Since Monday we have been on pins and needles with my maternal grandmother’s health. She started out as being “unresponsive” at the nursing home (but her vital stats were okay) and they sent her to the ER.
Monday was touch and go and they were running several different tests to determine what was going on. One thing that they did was immediately stop all of her medications (for Parkinson’s disease and alzheimer’s)… but we also found out the nursing home house psychiatrist had also put her on anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications. These were completely unnecessary for my grandmother given her state of mind.
Once the IV fluids helped flush out all the medications, her health seemed to improve. By Tuesday evening she was talking a little bit – which is an improvement over how she had been for the last 6 months.
Wednesday during the day was not as good as Tuesday had been, but by later in the day on Wednesday she was a little more responsive and tried to talk a little bit. At this point all she had been diagnosed with was bronchitis. She wasn’t dehydrated and two sets of chest X-rays did not show any pneumonia.
Thursday morning at around 6:30 her stats crashed – her O2 had fallen into the 60s, her BP was around 65/30 and her pulse was faint and around 55 bpm. They brought in the rapid response team and were able to revive her – and immediately sent her up to the ICU. Sometime later on Thursday she had been diagnosed with pneumonia – most likely the bronchitis had transformed to the pneumonia. By Thursday evening she was coming to a little bit and started to recognize some of the family that was in the room with her.
I made the decision to drive to Kentucky from North Carolina to be there for her and to provide support for my mom.
Today is Monday and this is her fifth day in the ICU. As soon as they’re able to get one stat stabilized (e.g. heart rate) another one will drop (e.g. blood pressure). At this point we don’t know which way things will go. Her chest X-ray from this morning showed good improvement in the pneumonia, but since the lasix did its job in helping get the fluid out of her lungs, it caused her potassium levels to drop. When potassium levels drop, it’s hard to maintain a good sinus rhythm, so we watched her go into atrial fibrillation (a-fib) multiple times yesterday.
Her BP has finally gotten to a good level and her heart rate has been steady. So, maybe today will be a good day.
We’ll just have to wait and see how things progress (hopefully) or regress. She seems to be wincing a lot today, so we’re not sure if something is hurting her – it sure seems like it. Since she’s unable to talk well (both from the Parkinson’s disease and not having her dentures in) we’re just not sure.
The doctors have been good and the ICU nurses have been fantastic. We’ll keep on trucking on and hope for continuing recovery!