Many people have been kind to reach out to learn how Jack has been doing after falling ill last week. In an effort to share updates with all those who have reached out, we will post periodic (daily?) updates here on Jason’s blog page. Each post will be tagged with the keyword ‘jack’ to make it easy for visitors to find them all.
If you want to send Jack or Naomi a message, watch this space for recommendations on how to do that.
On Friday, May 7, Jack began to feel unusually tired while doing some work with Naomi at the cabin. On the drive back to the Cities, he began to feel worse, and by the time they reached Stillwater, Jack told Naomi that she better bring him to the hospital ‘right now.’
They went to the Emergency Room at Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater. He was admitted ot the hospital due to slight chest lains, weakness on this right side, and tireness. After tests and imaging, doctors deduced that he experienced a transient ischemic attack (TIA, or mini-stroke), “a stroke that healed itself.” During his stay at the hospital, Jack was fatigued, had a low fever, and had very little appetite. On Sunday, 9 May, the doctors felt Jack was stable enough to go home, though Jack was still tired, not eating, had had an elevated temperature. Once home, he did manage to have a sliver of lemon merengue pie that Tim and Terese brought over for Mother’s Day. That was a highlight!
At home, Jack was comfortable but very tired, and on Monday morning he had a fever of over 103 degrees Fahrenheit. He continued to be fatigued, somewhat lethargic, and run a fever. When that pattern continued on Tuesday, Jack and Naomi agreed he should go back to a hospital. He chose St. John’s in Maplewood. When they arrived, their emergency room was very busy and the hospital had very few beds. After a few blood tests were taken, and after waiting for hours (and hours), Jack was admitted to the hospital, again.
You’re a Mystery
Between the two hospitals, Jack has had more pictures taken of him than a Kardashian. Images of this lower abdomen (experiencing discomfort), chest and neck (at intake and again in Mapelwood), heart (to rule our inflamation), head (for head and neck ache, TIA), and lower back (discomfort). Some imaging required him to drink a liquid that would provide contrast for the pictures. Yum.
He’s also been pumped full of antibiotics. At the start, he was receiving three flavors of antibiotics, but when he stopped experiencing high fevers, the doctors reduced the amount and number of antibiotics.
One possible source of Jack’s illness could be menegitis. To investigate, the doctors could do a spinal tap and test the spinal fluid. Unfortunately, Jack’s TIA led him to be given Plaxis (a blood thinner). Docs can’t do a spinal tap while a patient has blood thinners in their system. So Jack will have to wait until test show the Plaxis has cleared.
Between the antibiotics and the imaging’s contrast dyes, his kidneys have started to complain. Doctors don’t know why. Measurements of creatinine have rised quickly to abnormal levels during this second hospital stay. Is this distress a result of the medical tests and antibiotics? Is it evidence of the illness that lead to Jack’s TIA? The doctors don’t know. On the medical images, the kidneys look fine.
There’s some talk by the nephrologists (the kidney docs) that Jack might need temporary dialysis to help his kidneys do their work. This would mean putting in a ‘centrral line’. They also talk about wanting to biopsy the kidneys to see if there’s something going on that the images didn’t pick up.
Between the fevers (which have subsided), the kidney issues, fatigues, lack of appetite, and miscellaneous discomforts, the doctors humbly tell Jack, “You’re a mystery.” They are working to figure out what is wrong, but there’s no solid leads, yet.
Tuesday 18 May, morning
Jack had a lumbar puncture on Monday. We are still waiting for tests, but the initial report is that `there’s something unusual’ there.
Meanwhile, Jack is still feeling fatigued. He still has little or no appetite. He does eat when he can. Jello, berries, part of a grilled cheese sandwich. Today, Naomi is going to bring some roast chicken from Kowalskis to see if Jack will gobble up some dark meat.
Doctors are holding back on doing more for Jack’s kidneys, reevaluating the evidence each day. Today, the good news is that it looks like the creatinine levels have stabilized. Further test on spinal fluid suggest something strange is happening there.
On the one hand, we are in a wait-and-see situation. Jack is more comfortable, now, and more able to try to get out of bed and walk. This will be helpful as we wait another day or two for test results that illuminate what’s happening inside him, somewhere.