Ann Living in Rochester with Sara

My sister Sara thought she was having severe sciatic nerve pain she went to the hospital twice and was sent home each time. Then Tuesday 5/23 Sara couldn't walk or breathe and was rushed by ambulance to mercy hospital and was admitted to the icu. She had endocarditis and MRSA in her blood that went septic. The doctors said this is the worse case of MRSA they have ever seen. The infection was so bad and she had so many blood clots they were worried about the septic emboli flicking off and traveling to the brain and her stroking. She had bilateral pneumothorax that caused a collapsed lung which they needed to place 2 chest tubes, they only wanted to use the small tubes but following a CT it showed it didn't help so they had to place big ones in. Her vitals were extremely fluctuating especially any time they moved her almost to the point of coding, at one point her pulse was 185 and her temp kept going high so they used a cooling blanket. They were medically regulating her blood pressure but her body was finally able to maintain it on it's own. With her body not getting adequate oxygen to vital organs, many of them started to fail especially the kidneys so she was put on crrt (continuous renal replacement therapy) which is a slower continuous dialysis that acts as your kidneys while in critical condition, but it very strenuous on the body. So they were just doing hemodialysis when she needed it. They had to paralyze her placing her in a medically induced coma to give her body a rest since she was breathing over her ventilator. So she was then relying 100% on the ventilator to breathe for her. She then developed ards (acute respiratory distress syndrome) in multi organ failure since they weren't getting adequate oxygen to them especially with the collapsed lung. The doctors were not happy with the levels of her gas exchange and as a last resort critical surgery to maintain oxygen to the brain and rest of the body they decided to move her down to the open heart unit and do an ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) also known as extracorporeal life support (ECLS), an extracorporeal technique of providing both cardiac and respiratory support to persons whose heart and lungs are unable to provide an adequate amount of gas exchange to sustain life. It is meant to give her heart and lungs a rest. The surgery worked for bypassing the heart and was oxygenating the bottom half of her body, but wasn't to the top. The doctor had to put 2 more chest tubes in her(she now has 4 in) and a catheter in her chest and they are now happy with her oxygenation level which is going to the brain. but mercy isn't equipped to handle the ecmo machine more than a couple of days so they wanted to transport her to Rochester to go to strong memorial. They were worried that Sara didn't have brain function which if that were the case she wouldn't have been able to go to strong. After what felt like the longest cat scan Sara showed us all she was still in there and had brain activity. On June 3rd she was transported to strong memorial hospital by a full team of nurses in ambulance. Sara has had many ups and downs since being there. But the doctors said if she would have stayed at mercy she was on the brink of death and most likely wouldn't have come this far. Her lungs are terrible looking at her xray they look like Swiss cheese they are torn up so bad. She has 5 chest tubes put in to help on top of the ecmo. On June 7th Sara was starting to come out of sedation and started responding moving her eyes up and down and shaking her head to answer yes or no questions and could slightly squeeze our hands. On June 8th Sara had surgery to have the ecmo taken off of her heart so it could function on it's own and still let her lungs rest. That night when we were talking to Sara telling her how much we love her she mouthed over her vent "I love you too" that was probably the best moment through this so far seeing her understand us, knowing we are there for her, and saying she loves us too was just amazing. Sara is in a lot of pain and she makes it known either by squeezing your hand how high the pain is or mouthing it. It's heartbreaking to see the fear in her. They did take the dialysis line out of her neck so that is a positive that her kidneys are working well on their own. Unfortunately Sara had to miss her son Connors 1st birthday on June 12th as you can imagine was very emotional for her. She is awake and fully aware of her situation, she is unable to move her limbs and was fully intubated. On June 15th she had a trach put in. She has such thick secretions coming up from the lungs she needs to be suctioned often, which she doesn't like and when they do suction her vital signs go crazy. It's scary to watch and see the fear on her face of choking and not being able to breathe. She was running a fever so they brought a cooling machine to hook to the ecmo so the blood being taken to be oxygenated is also being cooled. She hurts all over and needs to be repositioned often and likes her hands and feet massaged since she can't move them. The doctors thought it would be a good idea to try and move the ecmo out of her groin and to the chest so they could try sitting her up and maybe get her in a geri chair to reposition her. So they did this surgery Monday (6/19) morning and it didn't go as planned. After the surgery even with have 100% oxygenation on her her oxygen levels couldn't get out of the 80s and she was starting to turn colors and was bleeding from the site. So without any notice the doctors took her down to the or for emergency surgery to revise the ecmo machine. So she has the 4 chest tubes in they had to put 2 more ecmo tubes in and put the one in the groin back in and a cvp line in. They took the feeding tube out of her mouth and put an ng tube in to give her mouth a break, so after she came back up from surgery she had nothing in her mouth and even though she was npo the doctor allowed her to have sponge sticks to moisten her mouth, she was funny she would stick her tongue out for us to do it and then try and bite down like a fish and would smile and gave us dirty looks when we told her she couldn't suck the water off it. Even through this all she still manages to make us laugh and smile even though she is in pain and scared of what is to come. She still shows us the Sara we know and love when she rolls her eyes, scrunched her eyebrows, flashes a big smile with her pretty baby blue eyes. She's on the ventilator via tracheostomy because her breathing is bad. She now has another infection in her lungs, the doctors aren't sure what exactly else to do right now but they aren't giving up on her by any means. Sara is a fighter she has come so far I know she is going to pull through this, she has to. But through this all my mom has never left Sara's side, she now calls herself a "Rochestarian" because she lives there she is staying at harbor house which is 2 blocks from the hospital, when Sara was here in Buffalo my mom and aunt Rose didn't leave the icu waiting room, now they at least can go home to sleep a little bit at night unless Sara needs them to stay. We are so lucky to have them in our lives they truly are the definition of unconditional love no matter what, they refuse to leave her and make sure everything she needs is taken care of. But as you can imagine just picking up and moving to another city over an hour and a half away isn't cheap. At least when they were at mercy we could bring them up whatever they needed, New clothes, breakfast,lunch, dinner, snacks, etc but now it isn't as easy to do that. So that is why we started this page to help my mom pay for all the expenditures she is adding up while staying by her daughters side during this critical time. We truly want to thank everyone who has helped out by donating, praying, sending cards, and we'll wishes. The amount of love and support we have all received is really overwhelming and we are forever grateful! My mom has been reading Sara everyone's posts and decorating her room with all the cards she has received so far if you would like to send one with well wishes or a good memory you share with Sara you can address it to:
Sara Farren
7-1600 Strong Memorial Hospital
601 Elmwood Ave
Rochester, NY, 14642.
It really does brighten her day knowing she has so much love and support and she needs all the brightening she can get right now in these dark days. She has a very hard, long road of her but if anyone can overcome this I know it's my sister, she's a fighter, she's stubborn and she has so so much to live for especially her baby boy. So please if you can donate to help my mom a woman who would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it, but if you can't please continue to pray, we need all the prayers, positive energy, well wishes, and good thoughts we can get. Again thank you all for following this emotional Rollercoaster with us and keeping us in mind. We love you all and can't wait for the day Sara can thank you herself! #SaraStrong #KeepFightingSara #babysteps #InNeedOfPrayers #donate #donation #share #fighter #WeLoveYou

Donations

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  • Laura Flory Opiela 
    • $50 
    • 42 mos
  • Kathleen Heberling 
    • $50 
    • 42 mos
  • Amanda Hagy 
    • $50 
    • 43 mos
  • Laurie Erhard 
    • $25 
    • 43 mos
  • Brandi Schramm 
    • $25 
    • 43 mos
See all

Organizer

Ryan Pangburn 
Organizer
Buffalo, NY
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