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November 28, 2010 - Improvements!

Good Morning,

It's now almost 9AM and Greg had a good night. The good news is that as of the shift change, they had taken about 2500 cc (84 oz) of fluid off Greg through dialysis. They experienced no problems with the dialysis catheter through the night. At this point, his kidneys are not yet producing any appreciable amount of urine, but they believe that once they get this virtual "pool" of water out of his system, his own kidneys will be able to handle normal function.

The doctors/ staff have all reassured us many times that this is not uncommon to have this happen and that there is/ was nothing to indicate that dialysis would be a long term thing for Greg. Getting the fluid off his body has had a really beneficial effect on his heart and the numbers are showing much less fluid pressure in his new heart, which continues to do a fantastic job, despite all the strain it is under.

The temporary pacemaker is working properly, which is also a blessing since they really want his heart beating at a rate higher than its normal rate, to help it graft into his body and to also help move some fluid away. He obviously remains on the ventilator, and we think he will be through the day, into tomorrow. His chest x-ray this morning showed much better expansion of his lungs and his blood gasses are now excellent.

They think that they might remove his chest tubes today, since they are not draining any significant amount of fluid. Please pray that would happen, since he is heavily sedated right now and having them removed in the past has been kind of traumatic for him. It would be ONE sweet thing to wake up to!

The staff is doing an excellent job of keeping him sedated right now. The amount of drugs that Greg requires to be sedated is vastly larger than most people. They have him on a continuous drip of a medication that usually totally knocks people out and allows them NO memory of what has happened. However, we know from past experience that he has vivid memory/ nightmares related to time spent on ventilators. The staff has taken that experience seriously and are supplementing his regular sedation with pain medication and other meds to further sedate him, since he does wake up when they suction/ turn him. Since he is going to be on the ventilator through tomorrow, there is no need to restrict the amount of sedation he gets right now, but when they get closer to getting him off the ventilator, they have to bring him back to consciousness, which is a really difficult thing for him to go through. They are being thoughtful already about how they can further manage his medications during that time period to make it as easy as possible for him to transition safely off the ventilator.

We realized that another benefit to him being on the ventilator is that they have been able to put a warming blanket (Bair Hugger) on him that he normally could not tolerate. As a result of being on dialysis, his body temperature has been cooled A LOT and it is beneficial for him to be kept at a normal body temperature.

Elise and I are hanging in there as well -- thank you for the prayers said on our behalf as well. We each got some real sleep last night since Greg was sedated, was being excellently cared for and wouldn't benefit from us being at his bedside. It helps so much to have some sleep.

We have made a decision to remind ourselves each time that we feel discouraged that the biggest thing to focus on is that Greg has a new, strong, healthy heart in his chest and that this is just a "wrinkle"in the healing process. We trust that him having to go on the ventilator was the BEST thing for the situation overall .

Thank you for all the notes of encouragement- it brought joy to my heart to read them this morning. And thank you for continuing to pray us through this journey.

I'll send a note later today with an update.


Greg's mother

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