hopeful recovery!