Archive for August 7th, 2010


Turn for the worse, turn for the better

Brian here again.  Last week Julie took a turn for the worse, but the doctors have identified some problems and she’s clearly better than she has been for a couple of weeks.  She’s in the hospital now and doing well, but she’s not allowed any visitors.  Here’s the story…

Early Thursday morning I took her into Emergency.  Their initial findings were that she had a pretty nasty urinary tract infection (we can talk, right?) and dehydration.  She’s in the hospital now, getting plenty of fluids and antibiotics.  I visited her Thursday night and already she was doing better already.  By Friday evening we talked for about two hours after she had had a busy day, so clearly her energy level was very much improved.  Her speech was also much stronger (she’d been a little soft and mumbly) and she wasn’t searching for words anymore.  Saturday was a little tougher for her, as she had slept poorly Friday night and I could see the lack of sleep was dragging her down a bit, but still a vast improvement over the prior couple of weeks.

The doctors have also discovered that she has accumulated some fluid in her belly.  They’d like to draw off a sample of it for lab analysis, but her blood platelet count is extremely low.  Blood platelets allow clotting to occur if a blood vessel is punctured.  There’s always a small risk of puncturing something during the process of sampling the fluid, and with Julie’s low platelet count such a puncture could turn into a great big problem.  They’ve given her a transfusion of platelets, but even with that her stats are a little too low.  They’re going to check again in the morning to see if the platelet count has come up enough to allow them to proceed.

In addition to a lack of platelets, Julie’s white blood cell count is way, way low — a perennial problem for many chemo patients.  Essentially, she has about zero defenses against any kind of germ or microbe that wanders in.  As a result: no visitors.  She’d love your good wishes and thoughts, but please don’t stop by the hospital.

We’re taking it day by day regarding when she’ll leave the hospital.  They need to get that infection out for good (it’s believed to be a continuation of an infection a couple of weeks ago that we thought she had beaten), and they need to know what that fluid is all about.  At this point, we’re probably looking at Monday or Tuesday at the best, perhaps  a little later.  Her spirits are good.  Her appetite has picked up too.  The nurses are taking great care of her.  In addition to the regular hospital doctors, the good Doctor Medici stopped in to check on her.  She’d obviously rather be home, but she knows that the hospital is where she needs to be right now.

So that’s the news from Lake Cancer-be-gone.  Take care, everyone.  We’ll be back in touch soon.

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August 2010

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