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. All posts about Jack’s condition will be listed here.

If you want to send Jack or Naomi a message, you can email your message to You can click on this link to start your message.


Jack headed to the hospital on Friday, 7 May, with symptoms of a transient ischemic attack (TIA, a.k.a., a mini-stroke). Was he really having a TIA? It’s still not clear. Jack was in Lakeview Hospital (Stillwater) until Sunday, 9 May. Then he Was home until he returned to the hospital (St. John’s in Maplewood) on Tuesday, 11 May. At this writing (on 19 May), he is still at St. John’s receiving care.

Today’s News: the TL;DR1

Jack is waiting for a metric ton of lab results to be returned before the doctors will even think about discharging him. Jack does not like this, but he is a good patient. He is gaining strength and appetite each day. His sense of humor has never flagged. His kidney numbers have stopped skyrocketing, and the doctors are relieved about that; they’ve stopped talking about a kidney biopsy or temporary dialysis. A look at his spinal fluid has raised eyebrows, and the doctors are looking more closely at that. Overall, t he doctors are scratching their collective heads about what put Jack in the hospital. Hence, the metric ton of lab results we’re waiting on.

Today’s news: the details

Late Tuesday, our hospitalist, Dr. Moynahan, reviewed the case with the family (on a conference call). Much that was imaged since 7 May was normal for a guy Jack’s age. The ‘Zebra panel’ of tests for infectious disease turned up nothing (no Lyme, no HIV, no chicken pox, etc.). Much in the body fluid tests that were done since 7 May was normal for a guy Jack’s age. The exceptions were creatinine levels signaling kidney injury (which has been the main source of drama in the last few days), and abnormalities in the spinal fluid (which were revealed only after the lumbar puncture that was done on 17 May).

Yesterday, Dr. Moynahan said that she and the nephrologists (kidney docs) danced a happy dance after their tactic of using diuretics and increased IV fluids have provided evidence that the kidneys are (likely) healthy but were just shocked by antibiotics and contast dyes (used for the CT and MRI scans). However, the kidney abnormalities make them wonder about rheumatological illnesses; this is a species of problem that they can’t handle at St. John’s and would require Jack to move somewhere like the U of M.

Another potential issue relates to an abnormality that was detected in one of Jack’s chest images. The images showed a thymoma, a mass that is associated with some other possible illnesses that include myasthenia gravis and some cancers. So the docs are running a panel of test for ‘hidden’ cancers. Test results are “on the way”.

A note on tests of Jack’s spinal fluid. Docs generally expect spinal fluid to be ‘sterile’ [sic], but there were ‘abnormalities’ in the spinal fluid that included high protein, and both red and white blood cells. This could indicate viral meningitis or it could suggest lymphoma. We’re waiting on all kinds of tests before we can know more.

Concluding, Jack’s kidneys are behaving in ways that make the docs think that they are recovering from a shock (e.g., antibiotics and imaging dyes) and not themselves chronically ill. We see his appetite slowly coming back, his strength returning, and his ability to be active improving, too. He doesn’t like being confined, and he would like to return home, soon. But we are waiting for tests that might not come for 3-4 days. As we wait, Jack will continue physical and occupational therapy to get back some strength and dexterity.

  1. The kids write ‘TL;DR’ when they mean ‘too long, didn’t read’.