SUSAN'S HEART HISTORY 1/12/96

Susan Hattie Steinsapir

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1/12/96 (Andreas)

Friday, the 12th of Jan.

Well, no news is good news: nothing has changed from yesterday. Susan's kidneys aren't working and the doctors are trying different things to get them to start again. The toxins in her body cause pain, nausea, and itchyness; she was heavily sedated and slept most of the morning and up to about 4 pm. She woke up and felt a bit better; her blood pressure climbed high enough that she could climb out of bed and sit on a portable toilet and was able to urinate. That brought cheers and smiles from the urologists, doctors, nurses, and other staff. Her kidneys are still working, if only slightly. If the kidneys stop, then they'll switch her to dialysis, but that has the problem that her kidneys may take a long time to restart. They would rather see her kidneys working first. It won't prevent the heart transplant; it'd just be a secondary problem.

The poor girl, she's so sedated and nauseated that she's eating very little (today she ate: two strawberries, a slice of pineapple, a few grapes, and drank several cups of water). But the kitchen, regular as clockwork, sends up another tray of food: they remove the untouched breakfast tray and replace it with a lunch tray; later, it's removed untouched and replaced with a dinner tray.

She's getting piles of mail: get-well cards and cat cards and cat pictures and cat calendars: she reads every one.

Several people have asked what happened to the heart that she couldn't use the other day. It went to a fellow who was number two on the list. He's in the Surgial Intensive Care now, recovering.

Others have asked if Susan needs blood donors. No, it's not necessary. The transplant surgeons recover and reuse all of the blood in the chest. At the most, she'll only lose a few teaspoons of blood.

It's weekend now in LA, which means increased accidents and trouble, so it may be possible that something may happen. Very odd to think that someone in LA is walking around with a heart that will soon be in Susan. I've become an extremely cautious driver: Susan hopes that all of you drive carefully.

I know that back East, it's blizzards, but here, it's summer: mid-80s and sunny. Wearing t-shirt and shorts, I took a break this afternoon and went with Ray and Bill to the beach (Santa Monica and Venice Beach, where Baywatch is filmed). took off my shoes, and walked for a very long time, up to my knees in the surf. Bill found a Capt. Picard figure in a shop, which he bought for Susan to hang above her bed. We told Susan about the beach and she's ready to go.

I tried to sleep last night without Ativan, a strong sedative, but I only tossed and turned and had strange nonsensical dreams. This evening, Susan wanted me to lay in bed with her, so I did, and I fell asleep instantly; the nurse said I looked too peaceful there to awake.

Good night to everyone,

yrs, andreas


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