Monday, February 16, 2009

Rehab Reached!!

So I'm proud and quite thrilled to announce that my mom entered the Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis today. Although we are quite sure that she will be there at least a month, this is a HUGE step towards recovery. She was given the green light to start the intensive rehab program this morning because she is a) aware, b) no longer on oxygen or having shortness of breath, and c) the kidneys are functioning better than pre-admittance levels... She starts her three hours of therapy tomorrow. She'll be doing speech/memory/swallow, physical and occupational therapy. That's about all I've got...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mom Update... Sorry

Hey guys it's been a while, mostly because I went into crazy crisis mode and then we bounced back. Two days after leaving the ICU, I went to visit my mom and saw some things that I had hoped to never see. Think mental hospital unattended patient. When I spoke to the nurse about what was going on and how unresponsive she was (along with the smells...), the nurse just said... "she's not always like that?!?!" OMG!! I could have killed her... After some emergency calls to the Dr. etc she was moved back to ICU and we were told she was bleeding internally. That we might have to think of how far we would want to go with her to save her life. Namely if she needed another surgery, she might be a veggie... LUCKILY clotting factors stopped the bleeding. Sadly the 8 units of blood and the clotting factors she needed overloaded her kidneys and they shut down. We were not sure if they were going to restart. But they have and better than before she went into the hospital. She did have dialysis four times (three long ones and one short). They moved her out of the ICU late last week. She's getting physical therapy twice a day and seems to be regaining the movement on her left side. However, mentally, she's a bit... off. Moments of dementia and depression mark surprising lucid conversation. She remembers that I got her a Spice Girls card before the Surgery etc. but then talks about a bee flying from flower to flower and kicking and falling or something. It does seem to be getting better each and every day. We are talking with the docs about moving her to the Rehab Institute here in town so it looks like she will be evaluated for that later this week or early next week. And for those who are interested, my mom IS one of 40 million Americans without health insurance. When she was laid off in 93 we could not afford cobra and no private insurance company would cover her. (On a personal side note, I too am uninsurable--one abnormal pap and I have to wait for three normal paps and we are not talking outrageously high premiums, we are talking DENIAL letters). Disability was not an option because according to their rules she was not disabled. So now we have to deal with a private company HIRED by the hospital to find the money either thru Medicaid pay down or the NEW MO Health Pool for the uninsured like her. But pre-existing conditions may not be covered... SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE IS A NECESSITY IN THIS COUNTRY. Look it up... tell friends, family and your representatives!! Love you all

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Update January 22nd

Hey everybody sorry to keep ya in the dark. At first things were really depressing and so I didnt really feel up for writing and then everything was really exciting so I did not have time to write. Not only is my mother AWAKE but active. She understands everything!! Right now we are working on swallowing, strength in the left side (still no mobility there), and talking. She can sit on her own and has some good strength in her right arm. Things were really depressing, however, for a couple of days because my uncle had to get back to Nashville on Monday and although opening her eyes since sunday, she was not there and I felt very very alone. Then it was seriously an overnight thing (Tues to Wed) and she was there, ACTUALLY THERE!! We cried together and she was able to nod at me yes or no... Meaning she could share that she had HEARD us while out... my dad reading the newspaper... me reading to her... etc... SOOOOO COOOL!! I am soooo excited. We still have a long way and until I fully explained things to her today-- how we were told she might not wake up or get any better--she was a bit depressed about the left side. Now the doctors are fighting to get her back to where she was before the surgery. She is stil really really weak so my uncle and I are taking charge of her life... I'm just so happy I cant explain it and SOOO overwhelmed now with good news and hope... and all that needs to be done:-) But thank God for having things to do!!

I remember my dad saying something to me at a young age and I never really understood-- Your family will always be there no matter how hard you try to get rid of us. Very true... I went thousands of miles away and tried to find family in the worst places and what happened, God brought me home and showered me with love! ALSO a HUGE thank you to all those great, old, and valued friends that have sent messages, notes, letters, and called... you have no idea what it has meant to me. There were times where I thought I might break and then I got a text, or an email... and felt less alone. THANK YOU!! Keep praying... we still have a way to go! And I'll keep you updated!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Update January 18th

Well we got some good news yesterday. Around lunch time, on my birthday, my mother came out of her coma. BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER!! It's a long story but I was not there when it happened but my uncle was. When I was able to get down to the hospital, she opened her eyes, started crying and squeezed my hand. There is still a lot to overcome but as of this morning she is breathing on her own (the ventalator is still in her throat but only as a back up). Looks like they are going to run a bunch of neuro tests today including a MRI but we wont know anything for a while. This is going to be a slow process but we are hopeful. Chuck, my uncle, had to head back home today and I'm a bit scared about being here by myself. My dad, my mom's ex husband, has really stepped up though and really really been there for me. So have my cousins on both sides, especially Julye and Andrea. I feel really blessed to have such great friends and family. I will keep you all updated as news becomes more availible. Love you all!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Update January 16th

After getting 8 hours of sleep for the first time in TWO WEEKS, we made it to the hospital just in time for rounds. She was still asleep. The doctors gave her an injection to stop the catalyst of the barbituit that had put her down. The doc also then used something to stimulate the brain. She gagged and coughed but opened her eyes. They then tested her feet and hands so we know that she responds to painful stimuli. We were told to wait until 2pm when they would do a CT scan of her head to check for brain damage. The CT showed 4 areas of stroke but they would not go into detail as to what areas of the body would be effected or how large/intensly they would be effected. Right now we are focused on her blood pressure and oxygen level. If the blood pressure is too high, the graft may not hold, but if it is too low, her brain may not get enough nutrients to maybe heal itself. On the oxygen end, as I have now learned, brain damage leads to some funny (meaning sad and horrible) responses in the body. One of these responses is that fluid collects in the lungs. Luckily, they can suchon that out but still she has to be on a highish level of oxygen through her ventilator. The most commonly asked questions I've recieved today are 1) how is her heart? --Great, it beats on its own and the graft is holding. She has more color in her hands, face and feet meaning circulation is up. But they have her on a pacemaker and are pacing her to make her heart beat a bit faster. 65 is a perfectly normal resting rate but they would like her at 80 (circulation to the brain) so they pace her. 2) when will she wake up? --They told me to get worried after three days. Because they cooled her core, it always takes a while 3) The kidneys? -- Her levels are high but still within normal range. As with any surgery patient, she is bloated but they say her output (namely urine) is acceptable and that as of now no dyalisis. 4) What can I do for you? AKA what does Katie and her famliy need (ignore the third person... lol) a) prayer... PLEASE b) well wishes c) understanding when I dont call or write back right away or maybe never d) if you live in STL, my uncle is here. I'll need you to come out later when he cannot be here. This will be a LONG process and I'll need help and support. Other than that, honestly, she may not wake up so if you want to say goodbye just in case, stop on by. (I would say within the next two days) and then anyone is welcome anytime for a visit, food run and/or backrub :-) I will call out for help when I need it so no taking off of school and or work pweeeseee because my mom would HATE that. God forbid someone go out of their way for her. Love you all!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Mother

On Friday my mother complained of chest pain and told me that she may have suffered from a heart attack. She called 911 and was rushed to the hospital. They moved her to the cardiac care unit at barnes downtown and started running tests. Kidney problems prevented them from running anything aggressive so it took till late yesterday for them to find out the problem was a tear in her aorta. Miraculously the tear was clotted with loose tissue/mucky debris from inside the artery and so instead of immediately bleeding out or within 24 hours, she had made it five days without any outward signs of problems. They moved her to cardiac ICU yesterday night and performed surgery this morning. However, the cardiac surgeon discovered more of a tear than was previously suspected. She was chilled till her heart stopped in order to put in a graft for most of her aorta and parts of three arteries leading to her brain. Meanwhile this gunk that saved her life may have floated to the brain and kidneys. We just wont know anything until she wakes up, which may or may not be tomorrow. They have warned me that there is a real possibility that she has had a stroke and that she too may need dialysis. I decided to go home and to get some sleep, recognizing that everything is out of my hands. I have been surrounded by family and friends and owe a lot to them for helping me through (especially Julye and Chuck). I write this message because I know there are people concerned. People who I have not called, who would want to know or even be there. I appologize for informing everyone this way but I honestly barely have the physical or emocional strength to eat or sleep. If you are not sure what to do, please pray or send good vibes. If you would like, call and leave a msg on my cell, drop an email or facebook msg. I cannot guarantee that I will answer or call back but well wishes are ALWAYS welcome. And I appologize in advance for my failure to notify some best friends, old friends, and family. I love you all very much!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wow... how things can change...

It's about that time to finally write this blog post. I wont lie, I've been dreading it because I'll sound like I'm throwing myself a pity party no matter what... cause it's sad... but I am doing really well with the support of good family and friends.

First and foremost, I'm moving back to the US. I'll be in St. Louis until at least March if not indefinitely. I could say that it has everything to do with my grandmother recently being put in hospice care or wanting to be with my family but more than anything it has to do with my heart. The day after thanksgiving Rody and I decided to breakup. I wont lie, I'm still a bit angry about how things went down but we are speaking again and have decided to "take a break" and not breakup breakup. Apologies on both side have been made but regardless we have decided to just be friends for now. And in the meantime I realized how much I would have resented him for not being here with my family, especially my father, through this really really difficult time. And I might have resented him for Buenos Aires too, if I had not stepped back and really decided for myself that this is what I want to do. Regardless, the next step involves school, either here in STL or in Buenos Aires, as I'm taking the time to really think about what I want for my future instead of really focusing on the future of someone else. Luckily, he still wants to move forward and think about his future. He is still planing on school in Buenos Aires, and now with a lighter spirit because he's doing it for him not for me. He has not fallen down the rabbit hole as some predicted but instead has grown drastically. I feel luckily that I can and will always consider him at the very least my friend.

I dont really know why but I feel I also need to say a word about his mother. I'm deeply hurt and offended at the attacks she has made on my character and the attempts she continues to make to keep us apart even as just friends. From calling me cheap... to telling me that Rody had cheated... so much so that in moments of rage I've wanted to say horrible things. Sadly I know where it comes from and I feel sorry for her more than anything in the world. I keep praying for her, hoping that some day she too will be happy. And so I'm asking all of you to pray for not just me during this difficult time, but for her too. I cannot imagine what she is going through from already loosing one son to Buenos Aires and soon another, to questions and problems in her own relationship, and then finally the same sort treatment she gives me from not just one woman but many. I wish that she would open her heart to me and know that I've never wanted anything more than the best for her and her family. I may not always be the best person but I try to be the best I can and that's all I can do.

I have no regrets and that's the important thing. I feel blessed every day and not because I'm writing my blog and have to say that but because yesterday I made cupcakes with my father, held my grandmother's hand when she could not breath and was having a panic attack about dying, and tonight I'll be iceskating with my cuz... There is nothing in this world like unconditional love provided by your family, I hope to find one day a man that too loves me as my family loves me. Will Rodrigo be that person? I dont know... I have faith in God that everything will work out as it's meant to be...