The week of Dec. 16th, Kathy wasn't feeling well and was very fatigued. She was being treated for UTI on the 19th. After speaking with her over the phone and the amount of confusion & other symptoms she was experiencing, I called the Ecumen nurse which then called 911 after seeing her. She briefly went to Mankato where they found that her kidney was failing & she had a large blood clot in her leg (the length of her thigh). She was ambulanced to Rochester Methodist and then transferred to St. Mary's for a procedure to give clot busting drugs right to the clot as well as IV blood thinner. This came with the risk of internal bleeding, but there really wasn't any good option. As many know, she has difficult veins to pull blood from. On an overnight shift they had tried to put in a pic line/art line for an 1 & 1/2 hours into her right arm. Obviously that was very painful & agonizing for her. After they removed the tubing for the procedure, she was then transferred back to Methodist. Her confusion was decreasing & we were starting to see Mom more like normal....but tired from her adventures.
There was start of talk of discharge, but then her arm began changing colors to almost black & swelling. She was now bleeding internally & had a hematoma in her arm. They stopped the blood thinners. With all the pressure build up they did drain some out to relieve some of the pain. However, it was still very painful for her. They did order a special sling & bed to keep it elevated at all times. We were starting to discuss discharge plans & started up blood thinners again. She had even walked a loop around the nurses station. She had visitors over Christmas Eve & my family came on Christmas.
She was having mild discomfort with her leg & the thought was being bed bound had rotated something incorrectly.
During the day on New Year's Eve she was again in unbearable pain, not able to speak more than 1 word. The dr's could not get on top of the pain. They x-rayed her left hip area & couldn't find why she was having such pain. This went on through the night. She was able to get down to a "5" for pain by midnight.
Around 7:15ish she went into cardiac arrest. Due to her severe pain she had had staff in the room at all times. They started compressions right away & she came back after about 10 mins. Ethan & I both got a phone call to get there. They intubated her as well.
What caused the cardiac arrest was lack of blood due to another bleed. This time a muscle in her back & it was a massive bleed. She received 4 units a blood. She is unconscious/sedated. Her kidney (which had rebounded from the leg clot injury had rebounded) was in shock & not producing urine. We are not sure on what damage to her brain may have been done during her cardiac arrest.
Each day they try to wean her off sedation, but she doesn't tolerate it as her blood pressure goes way up & she starts thrashing her head & gagging on her life support tubes.
Poor Mom is a complex medical case & her body has been through more than any of us can imagine.
We do know that her heart appears to be ok & is beating/breathing on own, but she has fluid in lungs from aspirating during cardiac arrest & she has broken ribs from chest compressions. In addition she had 13 liters of extra fluid on her body that her kidney couldn't get out, so pain from that pressure. They believe she would be too weak to breathe on her own at this time. She has not followed any commands yet or recognized anybody yet when she does open her eyes. Sometimes it seems like our voices do calm her when she gets restless.
After 2 failed attempts at dialysis in the neck, she went down for a procedure with a thicker/stronger tubing & that has been successful. She has that machine running 24/7 to help remove the 13 liters. It removes around 2 liters a day.
We are fortunate to be here at Mayo with great teams of doctors & specialists working together for her best care. They know all her medical complexities here.
After seeing her the day of her cardiac arrest, it is nice to see her open her eyes, now just waiting for her to truly 'see' us.