Gerry has been experiencing shortness of breath, fatigue and declining strength for some time, and we visited her primary provider regularly in an attempt to identify a cause and find her some relief. In June she started to use an inhaler, and initially saw an improvement in her breathing - the provider believed she had some level of COPD. However, after a few weeks it became less and less effective. On her most recent visit her provider opted to get a chest x-ray. That x-ray revealed that she had pneumonia. She immediately started oral antibiotics to try and get the pneumonia under control. After just 3 days of the medication, he condition worsened and her breathing was even more labored. That led her to the emergency room at Methodist Hospital.
Once there, she was immediately put on oxygen and felt dramatically better (her oxygen saturation was in the 70s when she arrived, but should have been in the 90s). They conducted several tests and determined she should be admitted to receive IV antibiotics to treat the pneumonia, which had gotten worse in just a few days. She has remained in the hospital since July 24th. One test they performed was a CT scan of her chest. Unfortunately, that scan revealed a large mass in her left lung. Confirming a cancer diagnosis would require a biopsy, which in and of itself is a risky procedure for her. Other treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation or surgery are simply not an option due to her weakened condition. The doctor recommended that we treat what we can reverse, such as the pneumonia, and focus on keeping Gerry comfortable and pain free. We are happy to report that she is not reporting any pain, just the shortness of breath.
She will be moving soon to NC Little Hospice in Edina, which is where Dick (Gerry's husband) was before he passed in 2011. We look forward to working again with the kind, compassionate and skilled staff at the hospice as we all focus on mom's comfort and quality of life.