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.