Saturday, May 21, 2011

A cell phone should be as easy as a toaster, or at least a phone. Instead I have a device that is referred to as "smart" and in fact makes me feel incompetent.  It impedes communication through poor sound quality, gaps, and loss of connection.  All this for more money.  Are we sure that Americans have experienced progress through the transition to cell phones?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Septic shock newsletter part IV: stone less and back home again!

Dateline: 5 May 2011, Peacham, Vermont

Sharon’s stone-less and back home again after surgery! 

Bring on the puns- stones, rocks, boulders, blocks, obstructions, you name it. We can take it.

Today, Dr. Andrew Nisbet (and all around good egg), Sharon’s urologist, removed a bodacious great mondo-stone and some little satellite stones from Sharon’s left kidney. The surgery went more easily and more quickly than Dr. Nisbet had expected, as the stones were more easily broken up than anticipated. What was expected to take 3+ hours only took about 1.5 hours. Turns out the equipment for this procedure resembles something Playstation would make-- a video game with fiberoptic lasers blasting away at rocks and then clearing those out--all while keeping your "health up". Dr. Nisbet confessed it was fun and did make a case for there being one useful purpose for practicing video games as a means to master practical skills in later life.  

Sharon’s blood pressure and medical condition during the surgery were excellent, and her anesthesiologist commented how much easier today’s surgery was than the one on April 20th, when she was in septic shock and the goal was to be fast and drain the infection, try to keep her blood pressure up, keep her alive.

Dr. Nisbet collected samples of the stones for analysis and the big mystery now will be what is the stone made of?  There are different types of kidney stones and the most common are made of calcium carbonate.  However, Dr. Nisbet wondered, given how soft these were, if they might be uric acid stones. 
We take bets here and award prizes for both the most thoughtful and the most imaginative or silly answers. Time and laboratory analysis will tell! Sharon still has a stent (a plastic tube) that that connects her left kidney to her bladder.  The tube travels inside her ureter and maintains an open channel from her left kidney to her bladder so that any postoperative swelling cannot obstruct the outflow of the kidney which can cause infection which can cause sepsis and well....that nasty little cascade of the past 2 weeks. Next week we hope to have the stent removed. 

The other big mystery is Why stones at all?  In addition to analyzing these particular stones Dr. Nisbet suggested that we try to figure out what might be causing recurrent kidney stones by evaluating various possible causes and to have a CAT scan in a few months to assess whether any stones are reforming. Considering many in her family have had them and she has had at least 5 documented kidney stones in  her life it might be time to get a wee bit more curious.

Sharon is ecstatic to have survived the surgery and to have had such a successful surgical outcome. She is resting relatively comfortably this evening, and Gib is tending to her every need. Natalya again took care of the domestic menagerie, while Sharon and Gib were at the hospital. Natalya’s teacher and family friend Nene Riley brought chicken curry and rice for Gib and Sharon’s dinner. All in all, it’s been a very good day!

Gib and Sharon

Now a photo treat......We are dumbstruck with gratitude

This slide show features nests, eggs, nestlings, fledglings-- the must vulnerable life -- and nest tenders and minders of all sorts.  It is dedicated to our friends and family who stepped in during my illness. Your notes of kindness, food, phone messages, cards, visits, food, books, articles, poetry, FOOD, garden help, phone tree, jokes, tears, and food helped so much. Thanks Peacham Vermont and of course Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital staff. It seemed liked nestlings and their helpers were the right images to illustrate how big the world felt and to express our gratitude for coming when we needed you. THANKS to the Senturias, Nancy Lou Saidi, Suzanne Rhodes, Laura, Stan and probably other members of the Fickes family, Mel, Rod and Rachel Reis, Dave and Marilyn Magnus, Karen Joyce, Margaret Caudil-Slosberg, Helen Perry, Abdi Nur Iftin, Hassan Iftin, Ano Lobb, Jenny Hyslop, Wendy Morgan, Julie Hansen, My brothers, Morgan McDonnell, Richard Mendenhall, Jane Flink, Randy and Toni Dillon, Dan and Diane Friedman, The Prudential committee, Peacham Town Clerk team, Peacham Library (great movie suggestions too), Susan Moran, Natalya McDonnell, Annie Danielson, Meg Harper, Barb Melnick, Pam Parrish, Camille Parrish, Randy Parrish, Claudia Micare, Kate and Kathyrn Roosa, Alex Thorngren, Libby Gill, Marjo Price, Ben Bellows, Jeff Passe, and so many more that I am forgetting just this moment at bedtime. THANKS!

Nests & Nestlings - Images by Sharon McDonnell