Highs and Lows

Yesterday, the nurses told us Jane appeared to be rallying, despite having a multi drug resistant bacterial infection (or MDRB) in her hip. Interestingly, the nurse I spoke to rattled off lab results as if I was a medical professional.

The things I did catch were the results of various liver functions. They weren't good. Her platelets on admission were 28, now they're 34, while the average person's is over 100. Her HDLs were scary high. Whereas the nursing home was of the mind that a DNR was needed, the conversation with the nurse gave me the idea that Jane would pull through.

Then, the call from the doctor arrived about a half hour later. Hematologists/Oncologists are merchants of hope. When a patient has merely 10% odds, they're the ones encouraging the patient that the treatments may work. So it was kind of interesting that this one asked me to tell him about Jane, as he hadn't gotten much information from her. After we discussed her medical history, he suggested that we enact a DNR.

In consulting with others in the field, I understood that signing it isn't saying that we want her to be left to die, rather that we don't think extraordinary measures should be employed.

Today, I spoke to her nurse after the doctor did his rounds and she was in Jane's room. We spoke about the situation with the MDRB in her hip and that the doctor would like to perform a debridement (one word: OWWWWWWWWW). She told me that Jane was awake and alert for her and Jane spoke of being excited. I wondered what happened to cause such a dramatic change.

A couple of hours later, I think I got an answer. The nurse called me to ask my permission to have two units of blood on hand to perform the debridement. Jane had been alert to give the okay to the doctor. It's likely that they talked about it and the doctor said "If this works, then we'll be able to send you home."

Home. The one thing she wants more than anything. The one place she can't be unless she is able to perform all her ADLs (when she's doing none right now).

I'm now worried about how far she will fall when she realizes that she isn't going home, that the doctor meant the nursing home. The plan is for the doctor to follow up with me after he does this procedure. I need to let him know that he's got to be careful with how he phrases things with her, lest she get it in her head that something that is unlikely to happen is definitely within reach.


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