Friday, June 26, 2015

June in the Hospital

Here are all of the Facebook Status updates my Mom and I posted while my Dad was in the hospital.  

5/31AM Please pray for my Dad. My Dad has had a stroke and was rushed to the hospital. He is in surgery now to remove the blood clot. I don't know much more of the details because I am not there yet but he need our prayers. Desperately. Please pray for a miracle.

5/31 PM Not much to report except that he is still sedated and will continue to be that way and breath with a tube for the next 48-72 hours. They have to monitor him for brain swelling because of the stroke and keep him still so the place where the doctor went in to get the clot won't burst. We won't know how bad the stroke really was until he is out of sedation. Our greatest need is prayer for complete healing for my Dad. We are all very tired and going on very little or no sleep. Pray for us to be able to rest. Pray for us to all be strong for each other and lean on Christ for our strength.

6/1AM He still remains stable. He had another CT scan this morning and showed no change. The bleeding is still the same size and there is still no swelling. He will have another CT scan tomorrow morning to continue monitoring it. While he is still sedated and intubated, when we talk to him he sometimes tries to open hies eye, wiggles his foot or moves his arm. He knows when we are there talking to him and I have told him he has lots of people praying for him. We were all able to get a lot of rest last night and feel much better. Please pray for the doctors as they decide when the best time to let up on the sedation will be, when to extubate him and how to move forward. Pray for us to continue to get good rest because we are in for a long road ahead. And always keep praying for a miracle.

6/1PM Today was a good day. We got news from the doctors today that lifted our spirits and gave us more hope for a full recovery. The CT scan they took this morning showed no new bleeding and still no swelling. This is a huge praise. The neurologist also said that the MRI showed that the stroke wasn't as bad as they thought. If it was as bad as they thought he might of only had a 30% recovery. He is guessing that he will have a 70% recovery. There will still be some deficits from the stroke, but maybe not as much as they originally thought. We serve a powerful and strong God and are praying with full confidence that he will heal him 100%. Tomorrow morning he will have another CT scan to check for bleeding and swelling. They are beginning to lower the sedation and we have been able to see him respond well to our commands. He has opened his mouth, squeezed our hand, moved his foot and tried to open his eyes. We are praising The Lord for a good day full of promising news. Keep praying!!

6/2- Today was another good day. It started out stressful but ended much better. We learned today that Dad tested positive for MRSA (a staph infection that is very resistant to meds). This doesn't mean he has staph but he is just a carrier of it now. He is showing no signs of the infection now. Nurses just have to be extra careful and gown & glove up when in the room with him. And we have be extra careful to wash our hands upon entering and leaving the room. Our other not so great news is that Dad has a tinge of pneumonia. It's not surprising as most patients who have a machine breathing for them end up getting it. He is on 2 really strong antibiotics for that. He had a little of an elevated temperature tonight but it's most likely due to the pneumonia. Our really good news for the day was that there was still no swelling of the brain and no more bleeding. The neurologist was so pleased with this that he didn't even order another CT Scan for tomorrow because he is not concerned about it anymore. He told us once again tonight that the stroke was much smaller than they originally thought and even the surgeon is surprised at how well he is doing after the surgery. Like he told us earlier, there will be deficits because of the stroke, but they won't be near as bad as they originally thought. The doctors want to keep Dad sedated one more day to let him rest and continue to let his neck and back fractures heal before we begin the process of weaning him off the sedation and doing tests to take him off the vent. This will most likely be an all day slow process on Thursday. So tomorrow we will continue to wait and continue to pray for God to work a miracle in my Dad. God is already showing his power!!! Keep praying!!

6/3  Today they made Dad work a little by putting him on CPAP. Instead of the machine doing all the work he had to initiate the breaths. He controlled the volume and the rate. They also lowered his oxygen to 40% (down from 50%). With all these changes his stats all still stayed the same so his body is handling it well. This is one of the steps to extubating him. The doctor said he remains status quo and maybe even just a little bit better. The doctor now wants to wait until Friday to extubate though. We aren't totally sure why but we think it's a combination of the pneumonia and just being careful with his C-Spine injuries. We have had really amazing care at Methodist so we are just trusting the doctors and nurses with their decisions. We've know all along that this would be a "hurry up and wait" game so we are really just waiting to lower his sedation and extubate him before we have any more real news. We appreciate all of your prayers. Keep praying for complete healing.

6/4 AM This morning the doctor came in and told us that our last 24 hrs was good. He started the last steps needed before he gets extubated. His propofol (sedation medicine) is being lowered quite a bit and he is having to do a little more work breathing. The machine is doing even less today. His stats continue to remain the same which means his body is tolerating it well. If he continues to have a good 24 hrs they will begin the extubation process tomorrow. He has opened his eyes a little more today and blinked to let us know he sees us. He even squeezed my Mom's hand and gave Oma (his mom) a thumbs up with his left hand (which is the side the stroke didn't affect). This has all been an encouragement to know that God is at work healing my Dad. Keep praying!!
6/4 PM  This video was taken this evening before I headed home to my boys for the night. I felt like it was my Dad's way of saying "we got this!" Today was a good day and as long as tomorrow goes well they will start to wean the sedation meds all the way down and extubate him. This is very scary for us as we will be able to see what his deficits are from the stroke. We have to remember that tomorrow is just a baseline for the future. It will only get better from tomorrow and whatever strength or speech he has lost can hopefully be regained through rehab and therapy. We have lots of specific things you can be praying for tomorrow......
•Please pray for us to be strong tomorrow as it will be an emotional day.
•Pray for doctors to know the best way to extubate him so that we don't worsen his C-Spine injury.
•Pray for the nurses and therapists as they work with my Dad tomorrow to access how he is doing after being extubated.
•Pray that my Dad will not be in pain as all of this is going on.
•Pray that my Dad will not be scared or discouraged when he wakes up.
•Pray for progress that can only be described as healing from the Great Physician and that would even shock all the healthcare workers.
•Pray that God will get all the glory tomorrow!! 
Thanks for your continue prayers throughout this week. We feel them and I hope this video helps show you that they are being heard.

6/5 AM We have taken a few steps back today. Dad has developed a little more pneumonia so they are waiting to extubate him. The machine is back to doing all the work breathing and his propofol has been bumped up so his body can rest and get better. They are moving with caution and progressing slowly. This is much better than having to go backwards when it comes to his breathing and having to re-intubated him after extubating him. Keep praying. We know that God's timing is perfect and we are just waiting for his time.

6/5 PM This morning Dad had a procedure called a bronchoscopy to see what's going on in his lungs and help get stuff out since he can't cough enough. He is on two different antibiotics to help clear up the pneumonia. The most important thing for him right now is rest. We don't know when they will extubate him now but it won't be until his pneumonia is cleared up. Our nurse told us that our doctor is very very cautious when it comes to extubating because he doesn't want to do it too soon and end up having to re-intubate. Since we don't know when he will be extubated and we don't anticipate it being before Monday, I went ahead and came back to Tyler for the weekend or until we get news of him being extubated. Pray for me while I am away from my family. I hate not being able to be with my Mom but I need to be with my boys too. Keep praying for Dad. He needs all the prayers he can get. 

6/6 Not too much to report today which is really not a bad thing. No news is good news because that means he isn't getting worse. He continued to rest today to try to get the pneumonia better. He will have another x-ray in the morning to see how he is doing. His temperature was a little elevated at 100.2 today. All bacteria that was tested yesterday looked like it could be treated with antibiotics he is already taking. They won't be taking the tube out until at best Tuesday. They want to go slow and conservative. Keep praying.

6/7 The pneumonia seems to be a little better today. They changed his sedation meds to one where he can be a little more alert. They also put him on CPAP, which is where he is doing more of the work breathing rather than the machine doing it all. He will have another x-ray in the morning and we'll most likely have a day similar today again tomorrow. Please pray for continued healing of my Dad's body and also pray for all of us as this waiting game is really tough. It's hard for our minds not to wander to worst case scenarios and what things might look light when we know how much damage the stroke caused on my Dad's body.

6/8 Dad's pneumonia seems a little better. Mom said he has been very responsive today. We thought this morning that they would take the tube out tomorrow but the doctor this evening made it seem like it wouldn't happen until Wednesday. They'll let him get more stable since he does still have some pneumonia and is breathing a little fast. Tomorrow the boys and I will be heading back to Dallas. The boys are going to my in-laws for the week while I am with my Mom. Pray for safe travels for me and the boys and for Dad to have another good day of rest tomorrow.

6/9AM Pray for my Dad right now. They decided to take the tube out this morning. Nonnie is on her way up to the hospital to be with Mom and I will be on way way from Tyler shortly.

6/9 PM I have struggled with how to update this evening because honestly today was the hardest day yet in all this mess. The tube was taken out this morning and he is breathing fine on his own......a little faster than they would like him to, but all his stats remain good. He was very responsive today squeezing our hand or blinking his eyes when we asked him questions. They have told him that he can't talk yet because his vocal cords are swollen from having the tubes down his throat. He didn't speak at all today but his eyes said it all. He looks sad and confused and in pain and it was extremely hard to see my Daddy like that today. They are going to wait until tomorrow to have the speech therapist evaluate him. Now that he is completely awake he is moving his left side good but he hasn't moved his right arm or leg yet. I know that today is not what forever will look like but this is all just so hard. The unknown is extremely scary, but thankfully all of this is not a surprise to God and we know he does have a plan for my Dad's life. Keep praying! 

6/10 AM Dad had a rough night last night. He pulled his feeding tube out and after many attempts to get it back in they finally did this morning. We aren't sure that he slept much at all last night. Mom said he was just staring at the ceiling most of the night still looking very sad and confused and just not himself. This morning the doctor came in and was not very hopeful at all. He basically said his stroke was really bad and he is marginal right now. He has a 50/50 chance of going back on the ventilator today and that would be a huge step back. He also told us some things that we might have to think about in the future and none of it was good. I feel like everything the doctor told us wasn't hopeful at all and if we believe what he says we are basically saying we don't trust God to do a miracle. This is all so so tough. All I can think of right now are the lyrics to this song.........
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand. 
Our hope in Jesus Christ is all we have right now. Pray for a miracle.

6/11 AM Dad had little better day and night last night but not much change. The doctor is most concerned about Dad still breathing too fast, not taking deep breaths and not being able to cough up secretions on his own. As long as he is not coughing on his own we will not see a speech therapist to evaluate swallowing. There was some talk of him eventually going to a long term acute care facility for rehab, but we are still a long ways away from even thinking about that. We aren't out of the woods yet. His breathing has to get better. Going back on the ventilator is still a possibility if he doesn't get better. Pray for big coughs, deep breaths, slower breathing and rest today for my Dad today.

6/12 AM  No real changes with Dad. Not going backwards but not really moving forward. He has to be able to cough and clear his throat of secretions before we can really move on with speech therapy or any rehab for that matter. It's just so important for him to cough so his throat doesn't get plugged up with all his secretions, but the damage to his brain from the stroke is making that hard for him to do. Thankfully yesterday we did have a few good moments where he would tell us yes or no with his hands. We asked him if he liked having visitors coming to see him and he did a thumbs up. When people would come and go out of the room yesterday he would wave. God answered our prayer yesterday for Dad to rest, because he has definitley been sleeping more, but please continue to pray for him to cough and get rid of the secretions. Pray, pray, pray!!!

6-13-15  I want to thank everyone for all the prayers and kind things you've done for us. We are blessed with so many wonderful friends. Each prayer, visit, card, call, text, snack, meal, dog sitting, trash out, mail in, sprinkler on, Sunday school substitute, musical ticket buying, flowers.....I could go on and on.... Is so greatly appreciated. Katy's updates have been such a blessing to me. I just haven't had the mind to write it out like she could. Thank you, sweet daughter! Katy's back in Tyler for a few days, so I'll try to update a bit each day.
This journey is a roller coaster - up one minute and down the next. The doctors say to "dig in" for a long ride. Kevin has been very calm today. His eyes don't look so afraid and sad as he did a few days ago. At times today he would stare blankly at us and not respond at all; other times he would slightly shake his head or give a thumbs up. He cleared his throat a few times today on command. Now if we can only get him to cough when asked. Physical therapy put his back brace on and sat him up on the side of the bed(holding him of course). Our biggest surprise today was when asked if he was comfortable, he held his hand up and shook it like the "So So" sign!! We had not even tried to get him to do that hand sign. We are thrilled with each baby step, no matter how tiny, that he makes each day. He has also been waving BYE to a few lucky visitors.
I feel your prayers for my strength and rest. It has to be from my Great big God. I know God will be with us throughout this journey. Please continue to pray for us. Here are a few specifics:
- For Kevin to know how to cough and clear secretions and continued healing of his body and mind
- for us to get nurses that understand how to care for his wreck injuries along with the stroke
- for our sons, Ryan and Drew, to keep the business running smoothly
- for Katy to have peace of mind while she is trying to settle into her new life in Tyler
- for Kevin's sweet mother, Charlotte
- for our 4 precious grandkids , that just don't understand it all. 

6-14-15 We had a pretty good day today. Kevin was more alert and trying to communicate. I can tell he really wanted to tell me something, but just can't get it out. It's just heart breaking to not be able to do what he needs. I know he must be so frustrated. We are seeing answers to prayers. He was able to clear his throat today when asked and he even made a few weak coughs on command. A nurse friend has done some research and told me the good part about this type of stroke is the progress may be slow to start, but once it gets going it progresses quickly.
Although I may not "like" or respond to your FB comments, FB private messages, texts, or cards, please know that I am reading each one and appreciate every encouraging word, scripture, prayer, or song lyric.
It is so humbling to know that so many of you take the time to say that prayer or write a note to us. Kevin is loved by so many and I know he must sense that so many people care about him.

6-15-15 AM He had a rough night - just couldn't sleep. He was agitated and restless. He's very aware that he is miserable lying in that bed now for a solid 16 days since the stroke. Now for the better news: the dr came in this morning and thought he looked better. He coughed, ever so small, for the dr . His lungs are clear and breathing is calm. He is sending in speech therapy for an evaluation today, but he told me to prepare myself for the feeding tube for a while longer. He doesn't think he will do too well on the swallow test just yet. But, we have to start somewhere. 
He can't move his right side and we have to keep his left hand strapped down so he won't pull out any tubes. It's just gut wrenching. Pray, pray, pray!!

6-15-15 PM  We had an ok day. With a little medication he calmed down after our restless night. Speech therapy came and he ate a few ice chips and swallowed them, but just not ready for food. She said he did ok. She was so kind and encouraging. 
Physical and occupational therapy came. It's an ordeal to get him in the back brace, but they did it and sat him up again. One therapist stayed back to talk to me. He said doctors and therapists can do a lot, but there is no limit to what God can do!! I'm so grateful for Christian caregivers.
They are talking about rehab or an acute care hospital if/while he still needs a feeding tube.
Prayer needs, along with those already mentioned:
- for me to make the best decision about where to go for acute care/rehab.
- for Kevin to stay calm and not agitated with his lack of communication
Thanks for lifting us up in prayer.

6-16-15 PM We had a good day today. I was able to get out with friends for both lunch and dinner. A friend stayed with Kevin at lunch and Drew and Marissa were there for dinner. That was a nice break for me. Kevin was calm and fairly comfortable almost all day. He is wanting to talk, imitating sounds as best he can. Two nurse friends are taking me to look at a couple of rehabs tomorrow. The doctor indicated he could be moving to rehab later this week or early next week, depending on him getting the feeding tube out.
We even saw a few glimpses of the old, teasing Kevin tonight. He had the thing( I know this sounds gross) that sucks the mucus that he coughs up out of his mouth, in his hand and started waving it at some of the guys giving him a hard time. Now that is Kevin!!!
Prayer needs:
- continue to see more bits of the real Kevin
- a peace about the rehab location
- Kevin being able to swallow good enough to get the feeding tube out
Thanks for all you've done for us, especially your prayers.

6-17-15 AM Doctor said things are looking better. He's still not ready to swallow food yet, so he is changing the feeding tube from his nose to his stomach. That way, he can get started moving forward with therapy and see what he can relearn. 
Greatest prayer need now along with all the other biggies:
-the tube will easily go in even though he's had lapband surgery.
- that he will eventually learn to swallow and be able to eat. If you know Kevin, you know he does love to eat! 

6-17-15 PM Moving the feeding tube got postponed until tomorrow morning, only because of an emergency with another patient. Kevin is really trying to answer our questions and he is doing pretty well, although he is mumbling a bit. I wrote the grandkids names on a paper and he could point to the one I read!! Thankful for every baby steps of progress. 
I checked out 2 rehabs and I think Baylor Dallas is where he should go. It's a pain to drive there, but we'll just do what we have to do. I've been told it is a more aggressive rehab for younger patients.
Prayer needs:
- all goes well with the tube feeding in stomach
- making right decision for rehab
- continue to progress in therapy 

6-18-15 PM We're giving him tests tonight. So far he's doing great. Marissa wrote several birthdays on the board and he got mine and his correct with one totally random date thrown in there! Drew sketched some different types of trusses and then asked him which was a "floor" "king post" "modified king" and a "fink" (only a truss man would know those). He got them all correct. Lonnie, a good friend wrote "Leonard" "Lonnie" and "Turd" on the board. Of course, Kevin pointed to "turd"- those guys just love to give each other a hard time!!
He indicated he wanted the Ranger game on tonight. It's a late start game, so I don't know if he'll make it til the end.
The feeding tube got moved and everything went well.
"Inch by inch is a cinch; yard by yard is hard; mile by mile is a trial." We are going inch by inch and praising God for each step forward. 

6-19-15 PM The doctor said he needs to get to rehab - we're wasting time here! Finally the doom and gloom doctor (although we really like him) had good news and was pleased with his progress. We are now just waiting for insurance approval and BIR- Baylor institute for Rehabilitation) to have a room. It could be tomorrow or Sunday/Monday. He may also move out of ICU. 20 days in ICU is way too long.
Kevin got to see all 4 grand kids for the first time since the stroke. He liked that!! As you can see in the photo, Carson liked "testing" him.
I had a very nice visit from a friend whose husband had a similar type of stroke and went to BIR and really did great. She assured me of my decision and was so encouraging. She certainly knows just how I'm feeling. Thanks, Annette for your encouraging words and kind deeds. Thank you, dear friends and family and even people who don't really know us, for everything you've done for Kevin and me during this time. Our prayers are being answered- keep it up please! 

6-20-15 AM Kevin moved out of ICU into a regular room. He's getting bored flipping through all the TV Channels. We can't give him ice chips or water, but can now have a sponge "lollipop" dipped in water. He is enjoying that. 
Insurance turned him down for rehab and the doctors are baffled as to why. The doctors will be in contact with insurance on Monday to let them know is is a perfect candidate for rehab, not skilled nursing. Pray he gets approved. He is ready. I know it will be tough on him, but that is what he needs to get better. 
New prayer need: insurance to approve rehab ASAP. 

6-21-15  I guess we had as good of a Father's Day as can be considering we're in the hospital for day 22. All of our kids (except our son-in-law, Matt) and grandkids were able to be here sometime during the day. We forgot to take photos when the other grands were here. 
Kevin had PT, OT, and speech therapy today, so he slept off and on afterwards. They could all see improvements since they'd last seen him. 
The doctor will be talking with insurance tomorrow, so I hope we hear good news soon.
New prayer needs:
A bed available at BIR And insurance accepted
I'll feel comfortable driving in that area of Dallas
Kevin to transition well to the new place
Healing and strength 

6-22-15  I still don't know anything about rehab. Our doctor is waiting to hear from the insurance to see if they'll approve rehab over long term acute care. The BIR lady said he might have to go to LTAC just until he heals more from the wreck injuries. He had all his therapies this morning and they went well. It does tire him out though. The speech therapy gave me ideas to work with him. He has a lot right in his mind, but has trouble getting it out. When shown a picture, he knows what you would do with the item, but he might call it the wrong thing. He called "dominoes" "dice". He may not be able to name the picture on these tiles, but once told what it is, he can put the correct letter with it. So, while we wait we are having "wife" therapy. Every now and then he just closes his eyes and tunes me out. Oh well, nothing new! For the most part, he is being pretty cooperative.
Pray the doctors and insurance are making the right decision for him at this time. 

6-23-15  The doctor came and explained that the last report the insurance got was on 6-12. Kevin has improved greatly since that date both physically (lung problems especially) and mentally. Our doctors here are waiting for the insurance to get in contact so we can move on. Meanwhile, on with "wife" therapy. I was amazed at how well he could write his name with his left hand! Have you seen his normal right handed signature? It was totally illegible! I had to tell him how to spell "therapy", but that was all.
I hope we hear something soon. I'll keep you updated as best I can. Keep praying for the best decision to be made, whatever that may be. 

6-24-15 Finally approved for rehab!! Now waiting to see if it happens today or tomorrow. According to the doctor, there were just multiple mistakes made in getting our case approved. He was very unhappy with some folks dropping the ball (not sure who that was). Anyway, maybe it has given Kevin a few extra days to heal before the really hard work begins. 
This photo is from yesterday. He was trying to say "Olivia"!!
Prayer needs:
- smooth transition
- Kevin to have strength to endure the rigorous rehab
- great caregivers that he will respond to well
- that I'll be able and comfortable to stay with him if that helps in his recovery

6-25-15 AM Kevin got to eat a strawberry yogurt, a few bites of graham cracker, and a bit of thickened grape juice. Mmmmm good!! I think he's nervous about the transition today. He's a little cantankerous today!! I'm sure I would be also.

6-25-15 PM Ambulance took Kevin to BIR At 2:00 today. He seemed more confused than he has been when we got here. He told the nurse it was January 1975! He told me yesterday that it was June 2015 and even wrote it. He's been very quiet tonight. I think he's nervous about tomorrow. The nurse said today was a "chill" day, but tomorrow is GAME ON. 
Mom came with me and Drew picked her up to take her back home. Our room is so tiny. My chair bed is literally right up against his hospital bed. They've ordered him a bigger bed with an extension since he's so tall. They will try to move us to a bigger room with a private bath. We are sharing the bath with a teenage boy from wylie that was in a car wreck a week or so ago. I don't know them, but I bet we'll meet soon.
Pray for Kevin to do well tomorrow. It will be rough on him, I'm sure.