Tracy Hengel

First post: May 25, 2017 Latest post: Aug 30, 2018
For those of you who are not yet aware, Tracy is very ill. She is in the ICU at Fairview/University.


On Friday night/Saturday morning of May 5-6, Tracy started feeling ill. On Sunday night, she felt bad enough to go to the ER. They gave her antibiotics and sent her home. That enabled her to feel a bit better on Monday but by Tuesday she was much, much worse. She went to a clinic and was immediately sent to Regions ER, where she was admitted into the ICU with sepsis. (5/9)


(5/10) During her first night in ICU, she started having extreme difficulty breathing and they intubated her, telling her she would get the tube out the next day. By Wednesday afternoon, they had a diagnosis of pneumonia and staph infection/sepsis. No abscesses were found on a CT. She was actually up and sitting in a chair that day and predicted she would be off the respirator on Thursday.


On Thursday, they didn’t take out the respirator, they added a feeding tube. Attempts to wean her off the ventilator were not successful.


By Friday they had decided that she wouldn’t be able to get off the breathing tube for at least a week. Her lungs were too compromised. The blood draw from Thursday showed she was still growing staph. They did a CT of the heart valves without contrast (Tracy is allergic to contrast), and didn’t feel that was where the infection was. They also said her liver and kidneys were strong. It was decided that the best “treatment” for her was to sedate her, keep her calm, and let her body heal.


(5/13) By Saturday, I guess Tracy had just had enough. She actually broke out of the restraints and (unsuccessfully) attempted to pull out the ventilator. This is after a week of being unbelievably ill, no food, being sedated with mega drugs, etc. That’s Tracy. The good news from Saturday is that the culture taken on Friday did not grow any bacteria (the sepsis culture)!


(5/14) On Sunday, we were told that Tracy is “stable.” She’s not getting worse but her lungs are still really bad. They put a PICC line in so they could stop poking her. She has pretty much had an extremely high temperature since she was hospitalized. The blood culture (sepsis) from yesterday did not grow bacteria.


(5/15) On Monday, they added a line to monitor her blood pressure right in her blood. It is extremely more accurate. They contemplated an MRI of her neck to look for any abscesses but they can’t take her off the respirator so it is off for now. Her oxygen levels had been fluctuating horribly all morning, Her lungs are not getting better.


(5/16) Tracy was put in a coma. Other than her lungs, her organs are doing what they should. She still needs the ventilator but her lungs are almost there (?). They are starting physical therapy. She’s going to get a bath! The hospital staff seems pleased. The ventilator settings were lowered.


(5/17) The arterial line was removed and they are lowering sedation. By the end of the day she should be able to open her eyes. No fevers today. Oxygen needs are down. Lungs showing evidence of healing. Will be doing scans of her legs to check for clots. Doctor says today is a great day! May start weaning her off the ventilator tomorrow. Tracy has an “average” case of ADRS.


(5/18) It is believed there is no brain injury. She had a fever overnight. Vascular surgeon has no big concerns. Not responding to outside activity (a clap by her ear, yelling her name, etc.) Need to wake her up before they can take the vent out.


(Friday, 5/19) Tracy opened her eyes when Jaye called her name. She recognized him and Wendy. She is definitely frustrated.


(Saturday, 5/20) An MRI shows 2 pockets of infection that don’t require drains (C2-C4). She’s breathing fast on her own. She is moving. Her feet and hands are warm and pink (they used to be ice cubes). She breathed on her own for maybe 5 minutes (without the vent) She appeared to look at/know me (Kay). She calms down if you talk to her, otherwise pretty upset. After some medical treatment, they said she was too agitated and asked me to not talk to her/touch her anymore.


(5/21) It was suggested Tracy be left alone today. Everyone stayed away to give her a chance to heal.


(5/22) Tracy had a rough night and was put back in a coma. They want another MRI but can’t move her off her respirator. Her oxygen levels are going up! They turned her to lay on her stomach. She is “stable.”


(5/23) Okay night. Hemoglobin dropped. I don’t think I put this before, but Tracy has developed blood clots in her legs. Without an MRI they can’t be certain there are clots in her lungs but it’s pretty much a given. High fevers overnight. She is not improving. She is getting worse. Transferring her to the U, where they have an ECMO machine, is being contemplated (if she stabilizes enough). Tracy was transferred to the University (ICU). The U said her lungs are “stiff.” She needed blood as her hemoglobin is low. She has a fever (again). The U shut sedation and the paralytic off – it will take awhile for it all to get out of her system. She is “stable.”


(5/24) Her temp is 104. No significant changes. She struggled with oxygen last night but has leveled out. A wonderful priest came to pray over/with her. (We are asking for mega prayer!) the doctor said, “she is very sick, but we have hope.” (They damn well better.) Since sedation/paralytics have been discontinued, we are looking for any “awareness” from Tracy. She has been sedated for two weeks so this could take awhile. Obviously she will be a bit agitated as she comes to. There will be quite a bit of rehab required WHEN she gets released from the U.



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