As you know, mom has been battling a septic fungal infection for a few weeks now. That infection has prevented her from recovering completely and has stopped the surgeons from finishing her skin grafts so she can go home.
The infection is extremely difficult to control. Fungal infections are notoriously hard to fight because, as I said in my last blog, they so closely resemble a normal human cell that finding targeted drugs to attack the fungi is difficult. A decade ago, a septic fungal infection was a near-guaranteed death sentence.
Things are a little better today – we have more drugs to fight the fungal infection, but it is still a very serious affair. The survival rate of a severe septic infection, where the infection takes root in a vital organ, is only about 30%.
So where is Mom? Her infection is still there and there is no evidence that it has taken root in her organs. Her white blood count the day before yesterday was over 38,000; the norm is between 4,500 and 10,000. Her WBC is so high because she is fighting the infection.
When your body fights an infection, there is always inflammation. Sometimes it is at the site of the infection, sometimes it is system-wide. In Mom’s case, it is system-wide. The inflammation is preventing her kidneys from operating and they have essentially shut down.
Yesterday the staff gave her a cocktail of drugs designed to help kick her kidneys into gear, but it failed. She is retaining all of her fluids and her kidneys are filling with toxins. She has so much fluid buildup in her body that her entire body is “weeping,” or the excess fluid is seeping out of her pores.
So, today, the doctors put her on a dialysis machine. This machine will serve the function of her kidneys, removing the excess water and toxins from her body. The hope is that her kidneys will kick back in on their own once they don’t have so much work to do.
As you can see, Mom is very very sick – but she is still fighting. She is hanging in there. She has been effectively unconscious for a week now, even through she is on the lowest dose sedatives they have. Her body is tired and she just doesn’t have the energy to wake up right now.
The doctors and nurses assure me they have seen much sicker people than Mom recover – so we’ll just have to keep hoping and praying. She is a fighter; she is strong.
Keep her in your thoughts and prayers.