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.