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03 July 2016 @ 11:54 am
Not the Westercon I had hoped for  
Kate's aphasia has been getting gradually worse for the past several weeks. We consulted with the doctor earlier this week and raised her steroid dose a bit, but it was still getting worse and we were looking forward to next Tuesday's MRI with some trepidation.

On Friday, the first day of Westercon, Kate was having even more difficulty talking and was weak and wobbly. She attended my reading, but after the reading she fell over in the hallway -- didn't hurt herself, but had great difficulty getting up. After that she went to bed and dozed away the afternoon. I had friends watch over her while I went to my programming.

Kate had a pretty bad night and I called the doctor at 2am; he recommended doubling the steroid dose, so I ran home for more pills. At 4am I was awakened by a thud -- Kate had fallen while getting out of bed to go to the bathroom. She couldn't get herself up even with my help, couldn't talk, and seemed panicky and confused; I called 911. The paramedics got her up onto the bed, but she was still very confused -- they recommended taking her to the hospital, and I agreed. Kate's sister Sue had arrived at the convention by now and she came along.

At the ER they took a CAT scan to check for brain bleeding from the two falls. There was no bleeding, but substantial brain swelling, for as-yet-unknown reasons (the CAT scan would not show tumor growth). They gave her IV steroids, admitted her to the hospital, and scheduled an MRI for a more detailed look at her brain. Sue sent me back to the hotel for food and sleep. That was Saturday.

At this point (noon Sunday) Kate is resting. Her steroid dose has been raised to 12mg/day to get the swelling down, and the aphasia has improved from "can't talk at all" to "can often form partial sentences." This is extremely frustrating for all of us. We have met with the on-call oncologist and the on-call neurosurgeon's PA -- our regular doctors are all on vacation. The oncologist is not a brain specialist and found the MRI ambiguous; we are now awaiting the neurosurgeon's assessment of it.

If you are at Westercon and would like to visit Kate, please coordinate with Ruth Sachter. We don't want to overwhelm her with too many visitors. Sue will stay with Kate so I can attend my autograph session at 2pm today. I am disappointed to be missing most of my Guest of Honor stint, and worried about my upcoming book tour, but Kate comes first.
blue shark of friendliness: candlesckd on July 3rd, 2016 07:06 pm (UTC)
Kate absolutely and understandably comes first, but don't forget yourself as well. Much love and support to you both.
wild_patiencewild_patience on July 3rd, 2016 10:09 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry to hear all this. We're not at Westercon this year, but you and Kate are in my prayers.
A Wandering Hobbitredbird on July 3rd, 2016 11:38 pm (UTC)
*hugs* and thank you for taking the time to update us
Omahaomahas on July 4th, 2016 12:07 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry that Kate has had a this slight setback. Having suffered aphasia myself after seizures, both I and Elf know the feeling of frustration. :/ Sending energy your way to help out. I do hope that this is very temporary.
Kate Schaeferkate_schaefer on July 4th, 2016 01:16 am (UTC)
Have no useful thing to say; send love to you and Kate, and hope for more improvement.
Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on July 4th, 2016 02:04 am (UTC)
May this be one step back, followed by two forward. Or three. All our best; thinking of both of you.
Geri Sullivangerisullivan on July 4th, 2016 08:15 am (UTC)
Many thanks again for getting the word out via your various communication channels. P&TNH and I were up at Joe Siclari & Edie Stern's annual summer party today. I was checking regularly for updates, and shared the info in this update with Lise Eisenberg, who was also thankful for the information.
eub on July 4th, 2016 08:54 am (UTC)
We are thinking of you.