I did a follow-up with my PCP’s colleague on Thursday as my blood pressure continued to be erratic. A decision was made to add more IV fluids and use the inhaler. ($175.00 w/insurance….$459. W/out !!!) I still had trouble breathing and the pressure from the hematoma was making finding a comfortable sleeping position challenging. I started to spend more time in my recliner. Friday I saw my regular PCP and he recommended a Nebulizer which we purchased. We signed up for airlift insurance with the airlift NW through the UW and picked up the fire dept address signs for the house to make it easier to find us. Each day it was getting harder to breathe. Friends came on Saturday to spend the night after the Compass Housing Alliance benefit which we could not attend. After church on Sunday Linnea called the oncologist’s office to inquire about the itching I began experiencing as well as the obvious bloating. My weight was climbing quickly. They recommended begin to use Benadryl and make an appointment with the pulmonologist which was scheduled for Tuesday. I was becoming more sluggish and uncomfortable by the hour and found it difficult to eat or drink because of the pressure on my right side and mid abdomen.
On Tuesday the pulmonologist, Dr Gerbino, performed another thoracentesis and decided that I needed to be admitted to the hospital. The pressure from the hematoma was causing edema in my lower extremities and fluid in my right lung due to obstructed flow back to the heart of the Inferior Vena Cava. Upon admission I weighed 162 lbs, significantly heavier than my normal of 140. After two room changes it was determined that I needed to be observed in the Progressive care (a step below ICU) and we were switched at 2 am. A cot was provided for Linnea and she has been with me through the duration. Several tests and scans were conducted and a team of my surgeon, my oncologist, my pulmonologist, an intervention radiologist and the hospitalist conferred to determine the best course of action. Everyone was puzzled by the size of the hematoma and the fact that it was continuing to grow. But, I was showing no signs of infection or active bleeding. My coagulants were too low to attempt any procedure so they prescribed vitamin K IV and I was hooked up to various monitoring devices. With the addition of the highly concentrated K Centra I underwent an aspiration on Monday morning. They removed 2.6 liters and were also surprised to discover that the hematoma was infected, the source of which is still unknown. Because it would now require a drain in the liver to clear the infection another procedure was scheduled. Again the coagulants had to be bolstered. They decided that the vitamin K was ineffective and so provided a fresh frozen plasma drip prior to the event. Another 450 liters of clearly infected fluid was extracted and now the infectious disease dept became involved. Following the placement of the drain I feel much improved and my appetite is slowly rebounding. The pulmonologist wants another thoracentesis performed prior to my discharge, which we are hoping is tomorrow, April 1st, the anniversary of my Whipple.
This six week long ordeal was not related to my cancer but has served to delay the necessary treatment and I’m eager to get back to the fight.