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!