I just got back from spending the day in Cincinnati at the hospital with my brother. There is some good news and some bad news.
First the good news: Jacob’s blood pressure held steady all day pretty much on its own. This means that his heart is working on its own, which is very good. Also, his lungs seem to be healing, and his other vitals are improving. This is also good.
The bad news is that this afternoon when they performed a CAT scan they found bleeding in Jacob’s brain. This is bad on a number of levels. First, bleeding in the brain causes swelling, which causes damage when the swelling tissue presses against the cranial walls. However, the doctor said that although this is not a small bleed, the level of swelling so far seems minimal. So that’s not as bad as it could be. However, the second way that this is bad is that it makes it impossible for the cardiac doctors to continue with their normal course of treatment for the heart since whatever they did for the heart (blood thinners, possible follow-up surgery) would be very, very bad for a bleeding brain.
In practical terms, we’re still waiting to see, except now we’re waiting to see what the neurologists tell us. Everything hinges on how much damage was done to the brain by being without oxygen for so long. If the damage was minimal (or, God willing, nonexistent), then the neurologists would do what they could to clear up the bleeding in the brain, including possible surgery. Once that was taken care of, then the cardiologists would be able to go in and finish up their work, and hopefully we’d be looking forward to a lovely, long, tedious convalescence.
If the damage is significant, then, well, there wouldn’t be a point in doing the surgery. At that point I think we’d just be done for.
Still, there is a possibility for a good outcome if the damage to the brain is minimal, and if the bleeding heals quickly either on its own or with medical assistance. Those are two pretty huge IFs, but the possibility is still there.
So we’re waiting for the neurologists. Hopefully the neurology resident will see Jacob tonight. She’ll probably have to consult with her supervisor. They might be able to assess the damage by the way he’s responding (or not responding) to treatment, or they might have to do an MRI. Either way we’re not likely to hear anything conclusive until tomorrow night, or possibly Monday morning.
In the meantime, Mom is spending the night with him again. Tomorrow morning Mariah will go down early to take Mom’s place while she goes to Mass, and then I, Dad, and hopefully the other siblings still in Dayton (Indy, Boy-O and Rosie) will be joining them in the early afternoon. So we’ll wait together.
Please, please keep praying. If Jacob can make it through this next day or two he just might make it all the way. And that’s what I want more than anything. Thank you to everyone who’s been praying and thinking of us. I tell my parents and my siblings as I remember, “Oh, so-and-so called/e-mailed/messaged to say that they love us and they’re praying.” Every time it’s a comfort. So thank you very, very much, and please pray harder than ever!