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!