|MONDAY, AUGUST 25, 1997|
HOME FROM THE HOSPITALAshley came home from the hospital on Wednesday of last week. Lab tests had shown that the bacteria causing Ashley's blood infection was sensitive to the antibiotics being administered, so we knew that we were treating the infection with the proper drugs. A home health agency was assigned to continue her injectable antibiotic treatments at home. We left the hospital Wednesday evening, arriving home about 8:00 PM.
At about 8:30 PM, a courier delivered a package from the home health agency, containing Ashley's antibiotics, a syringe pump, and all the necessary paraphernalia to hook up the syringe-fed antibiotics into her IV (porta-cath) line. At about 9:00 PM, the home health nurse showed up, and spent the next couple of hours training us how to do the treatments ourselves. Things were looking favorable for our being able to make the trip to Houston over the weekend.
TEMPERATURE RISINGWhile the home health nurse was still here, I noticed that Ashley felt rather warm. I checked her temperature, and it was 102.8. Standard protocol is to call the hospital if her temperature reaches 101.5. I called the doctor. Because we were already treating the infection with the proper antibiotics, and because the infection was the most likely source of the fever, we were instructed to give Ashley some Tylenol for the fever, and to watch her closely throughout the night for any changes.
We gave her the Tylenol, and her fever began to drop. Throughout the night, her fever peaked a couple of times at around 102, but then continued dropping. By morning, she had very little fever, but was not feeling good at all. Her bottom was still hurting, and she just felt generally crummy. She also had a tooth that was beginning to really hurt.
Watching her in pain, I realized that we were probably headed right back to the hospital. In fact, Ashley herself, who 12 hours earlier was chomping at the bit to get out of that place, was now moaning, "I need to go back to the hospital." So I called the doctor, and sure enough, we made the trek back to Dallas and Ashley was re-admitted on Thursday morning, about 13 hours after having been discharged.
NEW PROBLEMAshley's blood counts were beginning to make a come-back, and the rash on her bottom was beginning to get better. But now there was a new problem. Ashley had been complaining for about a week of her tooth bothering her. It appeared that two of her back teeth were beginning to come in, and were about ready to break through the gum. However, by later that day (Thursday), the one on her right side was beginning to cause problems. It was hurting more and more, and the whole right side of her face began to swell. By the time the dentist came and looked at it, the gum had turned black and was terribly swollen. Ashley had developed an infection in her gum, in the area of this emerging new tooth.
Ashley was put on morphine for the pain, which had become rather intense. She was still receiving antibiotics for the original blood infection, and now for this new infection. All we could do was sit and wait for the antibiotics to do their job on the infections.
THE WAITING GAMEAnd so we waited. Ashley's temperature kept going up and down, refusing to stabilize. The first night that she had the morphine, an intern wrote the order for a much higher dosage than was appropriate for Ashley. It really made her loopy. The next morning, one of the nurses caught the mistake and had it corrected.
At this point, the tooth infection seems to be getting better. Her blood counts are still on the rise, though very slowly. Her temperature is still erratic. The rash on her bottom has improved greatly. We are in the process of weaning her off of the morphine. Now we wait for her temperature to stabilize at normal, the tooth infection to be completely eradicated, and her blood counts to rise back into "normal" territory (or at least "safe" territory).
TUBE FEEDINGAshley's feeding tube came out again Saturday night, during another vomiting episode which we think was triggered by her allergies and drainage. The tube was not replaced, and we are pushing for some time to see if Ashley will start eating on her own. She really doesn't want to have another tube shoved up her nose. Who can blame her?
POSTPONEMENTSObviously, we were not able to make the trip to Houston over the weekend, because Ashley was in the hospital the whole time. This was disappointing, but we will reschedule the trip for another weekend in the near future.
Ashley was scheduled to begin her next round of chemotherapy treatments today. That has been postponed until she gains back some of her strength.
RACHEL, JONATHAN, AND MICHELLEBaby Rachel was taken back to ICU over the weekend. Her abdominal area was distended, and they were unable to determine the cause. Bobby and Cecilia were very worried and scared for awhile, not knowing what was going on in little Rachel's body. Yesterday, it was discovered that her bladder was extremely full. A catheter was inserted to drain the enormous amount of urine that had built up. Everyone was relieved as the bloating decreased when the urine was drained.
Little Jonathan is scheduled to return to Children's today to begin three months of extensive chemotherapy. This will be a very harsh treatment for his little 8-month-old body, but with the suffering comes the possibility of Jonathan's life being extended. Gregg and Stacey are still holding on tightly to every bit of hope the doctors can give them.
After several days of extreme nausea due to the chemotherapy, Michelle had a really good day yesterday. John and Kim said that she would probably get to go home today, if only for a little while. The Champagnes received some GREAT news over the weekend. Their oldest daughter, Cheryl, was found to be a perfect bone marrow match for Michelle! What an incredible feeling that must be, to know that you may be given the opportunity to save your sister's life!
Please continue to pray for Rachel, Jonathan, and Michelle.
And of course, we covet your continued prayers on Ashley's behalf as well.
God bless you.