Joan Yates

First post: Jul 11, 2018 Latest post: Jul 16, 2018
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.  When this situation began, we had no idea that we would be where we are almost 7 weeks later.  I asked for everyone to respect that we had an awful lot going on and to not call for updates. The plan was that we would give information to moms sister, Connie, and she would pass it on to the rest of the family. Aside from keeping Connie informed, I would keep Jeannie & moms friends updated.  Because it seems like things change so much, and the burden on Patrick & Connie to answer questions and disseminate information has become greater than we anticipated, I am creating this page to keep everyone informed and answer questions that everyone may have.

On May 25th , mom was admitted to Wake Med in Raleigh with a brain bleed.  The bleed was stopped, but the cause of the bleed remains unknown.  This situation caused some cognitive issues.  Moms speech was heavily affected and she had a small bit of confusion.  On June 1st she was moved downstairs to the rehab unit for therapy.  At that time, the plan was that she would have intensive therapy for 2-3 weeks, then probably go to the nursing section of the community that she lives in for additional therapy if needed, then we would access the situation and get her moved back to Greensboro or even closer to Charlotte.

After a week in rehab, mom developed a couple of infections & was having some blood pressure issues. At this time she was moved back upstairs to a semi acute room.  She had a few issues going on, but they seemed to be under control and the process had started to get her back into the rehab program.   On June 17th her blood pressure, heart rate & breathing all became a serious problem. She was moved into the ICU and put on an oxygen face mask. Unfortunately, she refused to keep the mask on & her situation began to deteriorate even more, so the doctors had to sedate & intabate her.  Her labs showed that she had a blood infection, so they began to surch for the source.  It turned out that an infection had attached to the defibrillator device in her chest. Surgery was done to remove the device and clean out the infected area.  The next day, they began weening her off the sedation, so that they could try to get her off the ventilator. Unfortunately, once completely removed from sedation, she has not become responsive again.  Since that time, she has had a small stroke in her occipital lobe that will have an effect on her vision, she has also had kidney issues that have required she be put on dialysis.  She developed a pocket of fluid around her lung and has required a chest tube.  The newest news is that she had a small seizure today and they have put a hold on her dialysis.  She also seems to have another pocket of fluid that may be in the chest wall or may be in her lung & may or may not be another infection. We are currently waiting for pulmonary specialist & surgeons to assess this & decide if she will require surgery to possibly place a different another chest tube or remove a piece of the lung.  

Moms current mental condition is that she can open her eyes when you speak to her or touch her.  She has made some eye contact and has occasionally tried to nod her head.  The doctors still feel that she can recover somewhat from this, but will never live independently again.  If we could get her cognitive function back and get her off of the ventilator, that would be HUGE progress.  The longer she stays on the ventilator and the dialysis, the worse her prognosis becomes.  The current plan is for her to go to an LTAC (Long Term Accute Care) unit when she is able.  There are pros & cons with this.  We could hopefully get her to Charlotte or somewhere closer to us. Unfortunately, insurance only pays for this type of care for a month or 2.  At that point they expect you to go home or into a long term care or rehab facility.  If she is still on dialysis and a breathing tube, those options are VERY limited. Most long term care facilities are not equipped to handle the level of care that she will require. So for the moment we are just playing it day by day, hour by hour.  That is all the information that I can give you right now.

We have had a few questions that I would like to address for you.

Can I visit her?  Yes.  She can have visitors.  We currently don’t recommend it if it is more than a day trip for you because she is in Raleigh, which is almost 3 hours from Charlotte.  If you want to book a motel room in Raleigh, you have that option.  If her situation changes, and we are forced to make difficult decisions, we will try to give out of town family time to come visit her prior to carrying out those decisions.  

Have you had the hospital chaplain visit her? No, we have not. We have been in contact with her minister from Greensboro and he has been up to visit her.

Does she recognize you?  We don’t know.  We don’t know how much she can see or if she just hears voices but doesn’t recognize them.  We do know that she is trying.

I will updated everyone when I have more information.  If you have questions, please post them here and I will answer them as best as I can.
Just keep praying!  Thank You, Everyone!

July 11, 2018

We had a conference with the cardio thoracic surgeon yesterday. Her intensivist brought him in because she still has fluid and infection in her right lung.  Unfortunately, he doesn't feel that she is a candidate for surgery.  Her body is not healing from a procedure that she had last week.  He says that she has so many issues that the nutrition they are giving her is only able to sustain her, but not help her heal or fight.  At this point, he feels that we have given her every opportunity to turn a corner and get better and we have passed the time that that is any longer a possibility.  Continuing with the treatments she is on is only prolonging the inevitable.  Patrick & I know that what she is going through is causing her great discomfort so we have decided that once her family has had a chance to visit with her, we will discontinue her treatment and make her as comfortable as possible.
We still have a lot to process at the moment, and so much to take care of.  I will keep you guys updated when I have more information.  

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