Casey Cook Caring for Casey

First post: Aug 26, 2016 Latest post: Sep 8, 2016
On July 25, 2016 Casey was
admitted to the Emergency Room at River Falls Hospital. He had not been feeling
well for a couple of weeks and finally decided it was time to go in. They knew
something was wrong, so they tested him for Lyme’s disease and numerous other
bite-related illnesses, with no answers. They gave him a set of strong
antibiotics and sent him home to rest and recover. A few days later, on
July 27, Casey was found unresponsive in his home and again rushed to the local
River Falls Emergency Room. The River Falls Medical Center was able to
stabilize him and he was promptly sent via ambulance to United Hospital in St.
Paul where they started more rounds of tests to try to figure out what was
going on.


Casey finally woke up on July 29,
2016. He was bruised, sore, and very confused. The staff at United continued
with test after test, from MRIs to CT Scans, to try to figure out what had caused
his unconsciousness. They finally discovered it was Bacterial Meningitis. After
finding that it was Bacterial Meningitis, they decided that it was okay to move
Casey from the ICU to a regular room to recover and receive antibiotics to kill
the infection. Some of the side effects of meningitis can be permanent, and we
were very lucky that Casey has only suffered from memory loss, which seems to
be better every day. He was able to read, recognized his immediate family and
close friends, and was able to fully operate his phone, which were all such
positive things.


On August 1, 2016, Casey was
finally allowed to have his breathing tube removed and also allowed to start
eating soft foods and drinking thick liquids. The next day he was ready to get
out of bed, and made sure we knew it by just getting himself out of bed. He was
not very happy to be in the hospital, as he had a very lengthy hospital stay
when he was 16 for a massive 4-wheeler accident that took his right lung. But,
he also knew that he was very sick and needed to be taken care of in a way that
wasn’t possible at home. 


After a few days of antibiotics
and nurses keeping a close eye on him, the doctors at United decided that it
was okay for Casey to come home. This was wonderful news to all of us as we
were expecting him to have to remain in the hospital for months. When he came
home on August 4, he was followed by a nurse and a giant box of antibiotics
that we were taught how to administer at home. Before the nurse left, she took
Casey’s blood pressure and it was dangerously low, so it was back to River Falls
Emergency Room once again. Upon arrival at the Emergency Room, he was
given fluids and released a few hours later when his blood pressure stabilized.
The next two and a half weeks were mostly uneventful, just filled with doctor
appointments, antibiotics, and a PICC line that needed to be kept clean. All
was seemingly going according to plan, and things were starting to look up.
Casey was eating regularly and excelling at physical therapy and generally appeared
to be on the right path to recovery.


During the second week at home,
Casey started to experience night sweats and a general uneasy feeling. So, back
to the clinic it was, and again there were no immediate answers. On Sunday the
21st of August, it got worse. He was experiencing night sweats, was unable to
catch his breath or get a good night’s sleep. Monday morning he was back at the
clinic for regularly scheduled tests, but also to ask about the shortness of
breath, night sweats, and lack of sleep. Upon arriving at the clinic on Monday,
the staff recognized that he was not looking so good and decided to, once again,
send him back to the Emergency Room. While he was there, they did numerous
scans and tests to try to determine what was wrong. A chest x-ray gave a small
amount of answers when it showed fluid inside of his lung, which they thought
to be pneumonia. The staff at the River Falls Hospital decided that it would be
in his best interest to be back in the care of United Hospital. So, back to St.
Paul it was.


Monday was spent with the
infectious disease doctor, who was certain that it was actually not pneumonia,
but instead, a heart condition. It had already been a very long day for Casey,
so they held off further tests until Tuesday morning. Tuesday started with a
pulmonologist that decided the fluid in his lung needed to be removed. He also
ordered an echocardiogram, which showed significant deterioration of the Mitral
Valve in his heart, when compared to the initial echocardiogram he’d had done the
first day at United in July. It was then decided that the valve needed to be
replaced. In most cases, this is a very common surgical procedure. But in
Casey's case, since he is missing a lung, his heart has moved. Generally, your
heart is in the left side cavity of your chest, and Casey's is more centrally
located, and turned a little to the side. This makes it much more challenging
and turns a 3 hour surgery into an 8 hour surgery. The valve replacement is
scheduled for this Friday morning, August 26.


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