Sorry for the bit of quiet for the last 24 hours. Things keep going up and down, and up and down again – it keeps us busy figuring out what’s the next best step and spending time with the Lord allowing Him to remind us to trust in Him in each step.
On Monday, Kevin went to the Interventional Radiologist to have his liver/bilirubin drain looked at as it had been leaking. While waiting for the IR doctor, he received blood and platelets. Unfortunately during that same time, Kevin began to experience somewhat slurred speech and mild difficulty breathing. We weren’t sure what to make of it other than he must be ridiculously tired.
The IR doctor/surgeon met with Rachel and Kevin prior to the procedure and said he would take a look around while he was in there and see what he could do to reduce the burden on the liver (fluid and/or bilirubin drainage). While he was in there, he did just that. He took a look at the second stent he put into one of Kevin’s biliary ducts and found that the cancer had grown through it (it is a mesh stent) and was no longer helping drain bilirubin. So he put it a larger tube in the drain and ran it through the mesh stent so that now the liver should be draining very well with no chance that the cancer could re-block that particular area. That man is a God-send.
We were thrilled with this news as it would make it possible, should his bilirubin levels go down, the liver would shrink and begin to perform better, possibly well enough to try surgery or some other cancer intervention to continue to improve the liver function enough to get him on a new drug or trial.
In recovery after the procedure Kevin’s blood pressure dropped rather suddenly indicating he might have another infection. The doctors decided to keep him over night in the hospital. So Eric and I, who had joined Rachel at the hospital to see how we could be helpful, headed home. On Tuesday, when I woke the internet at Rachel and Kevin’s house had stopped working so all I had left to do was clean and organize and await the delivery of the new hospital bed that would make life at home for Kevin much more enjoyable. The bed arrived and was set up and Lila picked me up for a lunch date. After wards, we went over to their house to open all the boxes that had arrived for Rachel and Kevin in the last 24 hours. Seems that you amazing people decided you were going purchase just about every little thing we had listed on those registries and you blew us out of the water with your generosity! More and more packages arrive each day. Lila and I are enjoying wrapping the items for the kids and I take back to the Hill house the home and health care items to better take care of the house and Rae and Kevin.
Rachel spent the day with Kevin at the hospital where he slept the majority of the day but ate fairly well. That afternoon/evening I came to the hospital to relieve Kevin’s friends who had come to spend some time with Kevin. While Rachel got some much needed sleep at the Vornbrocks with her Wee Ones, I settled in for a quiet evening hanging out and keeping an eye on Kevin as he peacefully slept and recovered.
But that is not at all what happened. He was awake, fairly uncomfortable and ill-at-ease the entire night. The nurses and I attempted to help him be more comfortable to little avail. He was irritable at what he perceived to be sub par care from the nurses and he was somewhat scared by the symptoms he was feeling. In the morning he ate a good bit and awaited Rachel’s arrival. When Rachel arrived with Evie (who is a wonderful, sweet distraction) the doctor began to explain what was going on and making Kevin so uncomfortable the night before. He had accumulated fluid around his liver, spleen and right lung as a result of the IV fluids, red blood and platelets that Kevin has received – all of which was causing shortness of breath, chest pain, and general miserableness. He had acquired a staph infection during the IR procedure (so add that to the other infections he has), his platelets continue to be low and his bilirubin is going up rather than down. AND somehow in the transfer into hospital care his regular pain medication had been removed. He hadn’t had his regular 12-hour slow release pain meds in 32 hours! (I have to say, I would have been MUCH less kind and polite than Kevin was. He really is one amazing guy. He keeps pushing through to eat, to fight for his wife. It’s one of those marriages, well… I suppose many folks don’t see marriages like theirs but in the movies, but it’s that incredible. That strong. Their loyalty and dedication to the Lord and each other. It’s awe inspiring. ) But I digress.
Rachel got right on it. She asked (politely demanded) for compression socks to be put back on his legs, to reinstate his pain meds, get a physical therapist to him so he could take a walk and relieve some of the back pain, get a swallow study done to figure out how to keep him from swallowing fluid into his lungs rather than his stomach, and schedule a dressing change for his facial tumor. She may be exhausted but she is still one tenacious lady.
Kevin spent the day with Rachel and Eric while I ran some errands for her then went to the Vornbrocks for lunch, more Amazon box opening from you generous people, and to play with the kiddos. Paul kindly took the car for an oil change while I got all of that done. Then, I headed back to the house to organize, clean, change sheets, take a bath, drink a glass of wine and write this post. Needless to say I am thrilled I can put together complete sentences given that I haven’t slept in the past 24 hours. But I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Kevin was so appreciative to have me there – he even apologized for keeping me up! One heck of a guy.
Rachel is sleeping at cousin Claudia’s tonight – who is very close to the hospital and Eric is spending the night in that tiny hospital recliner chair (I would LOVE to see a pic of that 6” 4’ dude in that itty bitty chair). Then tomorrow morning Kevin will receive more platelets and the doctor will perform a procedure to remove the fluid from outside of his lung, spleen and liver. The hope is that his bilirubin will start to go down soon. Then with the IR procedure done on Monday and the procedure scheduled tomorrow he should begin to feel better. And with the hard core antibiotics he is getting at the hospital, hopefully begin to heal. The doctor expects a discharge of Friday or Saturday and we hope to admit Kevin to a skilled nursing facility closer to their home for a week or so, to ensure Kevin has round the clock, high quality care so he can keep improving and getting better. There are a lot of ‘ifs’ still and the direction this could go is still very unclear. Eric describes it as “being on a knife blade” awaiting His will, timing and grace.
Thank you all so so much for your generosity – to my husband and I (wrapping our Christmas presents, baby-sitting our kids and doing our laundry – Y’all are amazing!) and to my sister and brother and their two ridiculously adorable kids. We are so blessed that God brought you to this blog and into the Hill’s lives. Please pray that Kevin would begin to feel better. As you can imagine, a Christmas with him feeling pretty decent would be so wonderful. Pray that our hope for a recovery for Kevin is well founded. But if He chooses to take Kevin down a path of ultimate healing that Kevin would experience a grace-filled, pain-less journey home to be with his Heavenly Father. Pray too that God’s direction and will would be crystal clear to Rachel allowing her the emotional, physical and spiritual peace He promises us in scripture.