Tag Archives: doctors and nurses


small steps

Dad has reached that point.  He wants to leave the hospital.  He is done and ready to go home…at least he feels that way.  Unfortunately his doctors do not agree.  He has gotten his hemoglobin levels to stay in the 9’s and that is okay but he has been attached to oxygen for the last few days and every time they take it off, his saturation levels drop too low for them to feel that he can leave safely.

He was not happy when I got there after school today.  He wanted answers from his doctors!  I was able to speak to two of them on the phone.  Both were very helpful to me but when I relayed their information to my dad, he wasn’t satisfied. It doesn’t help that now he also has a stiff neck making him miserable. Not sure where this is coming from.  Being in bed for a week?  A symptom from something else??  I told him he must tell the doctors and nurses about it though because if he doesn’t tell them, hoping that it gets him released sooner, he’s just going to wind up back there again.  I think he will listen…I hope he will!

One of his doctors was so incredibly kind to me on the phone.  I told him how dad was at his wits end.  The first week was honestly pretty smooth…very little complaints from him.  He was following doctors and nurses orders doing everything EXCEPT for walking around.  So now, his legs aren’t working well again.  This was what has kept him in rehab from the last time he was in the hospital.  Hopefully it won’t put him too far behind in his progress.  The doctor told me to remind him that he has to walk.  When he leaves, he will be going home with oxygen. He has to use it.  If he doesn’t he will wind up back in the hospital.  We have to keep reminding him of that.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow we get good news and he is able to go home.  If not, he will not be happy but they wouldn’t be keeping him there if there isn’t a reason for it.  We just have to convince him of that!

Still waiting for answers


Over the last few days, the doctors, nurses and case managers for my dad have been trying to work out where he should be sent for rehabilitation.  Fortunately there are several good places that are all nearby so now they are waiting for availability and insurance to be settled and he will go there for the rest of his recovery.  He was scheduled to get out of the hospital as soon as tomorrow.  That was…until today.

I was not able to get there yesterday but on Sunday, while I was there, he seemed to be doing much better.  He had walked a bit with the assistance of his walker and a physical therapist.  He still can’t do stairs, (which is a big reason for him not going home,) and he is very slow moving, but those few steps were farther than he’d moved on his own in more than two weeks so it was definitely a step in the right direction.

When I got to his room, he was sitting in his chair, but didn’t look as good as he did on Sunday.  I didn’t question it though.  i just assumed he was tired.  From what I had heard, he had slept most of the afternoon though and if he is getting better, I wasn’t sure why he was still so tired and sleeping so much.  He told me that he had slept great the night before but he had a “crick” in his neck and he couldn’t lift it up very well.  He had the tv on, but wasn’t watching it and when I asked him why, he said it took too much effort to lift it to watch.  Again, a bit concerning.  He was shivering, and although his room was cold, it wasn’t cold enough for shivering.  I asked him if he wanted a blanket but he said he just wanted to get back in bed.  I told him I would ask a nurse but he said it was quicker to push the call button, which he did.  The nurse took his temperature after she got him into the bed and sure enough, he has a fever again.

Until tonight I had not spoken to his doctor.  Dave and my aunt have been doing that but I decided to give him a call.  He returned my call a short time after he was finished with his office hours.  I told him that I did not exactly know how to explain my concerns, but told him what I had seen and how different he seemed since Sunday.  Even the doctor, who had seen him in the morning, and thought he was showing signs of improvement seemed surprised with the decline.  He canceled the discharge that had been planned and said he’d see him tomorrow but in the meantime, was calling the nurses and the infectious disease doctor to see if they could figure out what is going on.

I told him all of my concerns and even told him how silly I felt asking him if they checked for things like sepsis, or a staph infection.  He was so nice and told me nothing was silly when advocating for someone else.  He said dad had “very bad sepsis” when he came to the hospital and had a staph infection as well, but all of that seemed to have cleared up.  Now they will change his antibiotic and see what happens.  They gave him Percocet tonight for his pain and hopefully that will help him sleep.

His doctor said he was going to be at the hospital sometime in the afternoon tomorrow.  I am going to try to be there when he gets there.  Hopefully the changes in the medication will help.  The worst part is not knowing where the fever is coming from.  Somewhere in his body there is an infection, they just can’t find it.  When they finally do, they’ll be able to treat it and he can move forward with his recovery.


woven in our lives

Everyone knows that death is a natural part of life.  No one knows when it is his or her time to go.  Sadly sometimes it strikes unexpectedly.

Francine and Tim had just found out that she was pregnant- it was very early into the pregnancy. They knew that it was much too early to tell anyone yet, so they had not shared the news yet.  They were waiting to get results of their first ultrasound to tell.

Only my mom and Francine’s mom knew that they had been going for fertility treatments.  Although my mom died before they got pregnant, I know that Tim found comfort in the fact that she knew how hard they were trying.

Everyone always said Francine was “one in a million”.  She was a unique individual.  It is amazing that even in her death, she left this world as a statistic proving this to be true.  Francine died as a result of a very rare side effect of the fertility drugs.  So rare in fact, there are only 20 known cases recorded anywhere!  She had an adverse reaction where her brain swelled and caused bleeding in every part of her brain.  This caused irreversible damage.

She went to the hospital with severe morning sickness symptoms.  She was vomiting, had a horrible headache, earache and was dehydrated.  Tim, my dad, Francine’s mom and one of her best friends were with her.  Although she was not completely coherent, she was communicating with them.  This drastically changed over the next few hours.  My aunt and uncle, brother, sister and I joined them at the hospital around 11pm.  By this point, she was already in ICU with this devastating diagnosis.  They gave her several more brain scans throughout the night, each coming back with no change.

For the rest of the day, we made calls, and had friends and family gather to say their goodbyes.  Timmy held it together the way he always does.  He is the “funny guy” of the family.  He went from cracking jokes to lighten the mood of everyone, to sobbing at her bedside.  He talked to us about what he wanted her to wear for her funeral, and where he wanted her to be buried.  We let him talk.  He talked about her – funny stories, sad ones, silly ones, and wistful ones…. By this time he had been awake for over 24 hours and we tried to convince him to get some rest.  Of course he wouldn’t, other than a quick doze in the waiting room.

Visitors came all day long but at 6pm, the decision was made.  Tim gave the okay to turn off life support.  Her doctors were amazing and her nurses, even more so.  At many points of the day, I think the nurse was there more for Tim than they were for Francine.  Luckily, for some reason, the ICU was nearly vacant so they gave us very few restrictions that are usually reserved for that area of the hospital.  At one time, there were 17 of us in her room gathered around her as she received last rites and we all said our goodbyes.

This was so different than my mom’s goodbye.  For her, there were so many days for us to do it and because of that, her ending was much calmer.

Turning off the machines also was so different.  My mom lasted for 7 hours and Francine was almost instantaneous.   A few minutes at most.  At the end for my mom, it was just my dad, my older brother and myself.  Tim and my sister had just left but even after they came back it was just the five of us around mom.  Peaceful.

With Francine, there were so many people who needed to get there before it was too late and because the time frame was so quick it was just so different.  There was crying, wailing, sobbing and not a dry eye.

Today I will go with Timmy, my dad and Francine’s mom to make her funeral arrangements.

I realize that death will leave behind scars that don’t seem to fade, but when a death is unexpected, it just seems so much more painful. Two deaths so close together also seems unfathomable.   It will take a long time to recover, especially for Tim.  It sucks and it is cruel.  We can only hope that there truly is a reason for everything and that God has bigger plans for all of us.