Fighting the Good Fight

20 05 2010

My sister-in-law (see previous post) was feeling badly last week.  The doctor told her it was the flu and gave her some medicine.

My brother-in-law returned from an overnight trip Sunday morning and didn’t like what he found, so insisted she go to the hospital.  She was adamant about not going, but he put his foot down.  The staff admitted her to the Intensive Care Unit.

Sunday evening was the last time anyone heard her speak.

She has a blood infection.  Is it something being generated within her body, or did something infiltrate from outside?

An infectious disease doctor suggested the situation looks something like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, carried by ticks.  Interestingly, one of her dogs had anaplasmosis, another tick-borne disease, last week.  That line of thinking looked promising.  Could ticks be the culprits that infected both of them?  The test to confirm it could take a week, but in fact she was already being given the antibiotic that would be used to treat it, which was, in fact, the same drug she had given the dog.  (If you’re thinking this sounds like an episode of House, you’re not the only one.)

So now it’s Thursday.  Three days have passed.

In the interim, her breathing worsened and she had a breathing tube put down her throat.  Her kidneys continued to fail and doctors started dialysis.

It’s curious how our spirits rise and fall based on comments by assorted medical professionals.  Comments which they may have tossed out without a lot of thought.

  • A doctor suggests that she may get worse before she gets better.   Pessimism.
  • A nurse comments she looks better now than she did earlier in the day.  Optimism.
  • A doctor warns us that she is a very sick woman.  Pessimism.
  • A doctor says he’s seen people worse off than Ann recover.  Optimism.

As the days slip by, we wonder if we should worry because another day has passed without measurable improvement.  Or should we be glad that she survived another day, giving the antibiotics time to work?

Are we sad that she’s not better?  Or glad she’s not worse?

Is this what dying looks like?  Or is this what healing looks like?

Be a fighter, Ann!



One response

21 05 2010

Such a sad and difficult time for all of you. I pray for your sister-in-law’s recovery.

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