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7/20/2017 Latest post:
Welcome to Sue Miller's CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support, prayers and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. Don Miller
Sue was first diagnosed with pnuenomia on May31, 2017 and treated at home with antibiotics. Her condition worsened over the next 5 days and was admitted to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, Lake Forest, IL on June 5, 2017. Early on, the pulmonary Doctors felt she did not have pnuenomia and did a bronchoscopy. The bronchoscopy revealed she had an aspergillus mold lung infection (very rare - usually contracted from contact with moist soils, mulch, etc.). They began treating her with antibiotics. Shortly thereafter she aspirated and developed aspiration pnuenomia. Additional antibiotics were administered to treat the pnuenomia. Shortly thereafter, due to very high RR and lung pressures, she suffered a pnuemomediastinin and the decision was made to inhibate her with a intratracheal tube. At this point they began giving her the blood thinner Heprin. Sue had an allergic reaction to the Heprin which caused the drug to increase coagulation (opposed to thinning the blood) and she developed blood clots in both arms and both legs - this coupled with all the other issues had Sue in very critical condition which very few patients survive. The Heprin was discontinued immediately. As Sue had been heavily sedated with Ativan and Fentanyl and had the intratrachea tube in for over two weeks, the decision was made to take her to surgery to do a tracheotomy. Shortly thereafter Sue developed a sepsis infection attributed to the trachea tube and the urinary catheter. Additional antibiotics were prescribed resulting on her being treated for three different types of infections. At this point the Doctors noticed a decrease in her blood oxygen levels - tests revealed Sue developed ARDS. While treating all these issues, they began the difficult process of weaning Sue off Ativan and Fentanyl - during this painful process, Sue displayed systems similar to herion withdrawal (clammy, sweating, irrational and irratible). During SBT trials, the Doctors observed irregular heart beats and rythyms and were concerned she was having a heart attack due a blockage of an artery. She was then rushed into surgery for an Angiogram which revealed her arteries and heart were in perfect condition. They attributed the heart irregularities to the bodies reaction to her illness and various drugs being administered. During this period, Sue was being fed by a feeding tube inserted through her nose. After doing the tracheotomy, the doctors recommended a stomach feeding tube which required another trip to the operating room due to her being in critical condition. As if we didn't have enough problems, due to torrential rains, Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital lost power and was operating on emergency generators. The decision to close the hospital resulted in Sue being transported to Northwestern Hospital in Chicago, IL. Sue responded remarkably well to the transfer. As the various infections cleared up, Sue was taken off most antibiotics. SBT's continued with good progress and Sue was ready for an "Accute Care Rehab" facility. The Doctors and Social Worker advised rehab takes 1 week for every day (40) Sue was in ICU (40 weeks of rehab). In reviewing the various options for a rehab hospital (the Cuckoo's Nest in Waterford, WI or Holy Family Medical Center, DesPlaines, IL) it was decided to move Sue via Air Ambulance to Promise Rehab Hospital in Ft Myers, FL. This decision was based on the lack of a good Acute Care Rehab facility within a reasonable distance from our home in Lake Geneva, WI. The Promise Hospital is in close proximity (10 minutes) to our winter home in Ft Myers and we will have a large support group of friends and family (her brother Rudy lives nearby). AeroCare Air Ambulance transported Sue to Ft Myers, FL on July 18th in the record time of 2 hours, 10 minutes. Sue did very well on the flight to FL and is now comfortable in Promise Rehab Hospital and ready to begin her long road to recovery.