Kramer Update: Thursday Edition

The title of this post is a bit misleading – it’s actually a summary of our Wednesday.

Mom (Jo) is over by the window stitching her heart out. She has been stitching ALL DAY. She had to go back and rip a seam or two out but other than that has been working very hard on her “love” cross stitching. I was teasing her and said it should be “perseverance” based on how many times she’s ripped out stuff up on hoop today :) I would for sure have given up by now.

So anyway, this is Kalissa giving an update from Dad’s hospital bed (Dad insists he is more comfortable in the recliner). I’m passing the time until our pizza and my husband Craig comes. He should be here in about a half hour.

Mom and I woke up – our hotel is SO nice. We got a ton of snow in Northeast Iowa this morning and it’s so nice – we haven’t had to go outside in days. The hotel is connected to the hospital in underground tunnels. We got an AMAZING continental breakfast.

We got over to dad’s hospital room by about 9:00 am. We were walking down the hall and our hearts stopped – dad’s bed was empty.

After we left last night mom and I were just plain sad. Dad was in SO much pain. He had one cough – one teeny cough and it just about killed him. Which just about killed us to watch. He’s brought that cough up several times today – the most pain he’s ever had in his life. We were expecting a long recovery and another day of watching Dad suffer.

As we rounded the corner we were SO relieved – Dad was UP in his recliner! WE couldn’t believe it. He had already been down to xray and had walked from the bed to the chair and ate breakfast. He said he felt better than yesterday already.

Here’s the medical things we learned about Dad:

Dad got his catheter out today.

Dad’s nurses encouraged him to walk in the hallway and dad enthusiastically accepted the challenge – as I write this he has walked twice to the nurses station and back to his room! It takes 2-3 people to walk him just with all of his equipment.

Everyone who has come in has said that the main source of dad’s chest pain is his chest tube – draining extra fluid from his lung and chest cavity. We were hoping to get it out as soon as possible so he wouldn’t be in so much pain. He did a trial today where his surgeon clamped his chest tube. It didn’t go great. Dad’s oxygen dropped – they had a hard time getting it up. His cough sounded a little more wet. He got a chest xray and the fluid was building up. Dad was hooked back up to the chest tube and they will try again tomorrow.

Dad got a pain medication button – in medical terms a PCA. If dad is going to move or cough he pushes his button and it gives him a dose of pain medication. He’s using it less and less throughout the day. They are trying to transition him to oral medications for when he is discharged home.

Dad’s anesthesiologist came by today. She apologized profusely. Dad got a chest epidural to numb part of his rib cage. This was supposed to be a source of pain relief before, during, AND after the surgery. Today she realized she doesn’t think it is working or has NOT been working yesterday or today at all. This isn’t anyone’s fault by any means and requires a really long explanation but overall dad did not get the pain relief they thought he was getting.

Dad is such a good patient. Dad is using his incentive spirometer to help expand his lungs. He does this all the time without being told. He’s been drinking lots of water. He listens very closely to the nurses and doctors and does exactly as they say. His sense of humor is intact which makes everyone feel a little better.

We ordered pizza and wings tonight. It isn’t from our normal “pizza and wings” joint back home but it brings back a bit of familiarity and normalcy.

Dad improves every hour. His cough is getting stronger and he doesn’t seem as panicked anymore when he feels one coming on. He’s using less pain medications.

We’ve all admitted we are a little sad that this pain is all for nothing. Hate to be so negative but we all agree – it’s just sad. I so wish the tumor could have come loose or that they could even remove a little bit. People keep saying “be positive” but for the time being I’m going to be a little sad. This delays chemo and radiation that are now inevitable and dad is in so so much pain.

They might go back and try the surgery again after chemo and radiation. They “might” have to remove less lung than they originally planned.

That’s the Wednesday update…Mom is hoping to get another happier update out to you soon.

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36 thoughts on “Kramer Update: Thursday Edition

  1. Linda White

    Bless you all and thank you for keeping us informed. Our love and support for your wonderful family is in full force. I hope you all can feel it wrapped around you. Hugs and smiles that Dad is doing this well. It is sad, always, to see a loved one suffer.
    Looking forward to more updates as things develop.

  2. Mary

    My pulmonary doctor had open heart surgery the same day I had the left upper lobe of my lung removed. After we both recovered from the surgery he told me that he thought that my lung surgery was at least as painful as his open heart surgery! But Dad’s pain will get better soon! The hardest thing I had to do was to lay flat when I went to bed and then to get up in the morning. Those muscles don’t like being treated so bad!

  3. Carolyn Sands

    Your post is both optimistic and realistic! Know that better days are coming -slowly but they will come.

  4. Pat

    Boy it’s tough watching. your loved ones go through this. But you are a strong close knit family from what I see . I am sure you being there has really helped your Mom (and Dad too !). You all hang in there.
    Prayers being sent to you all. Hope he continues to do well and progress. Thank you for keeping us updated.

  5. Donna T

    It is so hard to see a loved one suffering or in pain. Stay strong. Sounds like your dad is a great patient and is doing everything he is told. Hopefully the pain will be more manageable.

  6. Bobi

    Thank you for such a candid report. We all care about your family and your Dad and are hoping for a good long-term outcome. Many of us have been touched by cancer so we understand the emotional roller coaster. Staying positive does indeed help, but sometimes you need to work through your emotions so go ahead and be sad when you need to be.

  7. Lynn D in NC

    Though I’ve never met you in person, I, like so many feel the heartache of your family. I’ve walked in your shoes too many times, and I know all to well the feelings of fear, disappointment, hope, sadness, encouragement, etc that I’m sure each of you are experiencing. All of you stay on my mind and in my prayers. Stay strong and support one another.

  8. Cindy E

    With all that your family is going through right now, I can’t believe that you take time to update your followers. But I do so appreciate it. Thanks for your updates. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Joy

    thanks for the update. Hope his pain steadily decreases and that the next step goes well. Tell your mom to just keep stitching….even if she has to tear it out and repeat.

  10. Lisa B

    Thank you for the update Kalissa. You wrote that, explain that, very well. Probably because you’re a nurse. It’s okay to be a little sad. I am totally not medically inclined and yesterday I was very sad realizing your dad would be in the pain but no real reward. Praying for pain relief, Speedy healing, wisdom for the doctors, and peace for the family.

  11. barbara woods

    my cousin’s husband’s cancer was wrapped around his spine, they used radiation and chemo to make it smaller so they could get it all out. He is cancer free now. Maybe that’s what they will do with him.

  12. Sheila

    Love your heartfelt and realistic update! Please just tell it like it is. There’s no need to apologize for how you feel. Praying for grace and strength for one day at a time. Love and prayers!

  13. Judy In MO

    So sorry he is going through this with the prospect of maybe having to do it again in the future. I wish the surgery could have been more successful. Keep being optimistic, a positive attitude will assist the healing

  14. Ruth

    All that walking is helping move the fluid around out of the lungs, I know! That action alone shows great progress. The 4th day after surgery is so hard (I had a caesarean, and open heart surgery), but after that the pain diminishes. Each day gets better. We are all praying for you all!

  15. CindyD

    He seems to be doing really well. Have they told you he’ll need a grab bar in the bathroom and will need to use a walker temporarily when he goes home?

  16. Donna

    Glad your Dad is a good patient..that helps him and all of you. I know you are all anxious and scared but the fact that he is doing what he is supposed to do without having to be pushed is a real blessing and will help him get better. AT least if he does have to go through this again he’ll know what to expect. I think sometimes fear of the unknown makes it harder. You seem like a strong group of people and are there for each other. You have a lot of folks you’ve never met who care. Thanks for keeping us posted. Love and good thoughts to you all.

  17. Ellie

    Thanks for being so faithful keeping us all updated on your Dad’s progress. It’s hard to believe you and your mom have the energy to do this when you spend the day at the hospital. Don’t apologize for being sad to see your dad in pain. Watching those we love in pain is harder than enduring it ourselves. It’s wonderful to watch your whole family pull together to help each other through this. Bless you all and we will keep praying for you all.

  18. Anne Hersch

    Dear Kalissa –thanks for the update. I can only imagine how hard this is for all of you. So glad you can be there together. I have been praying for your dad and know God is watching over your family. I think you embody all the good things about Midwest America and you are far more special than you know. God is carrying you every step of the way. I know that probably the last thing on your mind now is your blog readers but I really appreciated the updates as I feel very connected to your family and was worrying when we didn’t hear anything. Hopefully each day will be a little better. God Bless you all.

  19. Paula N.

    Y’all are in my thoughts and prayers. When I pray for people in my church group and family, I include y’all. I hope your dad’s healing is quick, so the chemo and radiation can do their thing!

  20. Sandra Davidson

    Thanks for the update, your Dad sounds like such a wonderful positive person which as you know is so important. It is alright to feel sad for awhile and will be easier to support your Dad if you are honest with how you feel instead of trying to always be happy. God Bless you all and I am hoping for an excellent outcome. Sandra from Canada

  21. Martha Taylor

    Jo, you and your family are in my prayers daily. Sometimes it seems everything goes wrong. Just remember when a door closes, God will open another for you. Thank you for keeping us updated. Your family is strong and you will all get through this.

  22. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Kalissa, you are totally entitled to feel sad, angry, frustrated…whatever you feel is totally legit!! Don’t try to stuff every emotion down all the time – you know that’s not good for you emotionally or physically! This is a safe place to vent everything – the “No Judgment Zone”!! Praying for all of you and the medical team helping your dad.

  23. Vicki

    Thank you for the update Kalissa, your family has been on my mind and in my prayers.
    God bless all of you.

  24. Arrowhead Gramma

    Kalissa, so appreciate the update on your Dad as I have been thinking of him and your family. My prayers will continue in the days to come.

  25. Valerie Chapman-Stockwell

    Thank you for the update–you all have been so generous with your time to communicate with your blog readers during such a stressful and intense time. Your dad is doing everything he can to get better, and your family’s presence is a godsend, I’m sure. God bless you all.

  26. Donna

    Thank you so much for your update, Kalissa. We appreciate that so much.
    Continued prayers for your dad’s recovery and for all of you, as well as prayers for the next steps in treatments.

  27. Anne Simonot

    It’s ok to feel sad. Let yourself feel the feels. Hugs and best wishes from another Canadian reader.

  28. mary

    Thank you so much for sharing your family with us during this difficult time! Even though it’s hard to watch your dad going through this , it sounds like he’s improving well. Hang in there to everyone.

  29. Shirley S.

    Take comfort in knowing what a blessing you are to your parents. Waiting is so difficult, but remember to take this one day at a time.

  30. Candi

    Kalissa it’s okay to be sad. These are tough times. You all are doing remarkable.

    Thank you for the update. Your Dad, Mom and entire family are in my prayers.

    Jo, keep working on that cross stitch and it will be done before you know it. Take care.

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