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Subdeacon Joe

Need Some Prayers, Please. 8/25/16 Final Update - Posted as a post, not an edit.

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A young man (well, early to mid-30s) in our parish had been feeling poorly for a week or so. Last Saturday his folks found him dizzy, weak, having trouble breathing. Called 911. EMTs got there and he went into respiratory arrest. His kidneys are close to shutting down, ditto his liver. Brain scan is good and his heart is strong.

Anyway, if you could ask the Head Honcho to look after this fine person, and bring him back to health, it would be appreciated.

 

ADDED:

His name is Gabriel.


ADDED 8/11:

His mom posted on Caring Bridge,

 

 

During the night he had spiked another fever and the doctors decided to change his antibiotics. He is now on three new ones but I don't remember their names. (His nurse) also said that his liver numbers are improving. We learned that the transplant team would not begin rounds until 10:00. L had to be home by 10 to wait for a grocery delivery so I was alone when the team came in. Dr Y told me that Gabe has been placed on the transplant list. He also explained that at this point Gabe is too sick for a transplant. They need to have his blood pressure more stable, and his infection cleared.

 

Not out of the woods, but he is being dialized, his liver is improving, whatever infection he has is being dealt with. Also, our parish priests went and held the Unction service for him and left an icon of St. Gabriel there. Members of the parish are feeding the family, driving them around, and in general taking care of them.

Thank you all for your prayers.

SECOND UPDATE:

 

 

As I was putting on my shoes, my phone rang with a "NO CALLER ID" display. It was Gabe's UCSF liver doctor with the message that they had a liver and would be doing a biopsy to see if they should/could transplant. She said I would receive a call asking for content for the procedure since Gabe cannot consent at this point. I received a call from Peter saying he had had a call from the biopsy doctor and that I would be getting a call for consent. We were heading out the door when that call came.

I arrived at Gabe's room as he was being prepared to move to surgery for the biopsy.

ADDED 8/15 - Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos

Gabe tolerated the transport to and from the OR and the biopsy procedure well. We waited to hear the preliminary report on the biopsy. After being excited that something might be happening soon, we learned that based on the biopsy results, UCSF would not be doing a transplant. After absorbing the shock of this news, the family brain trust began exploring options for transferring him to another transplant center where he could get a liver.

It is clear that his liver is too sick to repair itself fully, and that he will need a liver transplant in the future if his life is to return to any semblance of normalcy. The next steps were unclear and the family circled the wagons and went to work looking into what options were possible and who we needed to approach to discuss our options. My family has been amazing!!! Gabe's cousins, my sister and cousin have all worked tirelessly searching for what is the best thing to do for Gabe and how to make that thing happen.

Breathing - A major goal over the past few days has been to ween Gabe from the respirator. He was switched to spontaneous mode for the first time on Friday. In this mode he continues to be intubated and on the machine, but he is operating his own lungs. Friday his first period of spontaneous breathing lasted for about half an hour. He was alternately agitated and sleeping during this time, more often agitated. A concern is that when Gabe is agitated his blood pressure drops too low. His blood pressure still needs to be maintained by medication.

Saturday he was able to remain on spontaneous mode for a longer period, but the pain medication he was receiving tends to depress his respiration as the dose increases, so they were looking for something additional that would help control pain without depressing respiration. Yesterday they were able to start this new medication and he spent much of the day operating his own lungs.

Awareness - It has been clear from the start that Gabe recognized some people and responded, at least part of the time to familiar voices; mine, Petar's, Father Lawrence, his cousins and aunts & uncles. Until this past Saturday he has not been able to squeeze a hand or blink on command, so it was impossible to know what he was experiencing. He could move; struggle against the restraints that were keeping him from reaching the breathing tube and IV lines, shake his head from side to side, etc. Nothing responsive to our questions or suggestions. On Saturday, for the first time, Gabe held my hand. He still didn't squeeze in answer to questions or commands. This began yesterday. The new pain medication has helped to reduce his periods of agitation by better handling his pain. He can now let us know when he is in pain. These are perhaps small steps, but after more than a week they seem huge! Thanks be to God and to his saints and all of you who are praying!!!!

Kidneys - Gabe remains on continuous dialysis. The goal now is to ween him off of continuous and onto intermittent dialysis. This is much more technical than I feel comfortable discussing in detail. There were discussions during the day, yesterday, between the main liver doctor and the kidney and respiratory doctors on the critical care team concerning the balancing of kidney and respiratory needs. I am writing from Laura's house without knowledge of what has occurred overnight.

 

 

 

ADDED 8/18

No real changes other than that they have stopped a lot of the pain meds.

 

 

ADDED 8/21. There had been some small improvements then:

 

Journal entry by (his mom)5 hours ago

My phone rang at 4:04 am. It was Dr. L to say that Gabe has had a brain bleed. This is grave news. I have showered and will head up to the hospital shortly. Father L is on his way and will pick up (Gabe's dad). Please pray for Gabe. Family is being notified. More to follow.

 

 

ADDED 8/23

 

 

He explained that since the scan early this morning they had been consulting with the dermatology, infectious disease, radiology and neurosurgery teams. There was evidence of fresh infection around the margins of the previous day's surgery. The mold causing the infection is one that occurs commonly in the environment but is rarely dangerous to humans. It can attack aggressively when it finds an easy target, such as someone with a severely compromised immune system, such as Gabe's.

A member of the neurosurgery team came in to speak to Dr K, and then asked to join the discussion. We agreed, because by now were asking questions about the procedures that would be used to deal with such a bleed in an otherwise healthy person, and which if any of these would be recommended for Gabe. We learned quickly that even the least invasive option would be extremely risky for someone as sick as Gabe, and that if the bleed was indeed caused by the mold, it was not survivable. It took us time to digest this information and both of the doctors gave us that time. We asked about next steps, and about timing of these steps. We were told that we had time to decide what we wanted to do and that they would support us in our decisions. They then allowed us to meet in private and discuss what we wanted to do, both for the moment, and over the next day or two.

The entire family agreed that our number one priority is that Gabe not suffer needlessly. We also acknowledged that we need a little time to adjust to this new situation and to notify other family and friends of this major change. This posting was delayed to allow some of those things to happen.

 

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Absolutely, SDJ.

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Standing up on my knees right NOW!

Brain scan good and heart strong ... two very good signs ... 'scuse me, I'm gonna put some more mileage on my prayer bones!

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Prayers on the way

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Prayers are on the way for Gabriel.

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Prayers for his healing and peace for his family...in Jesus name I pray...God bless ....Jim

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Prayers for Gabriel.

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Prayers up

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Thanks for the update. Prayers continuing.

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I have put out the word.

More prayers for his recovery and for his family threw this issue .

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Just read your Up Date.

Back down on my knees.

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Thank you all. No updates so far today.

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Prayers up for a successful procedure and complete healing.

 

Thanks for keeping us up to date, SDJ.

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I'm all in for prayers for Gabriel.

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Prayers continue for healing .

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I will keep him in my thoughts and meditations.

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Bless him in need of healing with renewal of the body and renewal of spirit! Amen!

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Prayers up

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Thank you all for your continuing prayers for Gabe.

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Thank you for the latest update. Prayers continuing.

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Prayers up for young Gabe. Having watched my BIL go through this I know your pain. Stay strong.

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Keep them In my prayers.

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