The updates prior to this one are actually more recent than what I'm about to write, but it's always good to know what went on during all times, and this will be a record for Danny to understand the healing he went through. I will start by going back two days beginning with Tuesday night.
My first all nighter (Tuesday night / Wednesday morning) was the first night after removal of his breathing tube and the most difficult as far as seeing the discomfort and suffering of our patient. He was coughing up all the stuff that had accumulated for a week. It was up to us to help him out by providing suction for clearing his mouth. I knew this was helping to clear his lungs and throat, but what I was getting out of him was pasty and not very fluid. He was dry inside and pleaded for water. We were told he wouldn't be able to have any for a couple of hours. That was so hard for me to hear. The two hours that we were told was for Danny's benefit. Off to the side, the attendant told me he wouldn't get any water until the next day. It actually turned into a day and a half before he was able to have any liquids to drink. Andy touched on this a bit, but I was feeling so guilty that I could get a drink of water and Danny wasn't able to. It became hard to fill a cup and drink what I needed. Knowing he couldn't drink, brought to my mind the story of the Crucifixion of Jesus and how thirsty he was. That was truly a low point I went through in Danny's progress.
A comment on the delirious hallucinations. I relieved Judy early Wednesday morning and that's when I first learned about Danny's nightmares. She told me he was thinking he was on fire. That hurt knowing he was going through that again. I've witnessed hallucinating previously as members of my family were close to dieing, but they were quite old and we knew the end was coming. Danny was going to survive and be fine, but the delirium planted doubts for me that I needed to put aside and forget about. As time went on, he would raise his head and I could tell he was seeing things only imagined. I would ask "what do you see Danny?" He would tell me then say "I'm hallucinating right?", and I would tell him what was real and what was not. His comprehension of understanding the difference was impressive. At one point he raised his head and told me he heard bagpipes. I asked if he recognized what they were playing. He paused for a moment and said "Amazing grace". I had to laugh at that one. Of course they were, every bagpiper plays that song but the troubling part was, it's usually at a funeral.
At some point, a respiratory mask was put on Danny's face and humidified air was pumped to him. That relieved my concern about him having such a dry mouth and throat, but it didn't go far enough. I was still wanting to give him some water just to swish around in his mouth.
Andy showed up around 6:00 am Wednesday morning and helped out with what needed to be done. At 7:00 we left and got about an hours worth of sleep while the staff had shift change. After 8:00 we came back and continued attending to the suction, feeling helpless the whole time. Judy arrived to let us both leave and get some sleep. I might mention that Debbie seemed to always be there. Every time I've been there, I've seen her at either the beginning of my shift, or the end, or both. She has helped as much as anybody during all this.
My next night (Wednesday night / Thursday morning) was much more peaceful. I arrived at 8:10 pm, only to find Debbie there too. Debbie stayed for a while then decided she needed to go home and rest. I agreed. This night, they had the positive pressure respirator on Danny, and he was sleeping well. He had fallen asleep close to 6:00 pm. As I sat there and watched him, he didn't move all night and seemed very calm. At 3:00 am I had to go out in my truck for some sleep. When I returned a little after 6:00 am, Andy was at Danny's side and they were talking a little bit. Danny was finally doing well and I could feel my self start to relax. He still hadn't had any water in his mouth, but there was nothing we could do about that. I was thankful for the humidified air being given to him through his respirator. When they had us leave for shift change at 7:00, that's the last time I saw him.
Judy spent all day Thursday with Danny and saw some of the great moments of his recovery. That would be: seeing him get his first water and the subsequent "chocolate milk" along with ice cream. She said they had him take a mouth full of water and rinse. That was what he needed so bad to get rid of all that dry stuff his mouth had produced. We've all heard of "cotton mouth". I didn't know until now a description could be so close to reality. Judy said after eliminating all that misery, Danny was ready to get to the business of swallowing water, and that he did. He was able to have a cracker dipped in water, which he then navigated down the proper channel with no problem. All these minor events are huge steps forward to recovery.
Judy and I will be back to see him later this afternoon (Friday) and will feed him his dinner. Since his hands are still bandaged, for a time he will need help weilding spoons full of food.
I know there will probably be discouragement as we go along, but our patient is a strong one, and will overcome the low spots.