Update as of Feb.8, 2008: from Larry Albers
I picked Mary up yesterday afternoon in Vinton. She is now at home from her long escapade in the Hospital. Mary is managing the home very well with the assistance of a walker, as she is still somewhat unsteady when she is without it. She is doing more on her own by the hour, but still needs rest frequently. It will probably be several more weeks before she can do almost everything independently and with some endurance involved. Meanwhile, I have become “head cook and bottle washer, etc.”, which is better than the alternative.
Again, thank you to all who showed their caring ways with gifts, flowers, food, cards, phone calls, well-wishes, etc. and especially prayers as we are still blessed with her presence.
Update as of Jan.24, 2008
Mom was moved
They moved Mom to Skilled Care at Virginia Gay Hospital in Vinton, IA on Wednesday, 1/23/08. Mary is in Room #107 with phone (319) 472-6417. She has received several types of therapy today, sometimes more than once. She has made tremendous progress in the last several days, going from needing great assistance to being able to go to the bathroom on her own. Therefore, she is also walking without a walker and eating much better. This is in part due to them giving her food that she likes instead of sending a random meal and having to throw most of it away! She stated that the therapy was difficult for her, but she could also tell that is was giving her more strength again.
The best guess is that she will be heading home late next week, possibly anywhere from Wednesday, 1/30/08, to Friday, 2/1/08.
Again, thanks to everyone for your flowers, gifts, cards, phone calls, well-wishes, etc., and especially your thoughts and prayers. It looks like we are on the last leg of our journey toward home, but continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers so that it does not take a severe turn in the opposite direction!
Update as of Jan.18, 2008
Hopefully, this will be the last update from her hospital stay in Iowa City. She is scheduled for release on Tuesday, 1/22, unless something happens to the contrary before then. Mary is completely off Heparin and the Coumadin is at the required therapeutic level. She is still walking with a walker several times daily and is getting stronger when getting in and out of bed. However, the lumbar shunt is still causing some discomfort and her stomach does not want to settle down with food intake. Her incisions are all healing properly and are no longer in need of much medical attention, especially after they decided not to do anything with her heart at this time.
Therefore, we are looking at a skilled care facility for 1-2 weeks to help with rehabilitation of everyday activities along with 24-hour care and medical needs as required. This may be in Vinton, either at the Lutheran Home or Virginia Gay, or possibly in Cedar Rapids at St. Luke’s. As today starts her ninth week of being in the Hospital, another 1-2 weeks in a skilled care facility will probably go by quickly.
Again, thank you for all your concerns, gifts, cards, well-wishes, visits and especially thoughts and prayers as everything seems to be looking upward!
P.S. I will let you know what facility she is moved to after Tuesday.
Update as of Jan.10, 2008 from my step-father, Larry Albers
Finally, I have some positive news that has not been met with adversity for a week. They have removed all sutures from her incision on the back of her head. It is dry, even though she has been back on heparin for over 54 hours. The sutures in her back and abdomen (from the Lumbar shunt) are not covered. They will be removed next Thursday. Mom has not needed dialysis for 12 days and her kidney functions seem to have returned to near normal. She has been walking with a walker unsupported several times a day for the last two days. Mary is also spending several hours (a few times each day) in a recliner chair instead of in the bed.
On the negative side, they have decided that she is not a candidate for heart surgery, either in the short term or in the foreseeable future. She also has pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas. She has some gall stones, but they are not in a position to block anything. This, along with not eating any solid food for 34 days is causing an appetite problem. She needs nutrition to get stronger, but too much food is also a problem with her stomach. They will be converting her blood thinner from ‘Heparin’ to ‘Coumadin’ in a few days to prepare her for a release in 1-2 weeks, if nothing else develops.
It is not known if she will be sent home with some possible home care, or if she will need to go to a skilled care facility for a week or two before returning home. This will be determined by Physical Therapy when she is released.
Since her release from IC, Mary’s mental state seems to be improving daily.. She still has some confusion, but is conversing more and with greater knowledge of everyday activities daily. She has even mentioned that she would welcome visitors for short durations. This may acclimate her further to the outside world again after 7 weeks in the Hospital.
Again, for what seems like forever, thank you all for your concerns, cards, notes, well-wishes, thoughts and especially prayers for her recovery. It seems as though they have been answered successfully!