Marlene Passalino

First post: Dec 3, 2018 Latest post: Jan 18, 2019
On Wednesday, November 28, 2018,  Mom was determined to get her Christmas decorations up without waiting for help.  She was in her home in Belmont, NC on a short stool apparently in her slippers and fell off and landed on her left side.  Shortly after, she felt "weird" and she started having trouble swallowing, her neck started swelling up and her voice immediately changed.  It was confirmed that the jolt from the fall caused a hematoma to form in her neck from a small artery that broke when she fell.   So in order to protect her trachea from being impinged upon any further, they intubated her (put her on a ventilator) to ensure her windpipe would stay open.  She was sent to the ICU at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. (a Level 1 Trauma Center) and arrived about midnight Wed night.  There they just kept her comfortable while they waited for the swelling to subside and bleeding to stop.  They could not drain it or anything (even though her neck looked like she swallowed a watermelon) because of its location being so near the trachea and esophagus.  These hematomas apparently stop on their own and the blood gets absorbed back into the body.  They were right.  The next day the swelling had decreased considerably so that on Saturday after a CT confirmed  its shrinkage and due to the fact that she was basically breathing on her own (because she only needed it to PROTECT her trachea), but also getting quite agitated by the tube down her throat, they decided that it was time to take her off the ventilator.  Halleulah! She was so relieved to be off that thing that she immediately wanted to brush her hair!  And it was nice to be able to finally communicate with her (even if it was only a whisper) -much better than hand signals and trying to read her handwriting while the tube was in!)
However, after about a day she was off the ventilator, she did not progress as expected.   Her breathing was a little abnormal, went into AFIB (irregular heart rhythm) had a low Oxygen level and after a Chest CT, they found that there was still too much fluid in her lungs and she had a touch pneumonia too!  So early Sunday morning, they had to re-intubate her in order to properly get out as much fluid out of her lungs since she wasn't able to clear it all herself.

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