As you may already know, Bethany was re-admitted last night into the Intensive Care Unit at St. Vincents. Her meningitis symptoms have returned in full-force, stronger than ever, and she has been in extreme pain ever since. Although she is on major pain medications, liquids, a PCN pump, an additional PCN push, etc, she is still suffering tremendously. Thank God for absolutely awesome nurses, Sarah and Tara, and for Dr. Glick. Yes, he is still here.
Tara was our 7p-7a nurse, and not only was she extremely quiet, but she was extremely proactive and compassionate. Our 7a-7p nurse, Sarah, has been the same, and has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make Bethany as comfortable as possible. Dr. Glick just returned and decided to increase Bethany's IV pain meds, to increase her anti-nausea med, and to increase her sleep meds. YES! This girl has virtually not slept at all.
The plan is to give her 10mg of Ambien tonight at 9p and then another 10mg at 3am. They are also increasing her Dilatid, thus, she should, in essence, be able to sleep. Her body is under such stress, that her central nervous system won't allow sleep. They are being extremely careful not to overdose her on pain medications.
Bethany is currently in a neck brace, as her neck is extremely painful from the meningitis. She has been totally unable to move, due to her pain level, however, Thank God, her surgical site is healed. Thus, everything that has caused her to return to the hospital--the spiking fever (constant), extreme pain, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea--is related to the meningitis and nothing more (at least that what we are hoping.)
Dr. Chinyadza, her Infectious Disease doctor, came today and said that he will be doing a spinal tap on her. Yikes. We would prefer not to have one, given her current level of pain, however, we do thoroughly trust Dr. Chinyadza. They won't be doing the actual lumbar puncture until tomorrow. I promised Bethany that I wouldn't allow them to do it if it was going to cause her an extreme amount of pain, and/or if they haven't been able to manage her pain by the scheduled.
I then requested Dr. Glick's return, and he said that he promised the team of Infection Disease doctors would ensure that Bethany be almost totally sedated for the spinal tap. He also explained that barring any unforeseen circumstances, Bethany's spinal tap should be less painful than most. This is because some of her bone was actually removed during her past surgery, thus the needle wouldn't have to twist and turn so much in order to tap in the exact place. Also, it helps that she is rail thin.
Speaking of thin, Bethany hasn't eaten a morsel in over 24 hours, and thus, she is shrinking by the minute. She has extreme nausea, and although she is hungry, she can't eat. This is especially unfortunate because this means that she cannot take her Percocet or Ambien--thus leading to more pain and insomnia. Due to a national shortage, St. Vincents is still out of IV Valium. Grrrr. Bethany has been murmuring constantly, talking gibberish, and hearing things that I am not saying. It is totally frustrating her, but it is normal, given the amount of pain and medication and stress she is under. You know she's in pain when, I take a salad into the bathroom so that I can eat quietly--without her hearing, and she says, 'Mom, can you chew more quietly?' Yikes.
Although Bethany has been moaning and groaning since her arrival, almost 24 hours ago, her moans appear to be less frequent. We've been told that her pain will not really subside until the antibiotics have been given a few days to work their magic. I've learned that Dr. Healy will be returning tomorrow morning, and this is a miracle for us. He will be returning from his vacation tonight, just in time to see us. Woo Hoo! Between the Lord, Dr. Healy, Dr. Glick, and Dr.Chinyadza, we know we are in excellent hands.
On a side note, my mom has also been re-admitted to Beaumont Hospital, in Detroit. She spiked a high fever, and given the fact that she has been recently diagnosed with leukemia, this is not good. My sister, Debbie, has posted the following in an email:
FYI: Mom has just been diagnosed with LGL Leukemia. It is a very rare form of leukemia. She does not have an aggressive form of the disease. She will be on a medication for this and will be having her blood drawn once a week for a month and then return to her doctor. The hope is that her white blood cell count rises. It is EXTREMELY low right now. I took mom to the ER last night, after spiking a fever and feeling lousy for the past couple days.
I am including some links below for information about this disease.
On a happier note, Bethany was given a handmade prayer shawl today. She was also given one during her previous stay. Here is a picture of this one:
Here's some more prayer requests, Warriors:
•That Bethany and my mom are totally healed;
•That both of their pain subsides and is comfortably managed;
•That the doctors continue to give sound advice and wisdom and are guided by the Spirit of Guide and their training;
•That the nurses continue to be as they are--great!
Thank you very much, Saints. Keep on keeping on. Romans 8:28 says a multitude of things, and we are relying on this hourly during this last week.
Love, Shari, Joy, Bethany and Jonathan