Little baby steps. Lea continues to make progress, ever so slowly, but progress, non the less. In fact, we had a family telephone conference call today, with Dr. Mah, and one of Lea’s nurses, Adam Dawidczyk, RN, and for the first time, heard Dr. Mah state that he thinks that we are almost ready to turn the corner toward recovery.

He cautioned, though, that several things still need to go right for that to happen. The incision in her abdomen, by the way, he considers a secondary issue, with recovery from the respiratory failure being the big problem we are combating at this time. It is unknown how much residual damage has been done to the lungs, and we are working to see if normal breathing can be restored.

He stated that she doesn’t have pancreatitis any more, and that is getting better. She is making some very positive steps forward, in that she is being weaned off the narcotics, kidneys are working well, her heart is doing pretty well, and her liver seems to be functioning at near normal levels.

The next steps are to reduce her sedation to the point that she will respond to commands. She occasionally will respond to commands right now, but usually doesn’t. But, then, she has been working really hard the last few days. She had the dressing change in the operating room yesterday, and a dressing change in her room today; Dr Mah changed her tracheostomy tube late today, to provide an airway device that wouldn’t cause damage to the walls of the trachea, and she also was able to breathe on her own with much less ventilator support.

The course of treatment from this point is to wean her from the narcotics over the next couple of weeks, using non-narcotic medications to control her pain, and to wean her from the ventilator over the same time period. He also stated that he thought we might be able to begin closing the wound in a couple of weeks, but that a skin graft is highly likely. He would first put in the mesh material at the muscle level, and then a couple of weeks after that, put in the skin graft.

So, we look for great improvements over the next four weeks. We also anticipate some problems will pop up: perhaps a small pneumonia (nothing like we experienced last time), and probably some infection in the incision, as well as a number of other types of small problems that can crop up in medical treatment this extensive.

If everything goes well, Lea may be able to be moved from Intensive Care to a Step Down unit in about two weeks. If any problems crop up it could extend that move another two weeks or so. At that point, we would begin physical rehabilitation for her to learn to walk, we would begin retraining her voice box so she can start talking again, and begin the final healing process. At some point after that, we would possibly be able to move her to a physical rehabilitation facility near home.

Dr. Mah agreed that it is a good idea to have someone with a recovering patient 24×7 when they get well enough to move to Step Down, so we will be keeping a close watch on her progress and try to arrange some support at the appropriate times. She is likely to be quite confused when she finally weaned from the narcotics, and will be about three months behind the times when she is able to get past the confusion and start catching up with lost time.

We are so very encouraged, and yet, know that we will have some down days ahead of us. Stlll, the Lord has been so good to us, and granted us so many blessings in the past few weeks, we can’t help but rejoice at the wonderfully bright outlook the doctors and nurses have, and the good news about God’s love that we have to share with others. He has performed miracle after miracle in Lea, and she will be a case study published by Dr. Mah. More importantly, she will be a case study in your ministry of God’s love!

Happy evangelizing,

Larry

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