Medical update — 041811

From the time I arrived to the time I left, Mom occupied the easy chair in her hospital room.  This is a positive sign all by itself.  She was awake and alert and, while still claiming to be weak, seemed a bit stronger than even yesterday.

The doctor stopped in to deliver the good news: the electroencephalogram (EEG) taken Saturday came back negative for seizures or strokes.  More good news: the blood culture came back with a result of MSSA, not MRSA.  These seriously scary infections are similar but for the fact that MRSA is drug-resistant (hard to beat); MSSA is not.  Ergo, MSSA is a far better thing to have (if you must have a Staphylococcus aureus at all).  A single drug has been found which will fight both the MSSA and the UTI, and is available in both IV and pill form.  But enough with the acronyms.

All of this positive news came with the first mention of Mom being released from the hospital to her Assisted Living room at Piedmont Place.  In the doctor’s mind, this would take place tomorrow.  This was a conversation needing an advocate: me.

The first item of business is the generous sign-off of the hospital’s physical and occupational therapists.  The second item is the removal of the Foley catheter.  The doctor wanted to take it out today.  The third item is the insertion of a PICC Line.  This is usually located at the upper arm and terminates near the heart.  The PICC Line is sort of like an IV, offers a portal through which venous drugs – like antibiotics – can be administered, and can remain in place for up to a month.

I argued that the PT/OT sign-offs were grossly premature.  Mom is physically unable to make the dozen or so trips each day to the bathroom and, thus, the catheter had to stay in.  Finally, Mom cannot be released to Assisted Living with a PICC Line; it’s against the rules.  She must go either to Skilled Nursing Care (SNC) or to SNC-Rehabilitation.

As he reconsidered his positions, the doctor recalled another diagnostic gun in his arsenal.  It’s a procedure called a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE).  Where a standard ECG performs it analysis from the outside of the chest inward, the TEE does it’s job from inside – behind the heart – toward the outer wall of the chest.  He was thinking that we still did not know what caused Mom’s blackout/fall early last Saturday morning.  All of a sudden, the release date was unimportant.  All of a sudden, I was (at least temporarily) a much happier caregiver.

Standard Echo
TEE

Illustration credit: HeartSite.com

The TEE will be scheduled for tomorrow and recovery will take at least another day.  A release date will be considered again on Wednesday at the earliest.  When she is released, Mom will go either to SNC or, more likely, SNC-Rehab; both of which are provided at Piedmont Place.

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About FredMarx

Old enough to have wisdom; young enough to learn.
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