Sunday, November 30, 2008

Please Pray for Dad

Dad has been transferred from the Rehabilitation Unit to the Neurotrauma Unit today. I have updated the address on the right side to reflect his new room number.

He had blood cultures done yesterday and it is showing that he has a yeast infection in his bloodstream. This is not good especially due to the fact that the yeast could go to his artificial heart valves and cause problems. He has been started on an anti fungal antibiotic.

He had another echo cardiogram done today, but I haven't heard the results yet. I imagine we will know quite a bit tomorrow being that it will be Monday.

Thank you all for praying. We serve a great God!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Day!

On Thanksgiving Day we traveled to my sister Holly's house for Thanksgiving Dinner. We had a really enjoyable time with her and her family. It was nice to let someone else do the cooking, but I did bake two pumpkin pies. I also made a cheese ball. Our five kids enjoyed playing with their five kids. They roamed the woods, fed rabbits, gathered chicken eggs, walked the dog, etc. Below are a few pictures that I took as we were driving down the road not too far from their house.

Just a barn in a picturesque setting!

We have arrived! My sister's log cabin in the woods. It was over the river and through the woods to my sister's house for Thanksgiving!

Our hostess for Thanksgiving this year.

The girls ready to eat before the boys.

We are about ready to eat!

The beautiful fall arrangement made by Heidi (my sister) and sent to me for my birthday!

We are all about ready. If only pictures weren't being taken we could eat!

Three of the boys must be hungry!

The boys getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner.

The delicious rolls that Holly made.

Mashed Potatoes

The broccoli/cauliflower salad that Holly made.

One of the pumpkin pies I made.

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Saturday's Update

Dad is getting settled in at St. Mary's Hospital. He is somewhat dehydrated so he has been put back on saline. The dietician was in and is changing his 12 hour night feed to a 10 hour night feed. He will still be getting the same amount of food, but will be off of the feed earlier in the morning in hopes of getting him to eat more breakfast. He is needing to get 25% of his calories by mouth throughout the day. His oral intake will be monitored closely and if he is not eating enough, he will be given a bolus feed once during the day. He is really needing calories in order to gain weight. He weighs around 36 pounds less than he did before the accident. And if you know my Dad, you will know that he didn't really have any weight to lose.

The physical therapist was in for one-half hour this morning and then she will be back in the afternoon for another half hour. She had Dad walk with the walker today. He wasn't able to walk very far because he is still exhausted from the trip over from Denver to Grand Junction.

The occupational therapist was in for one-half hour this morning and then will also be back in the afternoon for another half hour. Dad is having a lot of difficulty with his vision. Lyndi and Mom are going to see if there is any way to gets his eyes examined and get glasses for him. We feel it would help him immensely.

The speech therapist came in and was to be there for one hour, but only worked with Dad for a half hour as he was totally worn out by then. She will also come back in the afternoon. Dad is still having difficulty coming up with a lot of nouns.

Dad will have this amount of therapy six days a week. He is given a day of rest on Sunday.

For those of you that would like to send Dad a card, I have put the new mailing address on the right side of my blog.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday's Update

Dad is running a fever today. But the doctors at Swedish Hospital discharged him anyway and sent him over to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Co to inpatient rehabilitation. Lyndi drove Dad and Mom over to Grand Junction, Co from Denver. We are thankful that they made it safely there.

From what little Mom and Lyndi learned today, it sounds like Dad could be in rehab for several months. I imagine as time goes by we will know something a little more definite.

Until tomorrow,

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We will be having thanksgiving dinner with my sister Holly and her family. I have made pumpkin pies, pumpkin cheeseball, and pumpkin cranberry bread. Can you tell I like pumpkin? I will try and post pictures of our time together sometime in the next few days.
Unless a setback would occur with Dad, I will not post an update until Friday.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday's Update

Today the speech therapist was in to do another swallow evaluation and she told Dad he could have whatever he wanted to eat or drink. So he had one-half of a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup for lunch. And he is now able to drink water without it being thickened with nectar. He was really wanting 'real water' this morning.

Dad's physical therapist was in again today. She had him walk without his walker today. She had his elbow on one side and Mom held his hand on the other. He did well. His steps are short, but he is getting there. He was tired out when he was done.

As far as everything else, I believe it all remains about the same at this time. They do plan to send him to Grand Junction, CO on Friday for in-house rehabilitation unless a setback would occur tomorrow.

I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday's Update

Dad had a fairly good day today. He was able to eat quite a bit of breakfast and a little lunch. I don't know about supper. I haven't talked to anyone since that time.

Dad's really good therapist was in today and had him walk down to the waiting area. Then on the way back she had him stop and find his name and room number on the board and tell her which way he needed to turn to get back to his room. He was able to do this. The therapist said that Dad is stronger every time she sees him.

The GI doctor was in and everything is checking out okay as far as they can tell without doing anything invasive.

The neurologist was in and is pleased with his progress. She said that there are still groups of words that are eluding him, but she feels that over time it will come back to him.

The infectious disease doctor was in and said that everything is checking out okay. He just has to finish out the two antibiotics that he is on.

The dietitian is to come in tomorrow to decide what needs to be done in order to put Dad on nocturnal feeds through the feeding tube. This is where he will be fed through the feeding tube for 12 hours overnight. Hopefully, this will help in getting him to eat more food during the day. And it will also help him to be able to do more therapy/rehab unhindered by a pole, etc.

The internal medicine doctor was in and he is pulling Dad off the heparin. He will start the lovenox and coumadin this evening.

As long as there are no setbacks over the next two days, they plan to transfer him back to Grand Junction, CO on Friday for in-house rehabilitation. Lyndi and Mom will be driving him there. It is a 4 or 5 hour drive. Please pray for all of them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday's Update

For every two steps forward, it seems we go one step backward. Today Dad passed a lot of blood throughout the day. But his hematocrit levels actually went up today, so they believe that the bleeding probably occurred yesterday and was just passed today. It is believed that the bleeding was due to the ischemic colitis. He was pulled off heparin (the blood thinner) for most of the day. After coming to their conclusions, it was decided to go ahead and put him back on the heparin tonight. If all goes well through the night and tomorrow, they will take him off of it. And then he will go to the daily lovenox shots.

The reason for using the heparin before going to the lovenox shots is for exactly this reason. If bleeding occurs, he can be taken off the heparin and the effects leave the body rather quickly. Whereas once the shot is given, I don't know for sure what would or could be done if bleeding occurs.

All in all, it was a rather stressful day, but we are thankful that things were not as bad as they seemed at some points today.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Note of Praise

Dad has been up to sit in a chair three times today. They have also had him walking today. This evening he was able to walk with his walker without a support person. My sister said he was doing really well walking.

After walking he sat in a chair to eat his first real meal by mouth in six weeks. He was able to eat half of his pureed turkey, one-third of his mashed potatoes and gravy, a bite of applesauce and a half a cup of apple juice. He had to rest between bites, but it is so wonderful to hear this news.

Tonight as I stood in church singing "How Great Thou Art", I thought about how great God truly is. There have been many times over the past weeks where Dad has been unable to come up with proper names including his own, but he has been able to call out to God through it all.

Sunday's Update

Dad is less confused today. He still doesn't know the name of my sister that is there with him. Lyndi said that proper nouns are still eluding him.

He has been trying to piece things together today as to what has happened to him with help from my sister. But he can't remember everything long enough to put it all together.

The speech therapist was in this morning to do another swallow evaluation on Dad. She said that it is okay for him to have ice chips, thickened liquids, and pureed food. But we are now waiting on an okay from the GI doctor since Dad has ischemic colitis.

There is nothing growing as of yet from the cultures taken from the duodenum. The one doctor believes that he probably had a yeast infection in his intestines and that the white plaque that was found is what is left from it. So he is still currently on an antibiotic just as a precautionary measure.

The internal medicine doctor is pulling Dad off the medication (Provigil) he was being given to keep him alert during the day. The doctor feels this may be why Dad wasn't able to sleep yesterday and why he was so fidgety and agitated. The doctor feels that he is more alert today than he has seen him. He is happy with the progress that Dad is making.

Providing everything remains stable throughout today and tonight in regards to the heparin, they will pull Dad off of it tomorrow and go to the once a day lovenox shots.

Saturday's Update

Today Dad has been a lot more confused. He didn't know his own name or my sister's name. He also didn't know my mom's name. They actually took him for a CT Scan late today just to make sure there were not any changes in the brain. Everything checked out okay.

He didn't sleep at all today either. In my opinion, I think he was having trouble trying to go to sleep due to the fact that no one got him up today to sit in a chair or to walk. Things are mighty slow around that hospital Friday through Sunday in regards to care.

Dad was started on the low dose of heparin on Friday evening and is still continuing on it. So far so good.

There is a possibility that Dad may get transferred back to the hopsital in Grand Junction, CO this coming week. I will let you know if that happens.

Thank you all for your kind comments and your many prayers.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday's Update

Dad got himself up into a sitting position on the side of his bed. Then with the help of his walker and the therapist he got to the chair. The speech therapist was in again today to put the electrodes on his neck to stimulate the muscles in his throat. She also gave him applesauce to eat. He is more coherent today, but is still having difficulty with his attention span and memory.

According to this morning's CT Scan the blood from the brain bleed has reabsorbed. The swelling and hydrocephalus has not changed much. The neurologist (a new one today to Dad's case) feels that with time and exercise of the brain things will return to normal. We hope and pray that is so.

The plan is to start Dad on a low dose of Heparin today with a gradual increase towards the therapeutic level. If he can reach that level by Monday with no ill effects, he will be taken off of the heparin. He will then be given a higher dose of lovenox in the form of a daily shot until he can resume taking coumadin. Please pray that another brain bleed doesn't occur with the restart of Heparin.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday's Update

Today Dad had an Upper GI endoscopy. They found a white plaque on the wall of the duodenum. A sample of this was taken and sent for biopsy.

A colonoscopy was done and the source of the bleeding was not found. So he had a CT Scan of the abdomen where they discovered areas of the colon not receiving enough blood flow. This is called Ischemic Colitis and basically has to be given time to heal.

Tomorrow morning Dad will have a CT scan of the brain to see if there is any change from Monday's scan. The doctors will meet after that to discuss what to do for sure in regards to keeping clots from forming because coumadin cannot be used. As of today, the plan is to put Dad on a low dose heparin drip to prevent blood clots. But this may not be the decision after tomorrow's scan and their meeting.

He remains somewhat incoherent today.

Prayer Request

Dad is going in for a colonoscopy at 10:00 a.m. Colorado time, 11:00 a.m. central time, and Noon eastern time. He will be sedated for this procedure. He has also been more agitated and confused this morning.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday's Update

Dad did not aspirate at all during the Barium Swallow test. He has been put on a pureed diet. He is having some trouble with food sticking in his throat. So he had electrodes placed on his neck to stimulate the muscles in his throat. This morning he was given cream of wheat and thickened apple juice. He is still being fed through the feeding tube as he is not up to eating all that would be needed. He is also back on fluids through IV as it seemed like he was a little dehydrated.

He was up walking again today with his walker and therapist. He was able to walk further today before sitting down. The therapist said that if he was to be sent to a place for rehabilitation he would be be ready for subacute rehab. But he is definitely not being released from the hospital yet. We are hoping that by the time he is able to be released, he will be ready for acute rehab. Acute rehab is the step above subacute. It requires three hours of therapy per day.

He was taken off his blood thinner again yesterday due to fresh blood being in his stool. The GI doctor was in today to see him. The plan is to do a colonoscopy tomorrow to see if the cause can be found.

We still have not heard the results of his echo cardiogram. Will update when I do.

Lyndi said that Dad was a little incoherent tonight. We are hoping that it is just due to the long day that he had. We should know more tomorrow in this regard.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday's Update

Dad has been more alert and coherent late yesterday afternoon and into the evening. He has been awake and talking some this morning also. The neurologist said that at this point they can't tell if it is because of the fluid that was withdrawn during the spinal tap or if things are beginning to get better on their own. They will have a better idea after another CT Scan is done. There is one scheduled for Friday.

So far so good in regards to the cultures of the CSF. But Dad now has a UTI which is being treated with antibiotics.

Dad was up in a chair today and Mom trimmed his hair. Then later on in the day the Physical Therapist came in and had Dad walking with the walker and her on one side. They walked to the nurses' station and then he sat down to rest before walking down to a small waiting area near the elevators. He rested there for awhile and then walked back to the nurses' station. Then the PT put him in a wheelchair and took him back to his room. The PT said that when she gets Dad up she is doing 1/4 of the work and Dad is doing the other 3/4's. She also noted that he is not shuffling near as much when walking.

He had a barium swallow test today and he also had an echo cardiogram. We don't have results yet, but I will let you know when we do.

We are thankful for the improvements we are seeing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday's Update

Dad is still sleepy but seems to be a little more coherent today. His blood thinners have been restarted today. Yeah. The neurologist was still in the hospital last evening so decided to go ahead and do the spinal tap before he headed home for the night. While doing the spinal tap, the doctor checked the pressure (I believe that would be Intracranial pressure) and it is within normal range. Everything went well with the spinal tap.

Fluid samples were taken to test the protein level and to be cultured. His protein level in the CSF is 95 which is elevated. The neurosurgeon said this morning that if it was absolutely necessary a shunt could be placed as long as his protein level is below 100, but he prefers to have the level below 50.

The neurosurgeon also said that in the CT Scan this morning he could see a slight improvement in the hydrocephalus. So he is wanting to give Dad more time to recover on his own. The fluid is sticky due to an elevated protein level so it doesn't move as rapidly. He isn't wanting to put in a shunt unless it is absolutely necessary. I am thankful for a surgeon who isn't rushing to do a procedure unless it is absolutely necessary. At this point, the plan is to do another CT Scan on Friday to see how things are proceeding in regards to the hydrocephalus and swelling in the brain.

We have not heard anything definite on the cultures of the CSF yet. I will let you know when I do.

OT (Occupational Therapy) was in today and she had Dad brush his teeth and shave himself. He wasn't able to finish shaving because it tired him out, but it is a start in the right direction.

Speech Therapy was in and said that his swallowing ability is definitely improving. She left instructions that he is to have bites of food throughout the day as he is awake. She said that he is still not alert enough to be able to focus enough to eat an entire meal at a time, but he could definitely start having some food. That is wonderful!

Lyndi said today that she got the impression from things Dad said that he is feeling rather discouraged. Please continue to pray for him not only physically but emotionally as well. It has been 6 1/2 weeks since the accident.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday's Update

Dad remains very sleepy and incoherent today. His blood thinners are going to be withheld again. Of course, that is of great concern due to the risks involved in doing so. But the Neurologists and Neurosurgeon are wanting another CT Scan done tomorrow along with a spinal tap. They are wanting to check Dad's protein levels in his CSF (Cerebrospinal Fluid). They are also wanting to see what kind of effect it has on him by withdrawing some of that fluid. The Neuro doctors are thinking at this point that Dad may need to have a shunt put in to drain off excess fluid. We won't know for sure until after these tests are done tomorrow.

The Neurosurgeon did say this morning that Dad's last scan showed that a large amount of the blood has been reabsorbed. But the swelling still remains in the left ventricle along with excess fluid. These things are the cause of Dad's sleepiness and incoherency.

The Infectious Disease Doctor has taken Dad off his antibiotics, but will continue to watch him for any more signs of infection. She isn't wanting to put Dad on another antibiotic unless it is really necessary.

Until tomorrow,

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday's Update

Dad's speech has been much clearer the last several days in the way of enunciation, but he is less coherent in what he says.

His CT Scan remains stable. The EKG showed some irregularities so he is on betablocker to help keep his heartrate and rhythm normal. As far as we know, they have not figured out what has caused this problem with his heart.

He was up and walking with support yesterday and has been up several times today.

Lyndi arrived safely and is there with Mom and Dad.

If my update is a little sparse, it is because over the weekend unless something major happens you don't hear much from the doctors.

Friday, November 14, 2008

For Those of You That Like Pictures

Here are a few pictures that I took while I was with Mom and Dad in Colorado.

A wall near the emergency entrance to the hospital.

The Emergency entrance to the hospital with the helicopter on top. This is the way Dad was brought from the airport to the hospital.

A full view of the Emergency entrance.

More of the hospital.

Another part of the hospital. There were many more buildings that I didn't take pictures of. The main entrance is under construction and is off of another street. I didn't have my camera the day we were near that entrance.

This is looking away from the hospital towards the mountains. It is down in this area where we would go and get lunch and sometimes supper.

Our place of abode.

The airport out the airplane window.

Another view out the airplane window.

A Quick Update This Morning

I talked with Mom this morning and she told me that during the night Dad's heart rate went up to 170 and was irregular. He ended up having to have a second IV put in so he could be given medication to bring this down. If this medication doesn't keep his heart rate down, he will have to be put on a continuous drip medication for it. His heart rate is currently being monitored. As long as things don't get worse he can remain on the neurology floor. But Mom was told that during the night he came close to having to go back to the Critical Care Unit.

He is also going to be taken in today for another CT Scan after this episode in the night. He didn't rest well through the night so is rather sleepy today. I will post more later today as I know more.

An Update on Dad

My updates on Dad will be back to secondhand. So if the updates don't seem as thorough that is why. I made it home safely yesterday, but ended the day on the couch with a terrible headache.

I talked with Mom yesterday on my way home and she said that Dad's speech was much clearer yesterday. He is still having difficulty holding his train of thought long enough to complete his sentences so you still don't always understand what he is trying to say.

The therapist was in again yesterday to get Dad up. She had him walk (with her help and the help of a walker) out of his room and down the hall a little ways. She then had him sit in a chair for a little while and he was then able to get back up and walk back to his room with all the help mentioned above. We are very thankful for this progress.

The speech therapist was in again yesterday and she had Dad swallowing some thickened juice and then Mom gave him teaspoons of water throughout the Dad. There hope is that today he can have the swallow test done and pass it. I really hope so because Dad is so wanting to eat food and has been really discouraged about his progress.

The neurosurgeon was in yesterday and he is pleased with Dad's progress. He feels that we are finally at the place where he is pressing forward 2 steps and back 1 step rather than 2 steps back and 1 forward. He was also pleased with the way Dad was able to enunciate the words he did get out yesterday. So unless he regresses, they do not plan to do another CT Scan.

His blood levels are still being watched in regards to a possible bleed in the GI tract. So far everything continues to remain stable. As long as things continue to remain stable, he will be restarted on his coumadin again tonight.

The internal medicine doctor said that we are not totally out of the woods yet, but there is progress being made.

We are thankful for the progress we are seeing. Please continue to pray for them. Pray for Lyndi as well as she will be flying out today to be with Mom and Dad for awhile.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday's Update

Dad was up in a chair for a little while today. The therapists also had him walk from his bed over to near the door. They were on either side of him supporting him as he walked. He had to stop and rest every little bit, but it is definite progress. It is definitely going to take time to build muscle again after having been down for almost six weeks.

The ENT doctor was in today to clean out and irrigate Dad's nose. He will be back in next week to double check and make sure everything continues to go well. The speech therapist came in today and was able to clean out all the dried blood, etc. off the roof of his mouth. We are hoping that with all this stuff being cleared out and as he begins to be more alert that he will be able to pass the swallow evaluation and begin eating on his own again.

The GI doctor was in today. There is some blood showing up in the stool. At this point, his blood levels are going to be watched. The doctors are thinking that maybe it is just leftover blood that was swallowed during all the bleeding from the nose. So as long as his blood levels don't drop drastically, he will just continue to be watched. The doctor is going to stop his blood thinner for at least today and possibly tomorrow just to be on the safe side.

There is still some concern about the hydrocephalus on the brain. He will have another CT Scan on Monday to assess this again. The doctor is hoping that it will just quietly go away, otherwise, there is a possibility that we could be looking at another procedure to drain off some of that fluid.

The culture of the tip of his central line was positive so blood cultures are being run today to check for infection in the blood. Hopefully whatever was growing on the tip was only on that and not in the blood. We will not know for several days.

Please continue to pray for Dad and Mom. Please pray for me as I will be flying home in the morning. Then on Friday, Lyndi will be flying out again to be with Mom and Dad.

It may be Friday before I will be able to update again depending on how busy things are tomorrow once I am home. So if you don't hear from me tomorrow, you will hopefully hear something on Friday.