Saturday, July 25, 2009


The pneumonia turned out to be far more dangerous than we were giving it credit for. I began to accumulate fluid around the upper abdomen, and any sort of exertion resulted in shortness of breath. Thursday morning, the oncologist, observing this, ordered me over to the hospital for a battery of blood and urine tests, and a nuclear scan of the lungs, to look for blood clots.

Fortunately no clots were found; but the pneumonia was more advanced than expected, and the accumulation of fluid gave rise to concerns about the possibility of negative effects on the heart, which was showing elevated rates. So I was checked into a hospital room Thursday evening, and IVed with a couple of more powerful antibiotics. I was also IVed with Lasix, a diuretic; this, plus a restriction on
fluid intake of a maximum of 1000 ml per day, is designed to drain off the accumulated fluid. Finally, I was placed on a 24-hour portable heart monitor, and tethered to supplemental oxygen.

Friday I was subjected to an echo cardiogram, but so far I have not been told what if anything the cardiologist may have gleaned from that. Ditto for a CAT scan of the same area taken Saturday.

The effort to drain off the excess fluid at least seems to be working: net outflow over inflow for Friday was more than 2000 ml.

So, Saturday night will be my third back here in the hospital, and I think I can expect to be here at least several more, until all the various flavors of docs involved (infectious disease, cardiologist, oncologist) are able to agree that it is OK for me to go home.

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