Monday, June 29, 2009

The one where I update you and ask for prayer

Jeez, it feels like there is a LOT going on right now.

Steve has chronic back pain and is on several different muscle relaxers/painkillers/anti-inflammatories to try to manage that pain. Yesterday he had some sort of reaction to something he took and was feeling REALLY sick. He wasn't even able to sit with me in church because what made him feel better and eased his nausea was laying outside in the shade and the breeze. He told me he had his own little prayer service out there.

He is currently in the (paperwork) process of trying to get in to see his sister and brother-in-law's doctor who deals with chronic pain. Steve has been trying to get his primary care doctor to give him an MRI or other tests for well over a year and his doctor won't do it. We're hoping this new doctor is the man who can help him manage the pain. Steve is TERRIFIED of needles because of a somewhat traumatic experience he had when he was little but he told me he is willing to go through ANYTHING this doctor recommends in order to diagnose the issue.


Dorothy saw her doctor at OHSU last week and I was able to go along. I'm VERY glad that I was because I got a LOT of questions answered and I feel like I have a much better understanding of some things. He prescribed a new medication for Dorothy and I was under the impression that it was a muscle relaxer (I found out today that it is actually a tranquilizer). He told us that it would hopefully lower her anxiety level and help relax her lungs and prevent some, if not most, of the choking spells that she has been having.

The next day Natalie gave her her first dose of the new drug. It made her like a limp noodle. She was falling asleep mid-sentence and was just suuuper relaxed. Natalie called the Home Health nurse who told her to half the dose next time and see if that helped. The solution that they found to work is for her to take half a dose at night to help her sleep and a QUARTER dose in the morning. The upside is that it has, indeed, helped with the choking spells. Doozie (who came and stayed here last week, allowing me to have my glorious time off) said that Dorothy only had one the whole time she was here.

This morning I gave Dorothy her quartered dose and left a note for Natalie that I had done so. (It will be one of the meds I give her before I leave for work in the morning.) Natalie didn't see my note right away and gave Dorothy the other dose in today's pill box, which was the half dose for tonight. :/ Needless to say, Dorothy is, again, a limp noodle. She is sound asleep right now, which is good, but I hope she is able to sleep tonight.

The Home Health nurse came by this afternoon to teach me how to use a feeding pump that will allow Dorothy to be fed verrrrrry slowly while she sleeps at night. This will be great because it's hard to get all of her feedings in during the day. I'm anxious to give it a try tonight.


Penny, who lives with Steve's family, called me right as the Home Health nurse was leaving and told me, quite frantically, that Steve's mom is in the ER, possibly in the middle of having a stroke and possibly with bleeding on the brain. (Her symptoms included a bad headache, twitching on the left side of her face and "seeing things on the left side." I'm not sure if that means hallucinations or seeing spots or what.) They were taking her in for an MRI as we were talking (which was almost an hour and a half ago). So far I know nothing else. We are playing the "waiting game" right now.

Steve is in Salem at his sister's right now and I had to call up there and let them know what was going on because Penny couldn't get ahold of them. They're trying to decide whether or not to come down, what to do with which kids and when to come, if they do.

I'll keep updating. I know that's hardly any information but please pray! Her name is Billie.


I just got a call from Penny that Billie is being discharged home. They diagnosed her with Bell's Palsy. Bell's Palsy is where a nerve in your cranium (head) becomes paralyzed and it effects the nerves on that side of your face. From what I've read/heard, facial paralysis can be a result of a stroke, a brain tumor, Lyme disease... If they don't know the cause of the paralysis, it is called an "idiopathic diagnosis" (meaning they can't figure it out). Bell's Palsy falls under this category. It's facial paralysis with an unknown cause, basically. They can "treat" it with anti-inflammatory and anti-viral medications but most people recover spontaneously and end up having normal or near-normal function. (There, I just repeated everything you would have read in that Wikipedia link I put in there.)

It's nice to have an answer and to know that it was NOT a stroke. Although it still sucks, Bell's Palsy is something that can be recovered from. Thank you for praying (and continuing to pray).

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