Monday, October 12, 2009

The Waiting Game

I was supposed to work this weekend, but census was low, and I was able to just take call from J-Man's room.  My scrubs are hanging in the closet just in case, but I haven't been needed so far. It'll make for a slim paycheck, but hey, it's only money, right?

We are waiting for the boatload of test results to come back.  Every day, they draw more blood from his poor little veins to check his clotting time, his kidney panel and others, but the list of exotic tests remains unreported. Fri. afternoon, his heart rate soared into the 120s and his blood pressure began climbing, a result of abrupt but necessary withdrawal from his beta blockers when he was admitted. Our doc cautiously restarted a mild beta blocker and so far, his HR and BP are in the perfect range. In addition, his kidney labs have improved significantly, better than expected, so he has been started on a mild diuretic again.  Today I could identify his knuckles again.  He still has a lot of generalized swelling, but it's good to know his kidneys are tolerating this med.

I wish we could say the same for J-Man's liver. He is beginning to look a little yellow, as the liver test results get worse. The liver filters out ammonia from the blood, and when it begins to accumulate, a person gets more lethargic and confused.  Today his speech had been more slurred and his sentences somewhat disjointed, and it's a combination of sleep deprivation and an elevated ammonia level. We haven't had much sleep the last few nights--only 2-4 hours each night--and he is accustomed to 9-10 hours nightly.  But they can't give him a sleeping pill  because of his liver.

He's on a blood thinner for the clots in his leg, and they are having to keep a close watch on the labwork, because his platelet count is low, which means he already will bleed freely.  He has so many bruises from needle sticks, it looks as if he's been in a free-for-all. At some point they will have to stop the blood thinner for a day so he can undergo a liver biopsy without fear of bleeding out, but that isn't even on the schedule yet.  His CT scan on Saturday didn't shed much light, so he will undergo another one today.

We're hoping to get some kind of results today--something that can point us in the right direction. He's tired of being in the hospital, tired of being tired, but he is such a good sport.  DD has been wonderful, spelling me in the afternoons so I can go home to my C-PAP and get some sleep, and she brought her little dog, so Tandi hasn't been so lonely.  She was planning to go home today, but may stay a few more days, as she brought her laptop and can work remotely. Tomorrow, J-Man and I were supposed to meet up in Gatlinburg with my nursing school roommate whom I've not seen in 20 years.  We were excited to get to  spend the day together, but life has intervened once again.

And so we wait.  Thankfully, J-Man is sleeping tonight, rousing briefly when they come to take his blood pressure, and even able to return to sleep after laborious trips from the bed to the bathroom.  I don't know if it's just exhaustion, or the effects of the blood ammonia level that are allowing him to sleep, but at this point, I'll just be happy for him. 

As for me, well, when I can't get back to sleep, I have all your blogs to read and projects to drool over and sweet emails to answer.  If I don't leave a comment, please forgive me. I am making it by, but sometimes it's a few days later. Meanwhile, go hang a bat or a skeleton for me, okay?


cockermom said...

Don't worry about us Steph, just take care of family. We are praying for him.

HarryJack's Mom said...

Please take care of you and yours, and know that we're all wishing you the best. I'll be sure to make a bigger effort to get the deco up at the new place, in your honor :hug:

MightyMom said...

okay, what's he walking to the bathroom for? get him a BSC!

so glad DD's sticking around!

hang in there.

AnnieO said...

I would not have expected an update but am glad to have one. Being in the hospital is hard on everyone and I hope the mystery gets solved immediately. Looking forward to hearing he's getting released home. Meanwhile, take care of yourself too.

Cathi said...

I hope they get the mystery solved so he can get home and you can relax a bit. I'm thinking about you!

Libby said...

Stephanie, I do hope by now you've had some informative results come back. Knowledge really helps - then you can make a plan. I keep you and J-Man in my thoughts daily.
Don't forget to take care of yourself. It won't do for the caregiver to take ill.
Sending lots of hugs your way *s*

Arlette said...

Stephanie, I'm so sorry to hear about J-Man's (hubby?) health issues. I will say a prayer for you both. Take care of yourself, my friend. I know how stressful these types of situations can be because my hubby has some major health issues too. (We will be heading to Duke Univ. Med. Ctr. soon as hubby needs more surgery). I hope the doctors have some answers for you real soon. (((Hugs)))