Thursday, December 4, 2008

From Mike: Day +9 (Day 3 in ICU)

Update: 9pm
She's been awake for the last four hours. No pain but she's uncomfortable with the ventilator. The plan is to keep reducing the ventilator numbers and around midnight tonight, have her breath on her own. She'll still have the ventilator in and it will help her breath if she needs help. If she does good, she'll get the tubes removed tomorrow morning. Her spirits seem good and she understands what's going on, she just wants the tubes out, as you can imagine. We communicate through a notepad and pen. Sometimes she'll write and sometimes she'll point to letters I've drawn on the page to spell words. They've increased her sedatives to help her sleep through the night. They'll reduce them a few hours before taking the tubes out. Her vitals are still excellent and everything is still heading in the right direction. Her fluid output today has been excellent and her swelling is down just slightly. Overall I think today has been a very good day for her.

Update: 4pm
She woke up a few minutes ago. She wanted a pad and paper so she could write to us. That didn't go too well, but we finally figured out what she wanted. She wanted to know everything about what was going on! So I started at the beginning and told her everything. She understood and it seemed to calm her down a bit. She's now sleeping again. They're continuing to lower the ventilator settings. They do it in steps every two hours then monitor how she reacts to the lower settings. So far, she's done great.

Update 1:10pm
Dawn semi out of sedation right now. In the last few minutes we've been able to talk to her. She responds by nods. Her eyes have been opening and she can see us. Dr. Costa and the oncology team just visited and she tried to wave at each one of them. She seems to be feeling ok, I'm sure the tube down her mouth isn't comfortable but she nods that she's not in any pain. The report we just received was all positive. She has a long way to go, but her liver numbers are getting better for the first time, she's getting output from her kidneys, and her breathing stats are all excellent. They want to get some of this fluid out of her before removing her from the ventilator. I think they're deciding whether to give her kidneys more time to work or to proceed with dialysis. I showed Dawn the picture of Buddy and she smiled as much as she can and I think she tried to laugh. They did another echocardiogram a few minutes ago. The tech seemed to think the fluid around her heart looked better so we await the cardiologist report. As I write this, she seems to be falling back asleep, listening to music from Sirius Coffeehouse.

Update 12:15pm
Respiratory just came by. They said her breathing is "excellent." They're continuing to lower the settings of the ventilator and they hope to have her off it in a day or two. The ventilator causes fluids to collect in the mouth and tubes and bacteria can grow causing pneumonia. They frequently suction the tube and clean her mouth to help prevent that. The sooner she can get the ventilator out, the better. They're also going to change her sedation. It will make her a bit less sedated but still comfortable. She's responding a lot more today to touch and sound. At one point she opened her eyes and focused on me. I asked if she was in pain and she nodded "no". She squeezed my hand and then fell back into sedation.

Update 10:35am
I just received this picture from my dear friend Mandy who is watching Buddy while Dawn is here at the hospital.

Update: 10am
No change in status overnight, her vitals are still normal. The nurses were able to wake her and ask her some yes/no questions this morning. She appeared to be in some pain yesterday and last night so they've increased her pain drip. Her kidneys are doing better. The numbers are better than yesterday and she's finally having some output. There's a kidney team monitoring her and they're very happy with what they're seeing. I haven't seen oncology or cardiology teams this morning but I'll report when I do.


Tara said...

Keep fighting Dawn. It's great to hear that your getting a little better day by day. Soon you'll be up blogging asking us what we were so worried about:). Keep getting better!!!!


Toni Baker said...

Good Good Good

Anonymous said...

Dawn, Mike, & Nelson Family,

I hope that she continues to improve and if you need anything don't hesitate. I can bring you guys dinner if you want or anything else you may need.

You are all in my prayers.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let "ya'll" know that you are constantly in our prayers. Thanks to Mike for keeping the blog updated so that we can stay informed on Dawn's progress. Sending you love, hugs and prayers from Holland, OH.

Jenny and Pat B.

Anonymous said...


Continue to climb that mountain it may just be one more step to the summit!

Your mother-in-law works with my husband and told him about you which he promptly shared with me.

You are in our thoughts in prayers and even though we have not offically been introduced, if there is anything you need please let us know.

God Bless you and best wishes on your speedy recovery.

Rhonda, Mike, Pierce, Peyton Plumlee

Felicia said...

Dawn, so happy to hear the good news. Expecting more good news every day.

Praying for you and your team,


hockeychic said...

Happy to hear that things keep improving. Keeping you in my thoughts. I joined the bone marrow registry earlier this year and am talking it up to anyone and everyone that I can.

Anonymous said...

Wanted some good news and you supplied a little better news and I'm sure if Dawn wakes up enough to look at the picture of Buddy she will improve all the more. Keep sending us better news about Dawn each day and hoping soon she will be able to post on her own. Love
Grandpa Tony & Nancy

Anonymous said...

May God keep his hand on you and your family during all of this. Our prayers are with all of you.

Hicks' Family
Trinity, NC

Anonymous said...


Maria G @ Sea said...

i'm glad things are getting a little better! looks like buddy can't wait to have his mommy home to play with him. keep getting better & know that soooo many people are thinking of you and sending good thoughts your way constantly.
love love,
maria :)

Anonymous said...

I just want to let y'all know that I have been reading your blog. You are in my thoughts!! I work at MUSC and have signed up to be a bone marrow donor b/c of you and your story, I did my mouth swabs a few weeks back.
You are an inspiration!
Our dogs could be twins!
Hang in will beat this.


Chrissy Nelson said...

I want to say thank you so much Mike for all you are doing for Dawn Aunt Kristy and Uncle Steve. I have been where you are before and it is so hard. You feel helpless. Please hang in there. She is going to be fine. It's in Gods hands now. I can't wait to meet you.
Dawn, I love you so very much. Keep fighting. I have some great pictures of us when we were younger. I can't wait to share them with you. Boy was I an ugly kid growing up!

Tara said...

It's great Dawn is coming around! Thanks for the update Mike!


Claudia Ingram said...

Please hug Steve and Christy for us, Mike - and tell them we continue to pray.

Claudia and Bob

Felicia said...

Yay Dawn!! Great news... Still praying. Thanks for the updates Mike!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the good news about how Dawn is doing so far. Seems like she a little stronger and now you are able to commuicate with each other more. Hoping they can take her off the ventilator tomorrow. Glad your Mom is coming to see both of you also tomorrow, hope things keep improving for both of you. Love
Grandpa Tony & Nancy

Anonymous said...

YEA Dawn!