Friday, August 14, 2009

Time to Hit the Gym

He's not ready for 24 Hour Fitness yet, but surprisingly Dr. Duke ordered for Dad to start Physical Therapy again starting yesterday. This therapy is different than where he left off a while back, but we know he'll get there again. He has lost much of his strength, so yesterday they practiced sitting up again. They are looking to possibly lengthen his drain tubing, in effort to give him a few more therapy options. The current drains limit on how far he can't move from the bed... and the range is pretty short. If they can figure a way to make the drains longer, then maybe he can work his way back up to walking to the window.

With the skin graft healing nicely, Dad is on a surgery hiatus! Visitors are welcome again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Commit For Life

Friends, family, and even those whom we have never met, your astounding contributions have been recognized by Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.

We thank you again for all that you've given to our family. Because of people like you there were 52 units available for him to use on the night of Wednesday, January 28th. Because of people like you mom still has her husband of almost 32 years, my kids still have their Pawpaw, and Bonnie, Suzanne and I still have our dad. We love you all!

GOOD Things Come to Those Who Wait

Yesterday dad's hemoglobin was 5.4 (normal for an adult male is 14-18), but today it has doubled (just over 10). He got three units of blood yesterday instead of four, and his color is returning, his voice is a little better, and he's getting stronger. Dr. Duke referred to it as "being out of gas, and then being revved up with supreme".

Dr. Duke checked the skin graft (as well as the fistulas). He is really pleased with how the skin is looking (he might have even used the word "GOOD"). The fistulas continue to drain, and that is a problem he will have to address later.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Down to the Last Drop

Exaggeration, because we know what "down to the last drop" really is and he's already been there. Today dad is getting 4 units of blood (the human body holds 10-12 units).

Lately dad has been really mellow. He's been sleeping a lot, he's more soft spoken, and just seemed to have lost some of his spark. Might he be depressed? Might something else be wrong? Mom's been offering every encouraging word she can come up with -- You've come so far, you can do it, you're getting better, I'm so proud of you, we'll play with the grand kids again, you'll take Tate for that tractor ride, you and Cayla will eat popsicles together...

Today there is an answer - it's blood (or lack there of). He's down 4 units. Back when he was in room 653 he wasn't feeling right and he was down 2 units - no wonder he doesn't have the energy to even change the channel on the TV.

Days like to today we cannot express enough thanks to everyone who has donated blood in dad's name (and all of you who organized those blood drives). Not long ago Suzanne gave a speech about blood donation to her summer school class. Preparation of this speech sparked an interest in exactly how much blood dad had used. We knew of the 52 units in the first night, and after that we knew he had more but we had no idea how much - 4 units here, 7 units there, and so on. When the number came back our jaws dropped. Anyone care to guess?
I think my guess was something around 105.

The number of units used since arrival at Hermann - 268 (as of a few weeks ago). Even a blood novice like me can easily recognize that that is a lot of blood.

When dad learned he'd be needing more blood his immediate reaction was "what happened to it?" Next was a sigh of relief. He remembers how much better he felt after receiving just two units, and he knows he'll feel better soon.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Dad went to and from surgery this morning. Dr. Duke kept his word and built his “ledge” out of something resembling silly putty. Thankfully the grafts have not disintegrated. He didn’t say they looked “great”, but he said they are still on there. Now Dr. Duke has his ledge, graft, and the fistulas exposed and lights shining on his legs while he tries to heal. This is the first time since January that dad has not had ANY wound vacs. There are drains for the fistulas with suction to the wall canisters. Dr. Duke told mom ahead of time that she might find his contraption to be crazy, but we don’t care what it looks like (especially if it leads to successful grafts).

Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers – he still needs them. We pray that this might be the last grafting, and until further notice he will be unable to have visitors.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


There's no disputing that dad has had some great visitors, unfortunately a couple of his favorite people haven't gotten to see him nearly enough. This weekend Pawpaw was visited by Cayla and Tate. It seemed to make dad's day for Tate to greet him with an energetic "HI PAWPAW!"

All seems to be going okay. Tomorrow he'll head back to surgery and we'll learn how the grafts are doing.