Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What's Going On

Flu. The doctor thinks that Rees caught the flu, which stirred up the pseudomonas colonized in his lungs. In these past ten days hospitalized, his pulmonary function and oxygen saturation dove down, while his blood sugar flew sky-high. So now he's home with a PICC, nighttime oxygen, and insulin; and I assume amateur nurse status once again. After sleeping for nine uninterrupted hours last night, he was almost back to his normal personality, making the burden of home healthcare completely worth it.

The response of his college professors has been first-rate: waiving penalties for his class cuts, and even rescheduling research papers and final examinations. Rees told me that he assumed (Yes, I did tell him about that word.) their apathy toward a bunch of freshman taking their classes to fulfil general ed requirements, but is pleasantly surprised and grateful for the willing care extended to one eighteen year old student.

Rees is cool with this.

This is me. Or is it "I?"

The serious consequence of this exacerbation is the emergence of diabetes. Many adults with CF develop a form of diabetes, making weight gain even more difficult. I guess there's no time for me to get soft in the kitchen; I've been studying and experimenting with nutrition for eighteen years and it's time to get back to work to find a new groove.

Rees has already been walking in our woods and plans a short jog tomorrow. Good old-fashioned exercise is one of the best ways to keep lungs and spirits clear and winter is breaking up in Alaska (I think I only yelled about the Mud twice.). He's hoping to get signed up for this drug study before his pulmonary function gets too high (weird problem).

A shout-out here for the nurses and RTs that take care of CFers. Quite a few have known Rees and all of us his whole life, helping me through those terrible beginning months and playing with my constant stream of new babies that weren't even patients. They've decorated his room for high school graduation, pointed local newsmen to his room for TV sketches, given us bags of second-hand clothing, and saved the best toys from the playroom for Howell kids.  I wonder if our bear-hug greetings break a non-fraternization rule? Ah well.

Rees doesn't play here anymore, but our smaller ones do. See the great mural on the right? The entire wing is painted like the Alaskan outdoors.

And our doctor? Whatever he makes, he's worth twice that. He comes every single day and answers every single question ~ no sighing or annoyed body language or haughty looks. If his day is full and we need him, he tells us to come after hours; when Rees wanted to get home with meds, Dr. R. showed up in his room and completed the discharge paperwork at 7pm; when Rees kept removing his oxygen cannula, he got a little snippy with him, rightfully so. Priceless.

So the flu got him, but he's on his way back up and summer is on its way back up and Addie's lungs are still clear, thanks to antibiotics and steroids. Things are looking up. Whew.

Alaskan kids in breakup.

I still put her in a snow suit because I like it. I mean, she likes it!

Happy day, happy spring, happy Howells,

P.S.~ Sometimes during goings-on like this, I don't want to be around normal people with normal kids. Nothing personal; it's me. Just so you know!

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