Thursday, May 7, 2009

This is Brian playing balloon games with other recovering patients. He will be home early tomorrow afternoon. Pat
It's Thursday morning, May 7, and Brian's last full day in any medical facility. He was scheduled to leave in a week but spent much of yesterday "negotiating" with each of the people (medical and therapudic) who had to sign off. We also managed to leapfrog over the assigned in-home nursing and physical and occupational therapy to get immediately into a cardio-rehab at Pres-Healthplex where he will get all of that and where we already have a membership. He eschewed the at home wheel chair but will come home with a fanny-pack oxygen set-up which they expect he will only need for a week or so. While Brian has been getting thinner and thinner, I've been getting fatter and fatter. For some days after the attack, my routine, when I left the hospital, was to come home and eat frosting out of a can while watching John Stewart re-runs. Then my sister came and fixed me amazing gormet meals and now I'm eating mostly pizza and cake. And, while Brian's brain seems to have come through all of this, as he says, "no more damaged than it was before," I can't say the same for my own. This morning when I came downstairs, it seemed quite chilly and I discovered that I'd left the front door wide open. When I cast back, I realized that when I must have done that was yesterday morning before I left for the hospital. This is the third time in the last few weeks that I've left the house with the door standing open ---extreme, even for me. Happily never when Rosie was here. Rosie had been home without company for a few hours each day so she had taken to finding ever more interesting things to destroy which ranged from much of my underwear to the coffee table (I kid you not--she chewed off hunks of the thick wooden leg to the coffee table). So, she's temporarily back at the boxer zoo. My appreciation of how much Brian usually fixed around this complicated place increases by the day. Since he has been gone, there has been an irrigation ditch flood which came up to the front door, a toilet flood, a broken garbage disposal, a mower flat tire and a few other things which I've forgotten. I think I will take a few last day photos of Brian today and post them tororrow and then stop posting on the blog unless someting totally surprising happens. Brian knows how many well wishers he has and both of us are truly grateful. Thank you all. Pat

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's Monday morning, May 4th. When I started this blog, I understood that it would be easy for people to reach by going to google and entering my name as patfrieder. During the whole time I was writing every day that wasn't possible. But today, when I was just about to write my last entry, I find that it is possible now. So you can go to google and enter my name in the search box and when the list comes up, the second option says patfrieder blog. Click on it and when you get a screen with choices, click "view blog." Because it is now easy, I'll continue using this way of communicating for a while. Brian is getting stronger by the hour. Not surprisingly, now that he is free to move, he is doing more than he is officially allowed to do, moving in his room without calling the nurse and, I think, without using the walker. When I'm there he uses it but I notice that when I arrive it is in some unhandy corner so.... He is taking both occupational and physical therapy. It is remarkable that he was so disabled by this--down to such things as not being able to tie a shoe or get into a car (they have half a car in the therapy room). It's also remarkable how fast things come back once he does them properly. It's as if the memory of how to do things went away and magically reappears when the motion is completed (with the help of the therapist). He is reading and has completed two books this week end. He is enjoying the visits with friends and you are all welcome to come as you like. He's got classes (arm class and leg class etc) in the mid morning and early afternoon but is free at lunch and late afternoon, evening. He says he is coming home by friday but I doubt it. Deb and Braden have left and my own life will settle soon. I hope. Yours, Pat

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Uh oh--one more message after I said yesterday that there would be no more--t forgot to say, the rehab is Loveless Rehab--He will be working in the morning hours but free at lunch and in late afternoon and onward. Also it turns out that Brian slept funny a few nights ago and did something to his back and is now in a lot of pain so can't walk or do anything well without exasperating it. Pat

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brian progress photos

I think this will be my last daily update. I'll probably log on once a week for a while but right now things will be mostly gradually uphill in re-hab for up to 10 days. Brian is sitting here now waiting to be taken to rehab. He is dressed in sweats with hooded jacket so he looks like a gangsta. He says he could walk to rehab which is just across the street. Of course he couldn't but he certainly could go in a wheel chair if the rules permitted. But, the rules don't permit. In order to travel directly across the street, it is necessary to have a wheel chair to go down stairs, then an ambulence to drive across the street and a wheel chair to meet him at the curb and go in to the rehab facility. The ambulnce which was expected an hour ago now may not come for hours says the nurse. Nonetheless I think Brian has had excellent care here and we are grateful. With this last daily message, I'm going to try to send some photos to show his dramatic progress but don't count on it working. Oh, by the way, people can visit him in re-hab without the gear if you want to. Brian says hi to everyone. Pat --Ookay photo thing worked but as a separate blog which will probably show up above this. Also the order looks wierd but you can figure out from early to late pictures. Bye, Pat

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Brian is being helped to walk now and after I complained to the Dr, he wrote an order for people to come help him walk 4 times a day. I think this won't be for long however as they are talking about moving him to a re-hab facility as early as tomorrow. Someone from that facility is coming over later today to test whether he is a good candidate for their type of re-hab. Meanwhile the infection is almost under control. They take him off antibiotic today. There was quite a little scare yesterday which is resolved today. Someone here told us yesterday that he would be infectious for months and have to stay in isolation even at home. But then the infectious medicine doctor was in and said he doesn't even have to be in isolation now but the hospital has its rules and once you are in an isolation room (he was put in one day before yesterday) they will never let people come in without mask, gloves and gown. Assuming he goes to rehab tomorrow, that won't matter for long. The heart doctor was in this morning and says his heart is doing very well and (though one is more likely to have a 2nd heart attack in the first year after the first) he should be able to do everything he was doing before...including digging irrigation ditches and planting trees. Dr. Federicci says the hard physical activity had kept him in good shape and so he has been able to recover faster. Kim is still here much of her day even though she's also working full time. Kim is a nurse specialist in paliative care and so, even though she says she doesn't know much heart and infection issues, she seems to me to be a genius and asks many questions which I wouldn't know enough to ask. Braden is relieved that his father is doing so well. He will go back to Kentucky by week's end. Finals are next week and he is an art history professor. Deb (my sister) is in Albuquerque now and helping not only here in the hospital but also at home. So yesterday we picked up Rosie from the Boxer Dog Zoo (really. only the breeders house) where she has been with 19 other dogs most of which are new puppies. She is exhausted and keeps searching each room over and over--I assume looking for Brian. Brian says that he is amazed at the blogging comments and really appreciates hearing from all of you who have logged in and also for the cards and emails. He says he didn't know he had so many friends. Until tomorrow, Pat

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday morning and all is going well. Yesterday, I didn't thinks so. He was moved from the ICU to a "regular" isolation room where the staff is a little less responsive and a little less willing to take my word for things. The main example was that the doctor had told the ICU nurses that he had to get up and walk..told Brian.."okay you've got to get your but out of this chiar often every day" but that message failed to get made in the form of a formal order. The ICU nurses didn't get around to it because he was going to be moved and the new nurses refused to help him get up because there was no written order and because they needed physical therapy guy to say so. But no physical therapy is available on the weekends. They pretty much ignored my pleas to help him get up and walk so I move into bossy mode (just short of bitchy) to pretty tmuch no effect. Brian counteracts my effect on the staff by being cute and charming. Nonetheless they weren't too happy with him because he got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Since he had to unplug himself from evreything, that set off alarms and brought staff running.
Today, the pt guy did come, walked with Brian and walker for maybe 50 or 60 feet. He did well but is now exhausted. I'm now trying to be charming myself and mostly succeeding. Beter for Brian that way. Brian says hi to all . More later. Pat

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Its Sunday morning and sitting (in a chair no less) is a very alert talkative guy whose chief complaint is that he is starving to death. He hasn't had food for going on 40 hours. That decision is based on his having failed the swallow test so they were afraid he might once again aspirate spit up food. He says he has now studied for the test and when they give it again, he will pass. I'm sure he will as he is not gagging much at all now. He's sitting up in the chair but they have not yet gotten him to his feet because the physical therapists apparently don't work on week ends. The nurse promises she will get him on his feet today. He is very very weak. He trying right now to wield a pencil to do a crossword puzzle. The page is pretty much a mess but he assures me the answers are right. We really don't have any doubt that things are working out. However the haz mat garb is still in effect so its hard to visit. He was really glad to see Rod and Judy Groves last evening and his son, Braden, who arrived from Kentucky yesterday. But the precautions make it hard on the guests. Kim and John have been here throughout and are wonderful. We are basically spelling each other now so we can each get some rest. Braden is going to take the late shift tonight. Debby (my sister) is coming tomorrow and will be more help. Bye for now and again thank all of you for your interest and comments. If you are just looking in to this , try becoming a "follower" so you can add comments. It really is simple. And I can read teh comments to Brian. Love to all. Pat --If anybody knows how to down load photos, onto this would you write a comment then I can send photos one early one today (Nell?)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Good Morning, What a difference a day makes. We've had a very eventful 24 hours. Yesterday, despite the nurses prediction, the pulmonologist elected to first see whether, after having been awakened, he could tolerate the ventilator being turned off for 10 minutes. He could and so the Dr. asked if he wanted it out. Brian though now alert couldn't talk because his vocal cords hadn't been used in a week so finally he shrugged and the Dr said okay I'm calling it...lets take it out. Within minutes it was out and Brian was able to maintain his breathing.. He's now under no sedation and no ventilator and no meds except for the antibiotic for the lung infection. all is wonderful. With a few minor exceptions. Because he's no longer breathing in a "closed system" they are way way more strict so everybody who enters the room has to wear mask sown and gloves. He needs something right now so more later. Pat

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hi everyone, This morning seems a little mixed. Brian passed a calm night. Kim and John (son in law) were here and I had a chance to go home early which was really appreciated. Melissa (grand daughter) stopped in too. Friends, Nancy Cushman and and Mary Colton stopped by yesterday and I enjoyed talking to someone from the "outside." John was also here this morning when I arrived. The good news is that they tell me that they know that they have found the right antibiotic because the cultured specimen taken from his lungs earlier is reacting positively to it. Also the gunk coming out of his lungs looks clearer tome. My concern today is probably unfounded but they are putting in a pic line so he won't have so many different lines going into him. That's fine fut the reason given for it is that "we always do that when the patient is going to be here for such a long time." Also, they have him more sedated than they did yesterday. It is a new nurse and he is making the decisions and they make me uneasy. I'm sure this is just me making myself crazy like I do. Early this morning I went to visit Rosie (our relatively new boxer "puppy" who was sort of traumatized by events and being in strange places until we got her to her original home--where she was born. Her father, mother, aunt and 16 new puppies have made her feel quite at home. All of them pounced on me when I arrived so I left with mud, straw, dog hair and (I don't even want to imagine) clinging to my clothes. I tried to wash with bottled water at stop signs but arrived at the hospital in a surely less than sanitary condition. Thanks to everybody for their kind thoughts and messages. Some people are having trouble getting to this blog. Would those of you who can who know others who can't, would you give advice (Nell??)? Thanks. More tomorrow. Pat

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Good Morning
Brian's news is less good today. Although we are essentially unworried about his heart now, the infection continues to cause more concern. Over night one of culture studies came back indicating that an additional bacteria has been identified which is fairly virulent and contagious so now anyone going into his room has to wear a mask. They are giving him the strongest antibiotic possible but that has drawbacks of it's own as it kills everything excluding staph and some other particularly nasty stuff---but including good bacteria. They've bee suctioning gunky stuff out all night. The nurses said they expected the pulmonologist would do another bronchoscopy but he was just in and says not yet. I'm not crazy about the pulmonologist--though I love the cardiologist. Because of the mask issue--it isn't a good idea for anyone to come who wants to see Brian for a while.
My daughter, Kim, has been here much of each day with me and that has been a great help to me. I'd like to see other people now but probably not more than one a day just now. feel free to call 249-2216 if you'd like to visit. Thank you all again for all of your kind wishes and offers of help. Brian will be glad to receive all of your notes when he is able but I am grateful right now. Pat

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today has been quite mixed. The news about Brian's heart is quite good. He is off all support for the heart and it is behaving quite well. Doctors are really no longer worried about his heart. But, the lung infection which he got from aspirating vomit at the time of the attack has resulted in an infection. This turns out to be harder to get rid of than first imagined (at least by me). Today minutes before they were to take out the ventilator, the pulmonologist (sp?) said that the newest chest x-ray looked worse so the ventilator removal is on hold for a while. They now seem to have a more precise fix on the bacteria and new antibiotics are being used. They also have brought him a little closer to consciousness which in itself is mixed. It is clearly good in that he coughs more etc. but he is clearly in great discomfort. His face becomes contorted and tears appear. I think this is only because of the ventilator but am not sure. It's hard to watch and harder on him but surely worth it. Pat

Brian's Health Update

Hello everyone,
My daughter Kim, an I are in Brian's hospital room trying to figure out how to start a blog so that we can most easily give everybody who wants one, an update on Brian's condition. If you're reading this I guess it must have worked.
This is Wednesday. Brian's heart attack was Saturday night. It has been a wild few days starting with the news I received when I reached the hospital just after the ambulance that he had had a major heart attack in the ambulance. The early going was pretty touch and go. The doctor wouldn't give a prognosis except to say that if they put in stents, the operation itself had a twenty percent chance of killing him but that, if he didn't have the operation, he had an eighty percent chance of dying that night.
After surgery there were complications requiring extra support for his heart--meds to keep the blood pressure up and the heart beating regularly and a balloon in his aorta to help his heart beat and a ventilator to breathe for him. Now all of that is gone except the ventilator which is due to come out in an hour or so. He has been under sedation throughout but after the ventilator is out he will be weaned off sedation and be able to talk and we will see how he is. The main concern at the moment is an infection in his lung which started because he aspirated vomit sometime around when he was having the attack. They assure me that this will clear up in a few days. However, the estimate of number of days has increased recently.
Anyway, things are looking better and better every day. I'll write again when I know more. I want to thank all of you who have expressed your concern and offered to help. It is really appreciated. Yours, Pat PS Let me know if the blog worked, would you?