Another tough 24 hours, but at the end of the day Lea is just a teeny little bit better. She is pretty stable right now, and has been for the last few hours, but it took a while for us to get here. She actually began to improve at about 3:45-4:00 yesterday afternoon, when the blood pressure medication was reduced, and the respiratory therapist was able to reduce her ventilator support a teeny bit.

Her lungs are receiving 55% oxygen from the ventilator, and her blood oxygen saturation is 97, and the pressure being applied to expand the lungs is 12. The oxygen was run at 100% right after her “lung event” yesterday morning, reduced during the day by small increments as her lungs were able to compensate, to the 55% level, where it remains tonight. The goal, ultimately, is to get the oxygen support down to 40% or less as her pneumonia clears up. The goal for the pressure applied to the lungs is 5 (currently 12), but it was up in the 20s for a period yesterday. It may take us three weeks to get there.

Meanwhile, she is doing a little better on handling the ventilator, so the staff has been trying to wean her off the chemical paralyzer they had to give her when she was fighting so hard to breathe at panic rates. She is doing better now at letting the machine do the breathing for her, so she has been weaned to the point that the paralyzer is completely turned off, and sedatives are being increased to make sure she is not in pain.

She is still retaining more fluid than she is getting rid of through her kidneys, but hopefully they will be able to give her Lasix to get rid of it instead of having to put her back on dialysis. She is on her rotating bed, and I am becoming an expert at adjusting it and helping set it up. I even made a couple of medical improvements to the bed system using string from surgical masks and utilizing boy scout square knots. J

As I sat with her last night, I realized that with the rotating bed, which automatically rocks from side to side, I could only talk to her about half the time. Because the bed would roll her to her right side very slowly, then return past center over to the left side and back. So, for a while I would walk from side to side, until the nurses started making fun of me. So, I just stood still on one side, and kept telling her it isn’t nice to turn your back on people, but it didn’t seem to make any difference.

Since carrying on a conversation with someone who won’t even make facial expressions is pretty tough, I find that reading to her is probably a very good thing to do. I feel like I’m doing something to help her in between the times I brush her hair, try to do braiding, put lotion on her, and massage her hands and feet and move the joints to keep them fluid. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy reading your notes to her so much. Particularly now. They are short, and I can get two or three read before she turns away again!

One of the other things I like to do is sing short songs to her. I have to be really careful that I sing pretty softly, and that no one else is around, because I can’t hit a note or carry a tune at all, and I don’t want to frighten anyone. (We ARE in intensive care, you know). But, when we were home, one of our fun evening pastimes was for her to sit in the parlor reading while I played love songs for her on my keyboard. I’m not worth a darn, having just taken it up this past winter, but I play from my heart nevertheless.

One of the love songs I really felt expresses my feelings for her is one I loved to play for her, and I sing my own version of it to her now, softly in her ear:

Only you can make the world seem right.
Only you can make the darkness light.
Only you, and you alone, can thrill me like you do.
You’re the one.
My one, and only you.

(My apologies to the songwriters).

Goodnight and warm regards,

Larry

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