Second update on my sister’s condition

Things were scary–terrifying–48 hours ago.  It was looking like multiple-organ failure (or, possibly, there was a game of “telephone” making it sound like that by the time I got the news–I’m still not clear).  In any case, things are worlds better.

It was not a matter of rejection; it was a blockage in an artery.  We’re still waiting for the biopsy, which will tell us how healthy the heart muscle is (thanks, Bets), but, in the meantime, here is her state:

A device to help her heart beat has been removed.

A device to help her breath is running at 75% instead of 100% (ie, she requires less assistence).  There is hope that this device could be removed entirely as soon as today (although I’ve been cautioned not to worry if that doesn’t happen).

Pulse and blood pressure are exactly in the target zone.

She is intubated and has an ng tube for nourishment and she is heavily sedated, though she partly comes out of it from time to time enough to recognize and respond to us.  If it were me, I’d rather remain sedated until the tube is removed (can you imagine me unable to talk?), and that is, I believe, what they plan on doing.

The University of Minnesota medical center has provided wonderful care and (with a couple of possible and minor exceptions) done a great job of keeping us informed.

We have to remember that there could still be a turn for the worse, but, for now, we have reason to be hopeful.



Update on my sister’s condition

My sister, Cynthia (68), was admitted to the hospital this morning after what seemed to be a mild heart attack and congestive heart failure. I’m still not sure if there was a heart attack.  Near as we can tell, her transplanted heart is doing some rejecting things.  They checked it, and today is, by coincidence, day 7000 of the new heart, which is pretty good.  The rejection is taking the form of a buildup of antibodies in her blood.

Treatment is as follows:

1. Strong diuretics to relieve the buildup of fluids in lungs, arms, legs, &c.

2. An interesting procedure where they will pull out her blood, separate the plasma (which contains the anti-bodies), and restore it with new plasma or albumen.

3.  Anti-rejection drugs.

She is only in mild discomfort, at this point, caused by having to stay in bed too long and moving too little.  I’ll be going back tomorrow.

That’s what we know so far.


Edited: Right.  68, not 78.


Update: Life keeps happening

Just random stuff that has, is, and will be happening.  Let’s see.  I now have health care.  I have surgery scheduled for August 22nd to install a defibrillator in my chest which ought to help keep me alive and will make me a Cyborg.  I now have a “partial denture,” which means that I can bite into things again, and great is my glee.  I’m still working on Hawk, albeit slowly.  I’m also working on an Incrementalist short story that my critique group savaged.  (Well, that’s not fair.  They didn’t savage it; they just said it didn’t work as is, and pointed to some ways to make it work.  That sort of thing would annoy me if they weren’t right).

Yesterday, helped give my friend John Sjogren the best. birthday. present. ever.

I have a full physical–the first one in years–scheduled for July 23rd.  I’ll be heading to Armadillocon at the end of the month.  Then back for August and some of September, then I’m planning an East Coast road trip culminating in Viable Paradise in early October.  Then I’ll be heading to MileHighCon in Denver.

I would love to have a first draft of Hawk finished by the time I leave for the East Coast, but it seems doubtful with how slow the damn thing feels like going.  On the other hand, that’s because the plot insisted on getting all twisty on me.  I kind of like it when a book does that–I think the last one that turned on me like that was Orca, and I was pleased with how it came out.

On Health Care in the US

I was asked to start a topic on the affordable health care act.  Of course, it’s liable to go beyond that.

To kick it off, I’ll quote a Jay Lake tweet from just a few minutes ago:

‘Romney: “Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor” Hey, Mitt, ever heard of the GOP position on women’s health? #fb’

Now, myself, I am no fan AT ALL of the act.  In my opinion, as long as you accept that profit is more important than health, you cannot fix health care.  But I’m sure others have different opinions.


Health report

About three weeks ago I developed a toothache–lower left canine.  Thanks to Will and Emma, I found a really, really good dentist.  Good people, good doctors, and there is an especially hot dental assistant.  The canine seemed fine, but the four front teeth next to it Had To Go.  I got what’s called a “flipper” (I named it Dolphin, of course) to replace them.  Unfortunately, the tooth didn’t stop hurting.  It’s been getting worse.  Usually, it’s fine as long as I’m upright, but when I lie down, it is very very painful.  This, of course, means an inability to sleep.

A few days ago it reached the point where the drugs (percoset, motrin) weren’t helping.  We finally decided that Something Had To Be Done.  We rejected referred pain, sinus problems, heart complications.  However healthy that tooth seems, it had to go.  So I scheduled an appointment with a dental surgeon.  I got up to go in on Thursday, walked down the stairs, and couldn’t catch my breath.  I should have known things were going to go wrong when Hot Dental Assistant didn’t want to out with me.

Fuck.  The term is, “congestive heart failure,” and you don’t want to fuck around with it.  The only sane thing to do is skip the dentist appointment and go into the ER.  Right?  Yeah, but, the tooth HURT.  So I went to the oral surgeon.  The oral surgeon, being smarter than me, sent me to an urgent care, where they did an EKG and decided it looked sort of marginal, and sent me to an ER, who checked me in.

I spent Thursday night at Nicolet Park Methodist Hospital.  Now, you may say that Mr. Wesley and the other Methodies are over rightous, but they make a fine, fine hospital.  The staff was wonderful, taking more than good care of me, and, while they couldn’t make the tooth stop hurting, they never stopped trying, or stopped caring.

So, yeah, there was fluid in my lungs.  They got my heart stabilized, and let me go last night.  Corwin, Dee, Carolyn, Aliera, Toni, and Martin all showed up, as did my friend Betsy, and Will.  Was wonderful to feel so supported.  Summer Glau didn’t call, but that was probably because she was busy.  Or else because she’s never heard of me.

Last night, for no reason I can think of, my tooth stopped hurting.  I got 11 beautiful hours of sleep.  Today, the tooth hurts a bit, but nowhere near where it was.  I dunno.  I guess I’ll talk to the dentist on Monday.

I’m now on more drugs: something to keep my heart beat regular, and a mild diuretic.   I’m told I could use an operation to insert something into my chest that will shock my heart if it goes into, uh, I don’t remember.  Ventrical a-fib, maybe?  But it’s supposed to keep me alive.  I can no more afford the operation than I can pay the hospital bills I just incurred, BUT….

I met with a social worker, who seems confident she can get me heath care–enough to help with those bills, and get the operation, and fix my teeth, and even deal with the fucking polyp in my nose that’s been making life interesting for several years.  This is very, very good news.  I am actually feeling hopeful.

Maybe I’ll ask Hot Dental Assistant out again.