Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 9 Not So Fine

This was one of those step backwards days. We had hoped to be without tubes and monitors and making advances to being released. Instead they found through the early morning x-ray that Louise has a partially collapsed lung on her right side caused by the continual build-up of fluid in her chest cavity. They not only left all of the tubes in but they put the right one (that hurts so much) on suction again to try to drain her chest faster. She has been trying to suck on this gizmo that helps exercise her lungs but as hard as she tries she can't get it too far up. Her lung capacity is going down rather than up. It affected her when she tried to stand or walk. She only made one lap because the therapist noted that her pulse was up to 145 as she was walking. Her heart is working too hard. So she really didn't get up any more during the day. She had to wear the oxygen in her nose most of the day. She spent most of the afternoon in the chair which is about all she could do.

And yes we are still in the intensive care unit. I called it the intensive-not-there unit. I couldn't find any nurses all day so I was in charge. I did things there I never thought I would get to do. I know where every piece of linen is, how to fix every alarm and where all the be pans are. I won't go into all of my chores for the day but suffice it to say that I'm going to offset my large hospital bill from Good Sam with one of my own that I submit back to them. Mary Lee Nelson, our ward Mayo nurse, would be so proud of my nursing skills.

Louise did eat more today. She loved their thick soup and ate her whole bowl. She ate many other soft foods and is certainly making progress in that area. Who knows what will happen tomorrow but we are praying she can move forward again and her lungs will improve. That's the latest scene from General Hospital. Signing off.



  1. Oh Spence, today sounded very tough, the lung problem I worried would
    happen. I once spent 6 weeks in a comma with a collapsed left lung, still here, so hang in there, setbacks happen. She is eating which is a plus. Pulse 145, heart is working hard trying to walk, she tries so hard, bless her heart. Just take baby steps a few days.
    As for finding nurses, be glad your in the "penthouse suite", as soon as your rent is reduced, so are the nurses. Having an advocate for the patient seems to have been necessary with all my patients even when Lou had his surgery (leg amputated) back in 1987. The Mayo group worked out of Scottsdale Hospital on Shea then. Mayo let us have a room with two beds, one for Lou and one for me, it was 24/7 for the caretaker then as nothing has changed. They really gave me a lot of liberties and run of the hospital. I changed linens and was showned where to find them etc. Spence, you have to also take care of
    yourself, I can't say this enough. It is hard for others to comment and
    tell the caretaker to take time to look after himself, seems selfish, but is necessary for you to do, or you will become the patient as well. Yes, Mary Lee Nelson would be, as we all are, proud of your nursing skills, she is overworked at Mayo these days as all hospitals have a shortage
    of nurses it seems.
    Yes, who knows what tomorrow will bring, and yesterday is done, so you know the rest of the story better than a lot of other men know. It is today that counts, every hour, every moment, every second. God has his hand on this day. It is my prayer that He continue to be with you both each day, each hour, moment and second, giving you strength and courage to endure all you have to go through. Keep the faith, her lungs will improve.
    Peggy (Chaz too) D'Amato

  2. What a great team you two are...more than ever, I realize how wonderfully matched you and Louise are. Our prayers are with you every step of the way.

  3. Louise's recovery is more of a roller coaster experience than I ever would have imagined. So grateful she is eating more and more (Yea!). So grateful for your continual presence and support Spence. I pray this will be a better day.

  4. I talked to her yesterday! I thought she was doing so much better. It's just like my thoughtful Aunt Louise to call me from the ICU to ask how Jeff's knee surgery went. Thanks Louise for always being so thoughtful and kind. We are praying your lung gets strong fast. WE LOVE YOU!!!

  5. I am sad about the trouble with Louise's lung. But, she has the best nurse possible in Spence. It is encouraging that she is eating so well now. I hope that the fluid in her lungs will be reduced and that she can continue to improve in that area. Sending my love!


  6. Hoping tomorrow will see great improvements! One day at a time and soon she will be coming home. Prayers for you both.

  7. Spence, your daily medical reports almost make me feel like I am right there on the scene. You give a pretty visual account of the daily struggle and recovery process. This is a tough ordeal for both of you. I hope it gets easier soon. I know Louise must be very comforted by your constant presence. Glorianne

  8. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear of Webe's temporary setback. She sounded so good when we talked yesterday. As was the case with someone else who commented, rather than talk about herself, Webe wanted to hear how I was doing. I can tell you firsthand that it's not always linear progress. One day seems quite better and then the next can be crummy. And I officially hate that breathing gizmo they give us. I thought I had been doing really well only to learn on the day I was leaving that I had been doing it all wrong!!! My dear friend, I so pray the problem with your lungs is alleviated so that you can grow strong enough to go home soon. In the meantime I hope you, Spence, can get some much needed rest! Please take care of yourself, let others help any way they can, and stay healthy. My prayers are with you, Webe, and your whole family. Love, Deb