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I hate to be a bad news blogger ("Hi! Haven't posted in a while! My house burned down!") but that's what I suppose I'll be today. My mom went (unwillingly and with an impressive stir of Sturm und Drang, supply your own umlaut) back into the hospital yesterday. Today, actually, because by the time the ambulance got her from Llano Memorial to St. David's here in Austin, it was after midnight. The story of her odyssey is epic and painfully frustrating to hear -- I really couldn't take it last night, so I'm not clear on the details. The upshot is this: she has pneumonia in both lungs and something in her x-rays freaked out the Llano doctors so much that they sent her to Austin for more advanced care. She was admitted to IMCU (intermediate level), but I think she'll be moved to her own room later today.

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.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2004 02:15 pm (UTC)
Oh Lauri. You have all my sympathies. All my sympathy. Sympathies? I don't know. You have it, though. Man.
May. 29th, 2004 02:44 pm (UTC)
Cripes. I'm sorry, and I hope you don't have to deal with this entirely on your own.
May. 29th, 2004 04:20 pm (UTC)
I'm praying for her and for you. She'll be getting excellent medical care.

Gah, stupid American health system.


May. 30th, 2004 06:25 am (UTC)
Lauri, oh man. I just wanna shake my fist at the universe. I send you tons and tons of vibes.
May. 30th, 2004 04:42 pm (UTC)
God a'mighty. Best wishes to you and your mom, Lauri.
May. 31st, 2004 08:23 pm (UTC)
LAURI!@!!!! Much bracketies to you and your mom.


Eeek. I am thinking of you.
May. 31st, 2004 08:26 pm (UTC)
By "eeeek" I mean, I mean, god. I hope she responds to the antibiotics.
Jun. 1st, 2004 04:28 am (UTC)
Oh, honey. Life is butt-kicking lately isn't it? I hope your walk went well and helped clear your head and whatnot. ALASKA HO! I didn't mean that the way it sounded.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )