Thursday August 2nd, Sandy was found incoherent sitting in her truck. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Once everything was pieced together it was determined that she had a severe septic staph infection that built a mansion in her heart and many vacation homes in her brain, lungs, kidneys and spleen. There was a large (2cm) patch of "vegetation" in her aortic valve (heart) that broke off and caused a stroke and atrophy (muscle and tissue death) in her left leg.
On Friday August 3rd, Sandy was intubated (tube down the throat and a machine breathing for her) she underwent a 4.5 hour emergency surgery to save her left leg which the surgeon said was "successful for now but anything can happen". She also had an MRI that showed she has septic emboli (large clots of bacteria) throughout her brain with the largest affecting her ability to speak. The large "vegetation" of staph that is sitting in her aorta was eating away at the lining of her aortic and mitral valves and causing them to leak. That leaking was causing her to fill up with fluid around her heart and lungs, making it difficult for her to breath. The only way to fix these leaks and bulldoze the staph mansion in her aorta, is to do open heart surgery and replace those valves.
On August 6th, prior to open heart surgery, Sandy had an Angiogram of her heart to look for any blockages. Sandy's arteries had only minor narrowing that would not need fixing but she most certainly needed open heart surgery to replace the leaky valves. The following day Sandy underwent open-heart surgery, they replaced her Aortic Valve with a mechanical valve and they replaced mitral valve with a prosthetic (pig) valve. The cardio-thoracic surgeon said it was a success but she is not out of the woods yet. The next step is to get rid of the infection in her kidneys, spleen, lungs, and brain.
August 8th, around 2 am, Sandy’s kidneys abruptly stopped making urine and her kidney blood work was elevated, it was determined that she was in acute kidney failure. She ended up getting a port and a catheter placed on August 10th and has begun dialysis. The nephrologist (kidney doctor) is hopeful that this will be short-term and that her kidneys will wake up and start working on their own. This can typically take anywhere from a couple of days up to 3 months.
The stroke Sandy suffered has left her with "expressive aphasia" meaning she is not speaking more than a single word at this time, and it’s really difficult for her to figure out words to use. This has gotten worse since the open-heart surgery. The neurologist (brain doctor) cannot predict how much of her speech will return. She will begin working with speech therapy soon.
Sandy has a long road ahead of her. At this time (Aug 13, 2018), she is still in the ICU. We are hopeful that she will be well enough this week to be transferred to the cardiac care center. Once she is well enough to be discharged from the hospital, she will need to go into some sort of rehabilitation center until she is strong enough and coordinated enough to care for herself at home.
She needs all the love and prayers she can get. She is a fighter and she will get through this! All money donated will go directly to Sandy to help with all her hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, outpatient follow-up medical bills, medicines, and any adaptive equipment she will need at home.
Thank you so much for your donations, prayers, love and kind words.
As a side note: Flowers are not allowed in the ICU however she can have cards and pictures. Until Sandy is moved to the cardiac care unit, she is not able to have many visitors. We've been reading to her all of the kind words and encouragement left on her caring-bridge page so keep them coming!
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- Fridley American Legion Riders Post 303
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