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My son R.J. is a beautiful, loving young man who is the oldest of my 10 children. You who are reading this know what a special young man he is to family, friends and girlfriend Rebecca, that being said I will start his story. R.J was not feeling well on Monday, August 25th while traveling home from a trip to Colorado, he was not camping out there but the altitude does contribute to dehydration and hiking several days with temperatures in the 90s did not help if he was starting to come down with something. Vomiting, fever and diarrhea started on Monday and persisted until he and Becca went to the clinic Wednesday night, August 29th. The clinic sent R.J. to the ER and from there to the intensive care floor by midnight. I received a call from Rebecca at 6:30 A.M on Thursday the 30th of August and she said RJ was not doing well, he was extremely dehydrated and his blood pressure was extremely low. His bladder was empty and his kidneys were not functioning. He had a fever and was definitely battling an infection.
When we arrived at the hospital in Iowa at 12:15 R.J's temperature was 106, Heart rate 138 and BPs in the low 80 over 50s and respitory rate to fast to count, none of these were good signs- RJ was Septic which is a word that scares me to death. They were doing what they could to help get him stable. They have found a mass in his liver. I have now heard it called a mass, a lesion, an abscess, a pocket of infection-let's face it, any way it is worded it is just not good.
The treatments started---cooling pads to stabilize his temperature, blood pressure meds, fluids and antibiotics that cover EVERYTHING. RJ was placed on a ventilator, a central line placed and is on continuous dialysis to give his body a rest. He was brought down to invasive radiology to have a biopsy of his liver and came back with a Jackson Pratt drain that is draining blood from his liver. He is a very sick boy, I say boy because he is my boy forever as all you mothers understand.
He has a team working for him. The ICU nurses are right on with his cares and meds, The team of doctors are intelligent and communicating with each other and keeping all of us informed. He has a kidney specialist, a infectious disease specialist, a radiologist doctor, the lead ICU doc, and his primary doctor following him.
They lightened his sedation last night and he was able to try to communicate with us asking what day it was and if his kidneys will be alright. He started to cry when we told him that everything was going fine and he was being so strong. He woke again at 3 and was trying to talk a lot and coughing started. He wanted to communicate but with his tube in it is not conducive. His central line also plugged at this time so the decision was made to sedate him deeper. Clot buster TPA was used with success and the line is now functioning again and dialysis has resumed.
His blood cultures are not growing anything but there was a small microbe that they are trying to distinguish in hopes of getting an answer to why this all took place. The doctors are all puzzled because they are not getting a definitive answer but the Doc who admitted him on Wednesday had his theory that RJ was bombarded with all antibiotics in the arsenal and that he feels it was a gram negative bacteremia, this along with the dehydration and other factors created the perfect storm in RJ's body. He feels the liver issue certainly could have been where infection chose to settle...No black or white answers only grey and due to his age all are very surprised how sick he got so quickly, he did not know which direction this was headed Wednesday night but seeing RJ last night he felt much more positive which are the words I NEED to hear right now.
So as of right now 2:45 PM RJ is sedated, on a vent, on dialysis has continuous ABX, vitals every 5 minutes, on cooling pads, a blood pressure med and now has a nasogastric tube feeding pump. His labs are doing better but I am here as a mom, not a nurse and I am not asking too look at lab values. I am not going to lie my friends and family who are reading this, I am scared, tired, wore out and just want to be sedated as well. At times I feel weak and vulnerable with my eyes puffy,my nose stuffed and lack of sleep.......BUT I know that RJ has a ton of love, prayers and FAITH to keep him going and getting stronger. Prayers have been felt and my family and friends are hear physically supporting us as well as the family and friends who are praying at home. It ALL matters and is appreciated so much, that I am at a complete loss for words-and those that know me well will not believe that one (see I can Still be a little funny)
I will continue to update all on his progress and thank you for taking a moment and saying a prayer--Rita
A year ago today RJ was fighting for his life, and throught the knowledge of Unity Point staff, the strength in RJs heart and the many,many prayers which made the difference to RJ and all of us he is here and healthy.....A november wedding is planned and we are all so excited!!! So thank you from the bottom of my heart for the support, prayers and love that was felt!!!!