Monday, January 30, 2012
Where to begin...
This blog serves the purpose of keeping friends and family up-to-date with Carol's status as she is currently in the hospital in critical condition battling against a raging infection that has spread into her brain as bacterial meningitis. For those of you who have stumbled across this blog or have heard of Carol and do not have the privilege of knowing her or the Poston family let me begin by saying I do not know a more Christ-centered family and Carol is the most gracious and compassionate woman I know. She has 5 girls at home that she pours her heart and soul into raising, and a loving husband who is the pastor of a local church.
Carols sickness started last week as what doctors thought was influenza. She started taking tamiflu on Wednesday (1/25), but continued to get worse. She went back to the doctor on Saturday because she was experiencing left lung pain and wasn't improving, so she was prescribed antibiotics for a pneumonia diagnosis and started to feel better and even ate dinner Saturday night (1/28). Sunday morning Craig found Carol to be lethargic and in excruciating pain, a much different person from the night before. Craig carried Carol from their upstairs bedroom to their car, as she was unable to walk and yelling out in pain and took her to the emergency room after dropping off their 5 girls with a friend. Praise the Lord the ER was completely empty and Carol was able to be admitted and taken care of immediately. At that point her neck was becoming increasingly stiff, her level of consciousness was altered and she had to be held down by 4 people in order for nurses to start her IV due to her confusion and inability to hold still from the pain. It was within the first 15 minutes of being in the hospital that the ER doctors told Craig that Carol was presenting with classic meningitis symptoms and that a lumbar puncture was needed to get cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to confirm the diagnosis. Due to Carol's lethargic state the doctors didn't think it safe to give Carol pain meds and risk the chance of the meds depressing her respiratory system further, so they had to complete the lumbar puncture without medications, a very uncomfortable procedure, but absolutely necessary given the circumstances. After the doctors were confident that Carol had meningitis she was transferred to a bigger hospital that has neurologists 30 minutes away via ambulance and was put in the neuro ICU. By the late afternoon Carol stopped breathing and had to be intubated to keep breathing. Again, thank the Lord she was in the hospital when she stopped breathing so she was able to be intubated immediately and was not deprived of oxygen for a long period of time.
Today, Monday (1/30) doctors have confirmed the diagnosis of pneumococcal meningitis that started from the bacterium streptococcus pneumoniae in her lungs creating the pneumonia, which spread into her blood stream and carried the infection to the meninges in her brain. Currently, Carol is receiving high doses of antibiotics to cross the blood-brain barrier to stop the infection. Doctors suspect it will be 2-3 days before her brain has received enough antibiotics to fight the infection and Lord-willing Carol will begin waking up. She is not under any sedation, but she is obtunded and lethargic. She did have purposeful movement and was attempting to remove the tube down her throat which is a instinctive movement as the tube is uncomfortable, but is a good sign. High-doses of steroids are also being given to her to stop her brain from swelling.
The latest update from her pulmonologist was promising. He did a bronchoscopy and was able to clean out a significant amount of pus and a mucous plug from her left lung and didn't need to insert a chest tube to drain fluid (all a good sign because they were able to start antibiotics and prevent the infection from getting so bad that it filled her lung with fluid). Neurology did not order an MRI, because her CAT scan showed that both of her ventricles (the openings at the bottom of her brain) are still completely open (sometimes this type of infection can fill your lungs with pus and cause pus in the brain and block the flow of CSF through the ventricles), also a good sign, because the doctors would only order a MRI if they suspected her brain to be swelling more and getting worse.
At this point it is a time of waiting and praying and ask that you pray for a full-recovery for Carol, wisdom for the nurses and doctors and peace and comfort for her family. Anytime the brain is sick it takes a long time to heal and has A LOT of God-given self-protective instincts to guard itself so the healing and rehabilitation of the brain is a slow process. The doctor today described this time for Carol as "the bottom"... meaning she has not gotten worse throughout today, and hopefully will slowly start getting better, but she is still has a long up hill battle ahead of her with the infection being spread throughout her body. The doctor followed this by saying they are hopeful that Carol can fight the infection as her white blood cell count is elevated, a good sign that Carol's body is fighting the infection.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my dear friend Carol Poston, I will keep you updated on her condition as any information becomes available.