Hi all, Jenn here. I am going to try to pick up where Bill left off in his last update as I’m sure you are all wondering on his status. Thank you for the prayers, we can tell they are working!
The team returned from Haiti around 1:00 AM Sunday morning and Bill went straight to bed. He was wobbly on his legs from gaining 30# of water weight since he left for Haiti, and ongoing neuropathy in his legs. He was restless but managed to get some rest. Sunday was much of the same, difficulty walking, labored breathing, low grade fevers, etc. His nurse came to draw blood in the afternoon and results showed what he expected – elevated congestive heart failure (CHF) levels and white blood count. We still didn’t have his cultures back at this point. Monday rolled around, and despite his best efforts and intentions, he was unable to go to work. He had gained another 10#, and prelim cultures came back that his line was infected with a gram-negative bug, i.e. a really nasty bacterial infection, and not the “normal” bug he has gotten in the past. He started a new antibiotic around 5PM Monday, but a short time after that developed rigors again and we couldn’t get them to stop. With his low oxygen levels from CHF, he just could not catch his breath, which was very scary. Suddenly he was facing a trip in an ambulance, so he made the decision to go in on his own and we were able to drive him to Metro ER. They got him in and assessed right away and then covered him with warm blankets.
The hospital staff was faced with treating the CHF by removing fluids and potentially making the infection worse, or treating the bacterial infection with fluids and potentially making the CHF worse. Because Bill’s BP was dropping and lactic acid levels indicated he was already septic, they moved forward with fluids to treat the infection. Immediately his BP started improving. He was also given an Oxygen mask at 40% and a “big gun” antibiotic.
Today, Bill had an esophageal echo as his symptoms indicated there may be vegetation (infection) on his heart valves, which is very serious. We were encouraged by the results that didn’t indicate vegetation, but the mitral valve is thicker than normal. This could be calcification or vegetation, so they are going to treat it aggressively as if it were infected. He also had his line changed over a wire to clear the source of the initial infection. At this time, he cannot take anything orally or through his TPN, and the already skinny donkey (less water weight) cannot afford to go long without it.
While these problems are very serious, Bill is otherwise stable and resting comfortably. His life continues to be a miracle, though the Donkey is somewhat discouraged by all he has had to endure.
Thank you to all his friends and family, you all mean the world to him! Please keep praying for him and for the difficult times and decisions which lie ahead.
Jenn, for Dad, Rachel and James