Thursday, May 21, 2009

At the risk of disability or death...(well, not really)

Hi everyone:

Catchy title, huh? Patty had a bit of a health scare yesterday. She had been feeling poorly for three days running, and a little worse each day, so, at her doctors' suggestion, we made a visit to the ER last night. Patty has been experiencing strong headaches, dizziness, fever, coughing, sore muscles and shortness of breath. Given the worries these days about swine flu, and the extra concern if a cardiac patient comes down with such an illness, we agreed with doctors to be better safe than sorry and went to have her checked out.

Once results came back from bloodwork, doctors determined Patty had been suffering from a kidney infection. After a round of IV antibiotics, she was already feeling much better. Her doctor suggested that she stay overnight for observation, but Patty pushed back, and ultimately signed out against medical advice (AMA). Normally, she wouldn't challenge doctors' advice, but his reasoning for keeping her in the hospital was her low blood pressure. We explained that what he was calling "low" was in fact entirely normal for Patty, who rarely has readings above 95/60. So, with his admonition that Patty was gambling with "permanent disability or death", she finally made it home to our bed around two in the morning. She's feeling much better today, although she's still a bit weak from three days of fever. I took the picture just a minute ago...see? Alive and well.

All in all, Patty continues to do great. She's been exercising, eating better, and has trimmed off more than 25 pounds. She's been trying to get fit so that she will recover more quickly from a procedure she's hoping to have this summer. As the procedure is currently part of a trial, Patty has a 50/50 chance of being in the group that has the operation. Essentially, this involves going in between the ribs with a claw-like apparatus and surrounding the heart with a mesh bag that should prevent further remodeling (growth) of her heart. If the heart doesn't remodel, then the odds of Patty returning to the transplant list will be reduced. Even if Patty doesn't have the procedure as part of the trial, she will likely be a candidate when approvals for the surgery come through, perhaps even later this summer.

Aside from the odd exercise-related injury or this latest infection, Patty seems more healthy than she was before she had her heart attack. She has worked full-time for the entire school year, and hasn't seemed the worse for wear. We keep hoping this streak of good fortune will continue. At the same time, we keep our fingers crossed that Patty's sister Kathleen will also defy the odds and come through her battle with cancer stronger than ever.

Thanks for checking in. We'll let you know if anything changes.