I blogged the day before yesterday about how well Mom was doing. Her fever was under control and her bacterial infection was under control.
Mom was awake, in pain, but communicating with me and she was looking better than she had for weeks. Her vital signs were stable and she was almost ready to get the skin graft on her belly that would allow her to finally heal and recover so she could go home.
In the space of just a day things can change dramatically.
Her bacterial infection was just one infection she had in her bloodstream. The other infection she has is fungal – a yeast infection. Fungal infections in the bloodstream are extremely hard to combat. I wasn’t sure why this was, so I went and did a little research. Fungal infections are eukaryotic, meaning they are complex, have genetic material inside them and therefore closely resemble the host in which they live. Finding targeted drugs to treat an infection of cells that looks like your normal cells is very hard to do and success is never guaranteed when fighting a fungal infection.
[Fungal infections] are phylogenetically very closely related to animals and have a very similar biochemical makeup to animals. In treating an internal fungal infection it is difficult to find a drug that kills the fungus and not the animal. Most fungi are killed by the immune system, and if it is impossible for the immune system to kill the fungus on its own, then the animal is likely to not survive.
Mom’s immune system, already compromised by her ordeal, is having a difficult time fighting this infection. Yesterday her fever started spiking up past 103-degrees. As is normal when a person is septic, her blood pressure plummeted and drugs had to be used to bring her pressure back up.
Statistically, when a person goes septic the chance of survival is about 60%. Mom’s beaten sepsis before – I believe she can do it again. Today her fever is back down around 101-degrees. her blood pressure is stabilizing even though she still needs drugs to maintain a steady pressure.
She had a CT scan last night to see if there was perhaps another leak in her abdominal wall that could be a secondary source of infection, but the results were inconclusive – meaning they couldn’t find anything.
She isn’t really responding to external stimuli today; which is rather unusual for Mom. But, her nurse indicated that she is now on a steady, constant, dose of pain medication.
Mom’s still fighting for her life – fungal infections and septic infections are very serious business. Fortunately, there is no indication that the infection has taken root in any of her vital organs; that would be very bad indeed.
She’s going to have good days and bad days; yesterday and today were not good days for Mom. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers.