Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I arrived safely in Florida on Sunday evening unfortunately missing my brother who left Sunday afternoon. We've been spending our days sitting in the ICU knitting, reading, emailing, talking to doctors, waiting. My dad is doing a little better each day. He was on the ventilator overnight last night on the ninth day in the ICU but had breathed on his own for the 24 hours previous. He was pretty wiped out by that point though so they decided to give him time to rest. He was also having such terrible leg cramps yesterday that he could not sleep so that probably contributed to the exhaustion. When they mentioned this morning that they'd started giving him potassium supplementation it dawned on me that they'd said earlier that they had him on a low dose of prednisone. I always get horrible leg cramps when I'm on prednisone so I can just imagine how he felt.

They had hoped he'd be off the ventilator by now but we'll hear what the doctor has to say when he comes in today. He wasn't strong enough yesterday and with having had him on the ventilator again overnight, I don't know if they'll take him off it today. They're talking about sending him to a longer term pulmonary specialty hospital once he's safe enough to leave the ICU. Having been on the respirator for so long, it will take some time to recover. We've sent the information to my brother to have him talk to the case manager. It looks like a pretty good setup and the pulmonary doctors here are in the same practice as the ones that would follow him there. They have been excellent, always taking time to explain things, listening to the nurses, and just generally being very caring and careful.

Since I've got plenty of time to sit around, I might as well fill in the back story. He'd caught a bronchial type of flu before Christmas and had started antibiotics shortly after Christmas. After a few days on that he was still not feeling better and they ended up in the emergency room on New Years Day at 2 am. They sent him home later that day but he was back again two days later, again being sent home after just a day. I don't think it is any stretch to say that that was a mistake. He was back at the ER on Saturday the 8th and he's been here ever since. They had him on a regular floor the first few days because there was no room in the ICU. The flu is epidemic here and the hospitals are full of respiratory patients.

He was not getting much help on the regular floor and went downhill over the next few days. Again, I don't think it's a stretch to say that had Kevin not arrived Monday afternoon, it is not likely that he would have made it. When Kevin arrived he pushed for more aggressive action, better care. When it was clear that the less invasive CPAP machine was making my dad anxious, Kevin pushed to have him intubated. Tuesday they started three antibiotics and took a culture to watch and see which one(s) were working. By that point he was so exhausted and had gone so long without sufficient treatment that by Wednesday they really were not sure he would make it. Kevin told me that you could toss a coin as to whether or not he would pull through. What started as the flu turned into pneumonia and then was compounded by bacterial pneumonia.

I am thankful that God knows the number of our days and was not taken by surprise by any of this. We were! He's been so healthy that this has been quite a shock. He still has a long way to go toward recovery. I'm here in Florida for another week and a half but I doubt I'll see him out of the hospital (this one and/or another) before I leave. He has a lot of catching up to do. We're just so thankful to still have him here with us.

We'd appreciate prayer for continued strengthening of his body, for health and endurance for my mom and I as we keep watch over him, and for patience for all at home trying to fill in without me. The water line in Alaska is frozen for the winter which means extra work for Rodney on top of trying to keep track of teens, one in particular who likes to take advantage of someone not watching. I did take a few pictures of a lovely Florida sunset but I forgot the cord to download to my computer. I'll have to upload those later. My computer is also having trouble again (overheating) and I've talked to Dell once, but need to call them again and confirm that it is the computer, not the battery. Thankfully it is still under warranty but it is so annoying that it needs repair AGAIN! Ah well, it is a minor issue compared to others we have been facing recently. Thanks so much for all the prayers and I'll try to update again as we go along!

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