If someone would have told me what today was going to be like before my feet hit the floor this morning, I never would have rolled out of that hospital reclining chair. Geesh! This may sound rather analytical, but the only way I will be able to explain everything that has happened is to give you the play by play--Tim Tebow style (i.e. with the Lord all the way)
Bethany was having an extremely rough evening, which in turn, means that I was having one, too. Ha. Thank God, Thank God, Thank God, that we had a nurse named, Missy, who is used to working in Pallative Care. Thus, she's more than willing to dispense medication to alleviate or reduce a patient's pain. Missy saw the excruciating pain that Bethany was in and said she would call the Neuro resident and ask to increase Bethany's pain meds. Currently, Bethany was on 2mg morphine (IV) every 4 hours, and 2 percocet (pills) every 4 hours. The percocet/pills barely work on Bethany and the morphine wore off after 1.5 to 2 hours. Ugggh. This is the same problem she has always had with her medications but no one ever seemed to want to change anything.
Missy returned to our room saying that the Neuro resident will be busy for a few hours, and that she was just going to begin giving Bethany 4mg morphine (IV) every hour. Yes, every hour. What a miracle from God. That totally helped Bethany receive a decent nights sleep because she began the morphine around 2:00 am, and we were up for the day at 4:30 am. Two hours of sleep is still two hours of sleep.
Our surgeon, Dr. Healy's, resident, Dr. McMaster came into our room at 4:30am, and after looking at Bethany's incision, he noted that it really wasn't leaking much. That's the good news. Whew! Awesome! Yeah! Then, Dr. Healy, and his team, including Dr. McMaster came to the room about 6:20am, looked at her incision, and it was totally different. It was back to being all red and puffy, with green and yellow pus, and it was now totally open. OMG. NOT good news at all! He said that he would have to re-operate immediately.
Sure enough, they transported Bethany to surgery within 15 minutes, and Pastor Tim, Joe and Lori, Aunt Jodi, myself and Chris, saw her off. Poor thing. She had been screaming in pain every time the rolling bed hit a bump in the linoleum. Afterwards, Dr. Healy explained that he re-opened the incision and d-breeded of the infection. He also made another incision and implanted two drains into her spinal column. Now, it would be time to wait to see how her infection healed and then to deal with the actual spinal surgery and potential brain shunt. Wow. That was a lot to swallow.
So, they wheeled Bethany into her room--not into ICU because Dr. Healy thought it would be better attention if they kept her in the same room in the Neuro unit. She was totally out of it--seemingly comatose. Then....we learned that Bethany definitely has bacterial meningitis. Wow! And....it's full blown. It is throughout her entire body, beginning in her spinal column and spreading throughout her tissues. The infectious disease team said that it is not the contagious strain, and she will not need to be quarantined. Thank God.
They did, however, have to insert a pic line. They put it in her chest with a line leading down through her tummy. It is for nutritional purposes, as well as antibiotics, and will need to remain there for approximately 3-6 months, as her body will continually need the antibiotics to fight the meningitis. Administering the antibiotics, pain meds and nutrition through the current IV is not as safe, and the pic line is much better (or so I've been told.)
Joe and Lori stayed at the hospital to speak some more with the Infectious Disease team, while Joy and I met on campus and did the very depressing job of moving Bethany out of her dorm. We sooooo did not want to have to do that because we really wanted Bethany to be able to attend her second semester in college. Unfortunately, she will be taking a medical leave of absence from school. Thank God, she didn't choose to attend Michigan Tech--about 13 hours up north in the UP.
Bethany finally fell asleep at 8:10pm, after a TON of pain and moaning, just to have a nurse enter, 10 minutes ago, and force her awake for some 'medication.' I asked her to please wait a bit, but NO, she had to wake her. Fine. Believe it or not, she actually woke her to take some colaise. Seriously? She woke her to take a stool softener? What is she? Nuts? When Bethany started screaming in pain and crying and moaning, I quietly gave the nurse a piece of my mind. Then, when she turned on all 8 lights in the room, I had to leave the room before I became physically violent. OMG. OMG. Will someone please make her take a course in 'Patient Consideration 101?' Thank God, she is only our nurse for 30 minutes.
In the past 15 days, we have yet to have the same nurse twice--except for the first and second day--first shift. This makes Bethany's life all the more difficult, as each nurse has to be schooled in her history, etc. Invariably, each nurse asks her to sit up, etc. Geesh! Read the chart please. OK, I realize my nerves are getting a bit racked, but this is ridiculous. Ok. Time to calm down.
Please continue to pray for Bethany's healing. This has been, by far, the worst case scenario, but again, God is good. All the time. As Jr. Asparagus and Bob the Tomato would say,
I look forward to the day when Bethany is able to speak before the masses and tell her testimony of God's goodness, of what it's like to be an 'overcomer' despite unspeakable odds, and what it's like to walk hand in hand with the One Who created her. Although this is tremendously difficult to witness, I know that Bethany's pain will eventually serve a purpose. I know that God has something in store for her during the next few months, because He has allowed her to stay in the hospital and miss school--one of the many loves of her life. Only time will tell.....
Please listen to this song and think of Bethany's situation,
Love, Shari and Bethany