Friday, April 29, 2011

Septic Shock Newsletter Part III

There is no place like home!

Sharon returned home from the hospital late yesterday morning. She spent much of yesterday afternoon resting. She gets happy and weepy over the spring flowers.  She slept well last night and remains afebrile today (max temp of 99.6), which is a great relief. She is taking ciprofloxacin for her infection and oral pain medications for her continuing flank and bladder pain related to her large kidney stone and/or the large plastic pipe (stent) that is in place. She still has bilateral pleural effusions (Water in the space between lungs and it’s lining, the pleura).  She is sort of like an insulated thermal cup.  With the fluid and infection it is very important that she maintain her “pulmonary toilet.  This is a process of coughing, and positioning herself to assure that her lungs drain, get lots of air and do not become infected.  She practices inhaling deeply using her inspirometer, which she named “Steve, Too” after her brother who is an  unrelenting and effective advocate that this breathing stuff is a priority activity.  Fortunately, it fits in with great yoga techniques too and is good for all sorts of ailments. 

Today she was eating meals at the dining room table and had  visitors and calls. Her appetite is good and to raise her serum albumin and iron she has relaxed some of her eating practices (Happy meat and plant based diet).   She appears to have lost most of the extra fluid that she accumulated during her illness. People are not as inclined to call her “lumpy” or “sausage girl”. I am not sure anyone was ever brave enough (except mayber our children) to ever call her that really.   It appears that she will not need to take more diuretics at this point.  During her last day in hospital her body decided to sweat — a process called diaphoresis. She sweated at least a liter of fluid off in what she says was like the worlds longest hot flash. No one is entirely sure of the mechanism for this but at one point Sharon said that maybe her body was wise and decided it needed to increase the loss of fluid or alternatively, her body was responding to seven solid days of adrenaline. When they were all pondering this she said “I don’t know, I have been a little stressed”. This was met by silence and then followed by a hearty laugh all around.

Sharon and friend Margaret Caudill-Slosberg were reflecting on life in the hospital and she wondered about what could be learned from a qualitative study of the language used and names applied to a patient as a reflection of how sick they are. Sharon says she was called honey, sweetie and dear for 4 full days and only when she was mostly out of the woods and on the road to recovery did people begin to use her name. Maybe this is something woordle or the like could illustrate — if not for science at least for fun.

It is hard for her to be home and not be involved in all the things she normally does here. She is a slow moving guest trying to keep her whims within reason and yet not forget to ask for help. I am deeply grateful for all of the offers of support and help with grocery shopping, garden clean up, and dinners. On day 3 of Sharon’’ illness I came down with an impressive sinusitis and upper respiratory infection which has been annoying and persistent. Perhaps I have been stressed. Sharon likes to have me around for naps being someone seldom inclined to take them otherwise. We turn into a puppy pile (with cats).  We have not had to send Natalya out with a bow and arrow yet due to the largesse of our friends and family. Morgan has even offered a mercy visit home next week sometime.

Tomorrow morning, Sharon has an appointment with Dr. Nisbit, the urologist, to discuss surgery to remove the stones in her left kidney. Based on our meeting with him yesterday morning prior to Sharon’s discharge, its possible that she might have the surgery next week. We will continue to make updates available on the blog and please feel free to share them with others and leave comments and suggestions. Good articles, books, podcasts or entertainment shows are all of interest. 

Understandably our friends are shocked to learn of our latest adventure. They just turned away for a moment and next thing they know the whole shooting match has gone crazy.

Stay in touch, thanks for your kindness to our family and enjoy the spring.


Nan Kenney said...

Hello Sharon--
Welcome home! Left a message a few days back-- if I can do anything for you and family-- a cooked meal, shopping, a visit, biofeedback, whatever, I am happy to help. Just call.

Sending good energy and warm thoughts your way,

Unknown said...

Hi Nan,
Such a nice note and I appreciated your phone message too. Thanks.
I will be going back to surgery next Thursday and I hope they get all the stones in that one session. I'd appreciate a session of BF perhaps. Maybe we can talk by phone. My family says "DO NOT REFUSE FOOD" and right they are. anything goes over well.
Gib is sick with sinusitis and URI and I think 5 days of stress that left him feeling pretty stodgy.
I did get some good reading materials donated which is lovely. Lets talk soon.


Kelli Kazmarski said...

Hi Sharon, Gib & Natalya -
I can't believe all you have been through - Seems like you were just here in your red sneakers singing for Augie's birthday healthy as could be!!! You are all in my thoughts and prayers - I hope to see you all soon!!

Jane Flink said...

Dear Sharon and Gib -- I am stunned.  Who wouldn't be stunned?  When last seen, you were the picture of health.  It makes me pause to think that after all this, there will be all that -- recovery and surgery to remove the stone.  I'm not sure the best picture isn't the little kitten with the cutline, "Hang in there!"  Prayers coming your way, my friend, and my thoughts go with you and Gib and Natalya.  Gib, thanks so much for the clear recitation and thanks to Sharon for the addenda.  Disengage for a while, dear child -- be at peace, in the now, with beauty all around you.  Love as ever, Jane 

Unknown said...

Greetings well-wishers!
For those of us in Vermont it seems that spring may have taken hold and now it will not be pushed aside.
On my way home I floated into the Peacham library — hardly an errand I can send anyone else. I found the most perfect book “The sound of a wild snail eating” by Elisabeth Bailey. It is about a woman whose body has left her weak and uncertain and she is given a snail. Just like me with my pictures of toads, worms, and snails of course. It is a regal elegant book. I must thank the author for writing the book so perfectly for me.

Spring has come. Today I did a spin (in the most elegant and snail-like way) through the garden. Looking at the winter ruins but knowing that in a blink it will be green and flowering. I am already "behind". All weeds pulled now would be ones not to trouble me all summer. Once I actually spent many days pulling weeds in early spring. Such discipline and it paid off all season. But, a feat unlikely to be repeated as is so often the case.

Stunned is a good word. I am at 1/100th my normal pace and feeling lucky. The idea of surgery is unbelievable. Then, even if it all goes well, I keep the stent for 10 more days while my kidney recovers. I feel fragile as a baby or a 1000 year old woman. But lucky, did I say that before, not enough I think.

Given my new life or a new chance at life I wonder what I want to bring with me to this side. I think, the lessons learned had to do with simply love. And, to simply love I am sure I need but little of the impatience I brought to most things before. I do have a sense of adventure and opportunity. But like Wylie Coyote after being run over by the truck. I am a line drawing right now and will see if I can re-animate.
Love Sharon

Daniel said...

Greetings, Sharon,
Diane and I are delighted that you're back home, to the welcoming arms of Gib, Natalya, Morgan, and your ever-growing menagerie. Cipro has been a magic elixir for my own, much less dramatic, bout with sepsis. I'm reminded of my mother's remembered amazement at how penicillin completely changed her medical practice. We hope that you're easing into fuller activities, and we wish you all the best for complete recovery very, very soon. We look forward to seeing you this summer in Maine.
Dan Friedman