Saturday, June 6, 2009

Well this past week has been a very eventful one for my family! Max is officially finished with middle school and Cole is finished with elementary school. Yep, they graduated 8th and 5th grade with wonderful grades, I might add. I am so very proud of both of my boys. They are going to have such an exciting school year ahead of them in the fall.
To add to those fabulous events, my Daddy began his (experimental) hyperbaric treatments on Tuesday and completed a four day week. I hope and pray that these treatments will be the magic miracle that he is needing. At first Dr. Fowler said that he didn't think that Daddy would be a candidate, but after evaluations from around eight other doctors they arrived at the fact that he would be a perfect candidate. Greenville Memorial has never had an open chest wound patient go through the hyperbaric treatment, so Daddy will be their "guinea pig". He has been a bit scared over the possible negative side effects, but I have been urging him to take the plunge and go for it. Honestly, what does he have to loose? We have to do something that is going to progress his healing at lightening speed because his wound was not improving and he just couldn't live in the condition he was "treading water" in .
One of the scary parts of all of this for me is that this is my bright "googling" idea. Therefore, if it works - yeah me! If it doesn't work, or worse causes a problem - booo me in the worst way! I have accepted these possibilities, because I want my Daddy well and home. So far, he has been aggravated by the 2 hour chamber stay and can't seem to sleep while trapped. What! You can hang my Daddy on a hook and he can saw some logs! He feels really cold and can't get his feet warm after the treatments, but other than that he seems fine.
On Friday the wound nurse Mary Ann, Dr. Fowler and a few other ogling guests observed his vac changing and measured his progress and praise the LORD there was progress. His body is healing from the inside out and there is "granulation" (that's when the tissue starts rebuilding itself to fill in the gap) throughout his chest cavity. The progress seems to be advancing at an unusually rapid rate - thanks to the hyperbaric chamber I say! The 100 percent oxygen level causes the body to heal much more quickly - that's the plan. Daddy has the weekend off from the treatments and is excited about his "freedom". He will go through the next week starting on Monday and after his tenth treatment they will do an official observation and calculate his progress. Then they will decide if he should continue with treatments.
Let's just hope and pray that this is the final thing that will actually encourage his healing at an amazing rate of speed. I believe it will work with all of my heart. I keep telling Daddy to claim it! This is going to work because we have FAITH! I will be adding pics soon!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daddy hasn't had a very productive few days. He has once again spiked a fever and feels lousy! Sunday he also had a fever with no reason. They truly are clueless. The fluid coming from his chest into the wound vac turned that brown color again on Sunday and Dr. Fowler decided to remove the wound vac and go back to wet to dry packing in his chest cavity. Thankfully his recent chest x-ray looked great. Lord, I have just been so frustrated and disappointed by the lack of progress.

This morning I sat at the computer and started doing a little investigation myself on open sternal wound infection and found that there is a therapy using a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber. I thought it sounded like a real possibility and called Mother to tell her what I found. When Dr. Fowler came by to see Daddy she mentioned the treatment. He said he didn't think Daddy would be a candidate for that type of therapy (didn't really give a reason why), but would have the doctor who is over the Hyperbaric Chamber (who is also at Greenville Memorial) to come by and talk to them. So far, they haven't heard from him, but I remain hopeful. We have got to find some kind of different approach, or we are going to watch my Daddy slowly fall apart - further. I just can't stand playing this waiting game any longer. I feel so, so, so sorry for him and for my Mother too. She is at her wits end. I don't know how she has kept herself going! I know she would do anything to make all of this go away!

Yesterday Kamden and I went by to visit and take all of their clean clothes to them and they were so happy. We still couldn't get Kamden to give him a kissy on the cheek, but she did hug him. I think seeing his "big sore" on his belly a while back has just about done her in on getting too close to him. We stayed long enough for Kamden to curl up on his bed and take a long nap. They shared their supper with me, which sounds crazy, but they really had plenty thanks to the huge sandwich that Mother had saved from the Memorial Day celebration at Roger C. Peace. I sure did enjoy spending some time with them and not being rushed out the door to pick kids up from school.

We remain hopeful and Daddy is fighting hard!

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Mother and Daddy at the beach summer 2006
I am so thankful to have my Daddy and that he is willing to fight the battle of his life. Today was just not a good day at all for him, and I have to add for me either. I watched the wound nurse Mary Ann unpack his chest dressings and reattach the wound vac for the first time since he has become wide open again. I missed six entire days of seeing Daddy because Kamden had been running a fever of 103.3 and I couldn't visit until she was well and able to go back to school for her last week of K-4. It was a horrible sight to behold and I am baffled by the reasons he has had such an impossible time healing. All of the pain from having is stomach muscle transplanted to his chest opening was a waist of time! It is more than half undone and the rest seems to be on it's way to separating also. I hate to sound so negative, but Lord knows this is just the truth. Daddy looks so helpless and it has just ripped my heart out. I was in shock at the deterioration of his chest. How much more could he stand? Mary Ann was addled by the way his chest looked. I asked her if it looked like it was healing any and she said, "Not at this time." Not at all what I wanted to hear by a long shot. What do we do from here? I honestly don't know what other options there are!

Well, they moved my parents to Roger C. Peace Sub-Acute (they needed the hospital bed for "really" sick people - you know!) and this is where they will continue their 5 week stay to receive the complete round of antibiotics while hooked up to the wound vac. They have been in this room (2807) two times before this, so they are quite at home. All of the nurses and physical therapist love Daddy and feel so sorry for them both. Dr. Fowler agreed that Daddy could do some exercises to get his strength up a little. Bless his heart, he can't lie down on the bed nor get up without a lot of help. They plan to get him at least to the point of doing this. I honestly don't know how on earth he feels like doing anything, but there is one thing for certain about my Daddy HE IS A FIGHTER and he loves all of us dearly!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ever get the feeling that you are so blessed and you don't take the time to appreciate the big and the little things in life? Ever get to thinking about how every choice has a lasting effect on your world and the world of your loved ones? Ever think that you are right were you are supposed to be?

OK, I am getting into deep territory, I know, but I am feeling guilty about complaining so often. I am feeling guilty about not appreciating the water that has flowed so effortlessly under my bridge and that I never took the moment it would have taken to appreciate and drink it up.

I looked at old cell phone pictures the other day and thought to myself - "Wow this was before we had a clue what was ahead with my Daddy. We truly didn't have a care in the world - but goodness knows we thought we did!" I am so glad we don't know the future. Daddy is right where he is supposed to be because of choices made that we can't change.

He is slowly improving, but thankfully he is improving. He is going to have to go back to Roger C. Peace Sub. Acute within the next few days to continue his four to six week round of antibiotics and that is OK. It really is! It is a step in the right direction! He is a strong man with the tenacity of a stubborn mule. Yes, this is a bump in the road of our lives, but this will NOT take the blue out of the sky or the joy out of our hearts.

We are beyond blessed and I am a thankful woman all the way down to every single dirty sock!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We hope eight is enough! That's what my Daddy keeps saying about the 8th surgery that was preformed on his chest this morning. Who would have ever dreamed? The repair that was made last Tuesday just didn't quite do the trick! Last Friday Daddy started draining into his JP drain a fluid that looked a lot like coffee with cream in it. It looked just like my iced coffee from McDonald's - yuck! That is not a good, healthy color by any means. The infectious disease doctors cultured the drainage and it came back as "Gram Positive Rods". They said it was not staph, but didn't know what it was at this point. Dr. Fowler said it looked good when he went back in to put a wound vac on Daddy's chest this morning. He did a little cleanup of the damaged tissue and in no time Daddy was back in the room complete with a new wound vac. I am convinced and so is the good doctor that this is the best thing for Daddy. Heck it finally worked on his thigh, so our guess is that it will eventually work on his chest. Actually there aren't a lot of other choices left for us to choose from! I sure do wish he had put the wound vac on last week. I honestly don't think surgery would have happened today. Hind sight is always 20/20! Right?
Daddy has had a wonderful attitude about the "one more surgery" thing, especially since he also started bubbling air out of two new holes that developed on the skin graphed area on Saturday. This is not a good thing either! His nurse flipped out completely. She had never seen such a sight! That was enough to scare the life out of my parents. They have just been through so much!
When I left him this afternoon to pick up the kids, the Infectious Disease Nurse Practitioner had just walked in to announce some not so wonderful news. It seems as if they have decided that Daddy needs to continue on his entire six week round of IV antibiotics again - which also means that time must be spent in the hospital and not at home! He is only on day four now. How could such a whopping big announcement be made by the NP? Where was Dr. Shrank (the grand pooh pahh Infectious Disease Doctor)? Oh, yeah he is out for the rest of the week! ARGH!!! She asked if Daddy wanted her to have the IV team come in and put in a pic line so he wouldn't blow his veins. He said he would wait to talk to a real doctor! I bet she hates hearing that from patients, but what does she expect?
Daddy had a massive appetite when they rolled him in from surgery. The nurse asked him if he was hurting and he said that he was. When she asked him where he was hurting he replied, "In my stomach! I am starving to death and want a cheeseburger with french fries!" And that is just what he got and gobbled up every bite! He has always loved to eat and has said before this entire nightmare began, "If I am not eatin' I'm a dyin'!" Honestly this is the best I have seen him eat in a long time! I hope that is a sign of good things, strength, and healing to come! I love him so much and I want him back! Back in our world outside the walls of the hospital. Back in the sunshine of these glorious May days. Back at the dinner table saying, "I am popping fresh!" Back in the yard showing us all of his "pet" hummingbirds. He doesn't have to be superman, just Pappy.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I just came home from a most wonderful surprise birthday party planned by my amazing husband and best friend Angel. I TOTALLY had no clue and couldn't quit crying. I can't believe no one gave the surprise away - including my oldest son Max who knew all about it. I have never had a surprise party and really didn't know they existed in my little world. I was completely blindsided in a most wonderful way.
Craig had gotten a little room at the Oriental House in Greenville and had a buffet style table set up with loads of food for our family and couple of my dearest friends. Angel had done all of the decorating and helped Craig with the many details without breathing a word of the plans to me (what kind of friend would do that anyway?). I thought we were just running a little late to meet Angel and her family for dinner and a little Frankie's Fun Park, so I thought no big deal. She knows how we are! In fact, I actually had a good reason because Kamden had broken out into a horrible rash and we had been at the doctor's office and pharmacy for the afternoon. I really should have known something was up when Craig was going 90 on Highway 85, but it just didn't click. I really didn't suspect a thing - even when Cole screamed out "Is Amy going to be here (that's Craig's cousin) because I see her car!" I scoffed him off without looking up from my pocketbook with a quick, "No! Lord, someone must just have a car like theirs." I actually walked through the restaurant door thinking to myself that I hadn't thought to make or purchase a cake for my sweet son Cole (who was my 29th birthday gift from God), so you can imagine my shock when everyone screamed surprise (I think that's what they said) with candles flaming on two cakes. To be honest I think I sort of blacked out in sheer shock for a few seconds, but I do know that I was tearing up like a baby. I couldn't hold back the tears. Let me tell you, it does wonders for a girl's day old makeup job to flood your face. I am sure I looked like a blubbering idiot and the pictures Angel took will show it all. I haven't had a birthday party since I was 10 (Leigh-Leigh was at that one 30 years ago too).

I just never suspected a thing. It was perfect except for the fact that my parents weren't able to be there because Daddy is still hospitalized due to his heart developing Atrial Flutter. I guess that gave me even more reason to have my nerves torn up. I would fan my face for a little while and wipe under the last specks of lower lash mascara, and kind of get straightened out and boom someone would mention my parents or I would think of them and there the tears would go again. Don't get me wrong, I was happy and the tears were mostly tears of joy, but there were moments I felt so guilty looking around the room and not seeing my parents there amongst the aunts, uncles, in-laws, Leigh's family and Angel's. I know their hearts were breaking too. I just know it! They deserved to enjoy all the good food, see my shocked eyeballs bugging out of my head like a squished frog, enjoy the atmosphere of people who loved and cared for their little offspring, see the look on grandson Cole's face who was right there in "Clue-less-ville" with me, watch us blow out ALL of the candles . . . you know feel it, see it, taste it all. They were supposed to be there too, spit nails! Thankfully, Daddy has actually improved a lot in the last 24 hours, but he is still being monitored closely.
I still can't quite get over the fact that I was punked in the birthday fashion. They all just think they are a bunch of sneaky sneaks. Heck, I am down right convinced they could pull off just about anything after tonight. I am so thankful from the bottom of my heart for all of the hard work and planning it took to make me look like a totally natural blond bimbo! Everything was perfect, almost. I received lots of hugs, kisses, yummy food, and gifts and so did my sweet Cole! Bless his heart, he sobbed into my shoulder once everyone had left and said, "I can't believe everyone went to all of this trouble for us!" Isn't he just the sweetest thing? Yeah, I cried over that too! Tearing up now as I type this! What is wrong with me! Is this going to be the weepy decade? Better not be, because I just know there are many wonderful things ahead in my next ten years. I hope they will be some of the best years of my life!
Keep praying for my Daddy and be looking for me to add some pictures of the big event soon. Notice how I didn't use any BLACK in this post! HeeeHeee! I am not over the hill, I am just coasting on a slightly downward slope!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Daddy was home for a whopping 30 days and is disappointingly now back in the hospital. The upper part of his chest (where the last surgery was preformed) has simply not healed properly. When he went to Dr. Fowler's office last Friday the good doctor told him that he was going to have to have more work done, but would only have to stay in the hospital for one day or two. You can't imagine how saddened the news of returning to the hospital made both of my parents. They had been doing so good and the days had flown by amongst loads of doctor visits.
Yesterday my sweet Daddy had his seventh surgery on his chest and we all hope the final. He did great and was quite the brave trooper waiting to finally go into surgery. Seems if they say your surgery is at 12:00, go ahead and plan on 2:30. Daddy was starving, but had a great attitude considering all that he has gone through. He finally returned to room 3324 at 6:00 pm. Betty and Bruce came to the hospital to sit with Mother and I in the not so comfortable waiting room, so that made the time go by a little faster. Daddy came out of surgery greeting all of his nurse buddies from the third floor with a big smile on his face and said that he really wasn't in pain at all. I hope that is a good sign that everything will be coming up roses from hereon out. I know the thoughts and prayers of loads of people have made a enormous difference.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

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Long time no blog! First of all my Daddy is still home, so that makes a record for him. He is just taking one day at a time and is on the slow path to recovery from all that he has gone through. Yesterday they went to see Dr. Fowler at his office and he threatened to send Daddy back to the hospital for observation because he has been bleeding from his chest. Daddy would hear nothing of it, so they will be going back to let the nurse look at him on Thursday and then Dr. Fowler will see him again on Friday. He is still very weak and can't even sit up in bed without help. It just breaks my heart to see him so helpless still. I think we all must have thought as soon as he got home he would be instantly better, but that is not the case at all. He is taking tiny baby steps everyday to get stronger. His body was simply put through too much. I have faith that my strong Daddy will build his strength back, it is just going to take lots of time and patience!

Well Easter came and went and I didn't even post a single note or picture of my wonderful family! We all had a wonderful day full of egg hunts, food and family! The day was glorious and I don't think we have ever had a prettier Easter! My kids hated dressing up, if you could call it that, but I think they looked so sweet. Those Easter duds didn't last long as they changed quickly into their "play clothes" so they could enjoy themselves in comfort! I don't blame them a bit!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Drum roll please!!!!!!! My Daddy is finally HOME!!!!!!!

Friday, April 3 (just one day shy of making this hospital journey five months long) my parents got the discharge papers to escape Greenville Memorial Hospital! With the help of some wonderful nurses and doctors they were really and truly (and we hope for good) able to go home! It was such a sunny and beautiful day! We couldn't have asked for better spring weather. The grass was bright and green and all of the trees were blooming. It was a perfect day. The trip home was exhausting and took all the energy they had. By the time I got to their house, after stopping to get prescriptions filled and gathering some groceries, I found them pooped and in a daze.

Not long after arriving I was unpacking their van and took their dirty clothes bag to the laundry room and found a lovely surprise. The room was flooded from a leak behind the washing machine. On an average normal day this would send my poor mother into a tail spin. I hated to tell them of the mess I found. Luckily my uncle Bruce came over and made the repair and Craig brought over a floor drying machine (large fan). We had everything all dried up and I spent the night with them. Sadly the wood floor in their hall way is all buckled and bowed. Don't know what they are going to do with insurance to get it all repaired, but they will have to do something.

The main thing on the agenda is getting my Daddy well and strong. The other stuff will just have to work itself out in time. On Sunday Max and I cleaned out their flower beds and planted some flowers for them to enjoy. Daddy walked outside to watch us and direct our weed pulling and got sunburned from the short visit outdoors. The antibiotics he is taking make his skin very sensitive. Lesson learned. I think going outside spent all of his energy in a major way. Monday was spent in the bed. Mother said he didn't even have the energy to get out of bed at all.

Today I met them at Dr. Fowler's office to get a good look at his wound changings and to hear what the doctor had to say. Amazingly things are looking great and healing wonderfully! Thankfully the extra "little" surgery Daddy had on Tuesday worked and the skin has healed nicely. Lord, it really looked so much better! I was amazed!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Daddy's surgery went perfectly. He had to have another skin graft from his left leg and placed at the top of his chest where the black yucky stuff was removed. The doctor had to call from the operating room to ask permission to do this procedure since it wasn't something that Daddy signed for and agreed to prior to surgery. We had to agree with the doctor and give him the ok. What else could we do? You wouldn't have believed how good Daddy looked when he came back from surgery. Within 25 minutes of coming back to the room he was sitting up, eating a big bowl of chicken gumbo and a peanut butter sandwich. I was impressed. He was then able to stand and walk to the recliner in the room. He looked great! Last night was rough for him and the pain began to set in. He had to ask for a couple of pain pills . . . bless his heart.
We actually walked Daddy outside and sat in front of the hospital, at the flag pole and enjoyed a few minutes of sunshine today. My parents were like cats sunning themselves! I went to the McDonald's across the street and got them an ice cream sundae. It was a really nice afternoon, but Daddy was exhausted after his walk outside. We actually passed one of his nurses on our way out and she thought he was running away! I wish we could!
Doctor Fowler came in today and didn't even take the dressings off of Daddy's chest. He commented on how well Daddy looked and said that he might get to go home of Friday or Saturday. Yahoooooo! Daddy's leg wound has reduced in "tunneling" size and in lymph fluid output. That is soooooo wonderful. In fact the wound nurse, Mary Ann, said that it was looking so well that he might get to loose the wound vac on Friday when she changes the dressings. That would be fabulous and then some! It is such a big bunch of mess (and quite an expense) to get a rental wound vac and a miracle to have a proper home health care nurse who is really schooled in how to take care of such a condition. Everything is coming together and we feel so blessed and fortunate. Daddy is scared to get too excited. He thinks they will look at his chest on Friday and decide if he needs another week in the hospital for observation. That would totally stink! I am choosing to think positive and decided to pack up some of their stuff today and put it in their van. That will make going home easier on my parents who have enough to worry about. Everything is riding on Friday, so keep your fingers crossed and say a big prayer!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tomorrow is going to be a big day! My Daddy will undergo his sixth surgery on his chest at 10 am - so everyone say a prayer! GASP! I know, I can't believe it either! The muscle they transferred from his belly to his open chest wound started hemorrhaging the night he had surgery on March 16, and Doctor Fowler had to put a few stitches in some important spots near the top to stop the bleeding. It worked, but now Daddy has a blood clot formed on this upper area and looks like there could be some gangrene going on too. It really looks bad and has quickly progressed in the wrong direction since I saw it on Friday. It is simply black, much like frost bite, with a guey tar-like texture working its way about one third of the length of the muscle. I was so disappointed at how it looked and so was the nurse who hadn't seen it in a week. He had hopes of going home at the end of this week, but I don't see how that could happen now. Doctor Fowler seemed fairly nonchalant about the surgery and said he would buff off that bad looking layer and touch up a few spots on his belly (which for the record are black and horrible looking also). He said it would be a short surgery and that Daddy would come back to his room and not to CCU unless something unexpected happened.
Just keep my Daddy in your thoughts and prayers, especially while this surgery is going on. He is being very brave and facing this with the certainty and confidence of a warrior. Lord, we are so thankful for how far he has come and trust that this will be the final battle!
Happy 40 birthday (also tomorrow) to my sweet, loving husband (CRAIG) of 17 wonderful years. Aren't you lucky that I have so much going on with Daddy that I can't give you a surprise party complete with strippers! NO I WOULD NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS DO THAT - but it felt funny to type it. The next forty years will be the best years of our life. We will finish raising these crazy kids, find all kinds of fun things to get into and probably find a few grandchildren tugging at our jeans (scarey thought). Ok. . . Craig will find the crazy things to get into because that is his thing, hobby and passion . . . and I will enjoy being along for the ride! No one is allowed to have surgery on their chest . . ever! DEAL? I sure do love my birthday "boy"! Maybe at the ripe old age of 40 you can no longer be called a boy, but rather a MAN! Congratulations, you have finally obtained the appropriate age to go along with all of those distinguished gray hairs! HEE! HEEE! He will be dwelling in another decade of age for a few weeks, then I will join him.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Daddy is doing better, eating solid foods and to top all that off has a room with a window! Life is good and will even be better when he gets to go home! He is still in a lot of pain and told me today that his leg where they harvested his skin for the graft is hurting the most. I think that is an improvement since his tummy looks so bad! I asked him what he wanted for his birthday on the 26th and of course he said to go home. Since that is not in my hands, he will settle for some sunflower seeds to feed his birds and some bulb booster for his bulbs that bloomed in his yard without him getting to enjoy them this time around. Next year they will be better than ever I am sure. This time next year I hope and pray that all of this is just a bad memory and that he is a walking testimony to his strength and faith!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Daddy is in a regular room (closet) and is doing a tiny bit better. The move from CCU to the window-less, imaginary room was rough for him yesterday evening. I left around 2:00 to be with the kids, see Cole play the piano in the talent show at school, watch Cole play his very first flag football game and sleep at home in my comfy bed after a wild night in the CCU waiting room with at least 25 bikers the night before. I wish I had been there to help them out with the move. Mother said the nurses tossed him onto the bed and he writhed in pain when they first arrived. I really don't think that would have happened if I had been there! That kind of stuff burns me up! The nurses they ended their stay in the CCU were much better than the ones they started with (cell phone chick & disappearing act) and I wish he was still there. At least he had some sun light and a very comfortable room. That is so, so important to him and Dr. Fowler just doesn't understand. We had requested (quite specifically I might add) that Daddy needed a room with sun light because it cheers him up and will make the healing easier and maybe even quicker (who knows?). Dr. Fowler doesn't want to be bothered by his "needs" obviously and said, "I don't have anything to do with what room you are in." Please! Doctors do have some pull. Mother is on a war path, so we will see if something can be done. Daddy is so tired and says he just needs his rest. Mother said she feels like she is going to explode and I think she just might from sheer exhaustion. I wish I could make all of this get better! My hands are tied! I am now at home with Max who is running 102 fever and feels like crud! I think we had about four days of everyone being well! I am going to go to the hospital tonight after everyone gets settled down and take Mother some of her stuff from the car and some clean clothes. She is having to live in such limbo. I had to put all of their "unnecessary" things in the car instead of dragging them around. Now that they are in a tiny (hopefully temporary) room they don't want to crowd it and have to move more stuff when and if they move. Sounds like we care more about the room than my Daddy (NOT), but everything works together. We have got to get things more comfortable, settled down, and drama free for them to be happy and for Daddy to get well. He is as disgusted as he has ever been over his condition and the room. He is in a terrific amount of pain and is so ill that his body is not cooperating. He has told me he loves me and how sorry he is for being such trouble over and over again. Bless his sweet heart! He really wants to eat "real" food again after so much liquid. Mother said he had watered down grits and a meal replacement shake this morning and he liked it. He needs loads of protein to help heal his wounds, so hopefully tomorrow he will move up to real solids. One of the doctors in CCU prescribed that he chew gum for one hour, three times a day to help with his digestion. No one has ever heard of such, but we will try anything at this point. Daddy likes the gum, but says after an hour his jaws are tired. Gotta send a shout out to every one who has helped us out with visits and food. Thanks to Angel for the Capris dinner Wednesday night. LOVE that stuff and you too! It was wonderful actually getting to sit and talk without kids around! Thanks to Bruce for being such a wonderful friend to my Daddy and for feeding my Mother some good ol' corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's day. Thanks to Aunt Betty for trading off nights in the CCU waiting room with me. You are such a good sister & aunt! We didn't want Mother to stay there in that strange (sometimes crazy) place alone. Thanks to Mickey and Dee for always being there to support my parents. Y'all have been beyond wonderful throughout this entire, lengthy event and we love you both so much! Leigh-Leigh has been great to show up just when we need her the most. It is wonderful to have a nurse's perspective on what is going on with Daddy's situation. Her son was burned a month ago and had surgery at the Agusta Burn Center, but she has continued to check in on Daddy and Mother and been a WONDERFUL friend! Mike and Jim from our church have been great to visit my parents and have been very concerned about my Daddy. Bob from Angel's church has made fast friends with both my Daddy and Mother and makes them laugh. They are holding his umbrella for ransom so he will come visit again. I know there are people who look at this blog from all over and keep my Daddy in their prayers, and I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Super quick update: Daddy is in CCU (Critical Care Unit) and not doing so well. I stayed last night with Mother in the waiting area. At 2:30 am Daddy started bleeding from his chest (belly muscle transplant - don't really know what to call it!). Dr. Fowler had to be called in from home to patch him up. Talk about knee jerking scarey (ugly) stuff! Mother couldn't take seeing the events unfold at all! I thought she was going to faint and I thought I was going to join her! The doctor took the wound vac from his chest and stitched a couple of random spots and it appears to have slowed the bleeding. Now he is draining all over the place! Daddy has had a down right bad day. He has been sick to his stomach, sweating, really (REALLY out of his mind) uncomfortable and is having very little urine output (this freaks us out!). No one seems to really care about him here! He has been in incredible pain and the nurses in this area leave much to be desired. The night nurse can't stay off her cell phone and the day nurse is never around! These nurses are assigned only TWO patients per shift - that's an easy job - or at least how they do it! You would think they would be on top of things, but it is so not the case. This is the worse area we have been in out of the five surgeries in over four in a half months. I think we are all going to lock horns before it is all over! I came home tonight to get a few things done and sleep. I can't sleep for worrying about my sweet Daddy and sleep deprived Mother. Aunt Betty stayed with Mother tonight and I plan to go to the hospital after the kids go to school tomorrow. Lord I hope this next day is good! Daddy hasn't been able to keep anything down and all he has had is liquid! He said that this is by far his worst pain ever. Bless his poor, little, abused heart and body!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Daddy is having surgery today at 1:00 pm - big, BIG surprise for it to be so soon. I thought it would be Wednesday or at least a few days down the road so Daddy could get over this cough a bit more. An anesthesiologist strolled into 2807 and shared with them that everything was happening on Monday. After church and choir practice I rushed to the hospital to help Mother get things packed up in her car because they don't know where Daddy will be after surgery. He could be in a regular hospital room, or he could be in CVICU. It is all according to how he does.
I have to admit that I had a couple of crying/meltdown moments yesterday and I simply couldn't help myself. Mother's best friend Jane was there and witnessed me losing it. Mother told me that I couldn't do that kind of stuff around Daddy, but I truly didn't want to do it - it just happened. I tried stuffing toilet paper in my eyeballs and nose and when that didn't work, I just let the flood gates down. Daddy keeps reassuring me that everything will be just fine (he even promised me with a hand shake and a hug). He thinks if they get going with the surgery then that means that he will get to go home quicker. Well I worry more about him simply making it through surgery, but I don't want him to know that. He is over such a barrel right now. Something has to be done. Every time he coughs a sound like a squeeze toy whistles from his chest. Mother said that the chest wound had grown by an inch and a half since Wednesday and was continuing to grow with every cough. I just don't understand how cutting on him more and patching him with other body parts is going to suddenly fix everything.
There is a sweet lady across the hall that is going through a very similar thing with her chest, but her surgery is optional. Her wound is only about the size of a golf ball, and Daddy's is the size of a grapefruit. She could continue with her wet to dry dressings up to a year and not have surgery. Daddy doesn't have a choice at all.
Mother just called to confirm that Dr. Fowler called to say that all was a go. He apologized for things moving so fast, but it will be better for him to get on the right path. I hope and pray that he is right. Sometimes you just don't know what to think! Daddy appreciates all the thoughts and prayers from everyone. Keep thinking about him! This has to work!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The three new goats were born on 2-22-09 and are just precious. The two girls (Snicker Doodle & Chocolate Chip) are my babies as the mother goat just wants to feed and care for the boy (Nutter Butter). Oh what joy to bottle feed a couple of hungry, growing goats in the snow and rain, but Lord they are the cutest baby goats ever and Kamden is completely smitten! We can only imagine that Tank cleaned off the girls after they were born, while the mother goat (Cookie Dough) cleaned the boy - hence only taking to him! Tank loves the babies and keeps a close watch over them. The night they were born we could hear coyotes all around in the woods drawn by the very loud cries of the new born kids. Tank was in full defense as guardian dogs are supposed to do. They are growing and Kamden enjoys toting them around like rag dolls. It has been a joy to have new life in the barnyard!
Now to the puppy, Miss Lily! She is all Craig's doings and is a sweet, fast growing puppy. He has been worried that Tank, who will be eight in May, is getting old and slowing down. Time for a replacement, or at least a back up. Lily is a pretty girl and is quite the ball of energy. Tank is not amused by her jumping and playing and acts like an old man!

Cole's baseball team "The Southern Steal" played in their first tournament this year last weekend and did great. They were a little rusty, but still managed to get runners up and received trophies. He hurt his knee and didn't feel great on Saturday, but had a much better day on Sunday, but they lost their last game to the "Diamond Dogs". The boys were disappointed, but shouldn't have been because they did great!
So nice to have some good news for a change! This kind of stuff keeps the kids happy and life a lot more bearable! We are blessed by healthy children and a yard full of critters! What a life!
Friday, March 13, 2009
My sweet parents!

Not so great news to share about my Daddy :-( ! He has been looking forward to his "release date" from Roger C. Peace on March 18, which is only a few days away and low and behold the doctor came in yesterday afternoon while the wound nurse was changing Daddy's wound vac dressings and announced that Daddy would indeed have to have another (#5 for those of you counting) surgery on his chest early next week. What devastating news for my parents. Mother said tears just jumped out of her eyes and she silently soaked her shirt down (bless her heart). Dr. Fowler said that Daddy had ruined all of the progress and healing his open chest wound had made by coughing so much in the past two weeks. He said that Daddy's rib bones were dry, brittle and quite sharp and every time he coughed he shredded his own tissue and the foam used for the dressings. They are going to have to snip the ribs back, pull muscle from his stomach (about a 8 to 9 inch incision) and graft skin from his (good) left leg and try to repair his chest that way. Sounds so painful and breaks my heart.
Daddy called to tell me at about all of this at 2:15 pm today and totally ruined my day (couldn't get myself together!). I couldn't hold back my tears and wept to him. He told me that I had to put my chin up and be strong! My strong is about all used up, but I told him I would be strong for him. I just hurt for him. His disappointment was very obvious! We really have no other choice but to try one more thing.
The wound nurse (Mary Ann - who is wonderful) told Mother that she needed to be thankful that there is still something that could be done. She said,"The time to get upset is when they say there is nothing else they can do." Okay - I guess we will have to reassure ourselves that way, but it just doesn't feel a bit better to me. I don't understand why things keep going better, bad, and then worse - over and over again! We really need a miracle! We want so badly for this to be the perfect surgery to repair all of Daddy's chest needs. Please, Lord!
He still continues to drain loads of lymph fluid in the wound vac from his upper thigh, but Dr. Fowler said they aren't going to touch the thigh this time around. They are concentrating on the most important area first. They are going to stop all antibiotics about two days before surgery so they can properly culture Daddy's wound to make sure that all the antibiotics have wiped out the infection. If all goes as planned we are looking at two weeks post surgery to go home. If infection is still there, they will be facing another six weeks of IV antibiotics. ARGH!!!!!
Daddy still looks good, and puts on his happy face when I visit. Maybe I make him laugh because I look like pack mule when I carry all their laundry, snacks and such in one load from my car. He is getting around fairly well, considering he is rolling an IV pole around with two wound vacs attached. Everyone at the facility they are in is good to them. Mother has had a time getting the room to a comfortable temp. Before they "repaired" the unit in their room she was burning up and fanning constantly. Now that they "repaired" it she and Daddy are cold, then hot, then cold.......! No happy medium! Plus on Thursday they awoke to find the floor flooded from the cruddy unit having a leak, so all of Mother's "paper work", mail, bills, journals, etc were soaked! Yep, she had a melt down! Daddy just rolls with the flow and continues to be happy to have his partner by his side. This officially is their longest stay in the hospital at one time. They have been hospitalized from Jan. 16 until they get to go home - and who knows when that will be. It has been a four and a half month battle in total so far with only 16 days being spent at home. What a lengthy hospital journey and who would have ever dreamed? I just hope and pray that this will be their last battle and after this surgery it will be smooth sailing until they arrive at their "home destination". Keep paying for them y'all!

Friday, February 27, 2009

This update is so very overdue! My Daddy is doing better, thank the good Lord! He has now moved over to Roger C. Peace Sub-Acute again as of Feb. 20 and is very happy seeing all of his old nurse buddies and rehab friends! It has been like "Old Home Week" Mother said. He has had a few set backs since his last surgery, but is doing well. He had to have a wound vac attached to his lower leg because it just wasn't healing (Feb. 13). It has done so well since then and healed so quickly that the wound vac was removed on Feb. 25 to much joy and celebration! Anything to show progress in Daddy's book is fabulous! He went through a procedure to open his upper thigh (again) and they attached the wound vac to it also on Feb. 18. The JP drain just wasn't doing the trick and his lymph fluid was still draining at such a rate that they had to go for the vac. Now Daddy has two attachments to the wound vac machine - his chest and his thigh. He is still receiving his IV antibiotics and other meds in a happy environment where he is healing nicely! I still liked the suite they had over in the regular hospital better, but Daddy is happy and comfortable so that's what matters most. Mother is still by his side as expected! I gave Daddy a haircut yesterday and he said that it made him feel so much better! Funny how little things mean so much when you have lost so much of your day to day "freedoms" and had to adjust.
I really can't say that I have adjusted as well as they appear to have, because sometimes I just boo hoo all by myself. My heart breaks for them! They are missing out on so much of the fun they enjoyed! I am just being selfish (I know), but I miss the way things used to be! I miss my parents' adventurous side, my Daddy's barnyard, common sense, helpfulness, my Kamden's MeeMee times spent cuddling and spending the night on her blow-up bed (she cries for her MeeMee all the time), Cole's fun times catching lizards and throwing the football with his fun-loving Pappy and Max's love of playing board games with his MeeMee and Pappy (the original gamesters!). I miss them talking about the birds outside of their kitchen window, instead of wound dressings and nurses. I miss going for a visit and ending up at a state park with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I am so fortunate, blessed and happy to have them, and look FORWARD to getting back to the way things used to be before November 4, 2008 when our lives changed. I know Daddy will never be the Hercules he used to be, but I don't care, I just want him happy and healthy. Oh no, tears! Gotta get my goofy self together and stop reflecting! Focus on the positive chick!

Drum roll . . . their estimated going home (discharge) date is set for March 18. We all really want that date to come quickly and for their stay at home to be a long, healthy one filled with mountain views, sunsets and birdwatching, oh yeah . . . and filled with their "younguns" too (all five of us!).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Dear Daddy made it through his surgery without a hitch! He is recovering nicely in his super large room at Memorial Hospital. He now has a wound vac on his chest. Pretty gnarly sight, but it is doing its job. The doctor told us after surgery that Daddy's three plates that were put in his sternum on Dec. 19th were completely shifted over to one side when he opened him up. Also his sternum was no longer together and there was about a half inch gap. Fortunately there was not an abscess, or large puss pocket (YUCK - totally), but just fluid. They are culturing it and will give us the results maybe on Monday. Who knows, sometimes you never find out until you dig a little. Daddy had asked the doctor for the plates because they were his at $3,000 each and he wanted to make a wind chime out of them when this was all over. LOL!!! Dr. Fowler said that he asked for them, but had to give them to pathology to examine and destroy. I think he thought that I planned on selling them on Ebay! NOT!!

The leg that drained (his upper right thigh) was opened again and he tried to find the leak in Daddy's lymph system, but we don't think he did. Daddy has a JP drain and it keeps filling up in the same fashion and amount as before the operation, so that part doesn't seem like a success. They may have to open it again and put a wound vac on it. We just don't know yet. All I keep saying is that they shouldn't have used his right leg like we told them from the beginning and all of this would have been avoided. I believe this with all of my heart and soul!

His lower right leg (inside calf) has now been opened and all of the infection (I hope) removed. It has been left as an open wound and will have to be dressed and packed daily. Not a pretty sight. This was a spot that was looking great until his Jan 1st surgery when they put the "boot" on his leg after surgery and it started draining yucky stuff and was downhill after that! Poor Daddy has had a time with that right leg! He has been in a lot of pain, but is off of his pain meds and fighting through it all. You know the rest of your body doesn't work right with pain meds flowing through it, so I think he is trying to get back some sort of normalcy!

My Mother (A/K/A MeeMee), as expected, has been right by his side the entire time. She has been a trouper and needs an award (a really big one like a cruise). She has been his protector, provider, complete caregiver, wife, friend, and the love of his life. I heard him whisper in her ear (after this last surgery) that she was the best thing that ever happened in his life and he loved her so much. Makes me tear up now to type it. I absolutely HATE that they have to go through all of this, but at least they have each other and that's a lot!

Well, I have spent the weekend banned from visiting because I had a bit of a fever with some aches and pains (nothing major) and the kids (all three) have got some sort of funk going on. Mother is a pit bull on germ carriers and I completely understand (glad she is!). I would die before I ever gave them a bug. I am feeling better, but my girl was running 100 degree fever earlier (after her Daddy/Daughter date to the circus). I will have to blog about that happier stuff later this week. Even Max and Cole have some sort of crud, cough, sore throat and what not!

I feel frustrated with so much, but in the same token blessed by so much and so many special people. How can I complain? Really! Mickey and Dee have been wonderful this entire time! He should have been my Daddy's brother! They claim it that way anyway! They have been there through it all and are such a comfort to have around. Bruce has been a best bud to my Daddy and he and Betty have brought food to the hospital to my Mother several times. Their visits always cheer them up. Random visits from my preacher and deacons have been a blessing. I have such a sweet church family. They probably think I have abandoned them, but I will be back! Other churches that are praying for Daddy have sent various visitors who have all prayed with my parents. Leigh has been a lifesaver - literally! She always perks my parents up with her humor and her love of good food - like French toast, "pooter" sandwiches and sweet tea! It thrills my Daddy to death to have his little sister Margret (Til) and her husband Jerry to visit. They have been good to bring snacks and such to the hospital when they can. Loads of people have been praying for Daddy and lots we don't even know. I even have a friend, thanks to my blog, that is all the way in Brazil and her family prays for Pappy Joe! Loads of my "old" friends who are on FaceBook are also asking about and praying for my Daddy. It is amazing how everyone comes together - all the way down to my parent's neighbors old and new. Even though Angel hasn't wanted to share her family's germs, so she hasn't been able to visit (thanks for keeping all them germs to yo-self!) has been a great support. Heck, she is the only willing soul (brave woman) who will keep all three of my Rug-Rats (at the same time too). She really loves my parents - along with the rest of the family! I just had to take a moment to say thank you to so many for so much. I love y'all!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Today is the day that all wrongs will be made right - we hope and pray. Daddy is having surgery today from 1:00 until 5:00. This will be the fourth time! Dr. Fowler is going to open his chest and remove the three plates and all of the infection surrounding them. It seems that all of the antibiotics in the hospital can't heal him and they are going to have to break over and operate. He will be left with a hole in his chest and another wound vac. There may be other surgeries in the future to correct the damage and fill in the cavern in his chest. His sternum will not be held together by anything and therefore will not ever be stable again. He will always have movement in his chest now that the plates are being removed. The muscle flaps that support his chest are going to be undone to get to the plates, and they will hopefully be able to reattach them. I know Daddy's going to be in a lot of pain and I am so worried for him.
They are also going to open his thigh again and try to figure out where the leak in his lymph system is coming from. Hopefully that will be simple and they will be able to put another JP drain on it and all will be well. The lower calf has an infection called Pseudomonas (sp?) and they are going to remove all of the dead tissue. He is on loads of high powered antibiotics and will be for some time to come.
He told me how scared he was last night. I reminded him that he is loved and needed more than he will ever know and we will be here to help him heal. This is going to be like starting over again and it makes my heart ache for my Daddy and my Mother. We all can't believe that it has come down to doing this again. At least the doctor tried to be conservative and watch instead of cutting him open right from the get go. I am glad for that. We can't look back and say, "I wonder if they had tried the antibiotics one more week if he would have responded?" Now we know that this is unavoidable and quite necessary.
Please continue praying for my Daddy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Yep. . . my Daddy is still being held captive in Greenville Memorial Hospital! He hasn't had surgery, but the doctor is going to make a final decision today or tomorrow. His upper thigh is still first on the list, his lower leg has suddenly become infected and will need to be whittled on a bit and finally his chest is a maybe. Dr. Fowler took his stitches out of his chest on Saturday (after being in for a month) and said that he still wasn't pleased with the redness. He wants it not to just be faded, but not red at all. It just doesn't seem like he is going to be able to heal fast enough. I looked at his chest last night and couldn't hide my disappointment. It kills me because he is acting like he feels so good, he is eating well, and walking the halls to get some exercise - how could he be in need of such drastic surgery. We just have to believe that there is still time - and there really is!
Mother had a really nice "Tech" that told her that she could simply request a large "deluxe" suite on the same hall. It's on a first ask, first given basis! No one has ever told us that those special rooms were just there for the asking. I guess we all thought you had to be one of the hospital's board of directors to get the "holy cow" suite. Anyway, my parents are "moving on up" as soon as the guy that is in there now goes home. Mother was packed and ready to evacuate at a moments notice yesterday, but the other patient decided to stay one more day - heck, it must be really nice! Hopefully he will hit the road today! One thing is for sure; my parents are ready for a change. The view of anything besides the side of the opposite hospital wing would be enough to get excited about! Bless their hearts - come Wednesday they will have been in the hospital for three months with only 16 short days at home (spread out of course). You know in the back of my mind I am playing a game with myself - thinking that if they get this great room then he will miraculously heal and be sent home ASAP! That's how things work for us usually! Well at least before this lengthy hospital nightmare began!
I had a wonderful visit with my parents last night. We went walking after the Super Bowl was over and visited a few of the halls Daddy has been on. There are some really, really great nurses out there (and believe me a few rotten ones) and we wanted to just see if some of the ones that were so nice to Daddy and Mother were there. We walked until after 12:00 am, but found a few sweet ones that couldn't believe that Daddy was still there in his bathrobe. We even showed him the terrible, ugly, very bad waiting room Mother had to set up residence in twice while he was in CVICU! We told him all about how we declared the tiny, private cubby with squatter's rights and there was never a moment that we didn't have one of us guarding our area. I know we sound crazy! But we were not playing around, by George, that was our spot!
I hope to post soon about the doctor's big decision with regards to Daddy's chest. I believe He can pull out a miracle! I am considering putting some makeup on Daddy's chest to cover all of the redness! We love and care for him so much and hate, HATE, HATE! the thought of Daddy having to go through a fourth chest opening! The big kicker is that they will leave him open to heal from the inside out! UGGH! I am thankful for the progress Daddy's body has made and pray for what is best for him. Keep praying y'all!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nothing went as planned today and that's a good thing . . . I hope! Daddy's doctor (plastic surgeon Dr. Fowler) decided to hold off on everything. Big, BIG shocker for us all! He said he felt he was in "purgatory" with the decision, but felt we needed to wait until tomorrow morning to make a decision. Obviously, Daddy's chest looked a tad bit better (maybe our miracle!). He will not be able to eat or drink after midnight again tonight in case they decide to go ahead with one or both surgeries tomorrow morning. One more day to give him a chance to heal and fight!
Last night as I left them at the hospital, Daddy and Mother both had resigned to the fact that his chest was going to be opened again this morning and they had actually accepted it. I had NOT! Daddy's regular (general) doctor had scared him to death with the thought that this infection he has going on in his chest could move to his titanium knee replacements (from 2005 & 2006 I think) and destroy them. What?? No one has mentioned a possibility like that before! He told them that infection attacked anything artificial in the body and could move to his knees! That is the two new parts on Daddy's body that he has been the most proud of. He would walk everyday and go to physical therapy to show off during his recovery period (which was short!) and everyone was so very proud of his progress! He used to always be in so much pain and kind of hobbled when he walked before the surgeries, so the new knees were his prize possessions! To even give a second thought to something happening to those knees terrified both of them. What on earth would he do without use of his legs and his chest? We can't even go there!
So, everyone, please continue to pray for my Daddy. Looks like it is working. He has quite the battle ahead of him! I have been taking pictures everyday so we can track the progress, which appears to be slight. I will sit down and post a few tomorrow.
Lord, please help my sweet, strong Daddy! He keeps telling us all how much he loves us! Bless his heart!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Once again . . . my sweet Daddy is back in the hospital. We are baffled by the constant trouble he has had from the "simple . . . I can fix you" (quote from Doctor Barry Davis) open heart surgery that occurred on November 12th. He had just stayed home for the longest time since this all began - a whopping 10 days (from Jan. 6th to Jan. 16). He woke up last Friday morning feeling different and told my mother “There’s a problem, Houston". All around the lower half of his 33 chest sutures was swollen and red. Mother calls it "angry looking". I call it down right ridiculous.
Poor Daddy went back to the plastic surgeon's office on Friday and they took one look at him and agreed that he needed to be back in the hospital for IV antibiotics (vancomycin?). His leg is healing together, but will not quit building up lymph fluid. Daddy has to literally help the nurses (when he can find one who is willing to help!) drain his leg from a small opening and it looks just like urine pouring out in a straight stream into a collection container. Last night he got out over 700 cc's. His leg is definitely going to have to be operated on tomorrow morning and opened back up so it can heal properly.
Then on top of all of that, his chest is infected. Doctor Fowler said that it looked a little bit better today, (praise the Lord) but he would give it until tomorrow morning to do some more healing if it is going to. He is scared Daddy could become septic and that is where the infection gets into your blood stream (not a good thing at all). We just hope and pray (know) he is healing and WILL NOT have to have his chest opened for a fourth time. If the decision is made to proceed because he is not responding to the antibiotics as needed, they will remove the three titanium plates that are screwed into his sternum, remove all of the infection they can, and leave him open to heal from the inside out. UNREAL and YUCK! This will require the wet to dry dressings and eventually another wound vac.
I don't know how living that way is possible, but I keep telling Daddy, that if that is what it comes to then he just has to face it head on just like he has done in the past and have faith that this is necessary. We so want this all to be avoided! All we can do now is pray. He needs a miracle! He needs to be healed! Please pray for my Daddy!

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Daddy has been back in the hospital since 10:40 pm on December 31. He had to be taken by ambulance from his home, which was like being on a roller coaster (according to Daddy). He really gave us quite a scare and I thought, for the first time since all of this began, that I could truly lose him. I talked to him at 7:00 pm just before my family and I went to David's annual New Year's party, and he was doing wonderfully. He still had a lot of pain in his chest, but said he had his best day since the second surgery. I felt wonderful talking to him and hearing the positive tone in his voice. Who would ever dream that just two hours later I would get a call from my Mother saying, "Don't get upset, but Daddy's going to have to go back to the hospital. His chest is swelling badly and we don't know what is wrong, but the doctor said to hurry back to the hospital." I could hear my Daddy wailing in the background for her to hurry and there was a definite panic sound in his voice.
I couldn't believe my ears and told Craig and the kids who were in disbelief right with me. My Daddy had already gone through so, so much, how could something else go wrong. Well, Craig left the boys and gathered up Kamden and we rushed to the hospital. I called my one of my dearest old best buddies, Leigh-Leigh, who was working in the ER that night and told her to expect him. Actually we texted for a while and then we spoke. She made sure that Daddy had a suitable room (#7) in the Critical Cardiac unit and that everyone was aware of his situation and would be ready to work on him when he got there. I think our entire outcome could have been different if she hadn't been filling in for another nurse. Thanks Leigh-Leigh from the bottom of my heart for taking such wonderful care of my Daddy through all of this, but especially on New Year's Eve. Craig dropped me off just as the ambulance had delivered Daddy, so Leigh had seen him. She wouldn't look me in the face, but instead walked ahead and casually said, "Prepare yourself . . . he looks pretty bad!"
When I walked into the room I felt numb. My sweet Daddy was in horrific pain and his chest had swollen to about 5 times the original size and his staples (that were still there from the plastic surgeon removing half on Monday) were pulling and leaking blood all down his chest. The holes where he had previously had chest tubes (the doctor had also removed these on Monday - mistake I think) were draining profusely. He looked like a pigeon or like Mighty Mouse because his chest was so swollen and engorged. He grabbed my hand and said, "If I die, I love you and your children more than anything on this earth! I know my body can't take much more. I am going to bust wide open! I wish God would just take me and not make me suffer!"
I was there for that moment with no one else in this room except us and time seemed to stand still as tears poured from my eyes. I felt that I was in a nightmare! I had not imagined that he would be in such bad shape. I raised my voice and got down to his face, looked him squarely in the eyes and said, "I need you and I love you so much! You can't give up like this! You have to fight with every ounce of strength you have! God doesn't want you right now!" What else could I do? He grimaced in pain like he was having a heart attack and kept yelling for help. Somewhere in all of that he told me he loved me again and he wanted to know where Craig was and to tell him that he loved him too.
Finally a cardiac doctor and Dr. Fowler (a plastic surgeon he had seen at Roger C. Peace) walked in and got the wheels in motion to get Daddy prepared for a third chest opening after chest x-rays and a CAT Scan. Dr. Folwer declared it an emergency (dahhh) at about 11:45 pm. He didn't sugar coat anything and "matter of factly" explained how Daddy was going back to square one. His chest would be completely opened once again. Daddy said, "NO!" and looked at me so helplessly. Mother was literally crumbling and crying. Daddy was given plasma so his blood would clot properly as the New Year rang in throughout the hospital workers. It was all so surreal and in slow, slow motion. They took him back around 1:00 am and the last thing he said was for me to call my preacher and have him pray for him.
Mother, Margaret (Daddy's sister), Jerry (brother in-law), Craig, and I sat up in the CVICU until finally Dr. Fowler emerged from opening my Daddy's chest and draining all of the blood (600 cc's to be exact) that had formed a large hematoma. We finally got to see him at 5:15 am and he said he felt so much better getting all of that pressure off of his chest. He was back in CVICU so he could be well monitored.
It has been four days post-surgery and he is now in a regular hospital room. Dr. Fowler first had his chest bound with something like a girdle, but then changed to ace bandages wrapped tightly. Daddy has now had six blood transfusions because his hemoglobin has been so low (6.7) and they want it to be 12 or so. He is once again in healing mode with two chest tubes. It is very painful to do just about anything but lay around in the hospital bed. He did actually take a short walk in the hallway yesterday because he felt like he had a bubble of air in his abdomen and it was causing extra pain so walking a bit may have helped to work it out. He could have to have more surgery on his leg wound because it continues to fill the "JP" drain and they expected it to stop by now. He just has so much healing to do.
To those of you who read my blog and made it through this long post, please continue to keep my daddy in your prayers. We hope that this is the final "leg" of the journey and that the "third time is the charm". Thanks for your support and prayers. We love him so much!