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Jun 27, 2017 Latest post:
Jul 22, 2017
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.
A little background info to get you up to speed:
On April 7, 2017 mom (Pat) was taken to the ER at Upland Hills in Dodgeville by my father. This ER visit was due to mom getting short of breath easily. This is something that had progressively gotten worse over a few weeks time. Mom was not ignoring the fact that she was easily winded but contacted her primary at least once if not twice in regards to the issue. She had some sort of an appointment coming up in a few weeks so she was advised to just wait til then. They were not concerned. When mom got to the ER her oxygen saturation was in the low 70s. A number like that is nothing short of ridiculous. The staff was surprised that mom's lips weren't blue and that she did not seem to be in distress. The fact that mom was not in real distress or having other symptoms showed us that mom's body had adjusted to a lack of oxygen, meaning her O2 sats had probably been down for a very long time. Mom spent 3 days at Upland Hills before they transferred her to Meriter in Madison. While at Meriter she was seen by a Pulmonologist and was subsequently diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disease. Interstitial Lung Disease is a generic term for a group of disorders that cause progressive scarring of lung tissue. Mom was released from the hospital on April 15, 2017. She went home on oxygen and on steroids.
On May 4, 2017 mom once again had dad take her to the ER in Dodgeville due to shortness of breath. This time she knew what her O2 sats were because she has a pulse oximeter. This time her sats dropped into the 40s. Which is just completely insane. Anyway, she was transferred to Meriter after a few hours in the ER. Once to Meriter she was treated for pneumonia. Her INR was out of control at 8.9. During this stay she had some biopsies of her lungs done. Several blood tests. They wanted to rule out ever rare disease known to man, I think. All tests came back fine. All biopsies/cultures were fine. Sometimes with this disease there are simply flare ups. They are called acute exacerbations. During the many visits with the Pulmologist he even mentioned that acute flare ups sometimes occur. And it seems like that was what happened in this case. This visit was long and precarious because mom was on so much oxygen. When she was sent home from the hospital in April she was on around 2 liters of oxygen. During this visit they busted out a crazy high flow oxygen machine and had her on 20 liters at one point. She was on 15 liters for several days. A person can not go home on that much oxygen. A high flow concentrator goes up to 10 liters. It took several days to wean mom off the mega amounts of O2. When she finally did get to go home on May 19th she was at 3 liters at rest and around 6 liters with activity.
On June 16, 2017 mom called me to come over at 12:30 am. She had been having breathing difficulties all day, but nothing alarming like O2 sats from the previous hospitalization. She decided she wanted to go the ER because things just weren't getting better. This time we called the ambulance. What a circus. Long story short - a chest xray was done. Mom's right lung had collapsed. We (her family) wanted her transferred immediately to Meriter so she could be taken care of by people that were familiar with her lung history. Meriter would not accept her without a chest tube being put in first. It was too risky of a transfer. Dr. Dachman was called to due the procedure. He arrived in shorts and sandals and did a mini surgery right in the ER. Mom was then sent to Meriter. She was in the ICU at Meriter from June 16th to June 22nd. On June 22nd she was moved from ICU to the 11th floor. Mom is still in the hospital. Her lung still has not healed. The chest tube is still in place. A surgical consult was done. The surgeon thought the risks of mom having surgery were far too great. At this time we are all just waiting for the lung to heal itself.