Thursday, August 30, 2007

One Month

Today is one month since my dad's heart attack/surgery. He is still in the hospital. He is doing well with physical therapy, but his heart is back into the atrial fib/flutter. His heart rate is at about 113 today. From a therapy stand point he is ready to move on, but from a cardiac stand point he is not. We found out this week he has congestive heart failure. I have had experience with CHF in our family before. My grandfather (mom's dad) had it and lived with it for many years. It just does horrible things to your body & requires a major lifestyle change that I don't know my dad is ready to face.

Being in the hospital so long is getting him kind of down. His mood today is pretty good. Please pray that he keeps a good attitude toward his recovery and that the CHF is a mild and controllable.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dad's New "Address"

I know some of you are looking for updates on dad so here's a good one...

His "address" has changed! He is now at the new hospital for the inpatient rehabilitation. As he was getting settled into his new room, a nurse wrote his therapy schedule for tomorrow on the dry erase board in the room. Boy, are they going to have him busy from just after 8 AM until nearly 4 PM. He will have occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy several times a day.

He may be there about two weeks, but of course it could end up being a shorter or longer stay depending on how he does. Most likely after the inpatient PT, he will have some outpatient therapy. Then it will be on to the cardiac therapy.

I was so happy to see him in his own clothing when I got to the hospital this morning. Seeing him get into the passenger seat of his car was an even better sight. I can't wait until the day we get to take him back to his home. Today was a HUGE step in that direction!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad!

It's number 61! :) Shh...don't tell him I told!

We love you and can't wait until you are home!

Dad News

I think Dad is finally on the upswing and not taking those steps backwards. He will need to go to an inpatient physical therapy program. It is at a different hospital that is a bit of a trek from all our houses. He will be moved either tomorrow or Wednesday. The hold up is he has developed an atrial flutter. Right now we are all hoping it will go into a regular rhythm on it's own today. If not, tomorrow he will have a procedure to try to get it there.

Dad's still walking with the walker, but getting so much stronger. The feeding tube was taken out Saturday morning. He is showering and eating on his own. All big steps in the right direction!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pottery - Willow - Leather - Poppy

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction. ~ Saint Exupery

I love you, Bob!!
Happy Ninth Anniversary!

Monday, August 13, 2007

One Big Step

Dad continues to take small steps in the right direction, but on Saturday morning he took what I would call a big step. The breathing tube was removed! Thank the Lord!

He is extremely weak from being sedated and on the ventilator for 12 days. He is still fighting an infection of some sort even though all cultures continue to be negative.

It is so good to hear him joke, tell the same story for the hundredth time, and say his signature filler phrase of "ya know"!

He still has a long way to go before we can stop praying for his complete recovery, but the prayers are certainly working! I thank you all for your support, thoughts, and prayers.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Baby Steps

Things are still going REALLY slow. Dad is still sedated & on the ventilator. He developed abdominal bleeding and spiked a 103.5 temp Monday morning. All cultures have come back negative to this point. A full body CT was done, and it did show a little something in the stomach, but it was caught early and is being treated conservatively. It is possible it was caused by tube feeding. The bleeding slowed considerably by Monday evening and has now stopped. He continues to battle the fever. It goes up & down, but just won't go away.

Today the respiratory therapist did some breathing tests today to see if Dad is ready to be weaned from the ventilator. At this point he is only handling 25-30 minutes before he is taking too many breaths per minute. There is a very real possibility he will be having a tracheostomy. I know this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I would much rather have him off the ventilator.

I have been at the hospital nearly all day every day since after my dad went into surgery last Monday. Today was the first time I have left and not returned for an evening visit. While Dad is constantly on my mind, it feels good to be at home and not sitting at the hospital. I am so tired that I think I might be in bed by 8:00 tonight.

I thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers!

Friday, August 03, 2007


It has definitely been a roller coaster week!

This is going to be a long haul. My dad is (better become was) a smoker. The heart attack he had on Monday was major. The artery that was supplying blood to 80% of his heart was completely blocked. While having a cath they dissected the wall of the artery causing major bleeding. Even a slightly larger tear in the wall and he would have bled to death. There weren't any surgeons available to perform my dad's surgery until they pulled one out of a non-emergency surgery FOUR hours after he got out of the cath lab. That whole time he was still having a heart attack. As you probably know, surgery after being pumped full of blood thinners is risky, but it was necessary to repair the damage from the cath and to do a double bypass.

Tuesday brought a lot of bleeding. It was expected because of the circumstances. Before we left that night he was doing SO well that his doctors and nurses were pretty confident they would be able to take out the ventilator the next day.

About 1:00 Wednesday morning he took a turn for the worse. His blood was not oxygenating like it should, weight was up 34 lbs from pre-surgery weight and lungs were filled with fluid. He was given a paralytic, sedated even even further, and all breathing was done by the ventilator. It was thought he may have developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). (I know enough of what it is now, but haven't googled it because I don't want to read horror stories). My SIL's (a cardiac ICU nurse) reaction when she heard those words was enough for me. It is treatable, but can be fatal. It was the last thing she wanted to hear mentioned.

Yesterday was a better day. Dad was taken off the paralytic, but is still sedated and on the ventilator. He is doing a little over 50% of his breathing. His oxygenation numbers were good, but it still isn't clear if he has ARDS. One of the chest drainage tubes were removed. There were small steps in the right direction yesterday. He isn't completely out of the woods yet, but at least we're going in the right direction.

Please continue to keep our family, especially Dad, in your thoughts and prayers.