The road to recovery has been bumpy. Twice Emerson spiked a fever and twice broad-spectrum antibiotics were restarted. We continue to struggle with electrolyte imbalances, including low potassium & phosphorus and shifting sodium levels. And an episode of dangerously low blood pressure one night required rescue measures to correct – a lot of nurses drawing up and pushing 60 mL syringes of normal saline through Eme’s central line as quickly as humanly possible.
With a new week comes a new team. It’s a mixed bag – good to have new eyes, but frustrating at the same time. We are not in Omaha &, while our experience here has been good, this is where it gets tough – people don’t know Emerson and the learning curve is steep. It took years of proving the same things over and over again for everyone in Omaha to accept that which they can’t explain… I don’t have the patience to repeat that process here.
In general, I’m tired of not talking. Every morning residents, fellows, and students gather. They read through a list of Eme’s systems, discuss events (at least those that were recorded), hash through her med schedule, postulate the ‘whys’, and propose a plan. Meanwhile I hang my head and listen. Events are incomplete and the ‘whys’ have already been disproven. The plan, usually some version of what ‘should’ work, won’t work. This is a teaching hospital, though, and this is how it is. Every morning the group gathers – they talk; I listen.
Mostly, though, I’m tired of talking. Individually different doctors stop in throughout the day – I’m tired of reminding everyone about what happened last week. I’m tired of trying to convince them that Emerson doesn’t do it this way or that. I’ve been advocating for nearly 3 weeks and I’m tired. There’s no end in sight this morning and I desperately want to go home.
At the end of the day I think the novelty of Emerson has worn off. This team began determined to figure her out… to find a new way of managing her through a crisis… to report back to Omaha with some profound discovery. Slowly, though, one by one, specialists have dropped off and interest has waned. New patients have arrived and new challenges have ensued.
Mind you, they are in contact with Omaha and they have in no way given up, but the vigor with which this team is discussing new and creative thoughts has stalled. Instead we are left with – this ‘should’ work, let’s just keep doing it; speed it up, slow it down, stay the course.
Okay… but it’s not working. With a grand total of 8 organs transplanted over a 10-month period, nothing works quite the way anyone would expect it to.
Eme remains in the PICU on drips and multiple electrolytes – some running continuously and others as needed. The goal now is to get her “good enough”. Good enough to go home. It won’t be perfect; it never has been & it never will be. Indeed good enough is just that; I’m hoping and praying it comes soon.
In honor of Emerson, I have a request – go outside and do something fun today… even if only for 5 minutes. Pause, then, and really appreciate the moment. Maybe if hundreds of people can genuinely imprint a summer memory today, it will somehow make up for the fact that we cannot. Summer is in full swing & we are painfully aware of all we’re missing in the world outside these glass walls.
Thanks, as always, for your support. We love you all 🙂