Friday, December 19, 2008


Yesterday's blood work revealed bacteria as the culprit behind Steve's illness.

Two samples were drawn -- directly from the new port in his chest and from his arm. Both samples showed bacteria. The working theory is that it's the port's fault. Perhaps a tiny bit of bacteria was pushed into the port during infusion or a blood draw, and then the cell just started doing what cells do -- multiplying.

Damm port. (Ha! Damm humor just never gets old.)

It will take more lab work and more time to determine the exact strain of bacteria. We do know that it's gram-positive cocci (it showed up blue under the microscope and it's round). That alone tells the doctors which antibiotic he should continue to take for now. Yesterday he was receiving two different umbrella antibiotics; now he's receiving just one.

When lab results show which bacteria it is, doctors will know precisely which antibiotic to give him.

He will require two weeks of IV antibiotics. Thank goodness that doesn't mean he'll be here for two weeks.

Steve will be here until at least Saturday, maybe until Sunday. While he's here, the staff will be arranging for home health care so that he can receive the IV drugs at home.

Dr. G, the attending oncologist/hematologist, recommends that Steve not resume chemotherapy treatment until the end of the two-week treatment.

He explained that there are few things as scary as a brain tumor. But in the short term, bacteria in the blood is scarier.

Steve is feeling so much better than yesterday. He is sitting up without assistance, able to walk slowly, eating huge portions, laughing, asking questions, charming the nurses.

Jim reports that he slept well on the cot. After Betty arrived, he left to get ready for a meeting. Then Katie and I arrived. Katie cuddled with her Daddy for a while, and then we went on a little adventure.

Both she and Cooper were born on the fifth floor here. Katie loves babies, so I took her to labor and delivery to find some newborns. We saw four tiny babies -- three sleeping, one screaming. Then we visited with the nurses. Katie twirled in her Christmas dress and talked about being 3.

Betty took Katie back to her house, and I've been with Steve ever since.

Just before Layne arrived with pizza for lunch, a technician arrived for an in-room echocardiogram. She spent about 30 minutes capturing images of his heart and supporting systems. It was fascinating lunch entertainment.

Today is Cooper's last day of school before the new year; it's also his winter party. After the unsettled week at home, I didn't want him "alone" at the party. Uncle Greg left work early today to be his adult, plus Holly left her own boys' parties to check in and take photos.

Cooper, with Uncle Greg in back


1. Bacteria caused Steve's sudden illness.
2. More lab time is needed to identify the exact strain.
3. With that information, the best antibiotic will be given.
4. Steve will stay at St. Paul tonight and maybe longer.
5. He'll require two weeks of IV antibiotics at home.


DogBlogger said...

Glad to know there's a path to knocking out that nasty bacteria!

Anonymous said...

You can't keep a good Damm down long!! Keep fighting, Steve!

Love, Sally S.

Sweetest Whimsy said...

I love that you took time to look at the babies! Always guaranteed to put a smile on your face and hope in your heart. Praying that Steve gets to go home ASAP!