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Tonight we put up our Christmas tree, the first Ravella/Gilbert tree. Actually we have two trees. One is artificial. It is perfect. It has p...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

ICU Update 4 Dec 2007

1 Chronicles 16:11

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always

Okay this is an early entry. It is 11:30 and Andrea is sleeping right now. She did not sleep well last night. I think she was anxious about having the vent tube in. She asked me twice yesterday, "Is this thing working?" That may be in part to the vent being turned down and her breathing more on her own. So I think she is tired from yesterday and is catching up on her sleep.

They did adjust the vent down again today. These are pretty small reductions they have been making but they are in the right direction. Each decrease makes Andrea work a little harder. The doctors are watching the volume of air she pulls. The vent did have a pretty high pressure setting which was helping Andrea draw the volume of air she needs. Now as they decrease the pressure they look for her to increase the volume she takes in. When the pressure is first reduced her volume is down and as her lungs get stronger and more elastic the volume goes up.

For example last week her volume was in the 100's. Yesterday after it was reduced she was mostly in the 250's and regularly in the 300's. Right now after the vent was turned down she is between 200-250. So we will see how she does though out the day and if she can get the volume back up they will reduce the vent pressure some more. As the process continues eventually she will be breathing on her own.

We are going to try once more to get an “A line” in her artery today. They have tried three times in her right arm and once in her leg and no luck. So later today I think we are going to try her left arm. Usually you don’t want to use Andrea’s left arm because of the surgeries she has had on her left side but I spoke to the Oncologist and he said the risk is low since Andrea has not had any problems on her left side in 4 years. The risk is she could have swelling in her left arm that will be permanent. The A line is used to measure the gas levels in her blood. These levels indicate how well her lungs are working and allows the doctors to better adjust the vent settings and get Andrea off the vent sooner.

The other concern right now is the stomach. Andrea has been having problem with bloating for about 8 weeks and it continues here. She is not digesting her food. They have the feeding tube in and they measure the amount that goes in and then they can draw it out to see how much her body is absorbing. So far not much and her stomach is swollen. I'm sure this makes it harder to gain her strength back.

She did get her new bed yesterday. It is a nice air mattress. They are also having physical therapy come in today to help her exercise. After 9 days in bed it is important that she moves her muscles. This will help her recover faster when she gets out of this bed.

Her tumor markers came back and they are elevated. Not unexpected but I would rather them be zero!

She is fighting so hard. She keeps asking for ice water on the sponge. Today she said, (after a long game of 20 questions) “I can hold the cup myself.” I said no you can’t and she just smiles at me. I melted and gave her a try. She could hold the cup okay but she does not have the strength to hold the sponge or get it from the cup to her mouth. You could see she knew what she wanted to do and was trying with all she had to pick up that sponge her hand was just not able to move like she wanted. It was a little hard to watch but then I thought it was good to see the fight and determination in her. In the end I convinced her to just let me help her; otherwise I had nothing to do. She smiled and said okay.

If you have a moment please pray for:

Her stomach situation, for her body to gain the nutrients it needs to recover
She will be calm on the vent and able to tolerate it
The A Line will go in easy and work properly.
Her lungs, that they would become healthy, and her volume would increase so the vent can be removed.
Please pray God would just heal Andrea she has a huge fight ahead of her on this recovery. Getting off the vent is just the first step but one that we must take.

Thank you all for the comments emails and cards. I read them all to Andrea now that she is awake. I sat by her bed yesterday and caught her up on all the emails you sent while she was asleep. She loved them all and thanks you for your friendship and prayers.

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