UPDATE: MARCH 11, 2004
Dear All,
As I write this tonight, Ivy is resting comfortably.  There have been some changes made this week that couldn't be even be considered in the past, which seems to suggest to me that her condition has improved over the past.  More on that in a bit.  Ivy is stable, with good oxygen sats of 99 - 100 percent on 80% oxygen.  This is down from the previous week and her PEEPS have been lowered to 40 from 41 the previous week.  She is still on 12 hour CRRT dialysis treatment which she is tolerating well.  Ivy's fever stays low grade now when she is not on dialysis, and she is much more alert to her surroundings.
Ivy had developed a rash that first appeared as a small patch on her chest then later spread up around her neck, over her shoulder and on her face.  Because it had raised blisters, it was originally thought to be shingles, but the cultures have never been able to identify exactly what it was.  It has all but disappeared now and we are very relieved that this condition has improved.  As for the blood cultures that came back positive for infection, it seems that the sample may have been "contaminated" and that there was no issue at all.  While I am very pleased, I am also very confused and somewhat troubled.  Ivy's kidneys are still shut down and they have removed her catheter for her comfort.  The Nephrology doctor still feels that her kidneys will come back to normal function. 
Ivy's bed sores on her tail bone have worsened considerably.  On Thursday, she was moved to a new type of bed (sorry, I can't remember the name of the bed) that was designed to help patients with bed sore injuries.  It is filled with silica sand that is constantly moving to provide support for her without any pressure.  On Saturday, the Plastic Surgeon came in and removed the dead tissue from Ivy's wounds to speed the healing process.  This was a very tough procedure for Kathie to witness, but as always, she is there for Ivy, holding her hand.  Once the procedure was finished, they applied a vacuum dressing to keep the surface of the sores clean and dry so that the wound would heal from the inside out.  Hopefully, this isn't too long a process as I know it must be very painful for Ivy.
On Friday afternoon, I called Ivy's nurse to check on her and he asked me to think about moving Ivy from her room in the CCU to another one that was much larger and would be more comfortable for both Ivy and us.  We (Kathie and I) were a bit concerned about moving her, but knew her nurse would never suggest it unless he felt it was something she could handle.  We also knew how nice the bigger room would be for her.  When we got to the hospital that evening, we all went to work and moved Ivy to her new room.  Everything went perfectly and the nursing team plus Mom, Ivy's Aunt and Dad made the job happen in no time at all, with no problems either.  Ivy is now resting comfortably in room 645, no longer 644.
Last night was again, a busy night for Ivy and her nurse as her dialysis catheter and her A-line both clotted and refused to work.  While her catheter was able to be cleared, her A-line wasn't and had to be removed.  This is problematic because without the A-line, blood used for her labs has to be drawn by needle, making the Arterial Blood Gases tests (ABG's) very difficult to perform, since only Arterial blood can be used to get accurate tests.  The Pulmonary Doctor has decided to not perform the ABG's for the next couple of days while he decides what to do.  This is somewhat troubling for Kathie and I because they are the way we really gauge her condition.  Ivy had the best ABG's she has ever had on Saturday morning, which is wonderful.  But now, without an A-line, we won't be able to tell if the trend continues or not.  Hopefully, when Monday comes, they will decide to have another A-line put in.
I received some very encouraging news when I called the hospital this morning when her nurse told me that the x-rays are SHOWING IMPROVEMENT!!!  This is a FIRST!  We have been told they looked the same for so long that I almost didn't believe what I had heard.  This follows the excellent ABG's we had on Saturday and the fact that in spite of all of the things she has been through this week, Ivy's sats have not dropped!  The only time she would drop at all is when she would have fits of coughing or got anxious and "over-breathed" the vent.  This is the best news I have had in a very long time and I am excited to share it with you.
As a final note, Ivy continues to communicate with us through nods yes and no and by mouthing out words.  Kathie has become very good at reading what Ivy mouths, but I'm afraid I'm not very good at it yet.  She is very aware of her surroundings and awoke from resting, looked around and mouthed out "shit"...Can't say as I blame her one bit.  As I left for the night tonight, I took her hand in mine, just to hold her for a second.  Her eyes popped open and she smiled at me.  I told her I loved her very much and that I had to go home and rest.  I asked her if she knew I loved her, to which she nodded yes and mouthed out "I love you too".  I asked her if I could kiss her good night and again she nodded yes.  I got a bit of a surprise when she kissed me back...I'm still smiling from it right now, as I type this...(as a note, Kathie has been getting kisses for a couple of days now...she just had to let me know that...after my first kiss of course...*chuckling*).
Thank you once again for all of your wonderful support.  Your prayers, kind thoughts, cards and letters all mean so very much to us all.  And I must say also that the nursing staff has had a wonderful time playing with all of the wonderful stuffed animals and creatures that Ivy has are all so very special...God Bless you all.
With my Best Wishes Always,
(Kathie, Chris and, most especially, Ivy too)