Friday 28 March 2014

The straight dopamine

Things are different here in the intensive care unit.

The nurse sits directly outside the room, with a window so he or she can constantly check in. Not creepy at all...

There's no shower or bathroom, but there is a computer so staff can access his records without leaving his side.

There's a communal fridge, but it's in a waiting area outside the unit. To get in the unit you have to hit a buzzer and wait to be let in, instead of waving your hand over a sensor which does the trick. Suddenly getting a late-night snack is more of an arduous task.

Dominic was in trouble when he came here this morning. No, he didn't get here last night when I last wrote. The ICU's doctor opted to do one more test to see if his kidneys would start flushing on their own; they didn't by the morning so that's when they moved him.

His weight ballooned again to 12.09 kilograms. His legs are chunky but it's really all liver and kidney.

The plan was to give him a drug that aimed to improve blood flow to his kidneys but had potentially deadly side effects. It couldn't be administered on the oncology ward.

But first, they tried dopamine, which can sometimes accomplish the same thing but is harmless if it doesn't work.

And wouldn't you know it, he started peeing again. Never have we been so happy to see a vial of urine.

It's not as though he peed himself thin a la the time back in September. He's down to just 12.00 kg this evening, and his baseline is still probably a kilogram and a half away. His liver remains large but what we're now calling "The Italian Drug," defibrotide, apparently will need time to work and doctors are confident it will.

This is all about keeping the kidneys functioning until The Italian Drug starts working on the liver, which once healed will return to a normal size and thus not squish the rest of the organs in his belly.

Twenty-four hours ago I had visions of that scene in the movie Seven when the guy whose deadly sin is sloth explodes. Now it's fair to say I've calmed down, just a tad. It's still the ICU, where the nurses are all new and it seems like there's someone else in the room poking and prodding him constantly, but it could certainly be worse.

Now we just have to hope he keeps peeing normally the next couple days, and then maybe we'll get to head back to our room in the oncology ward. We still have it unless the hospital suddenly gets an influx of patients, so I'm sleeping there tonight (I'm not quite cold-free and still unable to hold him) while Trish stays here.

It doesn't mean he's well, but it does mean we can breathe again. I like breathing.

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