Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Last night at about 10:45 my cell phone rang.  The caller ID was the hospital and my stomach flipped.  It was Dad's ICU doc.  He wasn't able to reach mom, so went down the list of our numbers that he had.

He was calling to let me know that Dad had been having some difficulty getting rid of the amount of carbon dioxide that he needed to.  His breathing was pretty shallow, and he wasn't taking deep enough breaths, or exhaling enough.  He had put Dad on a mask of sorts - I think someone told me that it was similar to the breathing mask that a person who suffers from sleep apnea wears (CPAP).  This was forcing the oxygen into his lungs, and in turn forcing him to exhale and get rid of that carbon dioxide.  If this non-invasive method wasn't helping enough, they would consider intubating to help him with his breathing.  I asked him how his spirits were, and if he thought I should come in.  He said the choice was mine, but he didn't think it was necessary.  I thanked him for calling and tried to reach my mom just to let her know what was going on.  She didn't answer the home phone or her cell phone.  Before I could decide what to do next, the doc called back and said that Dad was asking for family to be there, especially Mom.  I told him I'd be there right away.

I was able to reach Dan by text (thank goodness!) so he was going to go wake up mom and meet me at the hospital.

I am glad I got to spend some time with Dad alone for a little while.  As much as I didn't want to be in that room with all the beeps and tubes and unfamiliar sounds, I knew I was providing a tiny bit of relief to him by just being there to hold his hand.  He fell asleep just a few minutes later, and I wasn't sure if he had been having trouble with sleep, but I'm gonna go with the thought that I helped him with that little snooze. 

I think Mom and Dan got there about 20 minutes later.  We just sat with him for a while and various nurses and aides came in and poked and prodded and checked numbers and adjusted doses.  The doc came in a little bit later and said that he advised moving forward with the intubation.  The mask wasn't doing exactly what they had hoped, which was pretty much expected with the pneumonia thrown in there on top of everything else.  If they intubated, Dad would be sedated for a few days, allowing his body to relax and not work so hard to heal.  The antibiotics would have a better chance to work, which is what he needs.

I finally got a hold of John at this point and he and Erin were on their way now.  We moved down the hall to the waiting room while the procedure was happening, and Danielle came in to chat with us for a bit.  It is so so so awesome to have her explain stuff to us in a way we can understand. 

She said it's pretty rare to have someone admitted to ICU with low blood pressure issues who doesn't also have the breathing issues requiring intubation right from the start.  Also, this intubation wasn't a necessity for him, it was a suggestion to allow him a little ease in his healing.  So even though an intubation tube and sedation seems drastic and a huge change in status for him, it's not necessarily a step backwards.  She is 100% awesome, and knows what she's talking about.  She's not going to sugar coat anything, and will tell us if there are concerns.  Now she's off for a week (waaaah!) but she deserves her time off. 

We got to go back in and see Dad after he was intubated.  It is not easy to see your dad that way.  No matter how much you prepare yourself for it.  He did look more restful, but the extra tubes are not what you want to see.  I had to keep repeating Danielle's words in my head.  This is NOT a step backwards.

Eventually we all headed home to get some much needed sleep.

I didn't go for a visit with him today, but I did call in and talk with his nurse tonight.  She said that even though he's still pretty sedated, PT came in today to work with him a little, and keep his joints moving, and they also slid him into a chair that could sit him upright for a while.  This really surprised me.  Just not what I expected, I guess.  They did try to decrease the sedation meds and the power on the breathing tube, but he didn't really have a great response to that, so they put the levels back to what they were and will try again tomorrow.

That's really all for today.  We are in yet another holding pattern until he can show some improvements, which Miss Danielle is very optimistic will happen soon.

My nephew set up a Caring Bridge site, which you can visit HERE if you'd like to leave a comment, or get an update.  I think my blog posts will be copied over there, but he may be adding smaller updates as they are available also.

Thank you all so much for the kind words of encouragement that we have gotten from you so far.  I love hearing from you all!  Please continue to keep Dad in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.

Today is my parents' 48th wedding anniversary.  Isn't that just simply awesome?  I love you both very much!



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