So, how do you like your roller coasters? You like them with high, steep ups and downs, or REALLY high, steep ups and downs? We have certainly been on one of the lowest points of Lea’s recovery so far during this past weekend. We took a REALLY steep drop in Lea’s progress this past Thursday, were on pins and needles throughout the weekend as we stayed by her bedside

We don’t know what the numerical number is for the chance of Lea’s recovery at this point, but Dr. Mah states that statistically 70% of those who suffer an acute pancreatitis attack survive. He doesn’t like putting numbers on chances of survival. They can come back to bite you. But, so far, we have felt very comfortable with the validity of the information, projections and predictions Lea’s doctors have given us.

Dr. Kirton, Chief of Surgery, is a very thoughtful and compassionate fellow. He has a medium to slender build and is probably about 6′ 2″. I’m no good at guessing age, but would be surprised if he is much over his early-fifties. He has a captivating smile when he feels the situation is right to allow it, and his white teeth are quite striking against his dark complexion. I think he could also be described as handsome, too. I know that he is held in very high regard by the nurses here at Hartford Hospital.

Last Monday, after closing up the left side of Lea’s abdomen, he came out of the ICU’s swinging doors into the waiting area, where I was sitting, with a big smile on his face. He was slipping his arm into his white doctor’s coat, obviously having just shed surgical scrubs. He was wearing a blue long sleeve shirt and red bowtie. My spirits were immediately lifted just knowing by that smile that he was going to give us good news. I told him later during a casual conversation that he is one of the few people who can make a red bowtie look good. He also takes ribbing well! J

Today, he stopped by Lea’s room in the morning, and again toward the end of the day, to see how she was doing. By afternoon Lea had done a great job of responding to the rotating bed treatment. In fact, by one o’clock in the afternoon the “swan” was removed, because it was no longer needed for her treatment.

This is the second time, by the way, that she has had a swan, properly known as a Swan-Gantz catheter. It is a thin, flexible tube that is inserted through one of the large veins that return blood to the heart. It uses a balloon to carry it to the heart to the pulmonary artery. Once there, the catheter gives precise readings of pressures and temperatures within the heart.

The reason the staff likes to see them go away is because they provide a path for exterior infections to go directly into the center of the heart. Taking it off a patient is a good thing, and a sign that their condition is improving enough that the risks associated with use of the device can now be avoided.

Her temperature has remained pretty close to normal, her blood pressure has been very good, and her kidneys are working well. During the mid-afternoon and again during the evening, sterile water was placed directly into the stomach through the tube in Lea’s nose, to see if her system would absorb water. A test last Sunday ended in failure, but today, there was some absorption that took place. If the digestive system will kick into gear, she can be given fluids through the stomach, eliminating the need for one more of the IVs.

Here oxygen support was reduced to 40% today, and she seemed to do well at that level, maintaining oxygenation of her blood in the 94-95% level. Again, this indicates some healing is occurring in the lungs. She is also getting a little touch of Lasix to reduce the fluids being held in her body. An ultrasound of her legs today showed no identifiable blockages in the veins or arteries.

All in all, as Dr. Kirton said this evening, “She is doing a spectacular ob” of overcoming her medical problems. She is a fighter, and God is guiding her every step of the way. He is giving us miracle after miracle in leading us through this trial, and we must continue to pray for His miraculous healing for her.

Thank you for your continuing devotion to prayer for Lea.

In His service,
Larry

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