Elaine has been very ill. She had severe and intensifying pain in her chest, sides and back since Saturday evening that built to a crescendo Sunday, and the removal of the fluid produced a marked change. She said it hadn’t been as painful as she expected, and her entire appearance brightened and calmed in the hour after her return.
Monday was a very productive day, and we felt that the clinical team was systematically getting a handle on the issues. We saw the pulmonologist who ordered the drain. A gastroenterologist who had reviewed Elaine’s labs and scans reported that her liver functions were normalizing, very good news indeed. An infectious disease physician did a thorough interview, and hypothesized several theories of her disease, the most likely that seepage from the trauma to the liver area had migrated upward, through the diaphragm and generated the lung infection. That said, by no means have we ruled out the influence of metastatic tumors.
The work of all these physicians is being actively coordinated by the hospitalists managing her care, who in turn is directly in touch with Dr. Glock, our primary care physician. When asked about how much longer she’d need to remain hospitalized, Dr. Shah, one of the hospitalists, said that it would depend on whether her infections and fever subsided and normalized.
The looming question is how these events relate to her cancer, and whether there are signs of metastases that signal a new phase of her disease.
While the uncertainty is difficult, we should know more in the next few days.