July 25, 2004
Dear All,
It has been three weeks since I last wrote an update to share Ivy's Progress.  I must, once again, apologize for my being so delinquent in this task.  We have continued on the roller coaster ride of ups and downs with Ivy's progress.  As I sit by her bed today, she is comfortable and relaxed, but also very troubled and short-tempered.  Ivy has had enough of being stuck in this bed and seemingly not making progress.  She is very disgusted that she is still trapped in a hospital bed almost eight months after her accident...I can't blame her in the least.
Ivy is still facing elevated WBC's (White Blood Count) that bounce around from day to day.  This is a sign of continued infection, but not the horrible infections that had plagued her earlier this month.  Ivy is no longer considered to be septic, but she is still fighting re-occurring infections.  It seems that she is being dosed with just about every anti-biotic that is available.   The only thing I do know for sure is that they remain elevated and a concern for us all. 
Her pulmonary function is still not back to where we were before the sepsis set in.  Ivy's not able to get the oxygen saturation levels where they need to be when her delivered oxygen is lowered below 65%.  She has been on 70% for the last two weeks and when the pulmonary doctor set her down to 50% this morning, her saturation levels kept dropping down to 88% and her ABG's (arterial blood gases) were only at 50%, which is not good. 
Hopefully, as the day goes on Ivy's lungs will adjust to the 65% and still saturate as well as we need it to.  Ivy has also had very high CO2 levels, which is not a good thing.  Surprisingly, her CO2 levels were better today even though the O2 levels were not.  None of this is making a whole lot of sense to me and we really don't know if Ivy is making progress, staying "stable" or regressing even further.  I'm hoping to be able to talk to the pulmonologist about it today, but he is once again telling me he is "six hours behind" and not sure he can take the time to talk with me today. 
There is one very positive note I can share.  Ivy's bedsores are both healing rather well.  The plastic surgeon was in yesterday to assess them and was very pleased with the healing process.  He still feels it will take "months" for her wounds to completely heal, but they are both healing quite nicely with good progress.
We need to concentrate very heavily on her physical therapy.  Ivy's muscles have suffered greatly from the lack of exercise that being stuck in a bed has caused.  She has lost almost all of the muscle tone in her legs and her arms are only slightly better.  Because the recovery and rehabilitation phase of Ivy's accident will take so long, she is performing Physical Therapy on a daily basis.  Kathie has worked very hard to see that Ivy is moved and tasked every day.
As I type this, Ivy is holding the latest Avon catalog in her hands and going through the pages with Kathie...this is an incredibly difficult task for Ivy right now as her fine motor skills have basically been forgotten with her extended stay in a bed with no movement.  I was amazed that she had the tenacity to stick with it until she could open the pages herself and go through them to pick out what she wants.
As a bit of an insight into Ivy...It was two weeks ago on a Sunday night when a nineteen year old girl who was riding a motorcycle, misjudged a turn and was thrown over a fifty foot cliff.  Her motorcycle landed on her and she suffered broken bones and a crushed chest.  She underwent emergency surgery, which was very touch and go.  She was brought up to the CCU and was placed in room 644, the very room that Ivy was first brought to.
Of course, we were not supposed to know any of this, but because of the fact that Ivy's Respiratory Technician was called away several times to help her, we learned about this young lady.  We also learned that her parents were "back east" and couldn't get to the hospital before Wednesday of the next week.  Of course, Ivy overheard everything.
Ivy asked Kathie to go and meet the girl, to let her know that she was not alone.  Ivy wanted to share her story with this girl and to let her know she was right next door pulling for her and that she would always be there for her.  Later that evening, Ivy sent me out to find a black stuffed teddy bear to give to the girl on her behalf (When I returned with the bear, I also brought a little pony for Ivy).  Ivy asked Kathie to take the bear to her and spend some time with her because her Mom wasn't there for her.
After Kathie explained Ivy's request to the nurse caring for this girl, she was allowed to visit with her.  Kathie told her all about Ivy and what she had been through.  She told the girl that Ivy wanted Kathie to be there for her and to give her the teddy bear for her to hold.  The girl was so amazed.  She was so very thankful that a girl she didn't know, in the same situation as her, would send her Mom to stop by to see that she was okay.
I can't begin to explain how deeply this has touched my heart.  Here is a girl that has spent almost EIGHT MONTHS in a hospital bed and she has the presence of mind to think of someone else.  Ivy has the heart that tells her to not think of herself, but to help another who is in her situation...Ivy, you are truly one in a million sweetheart and I am forever in awe of your kindness.
I also wanted to share with everyone how special it was that Howard came to visit Ivy and us at the hospital.  I was amazed that you traveled all that distance on public transport.  Thank you so very much for your support.  Ivy wanted me to tell you thank you for her and that she enjoyed your visit.  God bless you, kind sir, for sharing your heart with us all.  I must also say Howard, that the poem was incredible...Great job!
Once again, I can't thank everyone enough for all of your support...I know that every time I go to The Book of Ivy I find another wonderful post of support and caring.  I want everyone to know that your caring and thoughtful words mean the world to us all...God bless everyone of you!
With My best Wishes Always,