Thursday, August 13, 2009

Week 2: Things are beginning to improve.

I will just kind of recap the last couple of days and tell everyone where we are now. My dad and Catherine have already said some of this stuff, but I am just doing a general recap.

Everyone was very happy to see the breathing tube come out and have him breathing on his own. He was finally able to talk and tell us what he was feeling and what he needed. He was lucid and in the moment. He even seemed to be in high spirits for someone in his condition. He was asking questions about his injuries and about his friends and family. He wanted to see the pictures we had on the wall. He even told me some jokes and made me laugh about some stuff. Everything looked really good.
Unfortunately, it only took a couple hours before things started going really bad. He was breathing on his own, but just barely. He was using every muscle in his body to draw a breath. It looked like he was a man under water trying to breath. They had to reposition some of the tubes going into him to different insertion points to avoid infection. This moving of the tubes, changing his bandages, moving him around, and all of the other factors caused him to go into respiratory arrest. I was not there when this happened, and thank you mom and dad for making sure that I didn't find out about it for a couple of days. I may have had a stroke at the time. Luckily, it is not too big of a deal to stop breathing when you have 6 doctors and nurses standing around you. They got him going again quickly.
He was still was still breathing like he had just sprinted a marathon, and he was beginning to develop a bronchial infection and a mild case of pneumonia. His throat was bone dry and the muscles were really weak from having the tube in for a week. Now he was coughing up all the crap in his lungs and throat without being able to swallow or spit it out. Every time he coughed the stuff had to be sucked out of his mouth. His nurses so far have been top notch, ( colby and erica especially have prevented me from multiple anxiety attacks) but they have a lot to do and can't stand there with him every minute of the day waiting for him to cough. When I told him I had to go to work, he panicked about who would be there to help him breath. Even though his nurses know what they are doing and can handle it, I can't blame him. It takes about two seconds of being unable to breath before I would freak out, and he is in that situation all day. Luckily, between Me, Debbie (I am glad that I asked her to marry me), my mom and my dad, we were able to have someone there with him around the clock. Thanks dad for being there 2 nights in a row. It was mostly just to give him peace of mind.( and to give us peace of mind.)
He was also having problems dealing with the drugs. Danny has always been one to avoid medications and drugs unless he really needed it. Now he is being pumped full of the stuff. He was doing good on the first pain killer they had been giving him, but he had begun to develop a bit of a tolerance to it. When they switched him to another kind of pain killer, it started messing with him. He probably had not had real sleep in 7 days. That, combined with the new medicine, sent him in to a delirium. He was seeing things and was totally confused about where he was and what was going on. He was hallucinating and hearing things. It was really hard to watch. It kind of scared me. Hopefully he won't remember a lot of the time he was all loopy.
His other major complaint was the dryness of his throat and mouth. He said it was almost unbearable. A week with a tube in his mouth had caused him to get what he describes as a thick paste lining his whole mouth. He felt like it was choking him. Unfortunately, he cannot have any water. His throat is weakened to the point that even a small amount of water in his mouth could go straight into his lungs causing a major infection. It sucks when a guy is pleading with you for a couple drops of water and you have to say no. My dad and I were in the waiting room drinking a glass of water and feeling guilty about it.
That went on for two days.
As of today, things are much improved. I spent several hours with him this morning after I got off of work. Last night they gave him a mask similar to a sleep apnea mask so that he could breath a little more easily. His pain medication has been straightened out so that he no longer is delirious, and he actually got some real sleep for most of the night. While his breath is still quite labored, it is not even close to how bad it was. He is not coughing nearly as frequently, his face is starting to look better, and the swelling is way down.
After the worst 10 days of my life, I can say that I am feeling a little bit better about his outlook. When I first arrived in his room this morning, he was occasionally lifting his arms up and moving them around. He was also lifting his head up and down and moving he legs as much as he could. It looked like he was doing it because he was in pain. I asked him what he was doing and he said that if he kept trying to move, he would get out of there sooner. Yep. I think that Danny is still Danny. They say he will be out of there by the first part of October. Don't be surprised if it is sometime in September.
When I left he was sleeping. He needs all of the sleep he can get. For this reason we are still asking everyone to stay home and save your visits for later. When he is a little stronger, he will appreciate some guests a little more. Perhaps he will be ready for visitors on Monday. We will let you know. Keep sending him your positive energy, though.



  1. Andy, I am an RN and would love to help out if you guys need. I can sit up with him if you can't be there. I know you are limiting visitors, but just call if you need. Josh and Dan have my number. Hang in there and thanks for the updates. Allison

  2. Andy, thanks for the detailed status updates. It means a lot to us.

  3. Andy - you did a great job with your recap. Thanks so much, we know how hard this is for you and your family. The updates are very important, especially for those that can't be there. Your Cali family is thinking of you at all times. I know we are miles apart, but really if there is anything we can do - don't hesitate to say so. Keep staying strong for your brother! -Barrie & Jarrett

  4. hey andy! thanks for the update. i know this is crazy hard on you. we're praying for you too.

  5. Thank you again for allowing us to read about our hero,Danny. After reading this Andy is another hero ! We love all of you !!!We can't wait to give you all hugs and Andy a kiss !?

  6. We appreciate all the updates about Danny. We have never actually met Danny, but Andy and Debbie are good friends of ours. We have been following this blog everyday and will continue to do so. We hope Danny improves everyday and our thoughts and prayers are with your family. Thanks Andy!

  7. I am glad you guys are working overtime on the support factor. It is tough having a friend in such critical condition and feeling like there is not much you can do to help. You guys are doing an awesome job - keep doing what you are doing as it sounds like it has helped the process. When you are ready to change the guard, let us know.

  8. Leave it to Danny to be exercising his muscles right after waking up. We're all cheering for you Danny! To echo everyone else, thanks for the updates. DB has an amazing family for support that he needs right now.