Sunday, January 13, 2008

January 2, 2008

Now I have a chance to practice what I preach -- "Don't ever enter the healthcare system without a loved one (or someone to serve as an advocate) with you."

This has never been more important than it has for these past two weeks! Sabine is not getting any better -- in fact, I believe she is getting worse -- splitting headaches, nausea, lack of sleep and this perplexing high blood pressure (BP)..

The night before last (New Year's Eve) I went home to get some sleep with the understanding from her care team that her blood pressure (which hit sky-high yesterday afternoon -- 210/100) and then stayed in the 160s/90s) would be monitored through the night. I found out in the morning that they took her BP at the start of the night shift and then not at all during the night. Thankfully nothing happened and she was able to get some sleep after the previous emergency room and hospital admission the day before. So I stayed in the room last night and was an extra "duty nurse." I checked on her and her blood pressure about every 2 hours between my catnaps. The BP remained in the 160s/90s (there was an emergency plan if it was to go over 170 systolic thanks to a member of the renal team).

We have had a lot of specialist MDs in this morning and I am confident they are working on a strategy to find out why a blood pressure controlling medicine (diltiazen) would cause the raising of a patient's BP. I am confident that some inquisitive and experienced brains are working on this problem to control her BP -- they are looking at a beta blocker as an alternative prescription. A kidney biopsy may be down the road.

Needless, to say, all this is very troubling and worrying. I got a little sleep last night and am planning on staying the course. Thankfully, I don't have a busy schedule this week and my beloved parish handled the Sunday liturgy last week.

What's the worst that can happen? As I "google" "acute kidney failure" it looks like the way these things are handled is to try and give the kidneys and rest by keeping the BP as low as possible and the patient comfortable so that the kidneys can heal themselves... absent that and the possibility of a chronic condition, dialysis could be a part of our life -- but we can live with that -- some big changes in our life but considering the alternative we will take it.

I know you are all as concerned as I am and I will do my best to keep you all informed. It is best not to call Sabine/Mom via phone. I will rely (as I already have) your email's of concern and your gifts of prayer. Let me remind you that prayer works! She feels your love and your "lifting up" and that is so important. In all these pain and anxiety we both feel the loving presence of God and are thankful for your prayers and God's "refuge and strength!"

From the trenches of the med care system,

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