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Thursday, March 02, 2006



From Rohan:

Mary Lee's condition has continued to deteriorate quickly. Although she was conscious part of the day before yesterday, yesterday she may have slept the entire day (nobody I've spoken to saw her awake), and today was similar except that with her eyelids partly open the whole time (apparently because the control of her eyelid muscles is now gone) it wasn't possible to tell whether she was conscious at any time. There was some up-and-down eye movement but it's impossible to tell whether that meant anything. Some of us held her hand and talked to her, in case she was conscious any part of the time. Although "cognitive deterioration" is one of the usual symptoms of PML, I never saw the slightest trace of that while she was able to communicate, so if and when she's conscious there's a good chance that her mind is still sharp, even if she can't respond in any way.

Yesterday the doctor started her on a painkiller because she's been stuck in bed for a month and could be expected to have some muscle pain. She's always denied having any pain, even as recently as during the birthday party, but that could just be her wanting to avoid dulling her mind. (When she was told that PML had been confirmed and that she had at most three months to live, the doctor mentioned that an antidepressant might be helpful and she turned him down flat.)

This afternoon the doctor came by and said that she's in the early stages of coma: her pulse is weaker than it was yesterday, though her skin temperature is still high. He expects that she'll be in full coma in 1 to 3 days.

We are now trying to have someone with her around the clock. There is a nurse there overnight, and friends are covering the daytime. To help with that I've created an online signup page for those who are participating, at https://mlcoombs.jot.com/. Only those enrolled can access the page, so if you want to join the team please let me know at 1@sympatico.ca .

One positive consequence of the loss of muscle control is that since yesterday her face has been fully relaxed, meaning that there are no lines or wrinkles. (This is also how Botox works.) We've been telling Mary Lee that, as she'd definitely be happy to hear it.

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