She's been working at an animal hospital part-time, trying to make enough money to cover her prescription and oxygen co-pays (yeah, thanks America, love that health care), and she was bitten by a cat. She has compromised (to say the least) immune defenses now, and given the x-rays and her panic (I know she's not telling me something) and the word she let slip, which was that the doctors looking at her x-rays saw a "vegetation," I think she has endocarditis. I suspect that one or more of her heart valves have become infected.
That would mean:
The primary treatment of endocarditis involves an intensive course of antibiotics, usually for at least 4 or 6 weeks. For much, if not all of this time, the antibiotics are administered intravenously (through an IV). To increase the chances of successfully treating the infection, combinations of antibiotics are often used.
Additional blood cultures will usually be obtained at several points during antibiotic therapy to make sure that the infection is being adequately treated and that bacteria are not still growing in the bloodstream.
Occasionally, the infection will not be controlled with antibiotics, and the bacteria will continue to grow on the infected heart valve and possibly in the blood. If this occurs, open heart surgery may become necessary to actually remove the infected heart valve.
Given that she barely responds to antibiotics, I can see all of this coming to pass. And my mother, who is no medical slouch, saw it, too. Her genius for stubbornness may have cost her a lot.
I was supposed to do my 20-mile walk with the team this morning. I didn't get to bed until two, and though I got up at five and prepared for the walk, I knew it wasn't going to happen. I called my coach and explained, and I'm going to do the walk on my own this Monday morning (assuming mom is stable). No aid stations for me every five miles, no sir! I'll do this the way our ancestors did it. I'll be super tough. Son of a bitch.
The rest of today is going to be a fight against fearing the worst and imagining how I am going to go to Alaska for a week to walk a marathon while my mother is in the hospital with an entire farm 50 miles away needing to be cared for. Maybe I'm wrong--maybe it's "just" pneumonia in both lungs, and she'll be out in a week.
Kids, DON'T FUCKING SMOKE. Thank you.
P.S. She might be developing diabetes.