Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sometimes It Feels Like One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

Just a quick update on the events of the last two days. I was with Danny on Tuesday when the nurse came in and told me they wanted to remove the tubes and get him off the ventilator. They asked me to leave for 15 minutes and when I returned he was awake and very alert and breathing on his own! It was very labored breathing (sounded a little like Darth Vadar). He tried to talk and didn't have much of a voice, but I could understand about half of what he said. He was surprisingly coherent and had a lot of questions. He wanted to know what day and time it was, what his injuries were, if he'd had surgery and where. He asked me what his face looked like and about each of my kids. He even referred to a few things I had told him when he was sedated and I knew he had probably heard more than I thought. It was so wonderful to have him back for a little bit and know that he is still the same person. I was elated when I left the hospital. It seemed like we had reached a major milestone and things would just get better and better.

I should have realized that a day that great would be followed by a really difficult one. That is just how these things go. Only a few hours after I left he began hallucinating (as Jan referred to in his last post) and he was so, so thirsty. He is sufficiently hydrated, so that isn't the concern, but they won't let him have a drink because he isn't swallowing correctly. Apparently he didn't sleep much Tuesday night and it was a rough night for everyone.

When I arrived yesterday around 5pm he was very agitated. He had developed a fever, so they knew he was getting some sort of infection. They were unsure of the source of the infection and thought it might be in his central line, so they removed it and put a new one in. He suffered some complications during that process, but they were able to get it in. When I was there they had him breathing through a humidifier mask to keep his throat moist and loosen up the junk in his lungs. They are fairly certain he is developing pneumonia and they need to keep things loose so he can cough it all up. The mask drives him crazy and he kept begging me to take it off of him. At one point he said "Just take it off me for five minutes, the nurse won't get mad, I promise!" I laughed and told him she would kick me out if I didn't follow her orders. They still weren't allowing him to drink and it is driving him crazy. He was having mild hallucinations and seemed to be in a lot of pain. It was so hard to watch. Finally the respiratory therapist arrived and changed him to a different kind of mask that helps him breathe a little and he was able to relax and go to sleep.

I left feeling very discouraged, but in talking to the nurses I realized this is all part of the process. I think it is easy to forget how critical his injuries are and how hard his body is working to try to heal itself. He is just so exhausted. But, today is a new day and hopefully one with some good news! I haven't heard reports from the hospital yet to see how his night was, but hopefully he got some sleep. I'm sure Jan will post an update sometime today. Thanks for your continued prayers and support.


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