Today I went to see my aunty in ICU. She's in the isolation suite due to the raging infection. We had to remove all loose clothing and put on aprons and gloves before going in.
She started opening her eyes yesterday but not in a meaningful way - they aren't sure if it's purposeful or not as she wouldn't do it on command or anything.
Today's visit was odd. When I spoke to her she did open her eye a bit. She seemed to respond to our voices but she didn't communicate. She only partially opened one eye so we asked her to open both eyes which she did eventually and slowly. She also seemed to move her head a bit in response to our voices. This is a positive sign - its not an amazing miracle she's alive sign though.
I noticed her one arm was turning blue which I pointed out to her nurse - it also felt boiling hot. The nurse didnt see what I meant at first and then she noticed it was in fact turning blue and swollen - I pointed out the blue tinge was tracking up her arm. She propped her arm on a pillow and after 10 mins or so the blueness started to fade a bit and her arm felt cooler - all the blood and infection was pooling :(
Her other arm which was swollen massively has started to come down as well but in general she's swollen all over with water retention due to the kidney failure. They had taken her off dialysis but have restarted it today.
The raging infection is still raging - it's not responded to the usual meds so they are now working on less common ones in cocktail form to try and defeat it.
My aunty is covered in bruises - literally her entire body is bruised - there are tonnes of bruises up and down her arms from where they have jabbed her, there are bruises around her throat, her ears and her shoulders from the various treatments and tubes. Add that to the swelling and the billion of tubes and wires trailing from her and its not a brilliant thing to see.
Another small positive today was they had taken her off the ventilator and she is now breathing by herself - previously she couldnt.
We told the nurse a bit about her - names of the family and her pets so they could mention them to her when they are talking to her so that its meaningful for her if she can hear them.
So overall after todays visit that roller coaster is starting to head up again and the hope is starting to spark.
I am struggling as are the rest of the family with coming to terms with it all. We worked it out it's been 2 weeks and 4 days since she was first admitted with abdominal pain. How can someone in 2 weeks go from walking and talking to in a coma when there has been nothing to make it happen is what we are struggling with - how could she be so sick and yet be sent home by the hospital the week before and her gp just said take more pills. It seems pretty mad - just over 2 weeks ago my mum was telling her to get her butt to the dr's if her legs were swollen to sort it out. Aunty Chris is a retired nurse, she's super smart and yet she didn't recognise there was something seriously wrong. I think thats the worse part - did she actually know she was really sick and going into organ failure? she told my sister before going in that she was going to die - did she see the signs and recognise them and ignore them?
Hopefully we will get the chance to ask her - hopefully she will respond purposefully to our voices and answer our questions.
Tomorrow the consultant will be round to see her, tomorrow they will decide what to do about the infection. Now she is breathing unaided if they switch the machines off I dont know what will happen or if they should. Now she's opening her eyes will it change her treatment?
All I know is today we are thankful she's still with us. We dont want to lose her and that little spark of hope has been fanned by seeing her open her eyes and move her head. Such tiny things but they have a mega impact.
What happens tomorrow happens tomorrow for tonight I am glad I went to visit her and she knows we haven't given up on her - maybe that will help her not give up too and continue to fight. I hope so