Dad Update

I had told you in a post on March 9th, titled Please Stop the Ride, I’d Like to Get Off! that my Dad was in the hospital with pneumonia.  It’s been 10 days now and he still hasn’t been released to go home.  The timeline I made on the earlier post really helped me see a clear picture.  So for my benefit and the benefit of my siblings, I’m going to continue with that format.

  • Monday, March 9th – At 7:00 pm my oldest brother spoke to my Dad’s nurse again in the ICU.  During the 12 hour shift the nurse had been on, he did not see any change in my dad’s condition.  I guess everything being the same was better than something getting worse.  So we were thankful for the little ounce of hope.
  • Tuesday, March 10th – That morning we all got a special phone call from Naomi.  Our Dad was awake and alert.  They had taken off the full oxygen mask and replaced it with an oxygen tube that went in his nose.  So she called each of us kids and held the phone to dad’s ear, so he could hear our voice.  The conversation was one-sided, because he still was unable to speak to us, but we were able to tell him that we loved him and were praying for his recovery.  I could hear his breathing and his attempt to reply back, but I couldn’t make out any words.  But Naomi said he was nodding yes to our words of encouragement.  Boy, what a ray of sunshine that was for us.  I’m so glad that Naomi did that for us and for him.  Hopefully our voices and words of love will help him get stronger and keep fighting.
  • Wednesday, March 11th – Naomi called and said that dad was moved to an Acute/Long-term Care facility today.  He’s still in an area that is considered ICU, but it has a larger patient to nurse ratio.  They actually moved him at 11:30 pm the night before.  He is doing well, he figured out he was in a new place this morning.  He sat in a chair a bit today and on the edge of his bed.  Which is good, because he needs to get his lungs cleared up.  The nurse said when he arrived, “He’s strong, he won’t be here long.”.  This is such a great step in the right direction.  Our prayers are being answered.
  • Friday, March 13th – Naomi had sent a text that morning stating that they were putting in a PIC line today.  This will make it easier for Dad to get blood drawn and not be poked many times.
  • Sunday, March 15th – My sister spoke to Naomi that evening.  Dad is still on the BiPap breathing machine, because his blood gases are still borderline.  But he is breathing over the machine most of the time.  He apparently pulled out his PIC line and they had to replace it.  He still has high ammonia levels in his blood, but they are treating it.  He gets agitated, so they give him something to relax him and then he sleeps a lot.  My Step-mom seemed kind of discouraged, but my sister reminded her that at this time last week things were very bleak.  He has made some improvement during the week, but it has to be harder for her to see that when she is faced with it day in and day out.
  • Tuesday, March 17th (AM) – I spoke to Naomi that morning and she said that dad was pretty much the same.  He sat up for a bit yesterday.  He’d like some gum and root beer, but he’s still having problems swallowing.  The speech pathologist gave him something to swallow yesterday, but he started to gag on it.  They say they will do another swallow test and even a test on his vocal box later.  At the moment, Dad is able to communicate with Naomi via a pen and paper.  Naomi said they mentioned using the tube in his nose for a feeding tube.  He’s been getting fed by IV and he’s lost so much weight.  I could tell Naomi was getting discouraged and tired.  When I told her to keep strong and not get discouraged, she said it’s hard not to, since we are going on week 3 and he’s still in the hospital.  We really owe Naomi a world of debt.  She has been there for Dad every step of the way and she’s been doing it alone.  I hate the fact that she doesn’t have her kids or us there with her.  She’s probably starting to feel much lonelier, since Spring his here and some of her “snowbird” community are packing up to head North for the summer.  Right around this time is when my Dad and Step-mom would be making their journey North to Iowa.
  • Tuesday, March 17th (PM) – My oldest brother spoke to Dad’s doctor to get a better idea of what the plan is.  The doctor said that Dad is still very sick, HOWEVER, he has seen improvement, little BUT improvement.  They began him on a new antibiotic this week to fight the pneumonia at another angle.  The ammonia in his blood is caused from his liver not detoxifying his blood as it should.  It doesn’t mean he has a liver issue, it simply is due to the pneumonia and how the body has to fight it off.  The doctor said that all the other issues of speech and swallowing are secondary to getting him over this pneumonia.  They have started feeding him through a tube, which will help him with his weakness.  Although the overall picture seems discouraging, he is making progress, even if it is slow progress.  So we need to keep the faith and let God take the wheel on this one.  He has a plan and knows what’s best, even if we think we can get it done quicker, God is running this show and we just have to leave it in his hands.

My aunt on my mom’s side gave us a good thing to think about.  Along with prayers for our dad, we need to pray for these doctors.  They are doing all they can for our Dad and they need as many prayers as we do right now.  Times like this, all we can do is leave it all up to God.

It’s like when my kids want to eat, so they come in the kitchen to “help” me with supper.  If they would just get out of my way so I could put in the finishing touches, we could eat.  But sometimes they get in the way and I have to gently move them aside.  Our worries and impatience for Dad’s recovery needs to be pushed aside and we need to step back and watch what God has planned.  Because he does have a plan and when he is ready for us to take control of the wheel again, he’ll let us know.

Thank you for letting me map this week out for me and my family.  It really does put things at a better perspective.  As always, any prayers you could send up for my Dad and the entire family are always appreciated.  And don’t forget to include the doctors and nurses that are caring for my Dad too.

God Bless You,

Sincerely JoAnn

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