A long update about Jessie 12-19-2010

Well, I wish that I could explain myself better. This is the best I have come up with. It is long, but I assure that this is the short version.

I’m not asking anyone to agree. Just explaining. Janet & I believe that all thought is important and has effect. You might call it Prayer, positive thoughts, affirmations, etc, etc, but we think that it has an important effect on even distant things. Obviously, some more than others.

So, I want everyone that reads our postings to think positively about everything, every time they think about Jessie, Janet, Alegría, me, etc. So, understand that in my prior postings that I have looked at all of the positive things and mentioned them.

But, I need to touch on some other news, for you to have more of the picture. But, please help us to do as much as we can to visualize everything as working out well.

Now that I have frightened the fool out of you, (sorry) I will say that Janet is doing great and gets healthier every day. It is Jessie that I need to explain about.

On Nov. 30, 2010, she was suddenly having a lot of trouble seeing and a CT scan showed a large bleed in the back part of her brain. I am unsure of what all this means, but at this moment, I think it is like a bruise, in the sense that all of the brain is still there and trying to do its job, but there was a leak, not an aneurism, that let a little blood leak into areas that it was not supposed to. This causes the affected areas to malfunction, usually temporarily, sort of like little seizures, so they give her anti-seizure medicine.

They also had to give her other drugs for various things that were happening. Let’s not sidetrack on the full list.

Pretty much all drugs have side-effects and they are often different for different people.

My perception was that Jessie had mentioned having varying vision problems for several weeks and we’d made an eye doctor appointment at that time, but it was for Dec 13. On Nov 30, she was having major vision problems, but otherwise was pretty good mentally and physically.

For months or years, she has had increasing memory trouble and her problem solving was getting worse. Getting old is not for sissies.

But, on the 30, with her vision suddenly and seriously impaired, we still talked and discussed how she felt, she could still walk.

Until her September 7th, similar trouble, she did not need a walker, just to be careful, but right after that Sept trouble, she could not walk and gradually was able to walk with a walker after several days and gradually improved until, in mid Nov. she was not usually using the walker and was not using it on Nov 30. She got up that day and rode the bus to the doctor’s appointment, where we met her.

But, like in the September episode, within hours of going into the hospital she could not stay awake and made less and less sense, did not know where she was or why or what decade it was.

This bleed was very large and the Sept bleed was tiny, so we expect that it will be worse and take longer for the brain to ‘clean up the mess’.

This Nov 30 bleed was like a big version of the Sept bleed. The first several days, she just slept, then she was very confused when awake, could not walk, etc.

There were ups and downs, but the trend was up. Slowly, but up.

But, one of the symptoms was that when awake, she would try hard to get out of bed and go home. Never mind the wires and hoses connected to her and that she could not walk.

But she got better and was sent to a Skilled Nursing Facility for rehab. Physical therapy, etc. Getting as good as she could to hopefully go back to her apartment. The wires and hoses were no longer needed and she was getting stronger and more rational.

Then on Sat the 11th, she suddenly stood up from her wheel chair and walked a step and fell and hit her head on a huge ceramic planter.

Back to the ER for a CT scan. Her head was fine, just a massive bump on her forehead.

But, the next morning, they found her sitting on the floor beside her bed.

They are not allowed to restrain her with straps or drugs. Many people get hurt from that, so it is not allowed, but many get hurt by falling, so it is a ‘Catch 22’.

She seemed OK, but Monday, she mentioned that her back hurt and showed us where. No bruises or sore ribs, so what can we do?

Then, Wednesday she did it again. Jumped out of the wheelchair and this time fell on the back of her head. Back to ER, but the CT scan was again unchanged. But, I asked them to do some x-rays of her back and they found a crushed T9 vertebrae! A little above the small of your back.

This can be very painful and even though she repeatedly said that it caused her no pain, it clearly did. Apparently she just could not understand or express it, even on repeated, careful, direct

They are trying to schedule a repair of her vertebrae. They inject a special ‘glue’, like 5 minute epoxy for bones. The relief is immediate and the bone grows around the glue and gets even stronger. Jessie has only the early stages of osteoporosis, called osteopenia.

All of her recovery is very variable. For hours or days, she can barely get from bed to wheel chair with the help of two strong people. Many times, she can’t at all. We have to just lift her.

But several times, she just pops out of her chair like a Jack-in-the Box and walks away. But not far, because then boom.

She just cannot remember to not do it. And her reasoning is just as variable. And we have no way of knowing how much improvement there will be. She was just as bad in Sept and recovered a lot. She was still living independently and riding the facility bus after a few weeks of recovery.

It looked like she was doing it again, but more slowly. However, the last few days, there have been some less encouraging things. She is more communicative, but is clearly not on this planet, telling us about needing to tell her brother-in-law (who passed away many years ago) how she can help him design a better airplane or drilling oil wells.

This is clearly not proof of ‘the end’. I assume that different parts of the brain are starting to work better and some are not working as well as they were a few days ago. So, on one day she talks better, but makes less sense.

We must wait to see how much recovery of which parts we will get. But, some of these changes are very hard on Jessie and all of us for that matter. She is at times in great physical and/or emotional pain and may or may not understand what is happing.

This is all very complicated and never easy for any of us to understand. We can all look at an open topped 5 gallon bucket and see how full it is getting or if the level is going down, but to ‘measure’ the health of the body and mind and eyes of Jessie is very hard to do and is a moving target.

We ask that you please understand and be realistic about the situation. She may improve a lot or a little or even not survive this. In the big scheme of things, that might be a blessing. We need to honestly face that. But, after you think about all of that, please humor us and always see the Jessie that you know and love, the Jessie that paddled her kayak for 10 day trips through the Canadian Islands, the Jessie that you saw on the best day that you knew her.

Whether or not you believe in Prayer, positive thoughts, affirmations, etc, what can it hurt to think about the good that may come and to want it to come again.


Dave, Janet & Jessie


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