Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How we got here

From Ron:
Thanks to Melissa for creating this electronic method to keep all of Elena's family and friends updated daily on her progress. Most of you are familiar with how we've come to day 13 but for those that may have joined late here is a brief synopsis of what she and we have come through to get to this point.

Elena had a bad cold but was scheduled to go on a four day cruise with her boyfriend Mike and his family. They left on Friday and returned on Monday June 15th. During the cruise her cold got worse so when she returned she went straight to bed. By Wednesday she had not improved so she went to a two minute walk in clinic at a local Walgreen's Drug Store. /Bear with me as I tell you that you should make certain that you nor anyone you love should ever avail themselves of these "two minute clinics" for anything more critical than a hangnail or a flu shot./ She was told that she only had a cold and should go home and rest. No antibiotics, no prescriptions, just over the counter drugs and rest. By Thursday her condition was much worse so she went to a walk-in clinic with a real Doctor who examined her and recommended she go to the emergency room of a hospital.

Elena actually walked in to Kendal Regional Medical Center on Thursday afternoon. She was immediately diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted to the hospital. By midnight she was in ICU. Her ER Doctor stated that she was the "sickest person in the hospital". By Friday morning she was being ventilated and by Friday night she was fighting for her life.

By Sunday June 21st Elena's condition had gotten to the point where she was given the strongest antibiotic they had. She had an allergic reaction to the medicine and very nearly died.

For the last week we've ridden a roller coaster with her condition ebbing and flowing. For every high there was an equally dramatic decline. Now here we are at day 13 and her condition has been stable for three days. The largest event was when the hospital arranged for her to have a special bed that allows them to change her position 360 degrees. The bed made an almost immediate difference as she was now able to be face down, on either side and on her back without the severe jostling that would be required to move her manually.

She is very slowly improving and now her prognosis for recovery are good. As of this day and time she remains fully sedated and on a ventilator. This is not likely to change for at least another week. In the daily updates you will read of three things that we have learned to monitor.

O2 Saturation: This is how much oxygen is being absorbed by her system. The closer to 100% the better but preferably not under 85.

O2 Percentage: This is the level of oxygen being delivered to her by the ventilator. The lower below 100% the better.

PEEP: This is the pressure that the ventilator is delivering her breaths. Ideally the lower below 20 the better.

On day 13 at the end of her day her numbers were:

O2 Saturation 92; O2 Percentage 70%; PEEP 17

Please continue your prayers. Her medical staff assures us that they work and I have yet to meet anyone who works in the ICU that doesn't believe in God and the power of prayer. I find it amazing that people who see it all, all of the time and who are the best medically trained unanimously believe in the power of prayer.

I assure you that future updates will not be this long. I just felt this was a great opportunity to let anyone who visits to see what we've all been through for the last two weeks. There are no words that would adequately acknowledge the friends and family that have been there every day for Elena so all we can say is thank you.


  1. Seeing her stats improve is such a relief! Thank you SO much for creating this blog. I have been receiving text message updates that Mike has been sending out as forwards from my friend, and it is great that I can now just check here on my own as well.

    I love you, Elena!!! Get well soon! You are in my thoughts constantly.

  2. Thank you so much for this blog and the updates!

    My prayers go out to Elena and her family.

  3. We, along with friends and family both in Albuquerque and Michigan, have had Elena in
    our prayers since Melissa first informed us of her illness. Ron, we are happy to hear of her encouraging progress and will continue to keep Elena and the Walters family in our thoughts. Love, Marilyn and Lee

  4. Thinking about Elena and praying for her every day. Thank you for this blog. All of her friends are here for her and wishing her the best. I love you sweetie, get well soon <3


  5. Sweet Elena
    Lots of love and prayers coming to you from Dallas from me and from lots of my friends and co workers at Delta.
    Love to all in Miami caring for Elena

  6. Esperamos que la operacin de Elena haya salido con exito y Oramos por su recuperacion y sanacion completa. Que asi sea aqui y ahora . AMEN Gipsy Gil

  7. Ron, I will pray for Elena and for your family to be comforted in Gods care. You can count on me for anything that I can do. Know that old freind.

    Get well soon Elena, you are too beautiful to leave us.

    G. Gracer