I've got a significant update. It looks like Nancy is going to have surgery tomorrow after all. 90% chance, as of right now. The operation is called a thoracic posterior laminectomy. They will be draining the big abscess in the middle of her back.
After all the careful explaining by the neurosurgeon today, about why they don't want to operate, the team changed it's mind this afternoon. The key factors seem to be:
The abscess is causing Nancy a tremendous amount of pain in her back, perhaps impacting the feeling in her legs, requiring a lot of pain meds and anesthetics
Nancy is not responding to the antibiotics yet, and the ID (infectious disease) doctors feel that the infection will not start to resolve until the major abscess in her mid-back is drained. They also do not think the abscess will resolve itself without being drained.
The risk of infection for this operation is actually pretty low, they do not have to leave any metal in her (inviting infection) or fuse anything, and she's full of antibiotics already.
So surgery will probably happen tomorrow afternoon, but the timing will depend on other surgeries in the morning. It will take about two hours in the operating room. The recovery shouldn't make her infection treatment or stay in the hospital any more difficult. The surgery shouldn't have any long-term effects on her either.
My gut sense is that they are right, that the abscess has to be drained. It's like an intrusion into her body, and those of us who know her well also know how she reacts to intrusions :-)
I plan to work tomorrow morning, then spend the afternoon and evening here during the operation and her recovery from anesthesia. I'll send more updates tomorrow. In the mean time, she is resting comfortably (as comfortable as she can be with a breathing tube, etc.) and has great vital signs. Her temp is down without any tylenol.
Pulse 73 BP 107/56 SPO2 98% temp 36.1. No cardiac alarms for hours. Time for the nursing staff change, and I can't come back until 8:30, so I'm heading home.
I love you all,