Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dad Update 6/27

Today was my dad's first full day post-surgery. I had a largely sleepless night--sleeping about 4 hours--and called over to the ICU twice to get status reports from VERY patient nurses. He was stable throughout the evening and they had started weaning him from the various machines that were keeping him alive. They expected by mid-morning to make even more changes.

I arrived at the hospital around 12:30, and they wouldn't let me in right away as they were removing some of the gear. Most notably, the balloon pump that they'd installed to beat his heart for him was removed this morning. As you can imagine, this is an excellent sign. I finally got in just after 1:00. I was lucky there were some lovely women in the waiting room with me who agreed to watch Leah while I went in to see Daddy. He was very anxious about me coming in, he was afraid that I would be scared to see him that way. When I came around the corner, I saw his feet moving, and I about lost it. I have never been happier in my life than to see him moving his feet today. There have been 3 days in my life I considered my best days ever, and one of them was today. I got all misty eyed.

The nurse welcomed me in and I went over to him and noticed that his eyes were open. I said, "Hi Daddy" and he tried to smile around the breathing tube. I sat down and held his hand and talked to him a little bit, but mostly we just sat there quietly, our hands tightly holding onto each other.

After a while, he started printing on my palm. I explained that Judy had gone out to Star Lake with Beth to do some things at the house and get his car, and she'd be over as soon as she could. He asked about my brother, who was running a bit late, so after about an hour, I went out to find him. My uncle and cousin Hailey had just arrived, and I brought them back to the visiting room and took them in to see him. The first thing he said to his brother was, "Joe, I thought I had bought the farm. I didn't think i was going to make it." Since there is a 2 person visitor limit, I left and went back to Leah who had, of course, charmed the socks off everyone sitting around waiting for their loved ones.

Hailey came back a while later and said the nurse would let me come in too and so we were all there for a good while, but around 3:30, Daddy started getting REALLY agitated about his breathing tube. The nurse suggested we leave for a while and they gave him an extra dose of something to sleep and some pain medication. My uncle took care of Leah while I went and got my first real meal of the day in the cafeteria.

I got back and we were going to go in, but they decided to pull the ventilator tube out of Daddy's throat. Once that was done, they called us back in and he was able to speak to us and started drinking water and eating ice chips, which he declared was the best thing he'd ever tasted and that he could actually feel the cool water pulsing through his veins.

We chatted a bit, and finally my sister and Beth arrived and my uncle and cousin left. I gave Judy and Beth time with Daddy since I'd had the whole day, but it was such a sweet, sweet moment to be able to speak with him, for him to squeeze my hand back. I took Leah in with me at the end of the day and he got to see her for the first time since she was 6 days old. I held her over him and he said, "What a beautiful baby!" and grinned. So I put her on the bed next to his hand and he stroked her hair and said, "Is that my baby?" and I said, "yes, Daddy, that's her" and of course started bawling all over again.

On the medical side, his cardiac output is really excellent. His blood pressure seems a little bit low, but they are not worried about it, he's doing very well. He's able to breathe on his own, and his heart looks good and that's the main thing.

He's in a lot of pain, but is off the dopamine drip and just getting shots of pain medication in his IV as he requests it. He's being very stoic, but I've told him not to suffer unnecessarily because it's going to get worse before it get's better. Beth says that tomorrow is going to be a real challenging day for him--they will be working with him to start coughing and getting his lungs really going so that he doesn't develop pneumonia, and possibly to have him sit up some. They are hoping to transfer him out of ICU tomorrow--this hinges more on if they have a free bed than if he does well, they expect he will be well enough to go but might not have a room for him. As you know, if all goes well at the end of tomorrow, the 48 hours that was most crucial will have passed.

I will be coming to Star Lake early this week--Monday or Tuesday possibly to check in on the house and see what all I might need to pick up for him. Would love to see anyone who is around. I can't say when I'll be there, but feel free to call the house and check up to see if I'm there. We've also had his mail forwarded, so if you want to send him a card, it will reach him here at Beth's once he comes back to recover.

That's all from here for now. I'll be back tomorrow with another update. Thanks all for the prayers, and please keep them coming--he's going to start the real work now and will need them!

1 pearl(s) of wisdom:

nettiemac said...

Susan, I am so glad to hear that things are going well. Y'all are still in my thoughts and prayers. Love you muchly!