In July Katie Lowe (my sister-in-law) was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. On the 27th of August Katie was admitted to Freeman Hospital in Joplin because she was having difficulty breathing. That night they moved her to ICU as her lungs were not able to sustain adequate oxygen levels. They were able to stabilize her and allowed her to come home on September 2nd with an oxygen tank, medication, and planned follow up visits. We thought everything was going to be okay and that she was on a road to recovery.
On September 10th Billy Lowe (my brother) took Katie back to the hospital as she was having severe pains in her leg that they thought might be a blood clot. Freeman Hospital admitted her instantly as all of her symptoms pointed to blood clot.
By the 13th of September Katie's condition had become critical and they moved her into the ICU again. In addition to the confirmed blood clot in her leg her oxygen levels began bottoming out suggesting that a blood clot had moved into her lungs. The hospital immediately began giving her a medication to break up the blood clots but she began severely bleeding. By this point they had to heavily sedate her to keep her from moving as she was intubated as her body could not get enough oxygen. They managed to get the bleeding stopped and planned two surgeries she would need to prevent any additional blood clots from going to her lungs. Surgeons attempted twice to do the surgeries but encountered complications and were unable to complete them.
On September 15th the decision was made to transfer Katie to University Hospital in Columbia, MO (four hours from our home) as they had facilities more equipped to handle the surgeries she needed. We were told that she needed the surgeries within 48 hours or she may not make it due to the damage that the decreased oxygen was now causing to her kidneys and heart. Freeman sent her by ambulance to Columbia and my brother and I drove there so that she would not be alone.
University Hospital was able to do the surgeries Katie needed and her kidneys and heart have showed improvement. The blood clots have dissolved and any future blood clots have been prevented from getting to her lungs, heart, or brain. However, her lungs were severely damaged and have been deteriorating over the past week. Twice this past week her lungs have lost all oxygen saturation despite being at 100% oxygen on the ventilator. Friday morning they diagnosed her with ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). Friday night her saturation level dropped to 0% and it took three hours for the hospital staff to get her lungs to respond to the ventilator. Yesterday the hospital fully paralyzed her to keep her body from fighting the ventilator in the hopes that her lungs will stop losing oxygen saturation. Of course, chemically paralyzing someone comes with additional risks and right now we are all praying for the treatment to work.
I know this is long, but I want to express the critical nature of Katie's illness. My brother has been there with her the entire time, only leaving the afternoon of the 20th to come home to be with their three kids for a day, and he is driving back up to Columbia now (the 22nd). As Katie has been hospitalized many days over the past month my brother has reached the point that he has exhausted all of his PTO and the absences allowed by his employer. His employer approved his request for unpaid leave so that he can be there with her without having to worry about losing his job. However, the extended period he has been unable to work is starting to impact his ability to pay his bills.
Our family has been pulling together to help take care of their three children and make sure he has gas money and money to use for food and incidentals while he is at the hospital. We have been reserving a room for him at a hotel close to the hospital every few days so that he can go to take showers. Solid Rock church in Bentonville, AR sent my brother $500 to help him cover some bills as he has really only been able to work a couple of days over the past month.
Katie's condition is critical and given what the doctor's are telling us she will remain critical for the next few weeks. My brother is going to remain in Columbia until Katie is taken off of the sedation, paralytic, and is downgraded from critical. It will be a while before my brother will be able to return to work. Right now we are taking all of the prayers and positive thoughts we can get for Katie.
If you are in a position to help financially I know my brother and his three children would be appreciative. Any money collected through this campaign will be used to help him pay his bills while he is off work as his leave is unpaid. I am setting up this campaign so that Billy doesn't have to worry about anything other than being there with Katie.