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8/14/2017 Latest post:
As many of you may or may not know, Shawn was diagnosed with cirrhosis in November, 2016. He was hospitalized for projectile vomiting of blood. This was caused by a severe gastric ulcer which also led us to the diagnosis of cirrhosis. He began seeing a gastroenterologist as well as a wonderful primary care doctor, Dr. Schoof. The gastric ulcer healed over time and the cirrhosis complications were being managed. We knew that a liver transplant was inevitable but we thought that we had a bit of time to pursue that avenue. In May, 2017 he began having coughing and breathing problems and we went to our local minute clinic since it was the weekend. She prescribed antibiotics and prednisone. For those not aware, prednisone causes fluid retention and for someone with cirrhosis, it can be very serious. All this was hindsight knowledge when on May 31, I got a call at work for me to come home. Shawn was having trouble breathing. When I got home, EMS was administering oxygen and we decided to take him to the ER. At the ER, it was determined he had developed what is called a pleural effusion from the large amount of fluid buildup and that it had collapsed his right lung. He had massive ascites (fluid retention in the abdomen) and the fluid buildup in the lung. He was admitted and had two thorocentesis and one paracentesis to drain the accumulated fluid. We returned home after 3 days of hospitalization. A chronic cough was now part of Shawn's life and mucinex and oxygen therapy as needed were the only things that helped. After a return to Gastro, it was determined that the time to pursue the liver transplant was coming sooner than later. We went to Duke Medical on July 24 and spent four days there doing their extensive testing protocol to determine if he was a candidate for liver transplant. Waiting on pins and needles we waited over a week for their decision. Praise the Lord, he was accepted. We began to tie up loose ends of paperwork and miscellaneous other issues to begin the process of listing him on the national UNOS list. As we were going to counseling sessions, dentist visits, etc. on the evening of August 9th, he began to run a low grade fever. We called the Gastro dr, Dr. Schoof, and Duke to see what to do. Gastro was unable to see us and suggested we go ahead to ER and Duke said to wait until labs were run. We were able to get into to see Dr. Schoof who checked him out and said if he developed another fever that night to go on ahead to the ER. Sure enough, he ran a fever, though not as high as the night before. The following morning, we went to the ER. Another paracentesis was done but it was determined he had another infection somewhere in his body. Upon admission to hospital, it was determined to be staph infection and bacteremia. Heavy duty antibiotics were started. He has been fever free since the afternoon of August 10, so hopefully the antibiotics are working on the infection. The doctors believed after ultrasounds, xrays, ct scans that the infection was contained in this pleural effusion in the lung. They felt like if they drained the fluid from this area, it would help to clear up the infection. Well, nothing is easy with Shawn and ultrasound showed pockets of fluid that could not be drained by normal means. Surgery was mentioned but due to his cirrhosis, it is very very risky to perform surgery on him due to his blood clotting issues. A chest tube will be inserted today, August 13 to hopefully clean out this area. We pray for success with this. I will continue to update on his condition through this page. I do not like to post updates to Facebook since we are away from home. Please continue to pray and send healing thoughts our way. We love each and every one of you and we thank you for your prayers.