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May
18
2021

Farmington for the Win!

Hello everyone.  We have been spending the last few weeks staying very busy.  As you all know mom's surgery was a success and we couldn't be more grateful.  Since her surgery she has been dealing with quite a bit of water retention in her lower body.  Her blood levels are still struggling to recover and she did end up in the emergency room to get an IV filled with potassium.  It is very difficult for her to get around with the swelling in her feet and legs.  We are following doctors orders but have not seen an improvement yet.

Because of some of the outstanding difficulties that mom is having she reached out to the National Health Institute (Fauci's group).  It was hard to see her email which was begging for some type of help.  Mom and dad both had a bad bout with COVID in October last year. There is a possibility that some of these things could be related.  Surprisingly the NHI team reached out to mom the following day.  We went through the entire experience with their team and they want to take her case on. There is currently a COVID long hauler study that is being conducted.  We have decided to participate.  Sometime in July mom will travel to Maryland to start the process.  She will be there for a week having every test possible completed.  After the week she will be placed in one of two groups.  Group one will head home and do a series of tests etc... for 10 weeks.  Group two will stay in Maryland for the 10 weeks of exercises and tests.  We won't know what group she is in until after her initial assessment.  At the beginning of the study each person will be given a fit bit type device that they will wear for a year.  The device will submit information back to the doctors in Maryland.  There will be another follow up after the first year is completed.  This may seem a bit far fetched but mom's body is a mystery to the doctors here and we would like her to regain most of who she was prior to last October.  In the end, a full check up by some of the greatest doctors in the world certainly isn't going to hurt any of us.  We are more concerned about how much more testing mom can endure.

However, there are A LOT of GREAT things going on.  We expect that the Wentworth house will be sold before the end of June.  Mom and Dad will be moving to the cabin for the summer.  Ground will be breaking on their new townhome in 6 weeks.  Farmington will be welcoming mom and dad sometime between November and January (depending on how quickly their house is built).  Welcome to the south metro! They have chosen a new 55+ development.  The house will be one level (no stairs) with an attached garage.  The property will have an amenities building that includes a fitness room, pool, sauna, speakeasy, tennis & pickleball courts along with other fun things.  We are very excited to have found this property. Mom has talked about something of this nature for years.  Mom is taking a trip to San Diego with her friend Sue in a few weeks.  Dad is going on a fishing trip to Alaska in August with my uncle and some other family friends.  We are moving forward with some of the things that they both looked forward to in retirement.  

Thank you so much for all the thoughts, prayers and patience.

Peterson Strong

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May
3
2021

Finally!! Success!

Hello family and friends.  Mom is out of surgery and there were no complications.  The gall bladder along with the tube were successfully taken out.  Mom is in recovery and hopefully we will be able to talk to her after she is more awake.  Thank you for all your support. 

Peterson Strong!

May
3
2021

Today is the Day

Hello family and friends.  I only have a couple minutes to update in between meetings.  Mom had a great recovery weekend and she is having surgery to remove the gall bladder and drain this afternoon.  They will be taking her down for surgery prep around 11:30.  We expect for surgery to start around 1.  Thank goodness!  I will update later today when I can.

Thanks,

Peterson Strong

May
2
2021

Let's Go - But Not all the Way

Hello family and friends.  Mom had a decent night last night other than the blood pressure cuff going off every 2 minutes resulting in little sleep.  Her blood work this morning showed major sodium improvement (up to 132!!!).  We were so grateful to hear that news this morning.  

We found out last night that the doctors believe that the bile duct between her gall bladder and liver is where infection is coming from.  The plan was that once her blood pressure stabilized they would do an endoscopy to try and open the bile duct and clear the infection away.  Another procedure to be done is what is known as being "plumbed" out.  I will let you all make the correct assumptions about what that means (a cleanse of the "garbage pipes" of your body).  This morning they did the procedure to get the plumbing all worked out.  It wasn't as productive as they hoped for so tonight she will be having a drink to help that process along.  

Our mother has always spoken to us kids about her fear of medical procedures.  Child birth has been the only medical hospital stay she has ever endured up to this point in her life.  The endoscopy today was a bit scary for her.  It was done this afternoon however we don't have any results at this point.  She made it out fine and when Rachel spoke with her it didn't appear that she remembered much of anything.  Phew.

As of now, we are still under the impression that mom's gall bladder will not be removed at this time.  She was supposed to be having the surgery on Monday and we really aren't sure whether it is happening or not. We are trying to trust the doctors decisions but we have decided that if the gall bladder is not out by the time she returns home we are going to be searching for other doctor opinions. Covid makes dealing with these situations very difficult.  You aren't able to be present when the doctors show up (you never can be sure when they are coming) and they are so busy to get on to the next patient that they aren't patient enough to wait for mom to call during their meetings.  We are so excited that there was ANY type of movement today so LET'S GO!!

The journey continues and we truly appreciate all of the warm wishes and positive vibes coming from everyone.

Peterson Strong
April
30
2021

Rollercoaster

Hello family and friends.  This week has been another rollercoaster ride.  When I updated you the other day it felt like we were finally making progress.  After I completed my update things changed.  Mom had a rough Wednesday night with little sleep and an upset stomach.  She fought through Thursday but had another horrible night.  Maria brought her back to Methodist this morning to get fluids.  We were under the impression that she would have a couple of IV's and probably come home.  She had just had blood tests that were fantastic.  We were wrong.

Unfortunately mom is septic AGAIN.  She has been admitted to Methodist and is back in the ICU.  Her blood levels came back with shocking results compared to the other day.  Her sodium is back down to 121 (needs to be 136).  Low sodium should not be taken lightly.  These are the same sodium levels that she had when she was in critical condition back in March. She has already absorbed 2 bags of fluids.  EKG results were fine.  Kidney's looked good.  We are still waiting on a chest x-ray.  The doctors are uncertain if this is being caused by the gall bladder or an infection in her blood.  Her blood pressure is all over the place and they are in the process of putting in a PIC line.

We don't have any other information, such as a plan, to share at this time.  We are only hoping that they get the sepsis under control and get whatever it is in her body causing this taken care of. In other words, get the dang gall bladder removed so that we can figure out if there are other things that need attention! 

We would like to request that friends and family try to stay away from calling or texting mom at this time.  Feel free to text or call one of us kids.  

We will update when we have more information.

Peterson Strong
April
27
2021

Restoring Strength

Hello family and friends.  I am sorry for the wait between updates but there isn't much to share.  Mom has been spending the last few weeks restoring her strength.  She has moved away from needing her cane and is getting out and about quite well. Her and dad are doing great at home and are spending their time preparing the house for sale and enjoying the dog.  They have run across a lot of fun treasures during the process.

Not only has her strength improved but her blood levels have improved as well.  She hates salt so it is so odd watching her put salt on everything.  Because of the improvements, she has now been cleared for surgery on May 3rd.  We are hopeful that it will actually happen.  Until then we just continue to wait. The drainage bulb continues to do its job all though it is the most irritating part right now.  Mom still has not had a good nights sleep since this all started.  Hopefully May 3rd that will change.

Thanks,

Peterson Strong

April
6
2021

Waiting and Waiting

Hi family and friends.  We have mostly had a good couple of weeks.  Mom did end up back at Methodist for a few days due to sodium and kidney levels.  We have been waiting and waiting for today.

April 5th is surgery day!  We have tried our best to maintain the last few weeks.  Mom and dad became more independent.  They have been at home, on their OWN, for about a week. Mom has been able to drive and we have just kept our sights on April 5th.  They even got a dog (yes, we are crazy.  Dad's mood and memory improves greatly with a pet.  We have been looking for the right fit for the last few years).  Welcome Bubba, my new brother.

There was some concern late last week that mom's blood levels wouldn't be in a good enough place for surgery.  She spoke with her doctor this morning and he had no issues moving forward.  The only snag could be if the anesthesiologist felt "uncomfortable" with her numbers.  Chances of that were very low.  Mom got dropped off at 1 pm.  We waited to hear blood results and be given the green flag.  We waited.  The lab was backed up.  We waited.  Our anticipation is 2 months of hardship for her!! They drew her blood.  We waited.  They drew her blood again.  She was told that it was to make sure that they had the right type of blood available in the OR.  Super exciting (I know better now, they were taking them to see improvement)!  We must be moving forward.  We are so ready.  We are so ready to help her recover.  We are so ready to figure out if there are other issues and tackle them. We are ready to start moving forward.  We waited and........CANCELLED.

Are you kidding me!!!!  Such anger and frustration.  The questions don't stop coming.  What would happen if she was in a car accident and her sodium was low?!? What would happen if.....?? After some time to think, I am back to waiting,  The answer to the "what if question" came to me pretty quickly. I'm not a doctor.  I am a daughter and I don't like seeing my mother suffer.  But, I would rather be waiting then messaging every one that mom wasn't strong enough yet and the outcome was grave. Or that, mom wasn't strong enough yet and 7 months later she is still recovering,  This waiting process has been nothing short of rough.  But, we will wait until the time is right. 

Sounds like maybe a couple of weeks. We won't get our hopes up but will put our sights a few weeks ahead.

Peterson Strong.

Sara

 

March
25
2021

Again, Again, Again and.....AGAIN

Hello everyone.  I apologize for the lack of updates but things seem to be more tiring these days than normal. 

Each week seems to bring the same symptoms with no or little answers.  Mom has been to urgent care or an emergency room pretty much 2X's per week. It feels like we go and we go again and we go again.....  FYI: when I say WE I mean Phillip and Rachel.  These events seem to occur towards the end of the day.  She is currently back at Methodist and will probably be there for a few days.  We are struggling to get her body to give clear signals. Different blood indicators will look fantastic one day and two days later they are horrible.  We continue to try and be patient.  Currently, she has a UTI and her kidney function isn't good. It isn't critical but very irritating.  Her sodium is a concern again.  Last Saturday it was fantastic.  Today it was 120.  It needs to be 136 and stable. There is now a slight concern that her surgery (scheduled for April 5th) might have to wait until it stabilizes again.  We have asked many, MANY, times why we can't just have the gall bladder removed.  We continue to be told that it cannot be done right now.  Her body needs to repair. We are trying to ride the wave, patiently, when so many things feel out of control. Most of all, we hate seeing our Mother going through this experience.  This Fall she battled COVID for over a month along with Dad.  Now this! As Dad says "ENOUGH ALREADY!".   It is just so disappointing.  We still can't quite decide if maybe it's all related????

I won't sugar coat things.  We are all very frustrated.  We don't know what an emergency is anymore.  We are doing our best to stay focused on all things health related without letting the frustrations flare. 

Phillip leaves tomorrow and his help has been invaluable.  He truly sacrificed a lot to be here and it hasn't gone unnoticed.  During good days he was also able to spend some time with other friends and family.  His nieces and nephews are certainly going to miss his presence.   Rachel and I haven't even had time to talk and discuss what the next few weeks and months will look like.  I know that things will change with Phillip heading home.  We all have been able to keep our goals of working full time and navigating, however, it has taken a lot out of us, our parents, our children and our partners.

I know many have asked about visits etc...  Here is where things stand.  One would think that there is a lot of quiet/down time during an event like this.  However, it is completely opposite.  There are nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists and others in and out of the home constantly.  Not just for mom, for dad too. Phone calls for making appointments, talking with family/friends and dealing with other misc. issues are non-stop as well.  Mom can only sleep about an hour and a half before her tube needs to be emptied.  With taking care of this tube she is getting less sleep than if she had an infant.  It really isn't something that we can let her sleep through because it's painful, she has to get up.  But, she can't nap during the day with all of the appointments.  She is TIRED! It gets overwhelming for those living there and those doing the care giving.  Please don't feel sad or upset if a visit is turned down or messages aren't returned.  We have set boundaries for ourselves that includes prioritizing.  Sometimes updates and visits are lower on the list. Please know that she would love it if she could have more "fun" time.

Please don't see this update as a reason to not call or not text.  Please keep checking in.  Just stay patient if it takes awhile for us to get everyone in the loop.  

Thanks, Peterson Strong!