Margaret has had a cough for some time now. The week of her birthday, she began coughing up blood so on December 10, her husband Dick took her to the ER in Princeton where the doctor quickly believed, based on her history, that this was an inflammatory issue causing the bleeding and cough. The doctor promptly sent her to the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Her son Mark was fortunately up in Princeton visiting and was able to drive her to the U.
She spent the evening of December 10 and most of the day December 11 in a medical care unit. In the early evening of the 11th, her condition worsened with increasing difficulty breathing and continuous coughing with more blood. Margaret was Intubated that afternoon and shortly thereafter moved to the ICU. Later in the evening, Margaret was put on a ventilator with 100% O2 being administered and the ventilator breathing 100% for her.
Her condition continued to decline that evening and into Monday. Hospital staff were running multiple batteries of tests to determine the root cause whether it be infection, inflammation, etc. On Tuesday, December 12th the Doctors continued to work towards a diagnosis but were leaning towards an inflammatory disease called Vasculitis which causes the blood vessels to swell and sometimes burst. Essentially Vasculitis is an autoimmune disease where the body overcompensates and attacks itself through elevated antibodies in the blood.
Margaret's daughter Kim flew in from Texas and met Dick, Margaret's sons Mark and Tim, and her daughter-in-law Colleen at the hospital. Later that evening, the doctor met with the family and told them that Margaret was continuing to decline and that they should get Dick and gather the family together. That night would be critical and Margaret's prognosis to survive the night was not good.
Margaret survived the night and began undergoing a treatment called Plasmapheresis- where they take plasma out of the body that is filled with antibodies (causing the inflammation and thus, bleeding) and then replace the plasma with healthy plasma. She had now undergone this process 5 times and the result is inflammation numbers in her body having gone from 220 (at admission) to 5 as of this date (December 18th).
Today marks Margaret's 8th day in the hospital and 7th day on a ventilator. Although her actual medical improvements have been small, the doctors and staff feel good about her progress and are optimistic about her recovery which is expected to be lengthy - possibly as long as a year. She is currently down to 40% O2 on the ventilator and is breathing with her lungs to some degree. The Plasmapheresis has greatly reduced her inflammation and the bleeding has been slowed considerably. She has been heavily sedated the entire time she has been on the ventilator and along with the sedation, Margaret was intentionally paralyzed medically to let her lungs rest and help the ventilator do its job. She is continuing to improve with baby steps and her family is looking forward to the day when she can breathe on her own again!
Margaret's family is asking for continued prayers and they want to thank the hundreds of friends and family for all of the prayers that you've been sending her way.