The Miracle Man Rides Again!

The cat with a million lives survives yet again.  Duff’s being discharged today!  This has definitely been one of his shortest stays in recent memory, probably because it didn’t effect his breathing at all.  His counts are back to what they were before he went in, meaning relatively normal except for very low platelets.

So, he’s off to home today, and hopefully back to a standard routine.

Continued Improvement

Just a very quick update today.  Duff was officially diagnosed with norovirus, and continues to improve daily.  There’s no talk yet on a timeframe for discharge, but there are conditions that have to be met before he can go home.  He hasn’t had a fever for several days now, and many of his numbers have returned to normal.  The doctors are still watching some things, including urine output and platelet counts.

For a change, Duff actually got me and the kiddo sick!  We had a bit of a rough day yesterday, but are much better today.  Not 100%, but enough to get back to our daily activities.  Hence, the short update while I drink my ginger ale and eat bland food.

More soon…

Well, Here We Go Again…

So, if you saw my Facebook post yesterday, Duff made his way to the ER.  But this time was different.  Yes, he went to the nearest ER by ambulance, but this time he could breathe.  Instead, this time he was having severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and basically any kind of gastric distress you can think of.  The ER docs weren’t able to do much, but were able to give him Morphine to take the edge off the pain and Zofran which didn’t get rid of the nausea but maybe calmed it a little bit.

Tests showed free fluid in the belly, but no obvious point of origin for it.  His blood counts were out of whack, but they’ve been that way for a while.  His white count was pretty high, so it looked like he could have an infection, and his platelets were really low but not low enough yet to where his doctors usually transfuse.  He was also really dehydrated but they didn’t want to give him anything by mouth in case he needed any invasive procedures later in the day.

Duff wound up getting transferred to Jefferson by mid afternoon, so he’s now all settled into the BMT Unit with the medical professionals who know him best.  They repeated some tests when he got to Jefferson, which showed that his platelets had dropped even more and he was now spiking really high fevers.  His heart and respiratory rates were up, which they figured was most likely due to a combination of the fever and pain, but luckily his oxygen sats remained steady and looking good.

The Jefferson docs decided to wait to see what would happen overnight based on repeat ultrasound results, so surgery and other invasive procedures were put on hold.  He was allowed to try some small pills and liquid meds, which he was able to take down ok, but he had to be watched carefully because he couldn’t sit up well due to pain and was at risk for aspiration.

Now, being Duff, he got miraculously better overnight.  He’s definitely not 100%, but he’s leaps and bounds above where he was yesterday.  He’s back to giving coherent answers and actually answering questions correctly (when he heard some of his answers from yesterday he was very confused as to why he would have given them because they were completely false).  He still has some pain, nausea, and general gastric upset, but it is not severe like yesterday.  The transfusion helped hold his platelets higher, and his other blood counts are more normal.  Some of his other numbers are still off, and they have to be very careful with his fluid levels, so they’re watching things closely.

He plans on sleeping today, but he’s already looking so much better.

Where have you been? What’s going on?

That’s probably what you’ve been wondering.  I just now realized it’s been over a week since my last post. (OK, that brings me back to my Catholic childhood…)

Actually, a lot has been going on.

As mentioned in my last post, Duff has been doing great.  So great, in fact, that he made his quickest recovery ever and got discharged last Friday.  That’s right, he got discharged a total of 9 days after first going to the hospital, and was on the vent for all or part of 5 days of that.  That’s unheard of!  I guess we have to chalk it up to Duff being Duff, and never doing the same thing twice.

So, he’s been home since Friday, and has been doing pretty well since then.  We’ve been to several appointments already and have several more lined up.  PT and nurses come out to the house a couple times a week to help him get stronger, and it seems to be working so far.  We’ve been settling into a new “semi-normal” at home and just trying to keep him out of the hospital.

A Miraculous Recovery

So today, Duff’s up sitting in the chair, entertaining like he wasn’t intubated just yesterday.  He’s having some minor issues, but nothing that isn’t being managed fairly easily.

The doctors are trying him on a different steroid.  His pulmonologist had the idea last night that he might not be absorbing the oral form of prednisone correctly.  That would be why he improves every time he gets into the hospital and receives IV steroids, but gets worse at home.  So he got switched to Solu-Medrol today, and we’ll see how that works.

He needs to finish a course of IV antibiotics (which will be soon), get his blood pressure stabilized so he can get his A-line out, and make sure he can pee on his own while keeping up with the lasix.  He will be working with PT and his nurses to get moving again, and should be going to the PT gym in the next day or two.

At this rate, he will probably be going home by the end of the week if he doesn’t experience a sudden downturn.

Let’s see how this plays out…

Well, That Was Fast

So, I walked in to the BMT Unit today at the same time as Duff’s pulmonologist to have him tell me that they had him on a spontaneous breathing test this morning.  I confirmed just what that meant: that they were trying to extubate him today.

If you ready my last post, you can imagine how this threw me for a loop.  Yesterday the care team was talking about extubating sometime this week, and today I walk in to them trying.  Well, I come to find out that it was a surprise to other people even in his care team.

They extubated around 12:30pm, and as of 3:30pm when I write this he’s doing OK.  He’s really groggy from the sedation but starting to come around more.  He will answer questions and is starting to talk, and usually makes sense when he does.

Hopefully the progress will continue and we’ll have some (relatively) smooth sailing from here on out.

A Quick Update Because…

There’s no real changes to report.  Duff is still intubated.  He’s doing well on it, and his oxygen requirements continue to decrease.  Most of his numbers continue to get back to where they should be, or at least where they were before he was admitted.

The doctors still don’t know what caused this sudden downturn.  They don’t know if it was some kind of bug, retaining too much fluid, or something else entirely.  So they continue to treat him broadly, covering him for everything possible.

The only thing that hasn’t gotten back close to normal yet are his blood counts.  For some reason, he’s not maintaining his hemoglobin like he normally does, so he’s needed more blood transfusions than usual.  The doctors have some ideas about what may be causing this, and it is probably something as simple as that they’ve started giving him more meds by IV, but they’re still working on sorting that one out.

The docs have just started to talk about extubating, possibly sometime this week.  PLEASE don’t get overly anxious for this; I know it is always the goal to have Duff off the vent and back to his usual smartass self, but we want to make sure his body can handle it first, especially his lungs.  It would be worse to have to reintubate him than to leave him on for an extra day or two.

He’s been handling the vent fairly well this time.  He is pretty calm when sedated.  He does wake up occasionally and get agitated, but can be reorientated to his situation and calmed down relatively quickly.  He was a little more agitated today than he had been so they added another med, but they also removed one, so it evens out.

Hopefully, things will keep going this way for the near future until the docs decide to move toward extubation.  So, for the time being, no news is good news.  I will try my best to update here, but I may occasionally miss a day or two.  (While things are calm, I’m trying to catch up on the other jobs that need done, like laundry and bills.🙂 )

Until next time…