I Learn Something New Everyday

Today I learned about dialysis.  I’ll be honest and let you all know that I really didn’t want to learn about dialysis.  I knew about it vaguely, in the back of my mind, but it was never something that I wanted to actually know about.  Especially since I’m learning about it due to Lee.

I’m sure I mentioned yesterday that his kidneys weren’t working properly, and the goal was that once the gallbladder was removed his kidneys would be able to start processing and filtering his blood.  I may not have mentioned that the gallbladder had been seeping, leaking into his body, and his liver was congested.  The doctors did mention that his insides were goopy, not the most medical of terms, but accurate nevertheless! Since his heart hasn’t been beating very strongly, and the seeping of the gallbladder, congestion of the liver and the kidneys not working, he has some goop in him.

We found out early this morning that his kidney function had not improved, had in fact gone down some.  So, dialysis was the next step.  Now, normal dialysis is where you go in, sit in your chair and they hook you up to the machine for several hours and your blood is cleansed.  (Okay, there are five different types of dialysis, and I’m not going to get that technical.) This process would be too hard on Lee’s body, it wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of the procedure and his blood pressure wouldn’t be able to maintain.

Lee will be getting Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy.  CRRT is much more gentle than regular dialysis.  Instead of doing it in a couple of hours, they will take 24 hours and more to clean his blood.  This is a very slow and gentle process, and for ICU patients, it is the preferred method as it allows the doctors to continue to treat everything else at the same time without having to worry about waste product and fluid build up from the failing kidneys.  Lee has his own machine in his room and he’s going to be hooked up and monitored 24/7 while he is going through this treatment.

In order to undergo the CRRT, Lee had to have another procedure done today – he had local anesthesia and they installed a port.  His blood work came back with indicators that the port they wanted wasn’t going to work, so they have installed a temporary port.  When the nurse told us that was what they were doing, mom and I looked at each other and were like “that works for us, as he shouldn’t be on this long enough for the temporary port to wear out.”.  As they were getting ready to take Lee down to have the port installed, mom asked him if he needed anything else.  He looked at here and nodded and replied “I need the doctors to quit finding stuff wrong with me so that I can go home.”

We are right there with you Lee.  Right there with you!!

As with everything, there are risks.  As such, I’m not going to Google it.  You know how I feel about that (Google Is Not Your Friend!).

Today, during one of his lucid moments, I got in for a picture with him.  He wasn’t all that pleased… 😉

Meet my brother, Lee.

Meet my brother, Lee.

Quick update on today’s surgery

Ok, my Word Press is acting up, and I’ve resorted to doing this on my phone.

First off Kari, it won’t let me comment on your blogs, so I want you to know that I hope it works out for you guys, either with moving or for things to improve at his job!

Secondly, thank you to everyone for their outpouring of support. I’m not usually a needy person, but my baby brother is like my son. With the 10 year age difference, we’ve always been close. It has been hard to see him going through this. His life is not what any one should go through, much less a 28 year old.

Today’s surgery was successful. This morning we were told that his kidneys were shutting down even more and so we really needed surgery to go well. I must tell you that he had a great team of doctors and nurses and staff. I mean, an awesome team. We stayed with Lee until the very end, riding down the elevator with him and then split ways at the OR. We were very blessed and the OR director came and got us out of the waiting room and took us to a private room. Me, dad, mom and Grammy Skeeter (mom’s mom). We were notified that the anesthesiologist said Lee was doing good and then an hour later we were notified that he had come through. We were back in his ICU room just minutes after he was. Again, let me tell you that he had a great team!

Once he was settled in his room, Grammy Skeeter and I left. It would be several hours before he really woke up. And I figured mom and dad could use some time together and with him.

It was so very emotional, and I will admit that I cried on the shoulder of the OR director, but I just love her and she took the tears in stride! I was okay until mom and dad shed tears! Well, I was kinda okay. Lol.

The road of recovery from this surgery will be up and down, and we still have his heart condition, gout and diabetes to contend with, but it feels good to have this part over with. I texted mom a bit ago and she said that he was starting to stir and that his color looked better.

I’ll go sit in ICU with him tomorrow morning and hopefully my mind will settle and I’ll be able to get more accomplished!

Thanks again for all of the prayers and support, I just wanted to give you a heads up that all went well and we are very happy right now. 🙂

I’m trying, I’m really trying

I’m trying to stay on top of everything.  I’m trying to read all of your blogs and offer up my thoughts in your comment sections.  I like the interaction.  I’m trying to stay on top of Facebook and see what is going on in my friends lives, and to like and comment as I need to.  I’m trying to get through all of my emails, both work and personal and answer accordingly.  I’m trying to check my phone frequently and listen to voice mails and answer texts, heck, I’m just trying to answer the phone!

Today it’s hard.  Lee has been in the hospital, in ICU since Sunday night.  Yes, it’s only Tuesday, but it feels like longer.  His gallbladder needs to be removed, and apparently, it is painful.  Those I’ve heard from that have gone through this have told me how painful it is, and Lee is in that pain.  It’s worse for him due to his cardiomyopathy.  And, seriously, they can’t keep him on enough anti-nausea and morphine.  When I’m in the room, the anti-nausea is the most important.  Every time he grabs the pink tub, he looks at me and goes “Sorry Kate.”  I guess it’s good that he knows he’s not allowed to puke in front of me – or at least he understands that I will puke right there next to him if he does… Is that TMI?  It feels like TMI…

Did you know that a kidney doctor is called a nephrologist? Yup, I learned that today, too.  Lee’s kidneys aren’t working.  This is vital for surgery, but after meeting with the doc it was decided that the reduced function is primarily due to his heart condition, not due to dehydration, so we aren’t going to delay surgery due to reduced kidney function.

The hardest part of this is that Lee was doing so very well.  Amazingly well.  And then past couple of months have just been one beating after another.  Gout.  Diabetes.  Gallbladder. It’s hard to see him in the hospital bed and not knowing for sure that he’ll leave it.  It’s hard to see my mom fight back the tears when we get more bad news.  It’s hard to hear my dad say that he just doesn’t think Lee has the fight left in him that he needs.  It’s really hard when I have to agree with him.

So, I’m back home after having spent all morning in the ICU with Lee.  I’m trying to get my work done – and just can’t focus.  So, instead, I’m sharing with you! His surgery is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) at approximately 1 pm.  I’ll go back tomorrow morning, like today.  It worked out well, T and I left at the same time, he walked to the bus stop and I drove to the hospital.  🙂  There are a lot of issues working against him, but he has such a great team of doctors.  Several of these doctors we’ve been working with closely for the last 8 months and the new ones we’ve just encountered come highly recommend and we’ve gotten really good impressions from.  I won’t stay for the surgery, I’ll come home and wait to hear from our parents.  And pray.  I’ll be doing a lot of praying.

On the plus side – Erica had her baby today!!!  Graced my Emilie now has a little baby brother, Landon.  8 lb. 4 oz. 20″.  The funniest part is, last night we all made predictions on the size of the baby on Erica’s FB… and she was spot on!  Her prediction was the right one!  I think she had inside information…