I'm sorry I haven't written again before now, except to those who happened to be on my rather dated e-mail list. Until now, I had not left the hospital except to drop the kids at home last night. Here's what has happened since my last posting.
As mentioned, we came to Edward Hospital because Patty had been running fevers for four consecutive days. Her doctors at UCH asked that Patty come in for bloodwork and cultures to see why she might be ailing. While Patty was in the E.R. having blood drawn and evaluated, she vomited several times and experienced some unsettlingly high temperature numbers -- the highest was 103.0.
Most unsettling was the 30-minute episode of shivering that bordered on thrashing at one point, while Patty was in the E.R. Kelly and Connor were with us at the time, and I could see that they were truly rattled. To be honest, I too was scared. Patty's lips turned a deep blue, her eyes were bloodshot and she was sore from all the shaking. Compounding the problem was the fact almost all of the medical staff were tied up in the next room dealing with a patient in critical condition. By the time a doctor finally came back to Patty, she wasn't feeling nearly as desperate. She did, however, save one round of vomiting for the doctor to see, which was enough to tip the scales in favor of an admission.
Patty had a rough night, and went to bed with few answers, other than finding out that her white blood cell count was low, at 2.4. This morning, though, we found out that her cultures came back positive for gram-negative rod bacteria. The doctors said that this is one of the most severe infections of the blood, and quite dangerous--particularly given her cardiac situation. I spoke with Rachel (one of our family medical experts), who assured me that this is a treatable condition and not as uncommon as I might think in an immunosuppressed patient. Doctors have told us that Patty should anticipate a hospitalization of no less than a week, and quite possibly longer. They plan to give her Neupogen to help bolster her white blood cell counts (this drug is similar to Neulasta, the much-advertised drug that serves a similar purpose.)
Patty has been suffering from headaches today, although her fever has been of a much lower grade when it has been there at all. Today, Patty's PICC line and Quinton catheter were removed, because it is believed that one or both are the likely source of the infection. Patty is being hit with round after round of intravenous antibiotics in the hope her infection can be brought under control. The night tends to be Patty's worst time with the fever, so we'll just have to wait and see how she fares tonight.
I'm sure there are things I've forgotten...if I remember, I'll be sure to keep some notes. I may not be able to write again until tomorrow night or even Wednesday morning, but I'll do my best. Of course, we're unsettled by this latest development, because it just seems like Patty never catches much of a break. Please keep hoping and wishing for the best. Thanks, all.