8-24-11 Wednesday +9 ¾ months
What a difference a week makes.
Status: Off the ventilator! Yes, you read that right.
Events: Yesterday, Bruce proved to the doctors that his lungs could still work. He was able to breathe on his own, with an assist from the ventilator, for 11 hours. That was up from just two hours the day before. With that encouraging sign, they were hoping to get him off the ventilator entirely today.
So today, after another successful breathing test, the big moment came. Everyone was so excited that they crowded into the room. Our resident, one of our pulmonary doctors, the respiratory therapist, Bruce’s nurse, the charge nurse, me and Bruce’s brother Terry. One, two, three and out came the breathing tube.
Bruce is still on oxygen – using a face mask. But he’s breathing well and already trying to talk. (Not surprising, knowing Bruce.)
And the doctors now have an actual diagnosis. One of the biopsies from the second bronchoscopy turned up positive for Cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonitis. As always, Bruce is unique. They’d been hunting for CMV since he was first admitted, but all of the blood cultures came back negative. It ultimately took two cells from the biopsy, using a special stain, to grow the virus. The doctors say it’s very rare for a negative CMV blood culture, and a positive biopsy. Also, it’s rare for CMV pnuemonitis to rear its head this long after transplant.
Once they discovered this, the doctors immediately stopped the high dose steroids. Those weaken the immune system – not a good thing if you’re trying to fight off CMV or any infection. The doctors began treatment with Ganciclovir and Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG). IVIG will do a number on his numbers – so they’ll keep a careful eye on those white and red cell counts.
Comments: We know there are no guarantees about the days and weeks ahead. Bruce is still quite ill – his lungs have to clear, he has to get over his C. diff, and has to regain strength. But we are so amazingly thankful to be in the position we are in today. We know all of your good thoughts, prayers and wishes helped bring us here. One person wrote to me that if we had a dollar for each of those good thoughts we’d be millionaires. We are already rich in wonderful family and friends.
Bruce (and Lisa)