progress report from the 7th 2nd week in icu the hospital Life Care

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 9:30PM
We were finally able to reach Dr. Hasty, the orthopedic surgeon that operated on dad's pelvis and leg.  He said that he would bring dad back to Pitt Memorial Hospital next week to x-ray his pelvis, and possibly his other ex-fixes.  At that point they will see how he has started to heal and will decide whether or not these can be removed.  Once the pelvis fixater is out, dad will finally be able to sit straight up.  Right now he can only tilt his bed to about 70o before it starts to cause him pain where the fixaters jab into his stomach.  It will make it much easier on him to eat, type on the computer, and to do taxes.  He has started doing some already, so I guess we need to get everything together so that we can get ours done!

The Seyboro Cyclists are planning the Rocky Mount Rehab Ride this weekend, a 100 mile ride starting in Goldsboro, taking a pit stop in Rocky Mount at Life Care Hospital, and then returning to Goldsboro after a short visit and a hot lunch.  Dad is very excited about seeing everyone, and they are even going to try to wheel him downstairs in his bed to see everyone and to wave to them.  I guess that's the hospitals way of saying that they'd rather not have a bunch of hot, sweaty, spandex clad, legs-shaved cyclists walking in and out of the hospital all afternoon!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 5:00PM

I know it’s been a few days since we have put out an update, but please don’t let that allow you to forget to pray for dad.  With his current emotional state and his rehabilitation just beginning, he needs prayer more than ever.  He remains very concerned over the use of his left hand.  Any muscle that he had in his forearm is completely gone, and it looks like skin over bone now.  He still has very limited use of this hand and very little movement in those fingers.  We don’t know the prognosis right now, but he understands that God has a plan for him and he’s praying for help to understand that plan.

We have been trying to contact the orthopedic surgeons at Pitt to find out when his pelvic fixaters will be removed.  They had originally told us 2-3 weeks, but other doctors said that these usually stay in for 8-10 weeks.  They do not realize that dad has internal plates and screws in addition to the external fixaters, and therefore should have these removed sooner than normal.  Hopefully we’ll have a better idea this afternoon of what is supposed to happen and when.

Speaking of time frames, we still have no idea how much longer this is going to go on.  Some doctors are very pessimistic and think that dad will be there or at another facility for several months, some are more positive and say a few weeks.  It all depends on when these “ex-fixes” are removed and how mobile dad can become in the ensuing weeks. 

Dad has already beaten many odds; they said he may not live, and now he’s on his way to a full recovery.  They said he would need speech therapy after the trache was removed, but he almost immediately had full use of his voice.  They said he would only be able to have thick, viscous fluids after he passed the swallow test, and he was immediately allowed to have Pepsi, Gator-Ade, cookies, candy, etc. after he passed the test.  Now he’s got to get it into his head, with our help, that he will have full use of that arm and leg, and that he will be pedaling a bicycle in circles around everyone soon.  Speaking of that, he’s been talking smack about kicking everyone’s butt when he gets out, and how he could FLY! up Grandfather Mountain right now as lean as he is.  He feels that if he could get out and onto a bicycle today, then he would certainly be able to pedal around for a little while.

Sunday, January 28, 2007 9:00PM
Dad's white blood cell count is up to 33.  I think this is the highest it has been since he has been in the hospital (it was up to 29 on December 26).  He has a urinary tract infection and they are doing blood cultures to see if there is any other type of infection because the count is so high.  They've started him on 2 different antibiotics.

Dad seemed a little more like himself today.  He has been very lethargic and tired since about Wednesday of this week.  The infections could be making him feel sick, and the infections can cause very high spikes in his temperature. 

He's very concerned about everything; worried about making a full recovery, worried about the small bumps in the road, worried about his friends and family, worried about work, worried about finances.  We keep telling him that we've got everything covered right now, but something always comes to mind while he's laying there, planning his escape.  We all know he's going to pull through this, but we just have to make sure that he realizes it and doesn't get too depressed.  He remembers actually hitting the car head on, and it scares him every time he thinks about it.  It also makes him realize just how lucky he has been to make it this far, and just how good God has been to him already.  God obviously has big plans for dad, and we just have to keep telling ourselves that, regardless of the complete outcome.

Sunday, January 28, 2007 2:45PM
For all of those that are concerned and interested, dad has said that he will be doing taxes this year, and may be able to start doing them pretty soon.  A few days after the accident people began saying that they were going to be in trouble when it came tax time, because dad had been doing their taxes for years.  He's ready to do just about anything that will keep him from thinking about being in that bed, and he now has internet access at the hospital.  Pretty soon he'll be sending emails himself too.

Well, dad definitely still has his sense of humor.  He fell asleep yesterday while he had some people in visiting him and took a fairly long nap.  When he woke up, he looked really confused.  I asked "what's wrong?", and he said, "where am I?"  I was kind of shocked, and could only think oh boy, he forgets everything that we've told him over the last week, we're going to have to start all over.  I finally asked if he was serious and he gave me that Galloway Grin and said "No."  He's so much like his son.  Plus every time we leave him, he says "I'll be here."  Like he'd be able to go anywhere.

Apparently his chest pain was from the broken ribs that he had suffered in the accident.  We had forgotten all about them because all of his other injuries overshadowed that.  Mom said that he had broken 6 of his ribs, and with him starting the rehab and being a little more mobile, he had just irritated them a little bit.

Saturday, January 27, 2007 2:30PM
The hospital has asked that we limit the number of visitors in his room to only 3 people at a time, for no more than 15 to 20 minutes (this does not include family, but all of us are trying to be thoughtful of those of dad's friends that weren't able to see him the first 4 weeks).  I know this is tough since it’s at least an hour drive for most of his friends, but this is what is going to be best for dad.  Most of you know that dad would never ask anyone to leave, and if he’s up for it he may ask a visitor to stay longer.  He may also need to doze off while a visitor is in the room (we'll try not to let that count against the 15 minutes), so please don't think this is rude.

Dad has been extremely exhausted the last 3 or 4 days.  He is on so much medication for all different reasons (sleep aids, normal pain medication, nerve pain medication, antibiotics…).  His white blood cell count was up to 30 today, so they did some blood cultures to see what they can find.

They consider dad to be a “diabetic” patient right now because his blood sugar is slightly higher than it should be (I kept telling him he couldn’t drink that Pepsi!) and they are giving him insulin to help control that.  He is still very malnourished and doesn’t have much of an appetite, and it’s not entirely because of the terrible hospital food.  They have started him on an appetite stimulant to help with that.

Saturday, January 27, 2007 8:30AM
Just a word for dad: I know that we haven't been putting as many updates on here as we normally were, but that certainly is NOT a bad thing.  As you begin to get better and better, we're just going to have less to write about and be concerned about, and more to celebrate.

Dad is still in a pretty considerable amount of pain.  He was very lethargic yesterday and slept quite a bit.  He has had a full week of rehab in one form or another, bending his broken arm way over his head, doing exercises to get his muscles moving again.  Even the smallest things tire him out right now - just flexing those powerful calves 10x takes the breath out of him.

Apparently the chest pain was nothing other than muscle spasms.  They think maybe he slept funny and strained some of his chest muscles.  The EKG and all other cardiac tests did not show anything strange.  YEAH!

Friday, January 26, 2007 10:30AM
Dad was complaining of chest pains this morning.  I don’t have any details at this point, but they have done an EKG on him.  I will update again as soon as I find out what is going on.  Hopefully this is just stress causing this, but we should know soon enough.

It's kind of scary whenever the smaller things pop up (not that chest pain is a "small thing" by any token) - it really makes you realize that we have no control and that we must leave everything in God's hands.  But God has obviously been on our side over the past 6+ weeks; we would not have made it this far without Him.

Thursday, January 25, 2007 2:30PM
Dad told us today that they have put a notice outside of his room that asks people to be mindful of the number of visitors and the length of their stay. Although the visitors are great help for dad's progress, I feel that we should ask everyone to be respectful of the hospitals wishes so that he is not limited to immediate family only.  This way he can continue to get better through the strength and encouragement of all of his friends, and it is certainly not meant to discourage visitors.