Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Celebration of Emily's Life

We will be holding a celebration of Emily's life Saturday morning on November, 3rd at 9am. The location for the event is:

Crystal Rose Funeral Home
9155 W. Van Buren St.
Tolleson, AZ 85353

Following this event Emily will be laid to rest at the Holy Cross Cemetery at 99th Ave and Thomas Rd.

Afterwards we will be meeting at Emily's house, please bring a chair just in case if you wish to sit.

1406 S. 119th Dr.
Avondale, AZ 85323

Please come and help us say goodbye to a wonderful daughter, grand-daughter, niece, sister, cousin, and friend.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Worst Day...Ever

Monday was a bad day. Emily continued to have bleeding problems from the ECMO and her lungs were still not able to their job. It was clear by early morning that she was not going to last much longer on the ECMO and something would need to be done. We had a very long talk with the doctors about all the options and the potential complications with each. They also gave us the option of lettering her go. It was the worst decision I have ever had to make. We decided that we could not quit on her - she hadn't quit on us - so were going to try anything that would give her a chance.

At about 11:30am they took her to surgery and removed the ECMO and put in another type of cardio pump. This pump does not supply oxygen so her lungs, that were already stressed, would have to do the job. By about 8pm it was clear that this last hope was not working. Her lungs couldn't cope with the stress. In addition she was having a lot of bleeding that they could not control.

Emily passed away at about 9:30pm last night. She put up a huge fight and the medical team did everything in their power but she was just too sick.

Her mom and I are making funeral arrangements and I will post them here as soon as we have them worked out.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Grey Sunday

Sunday was a really tough day for everyone, but particularly Emily. This started OK but soon began to go down hill. Early in the morning they turned off the heavy sedation that she has been on. This allowed her to be more responsive and move a little. She still was not awake but she was aware of certain things going on around her.

By mid morning she began to bleed heavily from the ECMO line in her leg. This very quickly became a critical situation and she did code for several minutes. They were able to get her line reconnected and the blood-flow restored long enough to get her to surgery. The surgery was successful enough to get her back to the critical care unit and allow the blood loss to be manageable.

Family and friends from all over rushed down to be at the hospital. I have to believe that all of this support and all of every one's prayers made a difference in getting Emily through this time. I know that Kathy and I would not have made it without all this support.

The evening and through the night were stable...sort of. Her heart is doing some work and she is still responsive to commands. She even opened her eyes on command for us. Emily is still fighting hard but time is no longer on her side.

More later....

Saturday, October 27, 2007

One Step Back...

...and two steps forward. That seems to be the way to sum up Saturday. The day started rough for Emily with the discovery that fluid was building up in her lungs. A lot of fluid. So much that they switch the oxygen supply to the ECMO machine. To add to this problem her heart was still not doing much at all, which is why the fluid was building up. Kathy and my brother, Kent, were the only ones at the hospital this morning and Kathy had to talk to the doctors by herself. This did not go very well.

Kathy's plan was to be home by 10am to spend time with the girls and get ready for the birthday party. She could not get home until about 1pm, and she was not in a good state of mind. Things at this time were looking very bleak. I came back to the hospital so as to deal with anything that needed to be taken care of and to monitor Emily's condition. My mood was black on the way to the hospital.

I arrived at about 2pm and went straight back to see Emily. She was about the same and they reported that they had been making progress on the fluid in the lungs. Her arterial pulse line (which has been nearly flat since she arrived here) had a very small wave to it, but nothing to be excited about. A couple of hours later I went back to visit her and the arterial line on the monitor was about twice the size from 2 hours earlier. They also reported more progress on the fluid control. By 6pm the arterial line was really starting to look like something. It was not a pulse but her heart was definitely getting more active.

When I went in to see her at 8pm I was stunned, she had what looked to me like a pulse. It was not real strong and it was a little sloppy but it was a pulse. Her blood pressure was also showing signs that her heart was starting to do some work. All through the day Emily was been taking breaths on her own, which is another huge positive. We have not had any official word on what all this means but it looks like the day is ending much better than it started.

More later...

A Slightly Better Day

Friday started off quiet and stayed that way all day. Emily is still on the ECMO system and is still heavily sedated. There are some very encouraging news. Her kidneys are working good and so is her liver. All of her Oxygen is through her lungs, so they are working. There has been some very slight response to the nurses when they have been talking to her, mostly eye movements. They have also reported some are movement while they have repositioned her. This is all very good news. She will, hopefully, have the neurological evaluation today. They need to make sure her brain is functioning properly after her crash. That may be the hardest sentence I have ever written...

Today is Sharleen's tenth birthday and we have a party at our house for her. Everyone will be there except dad. I will be at the hospital in case they need one of us.

More later...

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Really Bad Day

Yesterday was a really bad day, perhaps the worst day yet in Emily's battle. She was settling in at PCH for a night of heart monitoring. Her hart had been doing some strange things but the cardiologists were unable to detect what was happening. They decided they needed 24 hours of heart data to see what was happening. After being in the hospital for only a couple of hours word came from UCLA concerning her last heart biopsy (on Oct 5). They confirmed that she was in rejection and needed immediate treatment.

She began a series of medications that was intended to kill off her T-cells so that she could have a plasmapheresis procedure to change out her blood plasma. This sounds as tough as it is. After about an hour and a half on the medication she began to vomit and was feeling very bad. At about 2am Thursday, after her mom helped her to the bathroom, she collapsed.

This began about 45 min of CPR and other activities to get her heart started and to get her to breath on her own. I received a frantic call at about 2:15am telling me to get to the hospital. Kathy was all alone and watching a horrific scene. I called my mom to come over to stay with the girls. i got to the hospital just before 3am and they were still working hard to save her life. It was worse than any nightmare I have ever had.

It took a long time to get her inti bated and get her heart beating on it own. It also took huge amounts of very powerful medication and her heart was not working very good (in fact it was barely working at all). It was soon evident that in her condition they were going to need to get her on some type of support to give her heart a break. They first tried to insert an arterial pump but this really did nothing to help her. By 9am or so they were hard a work trying to get her on the ECMO system. It took several hours of work to get her stable on the system.

The staff at PCH worked very closely with Emily's transplant team at UCLA and the heart transplant team from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. It was decided that Emily had the best chance at survival by being transfered to Mayo and placed in the care of their team. These people have the expert knowledge of rejection that Emily needs.

She was transported to the Mayo Clinic by 1:30pm and the team went to work. They quickly got her stabilized in her room and began preparation for a biopsy and to put a catheter in her heart to releave pressure from the ECMO machine. This will prevent fluid (blood) from being forced back into her lungs. These procedures were completed, and went smoothly, by about 7pm. It was then back to the room to begin a run of the plasmapheresis.

By the time I headed back home at about 10:30pm things had quieted down. Kathy stayed at the hospital but nothing new happened (for a change).

More later...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Rejection

Things for Emily have hit some tough times. She spent last weekend in the hospital to treat a rejection episode. They sent her home Sunday night with plans to monitor her progress with frequent doctor visits and lab work. So far, this week has not been good (it hasn't been a tragedy either) and she has been in to the doctor almost every day. Each day things are different from the day before - sometimes better but mostly not better. To top it all off she has caught the flu and pink eye issue that have been going through our house for the last week.

It looks like the rejection issue is still happening and combined with the other thing she is headed back to the hospital. It is time to really get a handle on this. I am hoping that she can get a room at Phoenix Children's Hospital as all her doctors are there and the staff is well known. i will feel much better once she is in the hospital and they can begin to get this under control. The stress on all of us is unbearable.

Today is Kathy's Birthday...and it looks like we will spend it at the hospital again.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Nobel Prize for Al Gore

I have seen and read a lot in the last few days about Al Gore's winning of the Nobel Prize, but this is the most original take so far.

The funny thing about this is that I agree that selecting Gore was for very political reasons; I just never saw it in such a Marxist light. It is kind of telling that the most communist interpretation of the prize would come from Tehran. All it is missing is some Jewish conspiracy.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Proof! Global Warming is Caused by Human Activity

This article proves that Global Warming is the product of human activity! It also demonstrates not only the cause of the problem but the solution as well. I feel so much better now.