Monthly Archives: February 2012

Progress by small steps, not leaps and bounds

Lucy had another TPA procedure this morning. It took less than 90 minutes. They will need to repeat it tomorrow, but they made progress. She still can’t get out of bed and she is to keep her leg as still as possible. Lucy seems to be in a little less discomfort today. Lucy doesn’t have a firm time for tomorrow’s procedure, but it could be as early as 7:30. She is really tired today because of being awakened every two hours for the last couple days, and now has at least one more night of tests.

The hospital plays “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” when a baby is born. I swear it was playing on a continuous loop today. There is an anecdote stating more babies are born when during bad weather because of the drop in air pressure. The barometer here dropped to 29.23 in/Hg early this morning and is slowly rising.

Julie called tonight, but Lucy had to get a blood draw a few minutes into the call. Lucy has bruised arms because of all her arm draws. The heparin isn’t helping with that either.

We’ll see how it goes tomorrow. Thank you for spending some time reading this and have a Happy Leap Day!

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“You put your left leg in, you put your left leg out…”

The weather was supposed to be very challenging today. The Twin Cities was under a Winter Storm Warning due to anticipated heavy snow, sleet, freezing rain and high winds. As the morning went on, the storm shifted farther to the north. The Warning was then downgraded to an Advisory. As of this writing, it is raining hard. There is still a chance of freezing rain tonight and a chance of a couple of inches of snow tomorrow. The day had an unexpected turn of events, but it was in our favor.

Lucy’s day had an unexpected turn of events, but in her favor. Marynne from Minnesota Oncology visited with her this morning because Dr. Thurmes was unavailable. Lucy’s leg is improving very slowly. Dr. Nashawaty feels that since Lucy had not had a nosebleed in several days, perhaps the TPA catheter option is available.

Her next visitor was Dr. Dittes, an Infectious Disease specialist. He felt that Lucy may have cellulitis but acknowledged to her that her blood cultures and blood tests show no obvious indication of a bacterial infection. He also told her that her blood clots could be the majority of the fever spikes and redness. He changed the antibiotic she was on to two different IV antibiotics. There is no cause for concern.

Marynne came back a bit later. She was going to see if Interventional Radiology wanted to do the TPA procedure. The best guess was that Lucy would have it done tomorrow morning. They had time today and got to her about 1:30 this afternoon.

The procedure went very quickly. They completed it by 2:45. There was a very large clot in her thigh. The clot in her calf was small enough that they were going to let nature take its course. Her left leg was less clogged than her right leg was a couple of weeks ago. We hope that means she will not need subsequent procedures and her recovery time will be shorter. It will be a couple of days before she will be able to do the Hokey Pokey.

Of course having the procedure means she also moved from 8th floor to 3rd floor. The first move was into a two bed room. She moved again about 20 minutes later to a private room.

Her evening is winding down now that there isn’t as much activity. She knows sleeping will be tough tonight because they have to wake her every two hours to do a neurology check. Lucy talked to Diane and Julie on the phone tonight and that helped brighten her day. I found the beaded owl pictured below in the gift shop. It is beaded and stands about 6″ tall.

Here’s hoping Leap Day goes well for her. We wish all of you a good evening and have a Happy Leap Day tomorrow!

beaded owl

Lucy’s newest owl friend

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Filed under cancer battle, DVT, family, friends, hospital, music, weather

Holding pattern

So much for Lucy’s heparin staying in the therapeutic range. She has had two adjustments and boluses today and will have a re-test at 9:30 pm tonight. It sounds like she is close to where they want her. The tricky part is having her stay in the therapeutic range for a couple of days.

Her nosebleeds have stopped, but Dr. Thurmes is very reluctant to run a TPA catheter in her leg. The TPA would speed up getting rid of the thigh clot. Right now, she has to stay the course. Perhaps that could change the longer she goes without a nosebleed. She is dabbing saline gel in her nostrils every four hours and so far, that is working.

The two-unit transfusion helped a little, but Lucy’s hemoglobin was only at 7.9 today. She will probably need a transfusion tomorrow or Wednesday. We have not heard how her white count or platelet count was faring.

She has still been having fever spikes today. Her worst one was 102.8°F, which went down with Tylenol and cool washcloths on the forehead. There is still no indication of an infection. The fevers break within 30 minutes.

One nice thing was she used the shower today. The disposable washcloths are nice, but having some independence is nicer. She also received a birthday rose from one of the floral shops today. That was a nice present.

It’s still a “wait and see” situation. A lot depends on how fast her body starts wearing down that clot in the thigh. We have no idea how soon she will be going home. It’s frustrating, but it is what it is.

Thank you so much for caring! Your comments are like her getting a Get Well card without having to wait for mail delivery.

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Land of transfusion

Lucy’s hemoglobin was at 6.0 and her platelets were at 50,000. Dr. Nashawaty had rounds this weekend and he mentioned the irony of keeping Lucy on heparin but also having to transfuse platelets. Her Alimta treatment probably caused the platelet count drop and to her low hemoglobin level.

On the plus side, her heparin is in therapeutic range. She will be in the hospital until at least tomorrow. One of the criteria for release is getting her off IV heparin. Our guess is they would also like to see any risk of infection in her leg eliminated and a noticeable improvement in her leg. It appears her leg is getting a little better. Like her last hospital stay, this will be a day-by-day event.

Today saw a steady stream of nurses and nurse’s assistants in and out of her room. Lucy said one of her arm blood draws was at 3:00 am this morning. Her port has heparin in it so certain blood tests must be done via her arm.

Lucy’s appetite is still good. I went to the cafeteria and picked up a grilled chicken sandwich for lunch. She asked to sample it and wound up eating the whole thing.

Steve and Liz came by this morning and brought cookies. Suzy was by this afternoon and left a stuffed snowy owl and a couple of magazines. Julie called to see how Lucy is doing. We also appreciated all the great notes from everyone. Lucy and I do read the comments left in the group or in the blog, and we thank everyone for their words of encouragement.

We’re hoping her heparin stays in therapeutic range tomorrow. That will put her one step closer to going home.

scrub top

I found this scrub top in the gift shop. Lucy wants to see it when she is more mobile. I’m sure she will get one.

snowy owl

Suzy brought along a new friend for Lucy

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“There will be Blood”

This morning started with a 75-minute nosebleed. Lucy was to start using Afrin nasal spray but her bleeding started moments after the first spray. She then switched over to a saline gel. Diane visited Lucy this afternoon. It really helped Lucy’s mood. Diane can get Lucy laughing which is really needed now. Thank you, Diane! She also suggested the title for tonight’s post (it was originally “Let It Bleed”). Between the nosebleed and the blood draws, Lucy could have supplied the blood for this season of “Dexter”.Lucy is still running a temperature of around 101°F. They are running an IV antibiotic and she is getting Tylenol for her temp. They also drew blood to see if her blood thinner dose needs adjusting. Blood thinners are very touchy. Then they drew blood again looking at her Heparin Factor A, and then drew a third time for blood cultures (again). She also received two large heparin bolus doses.

It sounds like Suzy is going to visit Lucy tomorrow. Unfortunately, when Suzy called tonight, Lucy had a lab tech wrapping a tourniquet preparing for a blood draw and two nurses reviewing the heparin bolus double-check and co-signing procedure. Things do get a little hectic in the hospital.

Keep Lucy in your thoughts and prayers tonight. Thank you for all your support!

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Thank You Everyone

Thank you everyone for your well wishes, gifts, thoughts and prayers. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful family and friends. Your thoughtfulness, prayers and support really helps make this difficult journey a little easier and kicks the Finnish sisu in high gear.

Lucy

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Mondays are supposed to suck, not Fridays

Lucy’s leg started getting worse this morning. She called Minnesota Oncology and they set up an appointment for 2:00 this afternoon.

Her nosebleed started at 1:30 and finally let up around 3:00. The nurse practitioner at Minnesota Oncology helped Lucy with her nosebleed. Anticoagulants are so fun. Dr. Thurmes also contacted her while he was at Fairview Southdale on rounds.

She was admitted to Fairview Southdale as a precaution. Lucy also had some extra blood work drawn along with blood cultures. They need to wait 18 hours after her Lovenox injection before they can start IV heparin. That means she will get awakened at 4:30 am. She just had completed an IV antibiotic because they suspect cellulitis. An ultrasound of the left leg found that the clot in her groin was solidifying. We are hoping she will not need a TPA catheter tomorrow. In the past few hours, she started running a fever, which is at about 102°F right now. The Tylenol will help reduce the fever.

It is frustrating that this clotting problem flared up again. More than likely, she is here until Sunday. We were looking forward to a nice quiet weekend at home and having her leg continue to heal. Now it’s back to a wait and see mode. Keep Lucy in your thoughts and prayers this weekend. It helps us get through these setbacks.

At least I don’t have to play Nurse Ratched with the Lovenox while she’s in the hospital. See, I did manage to find something positive.

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