The days following the first ER visit were not any better than before. Her pain and nausea were a constant thorn on her side. She wasn’t really able to eat much or drink either causing her weakness to intensify. With all the IV fluids that she received during the brief hospital stay, her ascites got much worse. I had scheduled a paracentesis for the following Thursday (because that was the earliest they could schedule her in), but seeing her swollen belly, I didn’t think she would be able to wait even the weekend. So after conferring with Gene and Brian, the safest thing to do was to get her in through the ER so they could watch her, stabilize her, and admit her so she could get treated. Hence, another trip to the ER in 2 weeks.
Brian once again made sure Carmen was expedited through the process because her condition demanded fast action. We also needed to address her nutritional state. Since she wasn’t able to eat, it only made sense to hook her up to a TPN bag to provide temporary sustenance through an IV. TPN is basically a backup system in case a patient isn’t able to eat for a long period of time. Carmen was obviously a candidate for this. So they inserted a PICC line again. This time it would be to provide much needed nutrition, not chemo. They also tapped her belly to pull out fluids that were trapped due to a combination of low protein levels and cancerous implants, both of which cause ascites. They pulled out a little over 2 liters of fluid. Outfitted with a picc line so we can administer TPN at home gave us a somewhat renewed sense of hope. It was just a matter of time I was hoping that she would snap out of this spell of nausea and pain and begin to eat again.
That was not to be.
We administered TPN at home for about 1 ½ weeks. Her only other intake by mouth was vitamin water and regular water. Not much food was going in. She was also having a hard time going to the bathroom due to, what we thought, was severe constipation. At the same time, since she wasn’t able to drink much, she wasn’t able to take any decent amount of laxatives. Her condition was deteriorating with each passing day. Needless to say it was very difficult to watch her decline like this. I so desperately wanted my old Carmen back.