Saturday, August 8, 2009

An Observation of Danny's Fragile Condition

Saturday 11:00 pm

Danny's mother and I went to see him this afternoon at about 5:00 pm. We entered the burn unit and the first thing I noticed was his arms had been moved. It was our understanding that the arms were not to be moved. We were both very concerned and Judy asked the attendant about it and was told everything was fine. Judy wasn't buying it and the attendant had her talk to Doctor Morris. We learned that they must change the bedding underneath Danny because of his burns on his leg and butt. The doctor said the moving of the arms was to be done with extreme care. This is some what worrisome, but it's under the direction of the doctor.

As the attendant was working with Danny, he would ask him questions and Danny would respond with a nod for yes or no. This was great for us to see, so when we talked to him we asked a few yes/no questions and he did respond.

We were telling Danny how good he was doing and how good he looked with comments about specific things of his recovery. I think this was a mistake. At one point he began crying and getting upset. All these emotions he was going through were showing up on his monitors too. His heart rate increased, the respiratory line would spike and his temp increased. Of course I felt terrible and also let go of my own tears. It finally hit us that we were making him think about himself and his troubles. When we left, we discussed this and decided we better talk about anything but him. So we are thinking that would be a good idea as long as he is heavily sedated and in a partial dream state. Maybe when he is awake, things will be different.

We needed to leave for the shift change at 7:00 and went for a walk outside to pass the time. At 8:15 we went back in to see how he was. I first looked at his monitors and saw he was doing very well and was calm. His temp was 95 as we started talking to him. We kept the subject about what we had been doing earlier in the day, and about friends or family, or what time it was and what day it was, anything but talking about him. We were not sure if he heard us and I said that to Judy. As I told her that, Danny nodded his head yes. He had been listening to us the whole time. I did see that his temp went up to 98 not too long after we began talking, but everything else remained smooth and even.

We think that while he is heavily sedated and only partially awake we must try and make him think of things other than what he is going through. Also we believe that limiting ourselves to shorter visits may be necessary while he is so fragile. Judy reminded me of Dan Udy's hospital stay and how he was recovering, and the difficulties he had with large groups as he was first coming around.

When Danny is fully awake, then we can all see him and understand what he would like. Until then it may be better to spare him too much stress.

I tell you what, one of us, either Catherine or Andy or Mom and Dad should maybe ask him and find out what he would prefer.


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