Once again, I can't tell you enough about how thankful I am for each one of you and the prayers and/or support that you're providing for my sister, brother-in-law, two nieces and my parents.
When I go for my nightly visit, after work, I'm not only doing my best to be calm and to engage whoever is there at the moment (to take their mind a little off of things), but to also listen acutely enough to capture a synopsis of the day to share with all of you.
First of all, these are some things that we can praise God for:
1. My sister has a strong heart. She does not have to have a cardiologist in the active mix at this time.
2. Her urine output has been strong and consistent (I personally witnessed the male nurse dumping almost a full bottle in the toilet ... OK, maybe a little "tmi") and signaling that her kidneys are functioning normally.
3. Her liver is also functioning normally at this time.
As organ failure can be a risk with what she is going through right now, these are things that we can continue to ask God to remain strong until she gets completely well.
The pulmonary doctor is lead and my Dad felt as if he's been more upbeat today than he has been in the last two days.
He is somebody that my Dad is very comfortable with in that he feels that he is very compassioniate and has even hugged my Mom and put his hand on my brother-in-law's shoulder and said that he knows that he hasn't always been bringing the best hoped for news at times.
We can be thankful for this as well as excellent nursing and other professional care, such as the respiratory care staff, around the clock. They've also been very, very compassionate, friendly and communicative as to what they're doing to my sister at all times.
I watched one nurse literally take what closely resembled a toothbrush and move it around the tube that is in my sister's mouth and work it around to - in essence - brush her teeth (although I'm sure there was something more significant that they were doing.) It was a thankless, yet incredible job that they're doing.
When I arrived at about 8:15 p.m. earlier this evening, her "breaths per minute" number was down to 16 - a certain answer to prayer, but, of course, it is only one piece of the puzzle. (It later went up after they did something to her that I'll describe below.)
The reason that the doctor wanted to (and wants to) do the CT scan I learned is because he wants to make sure that he isn't missing anything.
The challenge has been, though, that when they have lowered my sister's bed back to where she is completely flat on her back -- as she would need to be to go into a CT tube -- her vitals have started to pull out of line (i.e. heart rate increases to in between 120-130 bpm) and her oxygen saturation has gone down.
Before they came up with a new paralytic (rocuronium, I believe), they had been turning her on her sides every six hours in an effort to increase her oxygenation levels.
However, in an effort to get her body to relax, they stopped doing this.
But in an effort to improve her lung function and to benefit in the removal of any retained secretions in her lungs, they have begun to use what's known as a Vest Airway Clearance System. Click here to read more about it.
A belt is placed around her midsection and the machine blows air through the belt to literally shake her body in an attempt to dislodge mucus from the bronchial walls, and mobilize secretions and mucus to larger airways so it can be suctioned out, in my sister's case.
Her body didn't respond to it too well earlier today and she lasted six (6) minutes - out of 10 -- as her heart rate got to 130 bpm and her oxygen saturation level dropped to 85%.
It's as if her body doesn't want to let it do anything that is good for it! :-)
Certainly something that we can continue to pray about, I think.
The flu patients who have been in the MICU where she's at - according to a couple of the nurses who have been caring for her - have been on a path of about 12-14 days before they've started to turn the corner and we are into the 10th day as of late this evening.
Even though you may feel like you've been praying the same each day, please continue to do so.
I put my sister's situation on KSBJ's Prayer Works site - without any specific identifying name references - and I had five (5) people who took the time to click on a link to send a message to say that they prayed for my sister and our families. I'm thankful to each one of those who took that time to ask God to heal her and care for those that loved her dearly.
And thank you again for the family who is taking care of my two nieces while my brother-in-law is having to work. I don't want to draw attention to them by name, but a continued "thank you".
I know that my youngest niece is going to be able to get out of town for the weekend and compete in her cheerleading competition as she was able to make practice this week, thanks to a friend of my sister who has three girls that will be competing as well.
And I just want to say how proud I am of my oldest niece as she deals with what her Mom is going through during this challenging time.
They both are talented young ladies of whom their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and family are very, very proud of.
Please continue to pray for my parents. My Dad's faith is being severely tested and, of course, my Mom's heart just seems to break - as any mother's would.
And for my brother-in-law. He just keeps getting it all done - without too much sleep. A good man.
Thanks for listening and continuing to pray and asking for God's perfect will in this situation.