We are starting this caring bridge site to help update friends & family of Susan Kohnke’s condition. We will do our very best to keep this up to date throughout her healing process. We welcome words of encouragement and prayers as she is very sick with a long road to recovery. I (Josh) will give you a recap from Saturday, June 24th to what is now Mom’s 3rd day in the Critical Care Unit at Luther Mayo Clinic Health System. Saturday at 3:00pm Mom & Dad were at our home for my graduation party enjoying the day surrounded by family & friends when suddenly she became very nauseous and developed a severe pain in her side. Dad took her to the emergency room at Red Cedar Mayo Health and they diagnosed her with a kidney stone and set an appointment with plans to have it laser/blasted on Monday afternoon. They prescribed some pain medicine to help until her appointment.
Sunday she was out and about but still not up to par but nothing seemed serious at that point, as the day went on she developed a fever but was able to keep it around 100 so it didn't seem extremely alarming.
Come Monday morning she started to have broken speech and something was definitely not right. Luckily they went to her appointment at Luther in Eau Claire hours early and they began to examine her for the kidney stone procedure and discovered an infection that had entered her blood stream. They abandoned the kidney stone procedure, admitted her and took her into surgery to give her a stint to bypass the stone that was keeping her from clearing the infection. When they brought her out of surgery they woke her up but she was having trouble breathing. We were able to talk to her for what seemed like only seconds before they sedated her again to prevent her from interfering with the multiple IV's and allowing them to put the breathing tube back in. The infection called Sepsis had taken over & her body instinctively tries to fight off the infection but since it is in your blood the infection literally travels everywhere and the body starts attacking itself. The Staff at Luther Mayo had a very busy day/night working to counter the multiple complications caused by this state. Mom’s blood pressure was dangerously low despite being maxed out on 3 separate blood pressure medications. Along with this complication the infection was still present and her kidneys, the one thing that can cleanse her body started to fail.
This brought us to Tuesday morning, the night went by extremely fast and at this point we finally realized this is going to be a long and emotional process. Prayers and the love her friends and family must have been strong because Tuesday she stopped slipping away from us and made slow but steady improvements - not enough to get her past the danger zone yet but at least things were moving in a positive direction. Signs of infection were still present but her blood pressure started to stabilize and fewer medications were needed.
Into Wednesday morning - very slow improvements were made, she was stable enough to try to bring her out of sedation. They woke her up but this was rocky to say the least. Getting her off of sedation was not a success. The doctors then suspected the infection was in the gallbladder so they inserted a catheter to allow drainage, that procedure went well. Several medications and stress Mom’s body has gone through has caused her to gain extreme amounts of excess fluids and they are working on shedding this fluid to help her be more comfortable during the next attempt to wake her. They may do this Thursday morning if conditions are good.
There is still a long road ahead but we will try to keep you posted. A few of us will be updating as we get more information.