progress report from the 5th week in icu

Tuesday, January 16, 2007 7:30 PM
So after 30 long days, the trache is finally out!  They took it out this morning, and said that he would have to wait for 24 hours before they would do the swallow test.

They moved dad out of the intermediate care this evening, and moved him to the 2nd Floor, East Tower.  It is a regular room, with 1 nurse to 8 patients, and dad is certainly keeping them busy.  He calls them every time he wants (not needs) something, and even calls them when he doesn't want anything.  He has got to be so extremely bored; he's gone from being very active - driving all over the state, painting motorcycle ranges, riding his bicycle and motorcycle, walking with the grandkids on his shoulders - to laying in a bed for almost 5 weeks now.

Unexpectedly, they will be doing surgery to repair his elbow, again.  They will try to get it back in place for good, since it doesn't seem to want to stay there.  They may have to use a pin to keep it there.  Maybe it's from all of the nurse fetching that he's been doing. 

I went back and read some of the "updates" that I had posted back in the beginning.  It makes me realize just how lucky we have been and just how far we have come.  We had high hopes in the beginning that dad would be out of this much sooner, and we're very thankful for all of the friends that have stood by and helped us get through all of this.

Monday, January 15, 2007 8:30 PM
Mom said that dad seemed much better this morning, since some of the morphine is finally working out of his system.  We'll try to find out if he wants visitors to keep him company right now.

They capped off his trache today; that will allow him to talk much better and he can start trying to eat solid food now.  He also has to remember to breathe through his mouth and nose again.  They gave him some water and some applesauce, and he had to clear his throat a little bit from the apple sauce, a sign that he is swallowing down "the wrong pipe."  They will do a swallow test x-ray tomorrow to see just how much is going the wrong way.

If dad can make it 24 hours with the cap in his trache, then they will look at removing it permanently.  They have also removed the t-bar that was connected to the trache that supplied him with oxygen.  He was doing very well with that too.  If he needs oxygen after they have removed the trache, they can always give it to him through his nose.

It looks like dad will definitely be going to a care facility in Rocky Mount, but we're not sure how soon.  They will teach him to get in and out of bed, in and out of a wheelchair, how to dress himself...things that we all take for granted when they're so easy for us to do.

Sunday, January 14, 2007 9:00 PM
As much fun as we thought it would be to have dad in intermediate care versus intensive care, it's been pretty hard on all of us.  They have got him on a morphine drip now, before he was on some other pain medicine that was not given through and IV.  He is so confused about everything and everyone right now, getting confused about which people are his doctors and his nurses and which people are his family.  They did decide to take him off the morphine and use some other pain medication, but it hasn't all worn out of his system yet.

Until we get him back to his normal self, it may be better if he doesn't have any visitors, because we don't want to confuse him any further.  We will let everyone know when this changes, because I'm sure he'll want to have people in to see him very soon.  Thanks for everyone's understanding!

Saturday, January 13, 2007 12:30 PM
DAD GOT A ROOM!  He is in 434, same tower.  They are getting him situated, we should be able to see him shortly!  I know Missy and Becky are going to be so happy that dad finally will be able to see the grandkids, even if it's from the door!  They've been so supportive of mom through all of this!

Saturday, January 13, 2007 11:30 AM
Well, dad is still in the ICU waiting on a bed to be moved.  He is on the top of the list right now, so the next bed will be his.  Hopefully we can get him in there sometime today, but if not then we'll be patient and hope for tomorrow.  Once he gets moved, the grandkids will be able to come up and see their Pap-Pap for the first time in a month!  They won't be able to go in the room at first, but they'll be able to stand outside and wave to him and see his face!

They put a smaller trache in him this morning which will allow him to pass more air across his vocal chords, instead of it escaping through his throat.  His father was leaving this morning to head back to Georgia, and we could actually hear dad say "I love you."  Of course it just sounded like air, but it's good to hear something come out of him!!

I'm trying to find out if there is any kind of stationary pedaling device that I can sneak onto the end of his bed.  If you know of something like that, then let me know!  If we can get something in there for him, watch out Seyboro Cyclists!  Dave will be back better than ever!  He doesn't have much else to do, so pedaling something for 16 hours a day is going to be brutal on all of you guys!

Thursday, January 11, 2007 9:00 PM
Mom said that today they signed dad's transfer orders to move him into another room, but as luck would have it there were no rooms available.  It is possible that they will move him tonight or sometime tomorrow, or whenever a bed becomes available in the 4th Floor stepdown unit.  There are several people ahead of him so we're not sure when he will move.  These are the best transfer orders that dad has ever gotten; all of the other ones sent him to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, North Dakota...

Mom, Missy, and Becky saw him a few times today, but he was still sleeping quite a bit.  He is still in a lot of pain, and the pain medication really knocks him out.  It's probably a good thing that he's not awake, because the more time that he has to ponder where he is and how he's going to get out, the more frustrated he will be and the more likely he is to plan his escape!