Friday, July 17, 2015

More Good Progress

Don sat up on his own yesterday, with a little help getting there by the PT and OT people – twice! Winking smile  Each time he felt great and was amazed at his own ability. These two sessions proved he’s getting stronger and will respond well to rehab.

A stroke was confirmed by one of the docs, and I think we can believe it this time. His right hand is the most affected part of his body, and possibly his speech and cognition. Don’s struggling with using a mouse with his left hand, using his computer for email, etc. and playing Solitaire. The condition is recoverable, and rehab will greatly help him.

He has another dialysis session this morning, as he’s been on a M-W-F schedule. We’ve been hoping the decision to move him to the Rehab unit would be made soon. But one doc said they want to make sure he’s stable enough before doing that, so we don’t risk a relapse. 

Another good indicator that he’s getting more stable is that he requires a lower level of oxygen now. While I was there yesterday a tech took his vitals that showed 95% SpO2, then she noticed the cannula wasn’t in his nose but had moved over to his cheek!

However, a bad indicator is that his blood platelets count is low – he was given two units of blood later.

The reconditioned Galaxy S5 smartphone I ordered for him arrived on Wednesday in time for me to pick it up before going to the hospital. After I helped Don with his lunch I went to a Verizon store to get the phone activated. I might have been able to do it myself, but when I started reading the instructions I quickly realized I was in over my pay grade. We spent a lot of time on using the phone during the last 2 days, and Don’s now happy to be able to make phone calls with voice commands beginning with “Ok Google.”

Don said he’s finally ready to welcome visitors. It’s best if you check with me first so I can tell you a good time to come since I don’t know when he will have dialysis in rehab, but probably on Tues-Thurs-Sat. The hospital doesn’t allow visitors during dialysis.

Finally, after experiencing early deaths of my Dad, my sister and several friends, as well as this tremendous hit Don has suffered, I have to issue a smokers alert. The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more likely you’ll end up having heart and/or cancer problems. I know how hard it is to quit – I had to try 3 times before succeeding when I was in my late twenties, after smoking for about 10 years – but it’s worth the trouble to preserve health and prolong life. Don quit smoking when we got together, as I told him it was a deal breaker for our relationship. That was just 8 years ago, so he had a lot of years of exposure, and I know his problems are at least partly caused by that. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Movin’ On Up

Don graduated from ICU this morning to the Telemetry Unit on the 3rd floor. (Look up the word “telemetry” on the Internet if you don’t know what it means – that’s what I had to do.)

When he was previously (on 2 occasions) located on the 3rd floor, he was in the Progressive Care Unit. So now he’s well enough that he doesn’t need as much care. That’s the good news.

The semi-bad news is that he was hoping for a view out a window since it’s been so long since he saw anything but the inside walls and curtains in the hospital, with the brief exception of his stay in the Sierra Vista nursing home. He was wheeled into a semi-private room where the roommate had the bed next to the window. More walls and curtains just made Don a little depressed. Also, the only air conditioning for the room is on the wall under the window, so it was a little too warm on his side of the curtain.

However, we quickly learned that the roommate was being discharged by the end of the day. Great! Now I don’t have to look away every time he walks past us to the bathroom with his gown gaping on the back side!

I helped Don with his lunch and we were able to get approval for him to start eating solid foods again. You can’t get much nutrition with a liquid diet. I had pushed to get him some protein shakes because he wasn’t getting enough protein from broth, pudding and jello.

Don asked if I would go home, have my own lunch and come back to help him with dinner. Of course! The dinner was rubber chicken, white (haole) rice and carrots (he says Yuck!), but there was a protein shake and a slice of apple pie with a dollop of whipped cream on top! Guess what he ate every bit of! Open-mouthed smile

And the good news is that the roommate is gone and Don has a view of a mountain across the hospital’s ICU roof, and the air conditioning makes the room more comfortable.

The rehab people visited while I was gone in the afternoon, and Don said they’re still saying he’s going to get into the hospital’s rehab unit, but we don’t know when. So, that’s today’s news.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Another Milestone

Don got to sit in a rolling chair today! The ICU nurse Bonnie, with help from 2 others, slid him from his bed to this special chair that flattens out like a gurney. Then it converts to a sitting-up position. With a bottle of oxygen, a portable monitor for his heart (etc.) and another rolling rack for his IVs (pushed by me), Bonnie rolled him down the hall of ICU, out into the hospital’s open hallways with several glass walls giving views of cactus gardens in interior courtyards. We saw Father Joe on his way out, but when he saw Don he took the time to come over to shake his hand and give us both a blessing.

I took a picture of Don sitting up, but Bonnie said the hospital doesn’t allow photography of patients. It’s an issue of privacy, so I won’t post it here.

Don was in the chair for about an hour, and he got tired but was thrilled to have a chance to see some different scenery. I was glad he didn’t get dizzy like he did the first time he was stood up by the PT and OT people.

Bonnie thinks Don will be in ICU for another day or two before transferring to the rehab unit. But she said he’s getting well enough not to be in ICU. So we’ll have to be patient to see what happens during the next few days, but I feel sure he will make more strides toward health.

Open-mouthed smile Open-mouthed smile Open-mouthed smile