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!