The past few days have been a little scary and emotional. Sue's had a lot of anxiety about her loss of strength and what has appeared, quite frankly, to be the end of this age -- or at least for her. We've all been coping with it. Sue's had a steady stream of visitors, calls and cards, all of which picked her spirits up.
Valerie and I did not know what to think this evening when we arrived at Sue's room to find the door closed with a bright orange "droplets precaution" sticker on the door, and a table of masks, gowns and gloves outside her room. The nurse told us masks were mandatory for all visitors. Shortly after we went in Dr. Singh stopped by and gave us the good news and the bad news. The good news is that, while Sue is very sick, he believes she will recover from this and recover her strength. The bad news is that he thinks she may have tuberculosis. Dr. Singh says that the internal infections from TB could account for her loss of strength and general weakness. Her symptoms are consistent with this diagnosis, and the recent scans show lesions in the upper lobes of her lungs. Dr. Singh indicated that pneumonia would normally accumulate in the lower lobes, not the upper lobes. They will do more specific testing tomorrow.
This is potentially bad news also for those of you who have visited Sue, as well as the 180 kids she recently taught and everyone who has been in contact with Sue over the past several weeks. Since this diagnosis is preliminary and not yet confirmed, Dr. Singh is not wanting to publish it. However, I think it only fair to inform those who have visited or who might. If the diagnosis turns out to be TB, Valerie, Jessica and I will each get TB skin test, and you can be sure I will inform you at the earliest confirmation of a TB diagnosis. Dr. Singh did not discourage us from visiting Sue with proper mask precautions and handwashing, but he thought it prudent to caution those with weak or compromised immune systems to avoid visiting at this time.
As an additional precaution, they moved Sue to room 319 in the main wing, which is an isolation room with a self-contained circulation system. You can see down into the chapel from her window.
The visit by Dr. Singh this evening was encouraging to Sue. She was visibly energized and animated just to know someone thought they knew what might be wrong with her and that it might have a cure. (She even responded well to the cancer diagnosis when it was dropped on us last May, because then at least her ailments had a name.) When the burly young man arrived at Sue's room at 9:15 this evening to transport Sue to room 319 he came into her room and announced: "I've come to take you away." Sue, who'd spent the last two days expecting God to come and take her away replied to the young man: "You don't look like I thought you would." Her face was all smile at his puzzlement at her irreverant humor. Valerie and I both got it, but it went over his genial, angelic head.