Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Mom is both better and worse than I expected. The procedure yesterday was actually a great success-Mom is much more comfortable today. Two hundred ccs of fluid were removed yesterday (almost a cup); for comparison, healthy lungs typically have about 10 ccs. Dr. H, the Group Health doctor at the Kline (who we LOVE!) said that in most cases, removing 100 to 150 ccs makes a noticeable different in patients-that Mom is so tiny and had so much fluid...well, she's glad that Mom is feeling so much better.

Mom kept referring to the extreme pain she was in yesterday, how her chest hurt so much and it was so difficult to catch her breath-already those symptoms are gone. The only pain medication she took (in addition to her regular morphine that she's been on since December) today was ibuprofen.

And yet, the doctors expect the fluid to return. The pathology reports aren't in yet, but we should have the results tomorrow. We're expecting to hear from Dr. C about possible next steps.

Despite the visible difference between the past couple of days and today, Mom is still extremely weak. She gets winded after getting out of bed to go to the bathroom. As she was standing at the sink washing her hands, she buckled a bit at the waist and the knees and needed me to support her to stand. She walked with the walker to and from the bathroom, but more slowly and less steadily. She wanted to exercise with her physical therapy aide today, but had to reschedule the appointment twice due to being asleep and when she finally did get out to walk, she had to take numerous breaks. Every time she is out of bed, she has an oxygen monitor on, making sure her oxygen saturation levels don't go below 85% and her heart rate doesn't get too high. Every time her O2 dipped below 85, we would ask her to sit and breath deeply. This happened dozens of times as she walked with the walker and rode on the bike. All in all, she probably did about 10 minutes of exercise, though her session was about an hour. She is on oxygen all the time.

I will say that her appetite is noticeably healthy. She ate breakfast, lunch and dinner, and requested snacks before dinner. And her portions were almost normal sized portions, especially breakfast, lunch and snacks. For example, today for a snack she had cantaloupe, grapes, apple slices, a regular portion of string cheese and a handful of crackers. And that was after eating 90% of her tray's contents at lunch.

Mom napped for about 3 hours today. I'm all in favor of good naps, but it's sad that she needs so much rest when she's not really able to do anything even when she's awake. As she told her PTA today, "I'd really like to both walk and ride the bike, but I need a rest right now."

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