Friday, March 13, 2009

Notes From Rounds:

More Progress!

  • Dad is still off the pressors. He maintained his blood pressure even during surgery.
  • They will try to take him off dialysis today so he can start hemodialysis tomorrow.
  • He was put back on the full ventilator for surgery yesterday, but they will try to move him back to C-PAP today.
  • White Blood Cell Count is even lower today and in THE NORMAL RANGE!

That's all I have to report - It's another "Better Day"!

With the maggots away, the thieves will play

Surgery went well. Dr. Duke opted to give the microsurgeons a couple days off and put in a wound vac instead, and Saturday dad might get a new set of micro docs. All things considered, it sounds like he’s doing pretty well.

Things seem to have been falling in place for all of us. Dad continues to make small progress, mom has adjusted to her home in the waiting room, Suzanne is doing well in school despite everything else on her mind, Bonnie and I are okay too. We’ve all adjusted to our routines.

Yesterday someone decided to liven things up a bit and steal mom’s purse out of the ICU waiting room. This is definitely not what she needed, but she handled it well. We all prayed to St. Anthony in hopes that the purse would show up. I do believe that God does not give you more than you can handle, because that same person who stole the purse, apparently couldn’t find the bulk of the money she had inside. He/she took a little bit of cash and ditched it a few miles away in a restaurant bathroom. The purse was recovered with her phone, wallet, and other important items still inside! Please continue to pray for dad (and mom too). Thank God for the “better days” dad is having and for allowing mom to get her purse back.


Out of surgery

I noticed the blog hadn't been updated and I didn't want you to think he'd been in surgery all night! He was out of surgery by 8:00 or so last night. I believe all went well, as we get more info I will update you.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Surgery 29

In surgery now...please continue your prayers.

Volunteer Donor

Today Louie is getting a bit more blood. His hemoglobin is a little low and with surgery on the agenda they want him to be prepared.When I look at that blood bag and zero in on the words VOLUNTEER DONOR, I see each of your faces. All of you who gave blood
or attempted to do so-----you are my heroes. Perhaps you waited in line for some time or excused yourself from your busy schedule. It may not have been convenient, but you did it. I have heard stories of people donating who have never given blood before or were afraid.
What a giving spirit!

When Louie's first surgery was complete after the accident, he had already received 52 units of blood. That is like replacing all the blood in your body 5 times. He has received numerous units since that time. The opportunity to get credit for these lifesaving units helps us so much.
Whether your blood goes to Louis or some other patient is a non-issue. Someone else's wife, husband, parent, child etc. is looking up at the blood on an IV pole and experiencing the same overwhelming feeling of gratefulness that I am. Thank you for this MOST WONDERFUL GIFT!

Love to all, Ruthie

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Steps In the Right Direction

Notes from this morning's rounds:

  • He is back off of the pressors.
  • He's off of the ventilator and on C-PAP. Like the pressors, this could quickly change. He's been on C-PAP before, but then had to be moved back to the vent. We're just happy the Dr.'s feel he's doing well enough to try it C-PAP again.
  • His white blood cell count is down (I believe the lowest it's been yet). This is great, because high white blood cell counts signify infection.
  • Consensus of Dr. Ware and his team this morning - "He's doing much better!"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Married to the Right People

Surgery went well. Maggots are in. Bowel looks good.No heart incidents. Since I was speaking to Dr. Duke alone (and he was in a very chatty mood),I thought this would be a good time to ask some questions. If I said something stupid I would be the only one who would know,(therefore it would have never happened.) I have had some thoughts on whether we would ever go home since he speaks of people who are upstairs and were admitted last year. Maybe they are just back for a tuneup --I don't know. The Conversation went something like this:

Me:(hesitantly): Do you think we will ever go home- I don't mean like soon... ..but eventually???..........

Dr. Duke: Well THAT"S what we're working toward--what do you think I 'm working my tail off for.??? ??? I'm not trying to break up any families--I don't want to MARRY him (Louis)-he's too ugly. If I was going to marry somebody I 'd marry you , but that's not where we're going here.

Me:You don't have TIME to marry anybody and I already have a husband.

Dr. Duke: I 'm married to Mother Hermann

To make a long story short (because we did discuss his former wife children etc.) I think we are both married to the right people but I would tease Louie that he actually gets the best of this deal because he has both mine and Dr. Duke's complete and undying attention.


Surgery 28

Dad is going to surgery now, and should get new maggots today. Unfortunately he wasn't able to keep his blood pressure up, and he did have to be put back on the pressors. Because of this, they will not try to change him to hemodialysis yet. Pray for surgery to go well, and that he can continue to take steps forward with very few steps back.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Thankful for even the smallest progress

Mom was there for rounds this morning, and it made for a good start to the day.
  • Dad is still off of the pressors (and he has been for a few days now), meaning he's maintaining his own blood pressure. His blood pressure is still is somewhat borderline at times, but thus far when it drops a bit it recovers quickly enough. They've tried to take him off of the pressors before, but it has never lasted very long. We know that tomorrow he could quite possibly have to go back on them, but for now this is progress.
  • Next on the list - Hemodialysis! Another step in the right direction! Today they are going to try to change his dialysis to from continuous to intermittent. (every four hours)
  • Chest X-ray looked good today!
  • Cellulitus looks much better. They've tried so many antibiotics, and they actually told mom that they were running out of options. It appears that they've finally found the right one and it's working!
  • At Rounds this morning they actually said he was doing BETTER!

We know these are very, very small steps. So many times we get a little bit of good news, but it quickly gets over-shadowed by a high white blood cell count or a slow (or stopped) heart. To have four positive things mentioned during rounds is completely new to us. We know he has a very long road ahead, but of course what's most important is that he's still on the road.

We would love for him to really be able to communicate with us, but know that this will take time. I find much peace in the fact that we had a chance to talk to him in day following the accident when he was still a little more conscious. He was able to spell some words, and let us know that his mind is still sharp. I don't know if he'll remember any of this, but I do know that at that moment he knew we were all there with them and hopefully he found comfort in that. At times now, it seems that he might be trying to mouth something to us, or occasionally we get a nod, but it's almost like a dream for him. He does this while drifting in and out of consciousness. We like to think that he hears what we're saying (and we've actually started talking a little louder - since we know that his hearing isn't so great). Hopefully he does hear us, but if he doesn't I think it's therapeutic for us to tell him what we want him to know anyway.

Now I feel like this has rambled on and on, so I better stop. Everyone please keep praying that he can continue to have "BETTER" days. -- Tracy

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Does this man ever sleep?

Surgery 27

Dad sleeps almost continuously, probably more than 99 percent of the day. Dr. Duke? This man must NEVER sleep. Sometimes he does surgery during the day, sometimes during the evening, sometimes during the night. You never really know, and this 80 year old man is said to have a hand as steady as a 20 year old and his stamina is amazing. If you ever have lots of free time, google him, his resume is phenomenal! Not to completely insult his accomplishments, but he's a real-life Forrest Gump of Medicine. Name a major medical event, and you'll see Dr. Duke there. He brought the Level 1 Trauma Unit and Life Flight to Houston, when President Kennedy was assassinated Dr. Duke attended to the wounds of Governor John Connolly, he was an Aggie Yell Leader and the first to deliver the poem "The Last Corp Trip" publicly, he's an Eagle Scout, and he graduated from the Baptist Seminary... just to name a few.

Yesterday when Chris and I were telling dad bye, we got the chance to talk to Dr. Duke. It was good timing, because he's a hard man to catch. He said:

"That exit that's been givin' us all the trouble there, is oozing. You know he's had 2 more units of blood, but his hemoglobin is still low. I wasn't gonna take him today, I have to emcee this little thing tonight around dinner time, but after that I'll come get him and take him back."

Some where in there he also reminded us that he's "deaf as a rock" and referred to all of the surrounding staff as "all of the monkeys I have to deal with around there". About that time his work there was done and he left. He probably had to get a quick surgery in before he "emceed that little thing".

Dr. Duke kept his word and dad went back to surgery around 1:30 a.m. By this time the bleeding had pretty much stopped on its own, but Dr. Duke was able to remove a little more tissue, clean everything up, and retire this group of microsurgeons. Around 4:30 a.m. (I guess really 5:30 new time) dad was out of surgery and Dr. Duke said it went well.