Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 2 Good Progress

Greetings from the ICU of Good Samaritan Hospital. Louise has had a good day so far on one of the days that was supposed to be the worst. This morning about 8 am they woke her up. They took her off all sedation with the hope of testing her to make sure she could come off of the respirator. She passed all of the tests even though she had a hard time puffing for cancer (you old timers who have followed the blog from the beginning would understand that). Anyway, they found that her lungs were strong enough to breathe on their own so they took the respirator out about 10 am and she has done fine breathing ever since.

Since she couldn't talk with the respirator in we had no idea if she had any voice at all. One of the problems with this type of surgery is that they often times damage the nerve of the larynx and the patient becomes hoarse or loses her voice. Louise does not talk loudly when she speaks but she sounds like she has her complete voice back and won't even be hoarse. Yay!!

When she had the respirator in we had fun trying to communicate with each other. She tried to say things moving her lips and expected me to understand. I couldn't even see her lips through all of the pipes, let alone try to read them. So she would do feeble hand motions. I would just laugh. So I did all of the talking for a while. I told her how blessed she was, how the surgery only lasted 3 hours and was totally successful. I told her about all of the people of the world who were interested and how we spent the afternoon and evening answering calls and getting the word out. I told her how my parents, sister Marti, George Reeves and later sister Barbara came to be with me and Kelsey and Katie in the waiting room and how our dear neighbor Lea came all the way from Scottsdale to bring us a basket of goodies to eat while we waited. Tears welled up in her eyes when she heard of all of these things and of many more well wishers who called and commented.

After I had her write her questions on paper, we could communicate so much better. Can any of you imagine Louise being speechless? Forget the pain and the other frustrations, not being able to speak was the most difficult.

So then when she finally could speak, Brian, Katie and I had a real fun time talking with her. Being on pain-killer narcotics she said some funny things. She said how glad she was to be on drugs. She kept telling us that she had had surgery and we shouldn't forget that. She asked at least 6 times what day it was and when was Brady going to come visit. Some of her humor was intentional but some was intoxication. We all laughed including her and that was so good to see on a difficult day.

They have actually eliminated several tubes and drains and slowly she will get to the point where she is down to maybe only 5 or 6 that she has to drag around with her when she walks. They are planning to get her up to sit in a chair and maybe walk in another hour.

I watched them change all of her dressings so I could see all of her scars. Yikes again! Her neck wound was not 2 inches, more like 4 inches long. Her abdomen scar seemed like almost 12 inches (from breastbone to past the naval). But they looked very good. I sure can't staple anything that straight. As they have reduced her pain medicine, she has felt pain but not horrible. She received a blessing that her pain would not be unbearable and so far it hasn't been. Just as I write this she is having quite a bit of pain where her chest tube (that looks like a garden hose)is connected. However, I am very encouraged and pleased by her progress today.

To close this today, let me tell you one more very interesting side notes. Debbie might kill me for saying something but I don't care. Louise has a best friend (she is our whole family's best friend). She lives in the Newport Beach area and spends time every year with us at the beach. She also came and stayed with us in September and was the nurse for Louise for a week. You have seen her comments in the blog under Deborah or Debbie. Well a few weeks ago she called to let us know that the doctors had found a 4-inch cancerous tumor on her kidney. She had to have her kidney and the tumor removed by surgery soon. She had her surgery yesterday at the very same time as Louise at the UCLA medical center. They were successful in removing the tumor and the kidney and she seems to be recovering well. What a coincidence for these good friends to have cancer surgery at the exact same time. Good luck Debbie in your recovery. Our prayers are with you!



  1. Such amazing progress for Louise!!! I love the humor in this post because it seems to put us all at ease. Prayer works, prayer works and you all are being blessed. Thank you for the report on Debbie too. Louise had told me about her cancer but I didn't know she was having surgery so soon. She is a wonderful friend to Louise. We met her on the beach years ago when she lived in Spain.
    Thanks again for the detailed and positive report.
    Love, Becky

  2. Thank you for the updates. Have taken the liberty of passing on the link so that they can keep track of the updates. We continue to have you and your family in our prayers and thoughts. It seems that we easily "pray always" these days. Much glad that there is still humor in such trying situations...oxoxxo bob and dar

  3. What a relief to know things are going so well. I wish we could all be there in the hospital to lend our love and support to you. Know that we love you
    and so appreciate the detailed accounts of Louise's progress...give her a hug (between all the tubes and drains) from us.

  4. So much good news! Thank you for your detailed reports Spence. It is exciting to see a light at the end of this long tunnel. Please give Louise my love.
    Thank you also for letting us know about Debbie. Over the years I have heard so much about Debbie and what a dear friend she has been to Louise and your family. I pray she will have a good and full recovery.

  5. What a happy releaf. Spence, you sound so good also. I'm sure you have been releaved of so much worry. Louise, you are one of the strongest people I know and I admire you so very much. We are so grateful to our Heavenly Father for all his tender mercies. I will be excited to laugh with you again. We love you so much and so happy for the success. We knew it would happen.

  6. Dear Spence. All so great!!! YEAH!!! I KNEW it would be glad!!!! WE ARE CELEBRATING. Give Louise a big hug from me, Chloe and Gabs

  7. Sounds like all good news. I promise the incisions are the size they said and will go back to much smaller when the swelling goes down and healing happens. Alan's was 10 inches long, but is now about 4. I hope they manage the pain and that she hardly has any. It is okay to have pain medication for quite a while. She will not become an addict yet. I can't believe she has a voice already. We love you both.

  8. Yea for Louise. I'm so glad things are going ok. Today is the day that you said that she will beg the doctors to kill her - so lets hope that isn't the case. Sounds as if she is doing ok. We love you Louise. You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. All of ours. Even little Lizzy.

  9. I am so happy to hear that both Louise's and Debbie's surgeries went well. I think Debbie is the friend I met when I was in town in September. Please give Louise a big hug and kiss from me and tell her I love her :)

  10. So glad to hear things went well. We have been praying for you and Louise up this way. My love and thoughts are with you all.

  11. Wonderful news!! Thank you for taking the precious time keep everyone up to date. We will continue the prayers as you continue to recover. Can't wait to see your new "do" when you come home! :) Love you guys!!

    Kim Tuite