Monday/Tuesday, May 15-16- Forest Lake Cindy arrived at Charlene's in Forest Lake on Monday evening, May 15th. On Tuesday, she got up, took Lucas to school, came back and ate breakfast, then sat down and fell asleep. She and Ken had been planting garden at home in Felton over the weekend and Charlene just thought Cindy was tired. She slept into the afternoon when Charlene woke her up to see if she wanted to pick up Lucas, which she did. Cindy did not eat dinner, instead napped on the couch for a bit, then headed to bed thinking she was getting the flu and wanting Charlene to check on her as she was nauseous. Cindy also confirmed diarrhea but no fever. Charlene checked on her through the night.
Wednesday- Forest Lake &Wyoming On Wednesday Charlene let Cindy sleep. She got up at 11 am and Charlene made her some soup. She ate very little and was obviously weak. Charlene wanted to take her to urgent care and have her checked out, but she told Charlene that she wanted to take a nap and head home to be checked out by her own doctor(which Charlene was not going to let her do). Cindy slept through the afternoon and into the evening with Charlene checking on her. She came down the stairs about 7:30 pm and it was evident she was very weak. It was when she staggered into the great room, sat on the couch and she just let herself fall sideways to rest, a position she does not typically relax in, that Steve told Cindy they were heading to the hospital in Wyoming with her. First diagnoses was a slight case of pneumonia and possible bladder infection that could be the cause of slight confusion earlier in the day. Oxygen levels were a concern at 85% and a nasal cannula was placed on her. IV fluids and two antibiotics were started. Cindy was officially admitted at 2:10 am for overnight observation and to replenish fluids. Charlene left for home at 3 am.
Thursday - Wyoming Hospital Charlene called about 6 am and talked to the nurse who reported everything was good which Charlene believed as she could hear Cindy in the background adding to their conversation. Charlene told the nurse she had an appointment that morning and would head to the hospital right after. As Charlene was heading out the door she rec. a text from Cindy saying her phone was at "54% and I'm starting to feel better". Charlene, thinking she would need something to keep her busy while her mom was being discharged, grabbed a few things and headed up there. When she entered her mom's room Cindy was short of breath, having problems talking, and was coughing uncontrollably. She told Charlene her nurse had gone to lunch and she hadn't wanted to bother anyone else, deciding to wait until her nurse came back before reporting these symptoms. Charlene immediately got a nurse. A nebulizer was administered but did not help. Cindy continued to cough, be short of breath as well as low on oxygen. Another procedure Charlene is not sure of was administered and a catheter was put in place for additional ua. Charlene stepped out of the room for the catheter procedure. As she waited she heard a call for a rapid response respiratory team to Cindy's room. Medical staff was already moving Cindy from the room while a nurse was bagging her. She was brought to the ICU and hooked to a bipap machine. It became evident throughout the afternoon that even with the help of the bipap machine it was difficult to keep oxygen levels above 90 as Cindy continued having difficulty breathing and staying awake. Another cardiac enzyme test was done which showed the troponin levels were increasing. Steve had picked Ken up on his way back to Forest Lake from Fertile. About midnight it was determined Cindy would need to be transferred to the University of Minnesota for an angiogram as they did not have one at the Wyoming Hospital. A room had been arranged for Cindy at the Univ of Minnesota hospitals, cardiac floor, as an add-on for a Friday angiogram. Cindy was settled into the U of M by about 2 am, was very tired, and still on the bipap machine but resting more comfortably. Ken and Charlene headed back to Forest Lake from the U of M.
Friday - University of Minnesota Ken returned early Friday morning waiting with Cindy as the angiogram continued to be pushed back throughout the day. Oxygen levels had been unstable and Cindy's temperature was fluctuating. Doctors were waiting to stabilize these issues before Cindy would be able to have the angiogram. Charlene joined Ken about noon. Doctors made several attempts at taking Cindy off the bipap machine and letting her wear an oxygen mask . Each time these attempts would result in too dramatic of a reduction in oxygen. With Cindy's echocardiograms and other cardiac tests coming back negative - it was determined the angiogram was not a priority and would be postponed until the next week. Ken headed for Forest Lake that evening to rest with plans to arrive at the hospital early Saturday morning. Chad and his family arrived at the U about 8 pm. and visited for about 30 min. Cindy was feeling better and was able to use a nasal cannula on a high flow setting (8ml) so she would be able to eat. With Charlie there, it appeared as if Cindy had greatly improved. He sat by the side of her bed, had their picture taken together and watched the video of his school program. Shortly after they left her breathing became difficult again and her temp was at 100.5. The nurse administered Tylenol. They continued to keep her off the bipap machine as long as possible but the oxygen level quickly dropped to 77 and the bipap was immediately administered. Despite Tylenol her temp continued to rise to 102.7. Ice packs were applied. Cindy's temp was starting to decrease by midnight. Charlene left shortly after a talk with the nurse assuring her Cindy's temperature was coming down and her oxygen levels had stabilized with the support of the bipap.
Saturday - University of Minnesota Ken arrived at the hospital Saturday morning about 7 am. Cindy's sisters arrived about 11 am. The rest of the story is described in the following text messages below and posted in the journal. From Cherlyn First off....if you're married....please forward to your spouses if you want. We still have no answers for Cindy. We have been told pneumonia and heart attack. More lab pokes and urine samples now to try to find an answer. Angiogram, to check for heart damage, may not be able to be done for 2 weeks as she is not stable enough. An angiogram is actually like a surgery. She's still on oxygen, and there are 4 IV bags hooked to a pole that are pumping all kinds of shit into her. She's very tired so we let her sleep. She had a pretty big smile on her face when we walked in. But you can tell that there is something wrong. It was so good to see her. Love runs deep. Okay....this update is not from a nurse
Sunday & Monday - University of Minnesota From Cherlyn An update: during the night, Cindy's lungs got worse with increased shortness of breath. 3am she was taken to the Cardiac lab and had an angiogram. Angiogram WAS NORMAL, meaning no blockage. They inserted a balloon pump to create less work on her heart. This will help increase the cardiac strength with hopes of pulling off the extra fluid in her lungs called congestive heart failure. For some reason, her heart has been compromised. ICU called it stress induced cardiomyopathy. Carolyn said,"google it." She is in the cardiovascular ICU unit. She has been put into a drug induced coma and on a respirator. It has helped her breathing a lot and they are already decreasing the settings. It will be a long haul but we are getting there. As hard as it was to walk into her room and see everything and her unable to look at us, it was also very comforting to see her physically not fighting for breath. Now back to that she has pneumonia and we don't know why: fungal, viral, they're working on answers. Good time to talk to God. We are a strong family, well....maybe Carla and Cherlyn aren't worth a shit....but we all work together. Lots of labs and tests still being done. Good time to talk to God. From Cherlyn More news: did you all talk to God? Cindy's temp went up to 106. She was put in an ice bath and she is down to 104.5 now. Infectious control doctor has been called in. She told us that something has attacked her heart muscle, thinking viral. Every test from A to Z is now going to be performed to find an answer Chad, Carla and I are in waiting room most of the time as ICU pretty strict. Carolyn, Ken and Charlene go in to her room when allowed. Mostly Carolyn From Cherlyn I will do my best to always keep you posted. Cindy is now being taken to whatever room to have an ECMO heart/lung bypass to give her body oxygen and to allow her heart to rest. Carolyn said to google ECMO. It will take a couple hours before we get any information so please patient From Cherlyn Cindy was taken for her heart/lung bypass at 1:30 pm. This 2 hour procedure took 5 hours 30 minutes. Cindy is still critical but we have some positives. She is resting comfortably. Her temp is now low so has heating pads on her. Her pulse is normal rhythm. Her vital signs are stable. She has 6 IV bags hanging from a pole. One of the drugs is so she will NOT remember what she has been through. She is still on the ventilator and balloon pump. Some of the labs have to be flown out so could take awhile for all results. As hard as it is...we thank God..because we still have her. Our tears come at goofy times. Charlene and Carla are fighting over the thermostat in this ugly waiting room. Continue on to the Journal entries for Cindy's story