Saturday, September 26, 2009

One Door Closes, Another One Opens

They have tried a few gentle ways of waking Alex up today, but now that they've found some fluid in his right lung, they're going to let him rest. This little wrinkle is often referred to as "hospital pneumonia" and happens to people who have been on ventilation for a long time. The surgeon will do the tracheostomy either tomorrow or Monday, depending on his schedule. The "trach" should actually help with the fluid and the labored breathing associated with it. With the shorter tube, his throat and lungs will be less irritated.

Once you have one complication, it opens the door to the other possible complications. Luckily Dr. Tiru is right on top of things and is going after this lung fluid with everything she's got. At this point he's in no great danger from this fluid, it's just another delay in his healing process. They're culturing it to see what kind of bug it is, but the culture will take days. In the meanwhile he's already on a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is known to kill the most likely bacterial culprits.

The awesome news is that the original infection, the sepsis, is under control and is waning. This is very good news because that means 1.) He's getting better and 2.) He's getting better and 3.) He has more energy to fight off the pneumonia.

It's hard to get a picture of what this recovery is going to look like. No one can know for sure because we never know when something like fluid in the lungs is going to present itself. It's safe to say that Alex may be in the hospital for another month, and after that, the at-home recovery will take months.

People have asked about visiting Alex. You are more than welcome to, but there are some things to think about: First, you may want to call the ICU ahead of time and ask if/when he can have visitors. Be prepared for the nurses to tell you that "now is not a good time." They also can't give you medical information about his condition; it's the law. They have to safeguard his privacy especially while they're doing certain procedures, and they have to safeguard his rest. If they do let you in, they'll only let 2 people in at a time, and only for a short time. If you have a cough or the sniffles, or know that you have been exposed to someone with the flu, PLEASE wait to visit him. His body can't take the risk of exposure to any more bugs. After he first wakes up, these rules will become even more important for them to enforce.

Thank you all for your support, generosity, and prayers. We're on a long road, and it helps so much to have such great fellow travellers.


cookingwithgas said...

my mother-in-law was in the hospital for over 2 1/2 months starting about 18 months ago. The first time we got her out of bed it was doubtful she would ever come out of the nursing- rehab home. It was doubtful she would ever walk again.
She spent 100 days in and out of both the hospital and rehab. Then they sent her home.
Recovering took time but she made it. Next week she is coming to stay with us for four days.
She walks on her own and has done quite well over the past 18 months.
She will be 84 her next birthday.
Your advice for folks wishing to visit is good.
But I would tell them to wait.
You will both need them more later as he recovers.
Right now he needs to get well and they can help you by bringing meals and doing things you need done.
Later meals and help again.
Tell them to wait until his system is not as weak.
The best to you right now. You have a very full plate.

Alex Solla said...

Wow, that is an amazing recovery! Here's hoping that 37 yr old Alex can do as well as she did! ;-)

This is a long road, indeed. Thanks for your story, your encouragement, and your good wishes.