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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2005 :  22:28:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Derek Update 11:50 PM 9/15/05

quote:
Swoopy:

I just realized, as I was tying up loose ends, that I had gotten so focused on doing other stuff...that there was no update posted yet tonight.

Hopefully everyone was on the same page, in thinking that no real news, was pretty good news.

Today, another fairly unchanged day. We're going to for three.

Pressures were up a bit this evening, but some of the beta blockers that Derek had been getting had been weaned away some as well as one of the heavy duty diuretics. Medications were being given under the doctor's ever present eye (I love that every time we're there, we see one of them there too - though I wonder when they sleep) to combat the small rise in pressure, and we were assured that if it continued in an upward trend, we'd get a phone call.

Several hours later, we're still phone call free, and as we've gotten plenty of them in the past when necessary, we feel secure about being informed whenever we should be. That does help us sleep a little easier, just with a phone next to everyone's head.

Drains are still not producing much in the way of drainage, but we realize it's now a timeline that only Derek's body can dictate. Being fairly sedated still, with mild paralytics in place, we're not getting much in the way of response. Though his nurses report that if there is any painful stimulus, his responses are present, but weak on the left side.

It's hard to believe that it was a week ago tonight that a small group of people were consoling each other in the emergency room, in shock over what had just happened to someone they all dearly loved, without warning. If our lives changed that night in about 20 minutes, they've evolved into something completely new over the course of a week.

Please, take care of yourselves. Hypertension is one of those things they call a silent killer. It's highly possible it led to the situation we're in now. Exercise, get regular check ups, and stay away from the cheese fries. Because we love you, and want you to stay healthy.

Also, talk with your family and loved ones about what to do in case of an emergency. And if you can, plan for the future, because you never know what it might bring. Here's to the health of everyone close to you, and here's to hoping you never need the plans you've made in case they aren't.

- Swoopy

Also..I honestly haven't had a moment to read anything on the boards today. My apologies, but I have a feeling that I may have some time tomorrow, and I hope so, because I desperately want to. Thank you so much for your continued interest and support. Look for iPod news this weekend as well as a show we recorded before Derek became ill.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2005 :  22:05:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Derek update 11:50 pm 9/16/05

quote:
Swoopy:

One week. Are you sure? Yes, only a week. Still kind of like Groundhog Day around here. Every day is mostly the same. Without Bill Murray. He'd be kind of good to have around about now. However the good part about the routine and sameness is that for the last three days, Derek's condition has remained largely unchained.

Some very minor ups and downs, mostly having to do with keeping his blood pressure at appropriate levels. He had a minor spike in pressure, but the reintroduction of his mannitol drip, that slows down his metabolism and lowers his pressure and heart rate some. Though we know the likelihood of their inaccuracy, his overall intracranial pressure numbers were on a general down trend today, which is the best thing for his brain.

For the last three nights Derek has had a new nurse, and we love him. His name is Reggie. I've always had a fondness for male nurses, because they're as a rule very dedicated care takers and a special brand of person. Not the least of his gifts, Reggie is big enough to move Derek around if need be. He's open and easy going, and reassuring and shares shaved head kinship with Derek's dad. All of the staff caring for Derek around the clock, are doing an amazing job. And we've already started talking about what kind of cookies to bake them.

So, again, no call this morning. We're settling in, starting to let our guard down just a little in the hopes that we may be on somewhat stable road. The goal was to get to the end of the week, and we've done that. So now we'll move forward, one step at a time.

Thanks again for everything, I know I've said it a lot. But it has meant a lot to all of us to have so many people to reach out for, even if we're not utilizing all of the great resources that have been offered yet, once we get over the hump and get a little sleep under our belts, we'll definitely be getting in touch more.

This weekend I have plans to rest some, but work on doing some website clean up and modification and announce some upcoming shows, and most importantly catch up on everything else that has been going on around here while I haven't been able to really pay attention. Have good weekend everyone.

- Swoopy



Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2005 :  22:17:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
Kil,

Just want to thank you for posting in this thread. I had heard of Skepticality before this, but had never gotten around to listening to the show. Because of what's happened, I made an effort to listen to a few old shows and the most recent ones. Really great stuff. So now I'm worried and following along with the rest of ya. Anyway, thanks.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2005 :  08:06:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Derek update 11 pm 9/18/2005

quote:
Swoopy:

Today was Sunday, and for the first time we decided we would sleep in and not go to the very early hospital visit to catch the doctor on rounds. We knew he was scheduled for a CT scan this morning, and we would only be in the way. We got some much needed extra sleep, compliments of the magnificent staff at his hospital that allow us to rest easy now, knowing he's getting the best of care.

Last night was another stable night, and it's been noted through looking at the charting over the past week, that Derek's blood pressure spikes around 8 pm, almost like clockwork. They now can target when to deliver his medication so that it at it's most effective. The eerie part about knowing when his pressure is regularly high, is that he had the inital episode that began all of this around 7:30 in the evening. Another clue that Derek had underlying hypertension for awhile, and no one knew.

We are all in love with Reggie, Derek's regular night nurse for most of this past week, I'll just say that right now. He's a special guy for sure, and I'm not just saying that because he's been reading the forums too.

So, we're on the road to stability, or so it would seem. This morning Derek's CT scan showed that in fact his drains, which were not producing, might as well come out. Also, and I haven't seen the films yet but I may get to tomorrow. I saw the CT from a week ago tomorrow, so the contrast will be interesting. The edges of the major clot are "fluffy" and early indicators that it is beginning to break down.

Derek received a couple of nifty staples in his head, and no longer has tubes sticking out of his brain. I've suggested that he could easily be frankenstein's monster for Halloween. His pressure will be monitored very closely along with his other vitals that might show any indication that his intracranial pressure is on the rise.

He has a slight fever this evening, mostly due to fighting off the infection in his lungs. Still getting tube fed that lovely fibersource food to keep up his calorie load, and utilizing the cold blanket to keep his fever down.

His blood pressure was looking awesome, and some slight movements were occuring. He's not as responsive as they would like, but the paralytic drugs will wear off slowly because of his slowed down metabolism too. His sedation is lightened, and he tries to breathe on his own, and the respirator won't let him. It's a good response, and the oxygen saturation in his blood is at 100%, the oxygen level through his ventilator is 60%, so his respiratory system is doing pretty good considering.

So, it would seem we're wandering out of the deep woods. There's a path ahead, and we know were it is, but we're not quite on it yet. We'll get a few more definitive answers when we go in the morning and see the doctor on his rounds.

Thanks for hanging with us. It was a good weekend, much better than last weekend. There is talk of having Derek in a chair sitting up, even if he's not fully alert, by the end of the week. It will be quite a thing if we get there.

So, good things continue for Derek, and for those who love him. As will Skepticality. Stay tuned for a new show (previously recorded) tomorrow including the iPod winner announcement.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2005 :  20:31:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Derek update 10:45pm 9/19/05

quote:

I have to say, I'm starting to feel a little like Jay Leno. Every night, I have a monologue. I hope that no one is getting sick of it yet. I know that our world, although we're beginning to adapt, is made up of Derek's hospital stay, is just that - our world, and that everyone's day to day doesn't revolve around this. There is a certain level of tedium that is going to creep in, and if you find yourself not needing this updates for awhile, please let me know and I can take you out of the loop. That said, I also appreciate all the kind thoughts and nice words everyone has sent in being glad that they are updated, so that's great. If you want off the merry go round though, do let me know.

Kim, our favorite day nurse, was still there when we went to visit in the evening. She's an amazing woman, who has a long history working with Derek's doctor, Dr. Weaver. It helps that they know each other so well, in that between them we always know what is going on with Derek during those early morning hours when he's getting CT scans and chest x-rays.

Reggie let us know that they'll be giving Derek a tracheotomy tube soon, because long term on a respirator is hard on the throat and vocal cords. They'll also be able to administer medication for his breathing this way, and it's a better situation for his immediate and long term care. While it sounds scary, there are huge benefits to this, and when he no longer needs it, the hole will heal as if it was never there at all.

Derek's oxygen saturation is still good, and they lowered again the amount of oxygen he needs to breathe through the respirator. He's also able now to take breaths on his own, and when entirely free of the respirator does breathe completely on his own. His lungs still need the rest, so he's not going off of the vent just yet, but it's another positive step.

At this point, he is completely off of drip medications of all kinds, and is receiving the medication he needs via IV push at regular intervals. His sedation is very light at this point, although for the CT scan in order to get a good image and ensure Derek stays still, they will give him paralytic drugs on a very temporary basis. The importance of this particular CT scan will be to make sure that now the drains are out of his head that there isn't any additional pressure building and that the clot is still breaking down as it should be.

His next scan will be very early in the morning so that the films will be available to the doctor on rounds, and we got all of this great information from his staff because they know we like to see the doctor and review our situation as often as we can. So we'll be there bright and early just after seven tomorrow, so we can see what's going on. Hopefully more positives to report.

More baby steps toward what we'll probably be calling more long term care. The immediate, keep alive measures have evolved into what we'll be doing to prepare Derek for his long recovery road. Recovery is a great word, I'm glad we're able to use it.

I keep saying "we" and really it's a big "we" I'm talking about. We, the family and friends of Derek wouldn't be talking about recovery if it weren't for the amazing doctors, nurses and staff of North Fulton Regional Hospital. They work long hours, and have made Derek's care their priority and it shows every time we see him. He's being tended to so lovingly, and we feel cared about and cared for by this staff in the way they let us know what we can do to help Derek, to help them, and to help ourselves in these times. It's a foreign world, and they've made it much more friendly for us. Without them, we wouldn't be sleeping at night.

So, those are the highlights for now, more tomorrow and probably earlier too. Thanks for all the nice email we've been receiving, it's good to know that Derek is in your thoughts and prayers (because if you pray..and you believe in it..and all that stuff...it's OKAY...you can do what you do..and we'll do what we do..and it's all good in the end...whatever THAT is ). We're certainly very thankful for all of you.

- Swoopy


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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the_ignored
SFN Addict

2550 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2005 :  21:39:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send the_ignored a Private Message
At least they're talking about recovery now! It looks like, slowly but surely, he's on the mend!

>From: enuffenuff@fastmail.fm
(excerpt follows):
> I'm looking to teach these two bastards a lesson they'll never forget.
> Personal visit by mates of mine. No violence, just a wee little chat.
>
> **** has also committed more crimes than you can count with his
> incitement of hatred against a religion. That law came in about 2007
> much to ****'s ignorance. That is fact and his writing will become well
> know as well as him becoming a publicly known icon of hatred.
>
> Good luck with that fuckwit. And Reynold, fucking run, and don't stop.
> Disappear would be best as it was you who dared to attack me on my
> illness knowing nothing of the cause. You disgust me and you are top of
> the list boy. Again, no violence. Just regular reminders of who's there
> and visits to see you are behaving. Nothing scary in reality. But I'd
> still disappear if I was you.

What brought that on? this. Original posting here.

Another example of this guy's lunacy here.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2005 :  22:03:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Derek update 11:45pm 9/20/05

quote:
Swoopy:

Derek's got a brand new bed. Sounds like a blues song, but not really. It's this nifty hospital bed with some hydraulics or some such thing, that actually tilts him, every so often, side to side and up and down some. This allows his body position to shift naturally and avoid the bed sores that people who are in bed this long, begin to be prone to.

Possibly because of the moving, and a slight change in antibiotics, we had a feverish Derek this evening, 102. The cooling blanket was in place and measures were being taken to lower it, but he is fighting infection in his lungs and so a temp spike now and then has been happening. His blood pressure though, was good as was his oxygen saturation level. Most of the breathing he is doing, with respirator assistance is still on his own.

The tracheotomy hasn't happened yet, but when the whole of team Derek at the hospital has signed off on it and he is stable enough, he'll be getting the tubes out of his throat and getting a more direct line. Probably in a day or so.

Derek did get a nifty head shave today though, per our request, to make it cooler for him and also easier to keep clean. I've always wondered what he'd look like with a buzz, and honestly I think it's fabulous. I'm not sure he'd agree, but we're going to take pictures when he's on the mend, for posterity. His dad, in particular wanted to see, as he's back in Jersey for the time being. For now anyway, father and son have the same hairdo.

We haven't gotten word that his CT scan showed any abnormality, and there seems to be at this point no evidence that they need to reintroduce the drain system to his head. We'll take the little victories.

So this is another day on that long road, that at this point seems endless. Even so, close friends met up with us and had dinner after the evening visit, to prove that we all still remember how to laugh and find enjoyment in every day things that aren't hospital. It helps a lot.

In Skepticality type news, I finally got out that show I've been hanging on to. It was odd, hearing Derek's voice. Usually it's in my face or in my iPod or on my phone nearly 24 hours a day. It's gotten very quiet in my world, and I didn't really realize how quiet, until today.

I also have never said "um" or "so" that much, probably ever. So, I better ..um..work on that a bit. Thankfully we'll have guest hosts with big brains and bigger vocabularies, and nonetosoon.

Thanks for hangining in there. See you tomorrow, same time, same forum.

- Swoopy


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2005 :  17:35:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Derek update 4:30pm 9/21/05

quote:
Swoopy:

Welcome to a rare, but much anticipated afternoon update. This doesn't necessarily preclude an evening update, we'll play that by ear.

We slept in today and did not do the early morning hospital routine, and I think it did us all a world of good. We got a call just before we were leaving from the doctor that will be assisting with Derek's tracheostomy, which is scheduled for tomorrow morning. We're looking forward to that, as it will make everything easier for him and get the tubes out of his mouth and nose.

The limitation of the neuro trauma unit is that for extremely good reason, visitors are limited to two at a time. And so it's generally routine we switch off and tag in and out of the room every ten minutes or so, that we all get a chance to spend time with Derek. As a rule of thumb, wife and mom get first dibs. So standing in the hall, still sleepy, I waited. But all too soon, Susan stuck her head out of the door and said something I wasn't at all expecting: "he's awake."

He's what!? Yep, no lie. I went in, breaking all the rules, and there was the man himself, eyes open. Since he's still on a ventilator, he couldn't say anything if he was moved to, and really in his half aware state, I'm not sure that was his intention. His right arm was quite active, and as I took the hand of the left - the side of his body most affected by the stroke - I got a strong squeeze. I squeezed back, and then so did he.

Derek, ever a fidgeter if ever there was one, has a bit of a bouncy leg. Anyone who has sat at a table with him and felt the tremor of that bouncing leg knows what I'm talking about. His right leg, the one most prone to bounce, even in sleep, was doing just that. We quietly explained that he was fine, and to just rest, that he had boots on his feet and a tube in his throat, and he had nothing to worry about, just to relax. And the initial restlessness seemed to pass.

His fever had just broken and he was drenched in a sweat, so we took turns drying his brow and face. His mom and Susan each had a hand, and so I went to the foot of the bed and rubbed the tops of his feet that stick out from the open toed compression stockings and boots, and his prehensile like simian toes grabbed my fingers, especially the left one, which was quite a surprise.

Such was his activity, with his right arm reaching to pull the tubes from his mouth that we had to hold that hand until it could be gently restrained so that he wouldn't dislodge anything. He became sleepier and was resting again, by the time we left.

Blood pressure good, heart rate up a bit because of waning fever, which was on it's way down thanks to the cooling blanket and Tylenol. All of his other necessary functions, breathing, digestion and such are all working. The addition of his trach-tube and getting the respirator out of his mouth will be a huge step and we're looking forward to that.

One of the best parts of the glimmer of consciousness that we saw today was that his mom got to talk to him a bit, and he responded with squeezes and noticed her. She's headed back to New Jersey tomorrow and this will send her home with a much lighter load to carry.

We're all pretty high right now. We knew he was in there, but the physical response on his weakened left side was a real surprise. I'll be interested to talk to his doctor about it. I have a feeling he's going to surprise everyone, not necessarily with the recovery that he's on the cusp of beginning, but with the extent of it in the end. This is a benefit of course of his age. It's still early in what will be a very long process, but this morning was another positive moment that makes our day to day just that much easier, and the coming future days a little less trepidatious.

More updates as they seem pertinent. This one, really did.

- Swoopy


Go Derek!!!!

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2005 :  17:48:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
Go Derek!!!!



I second that.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2005 :  17:48:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message
That's a relief! He's coming back!

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9666 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2005 :  21:24:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
One small step for a man, giant relief for mankind.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 09/22/2005 :  07:33:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Derek update 10:00pm 9/21/05

quote:
Swoopy:

Our evening was about as eventful as our afternoon, more movement from arms and legs on both sides. Arm lifting, leg bouncing, toe curling and all that good stuff. Eyes open a little, but not a lot.

For us, now comes the difficult place between elation and worry. We're thrilled he's in there, and he's moving. We're scared that he's in there, and confused or anxious and there's not much we can do about it though we continually, quietly reassure him. This is complicated a bit by the fact that the ventilator stifles him and while I'm not sure he'd be making sounds, he really couldn't anyway.

Every head trauma is different, but I recall my own (when I was seven) as being in a very fuzzy place where I knew things were going on, and I did want to participate but everything seemed to be happening far away from me and there wasn't anything I could do about it. I was too fuzzy to be worried. I don't have any memory of the accident or much about the recovery period, which is probably a good thing. It will be interesting to see if anything, what Derek remembers in the end. But our not knowing, what he knows, is the hard part for us right now.

Reggie took off the soft restraints they were using this afternoon, in an effort to make Derek as comfortable as possible. He doesn't think that even though Derek has movement that his range of motion would be enough to do anything bothersome to his tubes. And that definitely won't be happening on his watch.

The adjustable bed is just the coolest thing ever. And too, it seems like the most movement comes from Derek when he is trying to compensate for the way the bed is shifting him. The bed tilts at angles, slowly and gently, but the nylon covering on the bed allows Derek to slide some and thereby changing where he's putting weight on his back and hips. He hasn't developed any sort of bed sores, and since they have been taking such great precautions with him, that doesn't look like it's going to become a worry at this point.

Reggie also planned Derek's evening sedation so that he would be more awake for us, but would be resting comfortably soon after. His oxygen saturation levels and blood pressure is good and his fever is somewhat reduced; they're still giving him Tylenol for that.

Derek is scheduled for his tracheostomy in the morning, as well as another CT scan, so he's going to be a busy guy. The trach means bye bye goatee, so he's going to be hairless for awhile. This is really good for keeping him clean and cool though, so I suspect he won't mind, and it'll all grow back pretty quickly.

We're going to be there bright and early to see him before the procedure, which is done bedside and will only take around 20 minutes. This will give his mom a morning visit, and then she's going back to New Jersey to catch up on things there for a bit. She got exactly what she was hoping for before she left, a chance to look Derek in the eye and have him squeeze her hand. Great timing Derek, as usual.

So we're going to have a little something to eat and get to bed early. Tomorrow will bring new stuff, and hopefully more good stuff. I think we can start using the word recovery in earnest now.

However for the immediate time being, we're asking for immediate family only to visit. Since Derek is more awake, he's also more easily agitated, and what he needs is plenty of rest. A good part of this evening, we left him one on one with Susan, because that seemed to calm him the most. Some stimulation is good right now, but too much stimulation is just that..too much, right now.

We'll definitely let people know when it's good to come visit, and hopefully that time isn't too far away. But for now we'll keep you updated and thank you for understanding why we'll ask people not to visit Derek at this time.

I got some really amazing email following this afternoon's update. Much beer has been drunk in the name of Derek today. Tip your waitresses.

- Swoopy


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2005 :  07:12:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Derek update 11:45pm 9/22/05!

quote:
Swoopy:

Today was a busy day, in Derek's world anyway. We visited early as he was scheduled for his tracheotomy at 9, and this gave him mom a chance for a goodbye-for-now visit before she headed back to New Jersey for a couple of weeks. He was moving quite a bit, but still sleepy. We got a chance too, to catch up with Dr. Weaver, the very same neurologist that treated Derek from his first moments at the hospital and he's very pleased with what he's been seeing.

Derek's early morning CT scan showed a large reduction in size and density of the major clot, so the necessary reabsorbing of blood is occurring and he has no present hydrocephalus, or excess fluid on his brain, so no drains are necessary either at this time.

Dr. Weaver again checked for that silly BB, which isn't truly in his sinus cavity but more subcutaneous and easier to get to then first thought. Since Derek is on the road to stability he'll be getting that BB out soon so that he can get that all important MRI. His mom has plans to turn it into jewelry. Being able to do an MRI will allow the doctor to further diagnose the probable cause of the initial bleed and begin to formulate preventative care options further down the line for reducing his hyper-tension and assessing the probability of another incident.

Susan and I returned to the hospital at the noon visit to check out Derek's new bling, and really love being able to see his whole face again. Getting the respirator out of his mouth, along with all of the straps that kept it in place and mouth guards and such, really helped. His mouth was still a little foamy, but a lot of good oral care was done to clean out his mouth and we could tell he was so much more comfortable, even though sedated.

His sinus was draining quite a bit too, with every tilt of the bed and all the evidence shows that his lung condition is much improved. His temperature was up just a little bit, but his blood pressure was the lowest it's been and oxygen saturation was good as well. He's down to 45% oxygen on the vent, that now goes through his trach tube instead of through his mouth and nose, which is again a great thing all around.

We saw the surgeon who assisted in the bedside procedure which took only about 20 minutes, and even though Derek has a pretty big neck, the doctor said it went wonderfully with almost no bleeding. Before we left at noontime, Susan and I were treated to two yawns from Derek, opening his mouth very wide, moving his tongue a little (which he hasn't been able to do for two weeks). It was awesome to see, though you can tell that his mouth will need a little TLC for awhile.

The last procedure of the day was a direct feeding line to Derek's stomach, which allows the nutrition to go right where it needs to instead of through his nose, so again no more tubes going down his throat. This line will also close up and heal very quickly when it's removed, but is the most comfortable way for him to get food into his system now. All of these things, when consciousness begins more in earnest will make him much less fussy, we hope, and make it easier to communicate, when he's ready. We got the scoop from Reggie when we went back for the evening visit, which means we did hospital morning, noon and night today.

All of these procedures made for a busy day, and Derek was sedated for most of it so while we were treated to his characteristic leg bounce during rest and sleep, and hand movement, there wasn't any eye opening or as much "communication" today as yesterday. Though Reggie, we were told today was asking Derek for specific, right side or left side hand squeezes last night, and got exactly what he asked for. I would suspect we'll be getting more of that ourselves in the next few days as the sedation lifts, which will be exciting.

Even from the noontime visit, his mouth and lips looked much better, and his mouth was closed normally, the swelling in his tongue seemed reduced. He still looked peaceful and much less fussy and more comfortable, and we hope that's a trend that continues even when he's not as sedated.

We're glad to know he's resting quietly tonight, and so we plan to do the same. It's so much nicer doing the daily report when it's good stuff, and I bet it's nicer to read too.

Though I will say we got our first medical invoice today: oi. It was for the initial 911 response and ambulance transport from the immediate med (haven't seen their invoice yet) to the hospital. For those who might wonder, just the initial ambulance response costs $500. That doesn't count the cost per mile (which wasn't far), oxygen and other stuff that goes with it. Yes I did say good stuff..it wasn't a bill, the insurance company gets that, it's an invoice.

Without the wonderful initial response team that kept Derek from really aspirating a lot during his first unconscious moments and getting him on oxygen right away, his outcome would not have been as good as it we've been experiencing, and that is of course invaluable. Also the EMT's were very kind and reassuring to Susan and I when we arrived at the hospital in those first panicky moments, and their concern and kindness meant so much.

Our best to everyone, and thank you too for the cards and snacks and things that keep coming to the house. We've started a sort of shrine of cards and gifts on the dining room table, for when Derek comes home. Which if we keep progressing at this rate, seems like it could be sooner than later.

- Swoopy


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2005 :  19:16:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Derek update 9:30pm 9/23/05

quote:
Swoopy:

Really short update, as there were no procedures or new information or really anything much to report from today.

Derek's blood pressure, temp, heart rate all the important numbers, in the good range. Still movement on both sides, arms and legs, eyes and head, but not much alertness or recognition today. We're still getting used to the sounds of his trach-tube instead of the ventilator and all the gurgling that it allows him to make. It's perfectly fine and normal, as is the small air leak around his tube. He's doing pretty much all his own breathing and no longer has continuous suction for his lungs, more signs of healings.

The man himself, was moving and snoring a little, but mostly just resting. He's done a lot of hard work in the last couple of weeks and now that he's stable, he needs some sleep. This kind of plateau is expected.

Stable and boring is fine with us. We expect that's what we'll be having for at least the immediate future.

We seem to have new (to us, not the facility) staff by day and evening for the next couple of days, and honestly that makes us a little antsy. Also, woe betide them, as they are faced with us: question askers that stick our noses in Derek's care regimen to find out as much as we can.

Unfortunately hospitals are not quite like restaurants, you can't request your favorite waiter's section. If Reggie and Kim didn't need sleep, we'd selfishly keep them and their excellent communication skills and bedside manner all to ourselves. And Dr. Weaver would be there, whenever we are. Actually I'm sure he nearly is, he doesn't get much sleep himself I suspect.

We've been a little spoiled. Make no mistake, Derek's care is continually excellent, but we've been lucky to meet some really wonderfully people that just happen to be his care-givers, and if we could we'd have them around all the time.

I myself am a little fluish, and trying not to give it to anyone. I'm resting up over the weekend, so I can pour on the steam next week. Susan will be going back to work, so I'll be doing the morning hospital rounds by myself and then probably earlier evenings we'll do together so that we're not getting to bed so late.

So, quiet and stable are the words of the day. If only the gulf coast states were the same. Local news was reporting that they have already canceled some school here for part of next week to save on energy and fuel costs. Anyone else find that scary?

I know if Derek were watching that on the news, he'd be all over that one and we'd never hear the end of it. Hopefully soon.

Have a good weekend, be safe. I have designs on resting on the couch with the laptop and reading and reading posts. And writing some much needed Whimsicality.

Everyone have a safe weekend, please.

- Swoopy


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2005 :  21:39:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Derek update 10:00pm 9/24/05

quote:
Swoopy:

Very short and sweet today.

The big news being that Derek is now off the respirator and is breathing entirely on his own.

And while he still has the trach in place, it's not connected to the respirator, he has monitors connected that keep an eye on his breathing but he's doing all the work. His oxygen level is still good, and blood pressure is looking really good as well. Being it's the weekend, doctors are scarce as we're not the sickest kids on the block right now. Nursing care continues to be excellent, despite having to learn new faces every day.

We did wake the guy a bit when we visited at noon, per the nurse's instruction, but when she saw his breathing get faster and the mild agitation that occurred, we decided that over stimulation might not be such a good idea quite yet. On the up side, he quieted down pretty quickly with a few soothing words from his Susan, and we stuck to quiet hand holding for the rest of our visits today.

I suspect Monday will bring more to report as we'll be checking in with the doctor on his morning rounds. For now, although he has short periods of wakefulness, spontaneous coughing and yawning, it's pretty quiet in Derek's world.

Selfishly, we wish there was more response to command, but we also know that healing requires a lot of rest and wakefulness is not a priority to his body right now - dealing with that clot and recovering from the pneumonia is. These things are on the mend, and keeping the rest of the body parts comfortable and functioning while he heals is what we'll do now.

On a related note, the great guys who take care of our cars, who have always been enamored of Derek's big truck, found out about his condition today when Susan took her car in for service. When they called to tell her it was ready, they also told her there was no charge. It's the little things that bring smiles.

Best to everyone at home and abroad for your continued kindnesses.

- Swoopy



Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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