New Years Day 2021 was not the fresh start Mama woke up expecting. She had planned to cook New Year’s dinner with her sister, Carol (Amanda), but through out the day got weaker and weaker. Aunt Carol took her to the emergency room at MUSC Florence, but was told even with her shortness of breath and chest pain symptoms there would be a 7-8 hour wait. Aunt Carol took her home and called 911 when they arrived, by that point Mama wasn’t responding to her. Over the weekend they did multiple tests, ending with a stress test. After the stress test was negative or normal, Mama pleaded with her doctors to do a heart cath. She has had trouble with her heart for years - in and out of emergency rooms, doctors offices, even going to MUSC Charleston - trying to find out why she was always in so much pain. Every time, telling them she needed a heart cath, she knew her body and knew something was wrong. It doesn’t hurt that Mama has been an RN for many years and has previously worked in the cardiac unit at McCleod. They did the heart cath & found she had the “widow maker” - an 80% blockage in her left anterior descending artery. She has been on blood thinners since her pulmonary embolism in 2017, so they had to keep her off of those a couple days before they could operate. Mama’s case is tricky because she has so many other health factors playing a part: a clotting disorder (factor II deficiency) and history of clots/PE requiring daily anti-coagulants, as well as chemo and radiation for non-hodgkins lymphoma 26 years ago. On Thursday, January 7th, she went in to open heart surgery. The surgery went as planned, and she was in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator afterwards. The next day, Friday, Aunt Carol was called to make the decision to allow them to take her back in to surgery - all of her numbers were all over the place and she was bleeding from somewhere, but they weren’t sure where. They opened her back up and removed 2 pints of old blood from her abdomen. Sunday, she was having trouble maintaining good O2 levels and her BP kept dropping. She had a thoracentesis, as well as a bronchoscopy, to get the fluid off of her lungs.
As of today, Monday, January 11th, her BP is staying steady. They are successfully keeping the fluid off of her. They were hoping to extubate her tonight, but if not they will keep her comfortably medicated and consciously sedated until morning. Everything is looking up and we’re just waiting for her to wake up currently. Her fight won’t be over once she’s awake though. Her recommended treatment once she is stable and out of CVICU is an extended hospital stay and further at home recovery with home health assisting for a minimum of 3 months. We would appreciate any help, as she will be out of work indefinitely. She is a home health nurse herself. Funds are needed for both living and medical expenses.
- Michael lee
- Tracy Hall
- Missy Page
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