Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wish I had better news...

But, it's not looking too great for the home team.


Slept in until 7:45, which was great. I fell asleep in the recliner last night while I was watching TV. Woke up a little after midnight and took myself to bed. Only got up once to use the bathroom (yay!).

Got to the hospital about 8:30 and managed to see Dr. K. He'd already been in to see Ron and was not pleased with how he looked. Said he was moving very slowly and he did not think Ron would be ready for Joint Camp today (that's the rehab program at the hospital). He said that Dr. A is very concerned about Ron's heart and the combination of all of the different medications he's taking. Everything he takes could cause a problem with something else and any of them could send him over the edge. Ron already takes very strong narcotics for pain and received very strong medication yesterday. In the spinal, they included a drug that should have given him pain relief for 18-24 hours post-op. It did not give him any relief at all. The dilaudid should have filled in the gap from the other medicine. It did not.

I got into Ron's room to see him sitting in a chair. That was good. He was non-responsive to communication though. Sleeping between words. That was not so good. His IV had been moved to his other arm and he had a bloody bandage on his arm where the first IV had been. I asked him what had happened. He couldn't tell me. I figured since he bleeds easily that the bandage was there because he'd bled when they removed the IV. I stayed for a while and then left for work.

I called him at 1:45 this afternoon to see how he was doing. Questions I asked him were not answered with appropriate responses so I told him I'd see him tonight.

I got to his room about 6:30 tonight to find him in the chair again, sleeping, but holding onto a cup of liquid (either tea or beef broth). I asked him what he was doing. Silence...

Me:   Ron
Him:  huh? how long you been there?
Me:   a couple of minutes. What are you doing?
Me:   Ron!
Him:  huh?
Me:  what are you doing? are you eating?
Me:   Ron!!!
Him:  what!
Me:   are you eating?
Him:  I think so.
Me:   then you need to pick up the cup and drink or else let go so you don't spill it.
Me:   Ron!
Him:  what do you want me to do?
Me:   either let go of the cup or drink it. if you don't eat you won't keep up your strength.
Him:  they're not giving me anything.
Me:   you have a liquid diet (tea, broth, juice, jell-o), and toast. you need to actually put it in your mouth.
Me:   (picking up the jell-o) let go of the jell-o so I can help you. (he lets go)
Me:   you have to shut you mouth on the spoon to get the jell-o off.
(finishes the jell-o)
Me:  (picking up the toast) open your mouth to eat the toast.
Me:  shut your mouth and take a bite (he'd opened his mouth but did not close his teeth on the toast)
Me:   Ron! bite, chew, swallow

This went on for every bite until 3/4 of the toast had been eaten. He still had one hand on the tea/broth cup. Then, I noticed that his bandage on the right arm had shifted and looked like it needed to be changed, so I put it back into place and rang for the nurse. While I waited for her to come, I took a look at his arm and it has HUGE blisters (about the size of a quarter and 1/4-1/2 inch raised) all over his forearm. It looks like something burned him. Yesterday afternoon I had said something to the nurse about his right hand being swollen and asked if his IV had gotten infiltrated. My dad had one do that and his arm swelled up so I wanted them to look at Ron's. She turned on the light and said it looked fine.

Evidently, it was not fine. I'd post a picture but it really is quite shocking.  I took several pictures of it for safekeeping. I've seen what an infiltrated IV looks like on someone and this did not look like that.

While the nurse was changing the bandage (she said she'd never seen anything like that before) she told me that his hemoglobin had dropped from 11 (which is low) to 7 (which is dangerously low) so the doctor had ordered 2 units of blood. They couldn't find a new site for another IV so they called in the IV team. They couldn't find one either so he'll probably get a PIC line put in either tonight or tomorrow. She also told me his kidney function blood work shows that his kidneys are struggling.

In order to get him into and out of bed, they have to use one of the lift machines. He can't even transfer on his own.

I am looking into our options. I found out that if he is not able to transfer to the rehab program, he'll be sent to a skilled nursing facility (i.e., nursing home) in this area. Schowalter may or may not have room to take him so he could be in the town (or two) north of us or the town south of us. That would not be very convenient for me at all. Medicare will pay for 21 days a 100% and then we'd have a co-pay or maybe our private insurance would pick up the tab. We don't know. If during the 21 days he's progressed enough to be transferred to rehab, he'd go to where ever there was an opening, either at Schowalter or back at the hospital.

If he doesn't progress well enough then he'll probably be in the nursing home for a long time. This is not good. I could be homeless in a matter of weeks. I'm not worried about me; I can put things in storage and hopefully be able to find a room to rent somewhere. There is a hotel in town that does weekly rent so that might also be an option.

There's also my van. I could put it into an RV camp and sleep there if I had to. There is a little place off the highway that would work. That's a last-ditch resort. (Just kidding. I wouldn't park my van in an RV camp. Trying to keep it light-hearted.)

I think I'm going to call it a night. I got home about 8:00 tonight, took out the trash, ate some chicken and some grapes, and now need to do up the dishes and go to bed. I'm planning on getting up early tomorrow so I'm not too late for work. I can't afford to have more unpaid time on my next paycheck. I'm already at 11 hours and that will be a noticeable amount.

Take care ya'll. Extra prayers would be appreciated.


colenic said...

Thinking of you both and sending lots of love and positive thughts

Jo-Anne Rambling said...

Oh my you really do need extra prayers and lots of postivie vibes to be sent your way and I am doing my little bit..........reading this has made me think of my grandparents during his last days my pop would not want to eat much and it would take my uncle a lot of coaching to get him to eat, my nan has to be reminded to chew at times but for someone who has had alzhimers for over 10yrs she is doing pretty good.

orchid said...

Dearest Teresa,
What a concerning situation for Ron!
Let me say "just hung in there, of course I am sending you much prayers."
Sorry, I really feel sad that I cann't find a right words for you in English!!!
I am thinking about you.
May God Help Ron to get WELL soon.
Hugs, xoxo Orchid*

kneesandpaws said...

That's alarming and I'm sincerely worried for you. Of course I am praying for something good to happen. I want to be there with you. I know that sounds impossible, but I'm there in spirit. I'll send an email soon.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I can't imagine your stress--the questions and the viability of deciding which route to choose. I hope God gives you a clear path to follow.

SkippyMom said...
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