Mr Trifectagirl was now stable after the insertion of the stent, and spent two weeks listed as 'critical but stable'. Now he had to battle major infection - sepsis and something called mediastinitus - an infection around the lungs/heart area in his chest cavity.
The doctors told me that since he's relatively fit and healthy he had a good chance of beating the infections. I must have looked rather surprised at the 'fit and healthy' comment since he weighed in at 116kg, and had a history of heart problems. Apparently mediastinitus is common in esophageal cancer patients, so comparatively, yes he is fit and healthy!
He was pumped full of antibiotics and an anti-fungal thrown in for good measure, and kept under sedation for close to two weeks. He was on a ventilation for breathing support. It wasn't doing all the work, just taking some of the load so he didn't get too tired.
This period was hard. Doctors couldn't tell me what would happen - they didn't know as they were flying blind on his treatment, operating on best guess on what to do. The first week the ICU consultant just crossed his figures every time he saw me - it's all they could do. The 2IC kept me updated constantly. Consulting internationally they were being told that they were doing all they could do in terms of treatment.
I figured that he wouldn't want his friends to see him, and if the worst happened remember him, looking like this, so we kept them away. He wasn't responding due to the sedation, and looked terrible with lines, the ventilator and all sorts of stuff going everywhere.
Over the course of that two weeks, he fought really hard and it appears he's beaten both infections. I figured we were moving forward when the ICU consult didn't cross his fingers every time he saw me, and the 2IC didn't make a bee-line for me the moment I arrived to update me. I asked the 2IC about it, and he responded with 'you noticed that?' - Ummm, Yep. It was a combination of both moving forward and they didn't know what else to tell me.
As we got past the one week mark, Mr Trifectagirl was getting agitated with a breathing tube in whenever they tried to lift the sedation, so I consented to have a tracheostomy done on day 10 to make him more comfortable.
After that, they were able to start pulling back on the sedation and we could start to assess the damage of the stroke.