Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lotsa News

Good News

Mom's going home! My sister called me today and said that since Mom's walking now, they're going to try it. We have no idea what will happen and how long she'll be able to stay there, but she wanted to go home, and now she is.

Pretty amazing! This is the woman who couldn't move herself in bed last week, and now she's walking!

Also, my freshman comp students rock. Usually it's difficult to get three-page essays out of this population, but three of my current students have come to see me with drafts that are seven-to-ten pages. They've been worried that the papers are too long, bless them! And the students have been writing about really brave topics; I even had one guy volunteer to workshop -- which means he'll be showing it to the entire class -- an essay about a very painful family situation.

I'm impressed!

Less Good News

Dad's better in some respects, but still rocky. His vitals are good and his lungs are better than they were, but he still has tremendous edema in his legs. The first lasix they had him on, furosemide, didn't work very well: he's producing urine, but only a third of the amount they'd like to see each day. So today they switched him to a more powerful diuretic, Bumex. We'll see how that works.

Meanwhile, his nurse tells me that he has a "big, boggy heart." His heart isn't contracting very well, so they're going to fuss with meds to try to change that. They're hoping that losing the extra fluid will help. One of the tests they do to assess congestive heart failure measures something called BNP, a hormone produced by the heart when it has to work too hard or when the muscles are stretched. A normal value is below 100, and 900 is considered a marker of severe heart failure.

Dad's BNP is 1,900.

Ouch. The minute the nurse told me this, I whipped out my BlackBerry and started doing Google searches. The higher the BNP, the higher the mortality rate (duh!). The nurse says they'll measure it again tomorrow, and at some point cardiology will be called in -- I'm not sure why they haven't been already -- and will tinker with meds to try to improve Dad's condition. The nurse said that if they can get Dad's BNP down to 1,000, everyone will be really happy.

So Dad's going to be in the ICU for at least another few days; from there he'll go to a medical floor before being sent, probably, to a nursing home. That's if he makes it out of the hospital, of course; we're basically in watch-and-wait mode. He was more coherent today than when I saw him yesterday: he's been giving the nurse a hard time (the nurses love him because he has so much personality), and asked me to feed him the mashed potatoes and apple sauce on his dinner tray. He also talked very briefly to my sister on the phone, but at least it was a conversation. He's very sleepy, though, and was pretty out of it during most of my visit.

At least I know he's getting the best possible care. From that standpoint, it's a relief to have him in the hospital.

Cute News

Today on campus I saw this guy, The Littlest Snowman. Someone built him on a wall next to the campus daycare center. I love the outstretched arms: he looks like a toddler asking to be picked up, doesn't he?

And here's a wider view where you can see the flowers near him. Even with snowkids on campus, spring's not far away!


  1. Hooray for your Mom, Susan, she really got right to it once she knew what she had to do to get home!!! Impressive to say the least, and I hope she can enjoy some good days at home. Your Dad's condition sounds so scary. Hang in there, and good for those students for reminding you of the possibilities in teaching. Prayers continuing...

  2. Susan, I'm glad to hear your Mom is going home. Hope that she stays mobile and doing well. Because your Dad is having all these tests and medical changes I'm wondering what Palo Alto has to say or suggest. Thank goodness he's where they can monitor him constantly and be there quickly for any problems. Adorable snowman! I've only made one snowball in my entire life, but it was fun! Prayers ascending!


  3. Love the snowbaby! Good luck with mom & dad. Those nerve-wracking ER trips & hospital stays are so stressful. Agonizing over every up and down and balancing the meds. God bless you.

  4. Yay for your mother! Sorry things are where they are with your father, but it's a good thing he's where he's getting care and you don't have to worry about it (too much). More prayers for you and yours.


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