Friday, October 12, 2007
Jay And Cheryl Update
Cheryl has asked everyone for thank you prayers, and please to also pray for the other ICU patients and their families.
While I was anxiously staring at the computer, clicking refresh waiting for the update, the dogs took an aggressive stand about better use of my time and theirs. So after I got back from the evening dog patrol, the update had come through. The dogs seem smug.
He's breathing on his own. Down to oxygen through a nasal tube. The way he got off the ventilator was that he chewed through the tube and ejected it at a nurse, so it was somewhat before the pulmonary specialist's recommendation, and that doc was claiming they might have to do a tracheotomy because he was struggling to breath at first. But it's been two days with increasing ease.
He's still somewhat confused. Dialysis is continuing, but the docs tell Cheryl now that they predict complete organ recovery. Thank you so much for your prayers, and please continue. After surgery initially all seemed well, but then an astounding collapse happened. At the worst, his major organs were all failing, and once you get into that downward spiral it's a rough and uncertain road. They had to keep transfusing him, because his body wasn't producing red blood cells - and then the blood sugar, severe lung infection, kidneys, liver.... I wonder if he didn't get flu or flu-like virus which precipated the heart attack and the lung infection. Cheryl spent days talking to a body lying in a bed that showed little signs of Jay being in it. It's a terrifying thing for anyone to go through.
The docs had warned Cheryl that there was a possibility that his vocal cords might be paralyzed, but Jay is quite vocal. Yesterday he demanded a beer and a cigar. Since he does not like either, Cheryl suspects that he's deliberately putting the nurses on. Perhaps he thinks that if he keeps them off balance and busy they'll stop annoying him. He managed to remove his NG tube as well. It sounds like he is woozily indignant about the entire matter. They'd better get him off enough sedatives to produce sobriety, or the bedpans will commence flying through the air as soon as he gets a little stronger.
Thumbs up! Thank you so much, and please continue to pray for the family. Cheryl needs to catch up on her sleep and relax a bit, their daughter (who is with her grandparents now) is very anxious to be reunited with them, and Jay has a lot of healing to do and is not quite out of the woods yet. Come to think of it, better add the nurses to the prayer list. For them all, strength, patience, lightness of heart in adversity, and for the nurses, excellent duck reflexes and peripheral vision. They have very exhausting jobs.
They yanked all the Dilaudid at Cheryl's request. He is not reacting badly. Yesterday they had him up and walking a bit.
Viola, thanks again for your prayers. Yes, it looks like it will end up being about 3 weeks in the ICU, which is an awful lot for a young fit man who knew of no health problems. But life happens to all of us!
That being said, I was amazed myself at how much frustration and outright anger went into my recovery. It sounds like he's showing the signs of being even more stubborn than I was. It's a very hard thing to go from being an adult that is capable of looking out for and doing for one's self to overnight being dependent on others for everything. It'll be hard but someone needs to tell him to stop being a baby and let others help for once. He's going to have to do the hard thing and learn to wait because at this stage his body needs to crawl before he can make it run. On the bright side, you should also probably tell him this is one the few times in his life he's justified in taking it easy and no one will begrudge him for it.
This evening he was transferred to the PCU. The first step to the Great Escape. I think he will be very motivated to get out of the hospital.
No oxygen. Still waiting for final confirmation that the kidneys are doing their job, but it's been a few days since he needed dialysis. It's quite a turnaround.
Sorry about the rambling "tough love" nature of the last post, I was heavily reminiscing there, trying to share my experience as an ICU survivor and relay things that might be helpful in understanding what I thought was his mindset and causes for being difficult. In this I forgot to focus on the important part - Jay also seems to have become a survivor, even if he seems to be unhappy about the situation he is currently in. This is great news and hopefully he will be around for for his friends and family for a long time to come. I can tell you I was damn appreciative of my family coming back out of my own 2 week ICU coma. I also felt jittery and like I just had a near miss with a landmine. Surliness can help mask the fear a little and allows one to vent the frustration. Besides, as pointed out above, crankiness is a sign he's on the road to recovery. :)
I'll try to limit my future TMI.
Please send my best wishes to Jay and Cheryl. May the road ahead be much brighter.
He is a survivor, though, and that is the great thing.
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