Tag Archives: St. Barnabas Medical Center


Today, while visiting my gram in the hospital, (she has another UTI but doing much better,) I met Baxter, the therapy dog. This sweet golden retriever visits St. Barnabas every Saturday comforting patients. It was the first time I had met a therapy animal. This big guy is nine years old and the most gentle soul. Gram didn’t wake up while he was in the room so she didn’t get to interact with him but Gigi, (Gram’s caretaker) and I did. He just sat there and let us pet and play with him.

Although I can see the power of love that a pet can bring just through our own Emmy Lou, I never understood the need for visiting hospital therapy dogs until today. He brought such a calmness to the room. The patient in the room with Gram seemed so comforted by his presence. I guess so were we. I guess they are not not just for the patients but for the families themselves.


Slowly Recovering


Five days this week I have spent my afternoons at St. Barnabas Medical Center.  This afternoon, I took Drew along with me when I went to visit my dad.  He told me as he entered the building how much he hated it there.  I don’t blame him.  He watched my mom and Francine die there.  He only has seen sickness when he goes.  At least I can associate it with happiness as well because both of my boys were born there.

He also watches too much news because when he saw that my dad was wheezing and the first thing he became concerned with is the “new respiratory diesease” that is causing severe reactions in children.   He was looking for a mask when we walked into dad’s room!  My mom’s room had them outside of it while she was there, but she was in the ICU.  Fortunately, all it took to perk him up a bit was seeing my dad’s new phone.  He played with the ringtones for awhile and forgot about his fear of hospitals.

As for an update on my dad’s condition, he had two transfusions overnight.  This helped bring his blood levels to 9.0  That is good news.  No transfusions during the day today.  Tonight while I was visiting, he seemed a bit out of sorts.  He was almost, “loopy.”  Although that probably isn’t the right word to describe it.  He even told us he doesn’t understand why he was feeling so “spacey” tonight.  He is wheezing and his nose was running like a faucet.  It reminded me of his condition when we had to bring him to the hospital at the beginning of the summer.  He had no fever this time but his blood pressure was a bit high.

When I left, I went to speak to his nurse.  She was going to talk to the doctor to tell her his symptoms.  Although he was wheezing, she said his lungs sounded clear.  I told her that obviously I have no medical background, but would they please check his blood levels again because this confusion was so similar to earlier in the week when it was so low.  She also told me she’d mention it to the doctor and perhaps they could recheck it tonight.

Drew and I left the hospital as my sister arrived.  She sent me a text about an hour after I left telling me that the doctor had called saying that since his blood numbers were high enough, he could leave the hospital tonight if he felt that he was ready.  I could not believe what I was hearing.  After all the symptoms I had just discussed with the nurse, a doctor – who did not even see him tonight, was ready to release him without another blood test??  Thank goodness, my dad was thinking rationally and decided that it would be best to remain there for another night.  I am crossing my fingers that when they check his blood levels again in the morning the numbers will still be steady.  I am sure that the two transfusions from the night before gave him the elevated numbers from the bloodwork they took this morning.  There has been no more bloodwork done today since the one done shortly after the transfusion.  Maybe the numbers have dropped again??  I certainly hope that is not what it is, but I know him well enough to know that something is just not right.  The last time he left the hospital too early led to a much more serious problem. Fortunately he realizes this and the weeks of recovery it has taken him to get back to normal, (and he’s still not there,) are enough to convince him to stay there at least one more night.  I just got off the phone with his nurse who agrees and is going to keep an eye on the wheezing tonight and make sure nothing else changes.  I am so grateful for the nurses there.  It is a job I could never, ever do and I admire all of them!

So now, we will wait until tomorrow.  Hopefully the blood numbers will have remained stable and he will feel well enough to go home.  His birthday is Sunday and it would be the best present for him!  At least we know that tonight he is in the right place and being watched over by an incredible group of nurses.


get well

Since so many friends and family are asking about dad, that I figured I’d post here and let everyone know how he is doing.

He is still at St. Barnabas and is not expected to be released before Monday.  He feels “yucky” in his words but he is more alert and coherent.  He even asked me tonight if he “made it into one of my blogs yet.”

Dave was there during the day today and was there when his doctor came in.  The doctor told them that although it started as a urinary tract infection, it has spread to his blood stream which explains the high fever.  After Dave left, they were going to take him for a bladder scan and an infectious disease specialist was due to come by as well.  When I got there at five, my aunt was there.  His nurse came in and told us that she had just spoken to his doctor and told us that there is “some sort of blockage” possibly “hydronephrosis” but she would not say anymore.  She told us that the doctor would talk to us tomorrow.  Of course the first thing I did was look up “hydronephrosis.”  I found this on Healthline.com, “Hydronephrosis is a condition that typically occurs when one kidney becomes swollen due to the failure of normal drainage of urine from the kidney to the bladder.”   It could happen for numerous reasons, one being an effect from radiation due to prostate cancer – which he was treated for a few years ago.

Until I speak to a doctor, I am not going to confirm this though.  I plan to get up to the hospital early tomorrow in the hopes to speak to his doctor in person.

My dad is very private about health issues.  He didn’t even tell us about his prostate cancer until he was already going through radiation treatments.  He doesn’t go to doctors when he doesn’t feel well and we all are wondering just how long he wasn’t feeling well before finally telling us this time.  While we were in the emergency room with him on Wednesday, he was telling the doctors about being treated for bladder cancer… NONE of us knew about this, but he was also incoherent that night so perhaps he was just confused.  It was one of those times we needed our mom.  She would have known all of this.  No matter how private he was with us, she knew everything.  As I sat with him that night and the staff was taking his information, I couldn’t even answer all of their questions.  He asked about him having a living will – I didn’t know.  They asked about his insurance – I wasn’t sure.  So many questions that I couldn’t answer.  They asked me if “Eleanor” was still his emergency contact and I had to tell her that she passed away last year, so now, his emergency contact is me.

So there is not too much to report yet.   The antibiotics are helping with the infection and he is much less confused and he knows that I am his daughter…and not Chip 🙂  He is in a room, near a window and tonight we watched a huge thunderstorm blow in.  Hail stones pelted the window as we watched the lightning strikes all around the area.  He is disappointed that he won’t be able to be at the duck races this year, but we are going to try to get in under control.  Kathi, Dale and I will get prizes organized tomorrow.  The rest of The Kiwanis Club knows the routine for the day of the races so it should run smoothly.

He is in the best place right now, getting the care he needs.  Thanks for all the good wishes.  He appreciates them and so do we.

Nonsense, or another coincidence?

dr seuss nonsense

Today, I HAVE to continue my blog on coincidences.  In February, I wrote one of my blogs about finding pennies, https://aprojectforkindness.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/find-a-penny-pick-it-up/

In that blog, I had written that I had been told, that because it reads, “In God we trust,”  that when we find one, we should count our blessings from God, and that we should trust that God has placed it in our way for a reason, therefore thanking him for our blessings at that moment! I have been finding lots of pennies since my mom died, (but I always find them – I think I am just noticing them more).  Several people have told me that finding pennies are signs from our loved ones.  All superstitions, I know, but today my strange coincidences continued.

Many of you know that I have been suffering from headaches for about five months now.  After several doctors, an MRI, different medications and visits to a chiropractor, I finally saw a neurologist today.  To get to her office, I had to pass the cemetery  where my mom and Francine are buried.  As I drove by, I decided that I would stop there on my way home to “visit” with them, so I said out loud as I passed by, “See you later mom”.  I got to the doctor’s office and sat down in a chair to wait to be called on.  The receptionist called my name and I went up to do the usual paperwork for a first time patient.  I went back to my seat, and lying there right in the middle of the chair, was a penny.  I smiled, thought of mom, gave it a little rub and put it into my pocket.

I went in to the doctors office, and as she entered the room, I knew that I had met her somewhere before – I just could not place where.  I even said to her, “I think I know you from somewhere”, but neither of us could place where, and I don’t think she recognized me…yet.  My check up was going on routinely and we began talking about family history.  I had already told her about my mom and Francine passing away, (not the details), but just because I wanted her to know that these were not stress headaches due to them dying.  They started months before that.  I mentioned my mother’s heart history and suddenly she asked me what my  mom’s name was.  I told her and she asked if she had been a patient at St. Barnabas a few years ago on “2300”, (that was a floor on the hospital she had been on that time).  I said yes, and we realized that must of been why I recognized her.  We continued going over family history when all of a sudden, it hit me!!  This doctor was the woman who was dealing with Francine’s brain injury just a few weeks ago.  She and I had been talking several times during that day about the severity of her brain injury.  We both realized now that we did indeed “know” each other.  She realized who I was and she asked about our family and how we were all doing.  She was concerned for my brother, and expressed her sympathy.  I told her about our close knit family and how we were all there for each other and she said she could tell that from the way we all were at the hospital.

I did not leave  with any new answers for my headaches, but I will have another MRI, this time of my cervical spine, and a new medication to try.  I am hopeful, and I feeling quite positive after this visit.  Was it the penny?  Did it just give me that feeling that I needed to walk out of there with a positive attitude?  I don’t know, but I do know that the penny wasn’t from my  mom this time, but from Francine.  As I walked out of the office building, I actually burst into tears.  So many emotions were filling me.

Oh!!!  And did I did not even mention, that as I walked into the building, there was a lot of construction going on.  A new cement sidewalk had just been laid and in the base of it someone had carved into it, “DREW”.  The name of my son, who has had numerous visits to different neurologists over the last year due to his concussions – another coincidence?!?!?!  Perhaps, but for me I am taking it as another positive sign, knowing that we are going to get to the bottom of this and have an answer and some relief soon!

drew sidewalk1