Friday, November 14, 2008

Another Email from My Husband While I Was in ICU

Monday, December 18, 2006 2:56 p.m. (sent by Gene)

Dear friends,

Anyone who knows my lovely wife knows that she operates on her own unique sense of time, which is a polite way of saying Jay often runs late. And that may explain why her recovery timetable differs from our expectations. At least that's my theory. But if there's one thing I've learned about Jay... it's to just let her do it her way. Might as well because you know she'll get it done right.

It's been two weeks since Jay underwent surgery, and she remains in ICU. But I think we're finally beginning to make some headway and hope to move to an intermediate care floor any day now. Many of you have expressed concern about Jay's long stay in ICU, but rest assured, she's been in stable condition throughout. She's just been stuck in neutral; every time she begins to get better she runs into some complication that stalls her progress. Fortunately, the doctors have witnessed all of Jay's problems before in other patients, and they've been able to find a fix for them out of their liver transplant "playbook."

Last Wed., the doctors performed a tracheotomy to help Jay breathe more easily. She was having a tough time getting off the ventilator but since the procedure has fared much better. Yesterday, she breathed on her own for 6 - 8 hours without any machine assistance! If she can build up her endurance to go 10 hours on back-to-back days, she'll probably ditch the ventilator for good.

A few days ago, Jay's body also exhibited the first signs of rejection. It's a frightening word but something transplant patients will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. Rejection can occur at any time and it can happen quickly or occur gradually. The good news is that there are several immunosuppressive medicines that should manage this problem. The doctors gave Jay some of these meds and they appear to be working well.

All things considered, Jay seems to be doing better. Her trache tube prevents her from talking out loud, but she's trying desperately to communicate. Much to her dismay, neither the nurses nor I can read her lips very well. One day Jay was really jabbering, and I couldn't make out a single word. I suspected that she was in a drug-induced haze and talking gibberish. So I asked her nurse, "Do you think she's lucid?" And before the nurse could reply, Jay shot me an indignant stare. No translation needed. I'll pay for that comment later!

Thanks for all your love and prayers... God bless,

Gene

1 comment:

SOMETHING HAPPENED SOMEWHERE TURNING said...

I love your husbands sense of calm and coolness as he writes about this rather disturbing chain of events. His expression is very detailed and managed. I think I would be frantic (as I'm sure he probably was) if my wife were in ICU for that long and had to get a tracheotomy on top of all the other things that were going on. It sounds like you had a tough go at it coming out on the other side.
I am glad to see that you had so many friends and so much support going on as you went through all this.