Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday, March 15

I suspect that most of you reading this blog have already had a chance to get in and see Bill, but for those of you farther afield I wanted to share a brief update.

Bill is at the Arbors, a nursing home in Marietta.  He will be there for a few months while his home is renovated as well as while he gets a bit stronger and more medically stable.  It's taking some adjustment but I know that he loves being close to all of his friends and your visits mean a great deal to him.

He has been diagnosed with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) which is a bacterial infection that is resistant to a large group of antibiotics.  There is a course of treatment for MRSA and it has been started on Bill.  From what I understand, people who spend a lot of time in hospitals inevitably catch this bug.  It can be dangerous but it can also be managed and treated.  It means that he is in isolation at the Arbors; he can have visitors but they need to wear a gown, mask, and gloves.  I spoke to him briefly this afternoon and he sounded a bit worn-down and disappointed.  Who can blame him?

We also learned last week that the left side of Bill's diaphragm is paralyzed and probably has been all along.  The diaphragm is enervated at C3, 4, and 5.  The initial MRI he had showed damage to his spinal cord all the way up to C2 and I guess this is evidence of that.  His pulmonary specialist at the Shepherd Center recommended that he wait a year to see if any of that nerve function returns.  If it does not and he's still on a ventilator, he can get what is called a diaphragmatic pacemaker.  This explains a lot of his respiratory troubles: he's only running on one lung.  He can still get off the ventilator this way, but it's going to take some very hard work on his part.

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