Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 4 Less eventful, more stability, a day of rest

The day was a lot less eventful and that is good. For Louise it was a rough night. She hit the call button for the nurse about 30 times at 3 am. Why, the heck, didn't she come? Finally she came in. Oops Louise had hit the wrong button 30 times. She hit the pain medication button. So she was so overdosed on pain medication that they had to give her a shot to reverse the narcotic in her. Too much medicine had caused her lungs to slow way down and she was breathing very shallow. They called in the respiratory doctors who put a mask on her and told her they might have to put the respirator back on. They didn't but she was so scared that she started coughing and felt like she was going to throw up. It was a real long night for her.

However, by morning she was fine. She was not drugged at all and seemed to be feeling well. She did sleep most of the morning. Because she has had these respiratory problems and fluid build-up in her chest, the doctor has stayed very conservative with her. He kind of gave her another day to improve before he starts doing more tests. She has gone another day without getting any nourishment into her intestinal feeding tube. Her intestines and bowels are still "asleep" and they want to wait another day before they try to put anything in them. She also has not had anything go down her throat. They fear that it might leak and the more days of healing that go by before they try anything, the less likely there would be a leak and infection. They won't even let her have ice chips. She is still asking everyone to sneak her a drink.

They have told us that tomorrow she will be tested for swallowing. They will let her drink a little barium and they will watch it through the x-rays to see if it leaks. So her first drink is barium. Yuk!!

They had the physical therapist come to help Louise get out of bed to sit in the chair for longer than yesterday. After they spent the 15 minutes disconnecting, reconnecting and changing all containers to a little cart so she could walk 2 feet to the chair, they decided she was doing so well that they took her on a walk around the whole ICU pod. She did great and was not in much pain as she walked. it did wear her out but we were all very encouraged with the first walk. She then set in a chair for over an hour which they say is also very good for the lungs and heart. As she sat in the chair, Kelsey and Brady had her watch her favorite DVD, episode of I Love Lucy. I even saw her crack a smile once in a while. She was very happy and ready to jump (or rather gently flop) into bed thereafter.

So as I said at first it was a less eventful and hopefully healing day. Louise was a lot more in tune today. Thanks to all of you for your comments and emails. I have read them to her and she has been so happy to hear from you all. I'll be back with another update tomorrow.

Gute Nacht!


  1. Such good news! Thank you for sharing so many details that help us to feel like we aren't so very far away. We'll look forward to more news tomorrow evening.

  2. I'm so glad that you were able to get up and get around, Louise. Way to go! Sounds like such a rough night....I wish I could be there to help in any way I could. I'm so glad you have good doctors - and good nurses (including Spence). I will be thinking of you and praying for you tomorrow - for your first drink! You are in my thoughts all the time - I'm so glad today was a better day. Love you, Janet

  3. Wow...we knew she was a closet drinker, but now hitting the big time 30 times in one hour! Well, I hope they have those buttons straightened out tonight! :) I'm so encouraged about the walking and sitting! YEA! Here's to tomorrow! Love to all. Lo

  4. Spence, Thanks so much for keeping us updated. My heart breaks at Louise's discomfort and leaps for joy at the successes. I pushed my pain meds button that many times too, but the difference is I meant to. I didn't want the nurse... just the drugs. Then the alarm went off and I was busted!

  5. Dear Spence:
    We giggled with the 30 times button pushing...!!! Poor Louise! But walking around the whole unit. FANTASTIC.. Yes, we are all on a roller coaster ride reading about the steps forward...and backwards..literally hanging onto your EVERY word. I will keep my fingers crossed for today..
    Hope Louise finally can get something to drink..she must be so thirsty...
    Love, Sue

  6. So great to get the update!!! I thought they had a control limit on the button for the painkillers!!! Scary!!! So great to hear about the walking session!!! I remember my first walk because my kids have reenacted it for me several times. Apparently, I walked ever so slowly with all the tubes (fewer than you) attached to the wheeled rack I held tightly to with both hands as I barely shuffled my feet forward. A much older lady dressed in her own gown and showing, luckily, her bra, passed me up strutting with one hand on the rack while holding a cellphone in the other as she screamed into it with a heavy "Long Guyland" accent. My kids said that I rested my head on my rack and declared practically weeping, "That's what I get for bragging about having a high pain threshold!" So I was totally humbled and determined to soon outdo that older woman as she passed me on her second lap! Luckily for us both, she was discharged before I was able to do so!!! LOL They all promised me the walking would get easier and would make me feel better much faster. And now I can attest to that!!! I'm still walking rather short distances with a slow somewhat feeble gait, but gaining strenghth with each walk. I imagine you will also get the little gizmo to teach you to breath more deeply. I hate it, but I have improved and consequently cough less each day. Webe, I can't wait for us to be able to look back on our CSSS (cancer surgery survivor sisters) experiences together and actually be able to laugh at them together. Until then, know that I am with you in spirit (and in sympathetic pain, albeit much lighter than yours) and remember that you are continually in my prayers, as are Spence and your whole family. Love you so much, Deb

  7. Spence, Thanks for the detailed accounts. I know it's a pain but we really appreciate it. You're the man. My prayers go out to both of you. Love to you and Louise.

  8. I am glad that the rough night turned into a little better day. I'm sure the walk around the ICU felt like a marathon. Hang in there Louise you are a winner!

  9. I'm so proud of you, Louise. One foot in front of the other works for most things. My love to you and your family,

  10. Stay strong Louise, you cute lady! You can do it, every day will get better and better.