In the grand scheme of things, I suppose today was a good day, although Lea was quite disappointed and frustrated that things didn’t go the way we hoped. She didn’t get her tracheostomy changed, which means we didn’t get the speaking valve. Again today we were told maybe tomorrow.

When I arrived at six this morning, Lea was sleeping soundly, with her feet sticking out over the side of the bed. Maria, the Patient Care Assistant, had allowed Lea to sit up on the side of her bed and dangle her legs for a few minutes last night while her back was being washed and the bandage changed around her chest drain.

Lea liked sitting up, although she had to be held in place, since she has no muscle tone to lift herself, balance, or keep herself from falling. We are beginning to do some minimal exercises to work on recovering her strength, and I continue to work on loosening up her joints by doing some of the physical therapy exercises we have been taught.

Sometime during the early morning hours this morning, someone sprayed something in the room that the fan blew into Lea’s eyes and caused significant irritation. Her eyes were bloodshot and very sensitive to light, and watered continuously until mid-afternoon. She was given antibiotic eye drops during the day, but she still couldn’t open her eyes until after dark, and even then couldn’t have lights on because it hurt her eyes and made them water.

We have asked her several times about the incident, but are unable to figure out who or what. Her writing is mostly unintelligible, and we can’t get her to mouth just one word; she wants to do whole sentences, and we can’t understand them. Sure will like getting that speaking valve in!

She went for the chest catscan at 9:00 this morning to check the air pocket around the lung. It was small enough that the specialist didn’t think it necessary to do anything with it, but they will continue to watch its effect on her lung function. The pocket may go away on its own. Many of them do. If it becomes a problem, they will vent it to atmosphere with a small drain tube.

She wasn’t able to get off the ventilator today. I think she just wasn’t in a very good humor because of everything that was going on, and she just went into a bit of a panic mode, breathing too fast whether she was on the vent or not. Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day, and she’ll be able to get off the vent for another trial. Another bump in the road.

Her white count was up, and she had a temperature of 101 degrees, so she may have a little infection returning. As a precaution, all of her IV lines were replaced and moved to the other arm, just to make sure none of them was bringing infection into the body. Hopefully, her lab work tonight will show an improvement.

Dr Mah decided that he wants to schedule the inspection of Lea’s stomach, since it is about the only remaining source of infection that hasn’t been examined, and he wants to know that it is okay before he starts her on solid food. The procedure is being scheduled for tomorrow as soon as it can be worked into the schedule. The procedure is performed by inserting a camera through a tube placed down the esophagus into the stomach. It is equipped with a stapler and a cauterizer so any problems can be repaired at that time.

She is completely off the Dilaudid now, which means that she isn’t getting any pain medication, unless she complains, in which case she will get an injection. She has been doing very well, and doesn’t often report pain, which means that she is getting off most medications that she has been receiving. She is still getting an insulin drip, is getting a Lasix drip to eliminate water build up, and today was receiving some antibiotics to counter the increased white count.

We keep being reminded that she is still in critical condition, and that even a simple procedure can be life threatening. Her condition is still quite delicate, and her physical stamina is very weak. We continue to observe all the procedures to maintain a sterile environment for her, and still work to keep her spirits up by giving her encouragement.

We appreciate your continued prayers and messages of love. The reading of your emails, egreetings, and greeting cards is a very important part of the therapy, and has continually given us an edge in gaining ground on the recovery process. We are getting close to turning the corner now, and once off the ventilator, I believe we’ll see her take great strides.