Monday, May 28, 2012

Hurry up and wait

Our continued adventure at Botsford has led us to meet some great doctors. Dr. Eisenburg is the pulmonologist Doug was admitted under, and he's very casual and cool. Dr. Kaplan is also a pulmonologist that was on call over the weekend, also very nice. I didn't meet Dr. Jenner (Jennings?), the thoracic surgeon who will do the scraping, but Doug liked him.

Surgery is going to be scheduled for Wednesday, hopefully in the morning. Because of the holiday weekend, it messes everything up. His surgery will be to remove the excess goo that can't be removed from around the lung. Basically, the goo is the body's way of isolating where the infection was - his left lung. It wraps around the lung, between the membrane and lung. The thicker the goo gets, it squeezes his lung and collapses it. Doctors guess that when Doug finally started having a problem, was because his entire left lung shut down.

They have drained a bit over 3 liters and the goo that is left is turning into a jello-like substance. Doctor said the longer it's in there, the more "leathery" it gets. So they will go in Wednesday and scrape it all out, then re-inflate his lung. They did say to think of his lung like a paper bag; the longer it's collapsed, the more likely it is to hold it's crumbled shape. So they may have to get in there and slowly pull the tissues apart to help it re-inflate; he may not get all his lung capacity back. Is this scary or what?!

But for now, he's being a smart aleck with the nurses and getting particular about the way the food service handles his orders. He may become THAT patient. Tube still in the lungs, but they took him off saline drip and oxygen for now. Still in the ICU because his doctor ordered a private room for him; until one becomes available, he will remain in ICU. We did sneak the kids in for a 5-minute visit yesterday so they could see him; we Skyped tonight (Doug on his cell phone). So we're just waiting for Wednesday now.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

This time it's Doug...

We are becoming true experts on the hospitals in our area. This week's adventure is brought to you by Doug, who is currently being attended to in the Critical Care Unit at Botsford. His pneumonia/fever was just not progressing, so they admitted him through the ER on Friday night. This morning they stuck a tube in his lung (yes - ow!) and immediately drained 2 liters of fluid out. Over the last few hours he has drained another liter, and it still keeps coming.

Big Doc Pulmonologist stopped in later while I was there and said they want him to have another CT scan tomorrow to check that lung. He confirmed that indeed, it was "collapsing" in the lower part of his lung. He wants to make sure that it is beginning to "inflate" again. If all is well, the tube can come out and Doug can start healing. If not, the tube stays in until Monday. Big Doc P. also has a thoracic surgeon on hold, who has looked at Doug's tests & was present for the chest tube insertion, in case something more has to be done. He will remain in the ICU as long as the tube is in.

Meanwhile, Doug is remaining almost comfortable. He and the nurses are having a great time teasing each other - we think the nurses are probably glad to have someone in the CCU who can respond to them! That's what the x-ray tech said, anyway. There is definite pain as the chest tube runs into his armpit, around his back, through the rib and into his lung, and since he is on his back, he's laying right on it. Morphine is helping that. They have him on a clear diet, which apparently includes red jello and purple popsicles.

Will keep everyone informed, of course. Doug's brother came to stay with the kids and entertain them while I am at the hospital, which is wonderful.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

1 bad, 3 good - an update

Well, let's get the bad out of the way first - Doug is in a bad way. Out of the blue, he started feeling "dehydrated," then had a fever, then started getting really winded. 2 days later, diagnosed with pneumonia. The doctors did debate admitting him to the hospital, but decided to keep a close eye on him. He has reported 2 days already this week, with a third followup tomorrow. Two shots of antibiotics, one of steroids, 2 breathing treatments, and 2 prescriptions. He can't do much but walk really slowly around the house. It's quite scary, actually, when the rock of the family is all the sudden bedridden. The boys are handling it quite well; Roman was very anxious and worried for a couple days, but Charlie luckily is still in the stage where he believes everything we tell him. :)  Doug reports he's getting incrementally better, and that's all we can hope for. He's off work, trip to Germany cancelled, and his life is pretty much in limbo right now.

For the rest of us, however, life is good! Roman has decreased his anxiety pill and seems to be doing well; we report again next week for followup. He has agreed to continue neurofeedback for another 20 sessions, which will make a grand total of 60 when we're done. He made a new friend on the block who lives by the park; and he has been a mellow constant for over a week now. No meltdowns, just regular "kids getting mad" stuff. It's been a real pleasure to be his parent this week!

Charlie has been kicking butt in the athletic arena. He passed his tung soo do testing last week, making him a "Tiny Tiger" with a stripe. He can't graduate up to the "big room" until he is 5, so he will just accumulate tiger stripes now.  In swimming he has moved up to Junior 3 class with a big goal of swimming across the width of the pool by himself. It's amazing to see what he can already do; rollovers, swimming half a width, going under to the bottom to get rings. He is a born fish, that boy.

I myself, while being very busy, had a great professional evaluation. So great, in fact, that I qualified at the highest level of effectiveness, a position my principal assured us would be difficult to obtain as it's such a high bar to meet. That made me very pleased! But I am definitely ready for this group of 8th graders to move on and school to be over for the summer. Come on, June!

A low-key Memorial weekend is planned. Big thoughts of Greenfield Village (for Civil War weekend) or the local fair have been dashed, with new thoughts of a clean basement and laundry replacing it. I guess it happens once in awhile, eh?