Last night Lori had very shallow breathing. It was thought fluid was accumulating in her lungs. The Drs planned to give her a diuretic to drain it but it would come with significant risk to her already low blood pressure. Untreated, they said she could die possibly within days. Treating it would have produced significant risks as well. We were stuck making a tough decision between two bad options.
When the ICU team got together to look at her lungs, they found that the fluid was actually between her lungs and the chest cavity…not inside the lungs. Good news! In a very simple procedure, they drained the fluid from her left lung just now. They removed 700 ml of fluid. Normally, people only have 10 ml or so in that cavity. She is sleeping now but I expect she’ll have a lot of relief and be able to breathe better tonight. If she reacts well overnight to the effects of what they did, then tomorrow morning they will do the same thing to the other lung.
It’s great news because it appears we get at least one more day with Lori. Also, her pain is at zero! The pain pump adjustments seem to really be working well.
We’re not in the clear yet. This was luckily just a scary acute problem that they seem to have fixed quickly, but the problem that created the fluid buildup likely still exists. Cancer sometimes causes this sort of thing to happen so it is reasonable to expect that it will fill with fluid again. Not to mention, it seems that nearly every day there is a new part of her body that is struggling. Her heart is still racing to keep up.
Bottom line, at the beginning of the day, I thought May 22 might be her last day. Now, it looks like we have more time. These days are hard on everyone, but facing the potential end of this life, we were forced to make many difficult decisions. There are more to come, but we are ready.
We also brought in Claire today and told her the full details about what is happening for the first time. That was tied for my hardest moment since March, 2014. What a sweet girl! I know she is going to be a special woman someday.
In my second post on the care pages 14 months ago, I wanted to reassure everyone that Lori was not afraid and that she had peace. I’m so glad to be able to say today that she is still not afraid even when facing the potential end. She’s adamant about that although she is experiencing hard emotions as she empathizes with her family’s pain.
The goal here is to get her acute issues under control and gain a discharge from the hospital. We want to get home to our house in Dayton. At the same time, we want to continue to seek appropriate medical care to treat these issues as they appear. Hospice is ready to assist, but we are still aggressively fighting while we can. It’s a difficult tight rope to walk, and the decisions are stressful. I’m often the only one actually driving those decisions because Lori is often not strong in the mind due to the meds. I could use continued prayer for wisdom.
Her room looks great! Silk flowers are all over the place! We have a year’s worth of Pink Wednesday photos on the wall as well as many personal letters and notes which arrived today. Almost all of her family is in town or has visited very recently. So the days have been bitter sweet. We’re ready for tomorrow!