We finally got Mom out of the hospital -- after 28 days -- and now Dad is in and he's not doing well.
She went in on January 13 for an atrial valve replacement. The surgery went well and despite a fun bout of paranoia and visual hallucinations due to the anesthesia/narcotics/sleep deprivation, healed up well. But her oxygen saturation levels (the O2 in the blood) just wouldn't come up/stay up. And low levels can contribute to heart attack and stroke. Eventually, they re-intubated her and kept her unconcious in the Cardiac ICU for six days. Then, weak as a kitten, back to the Cardiac Step-Down unit for a while, then a week and a half in Inpatient Rehab learning to stand up, balance, walk, go up steps, etc. All while observing sternal precautions because you do NOT want to strain the healing muscles and bones in your chest after open heart surgery.
I was at the hospital almost every day and Dad stayed home; while not bed-ridden, his chronic back pain restricts him walking much, and sitting in most chairs, especially institutional furniture, is impossible for him. So we were both running on empty and looking forward to Mom getting released, which finally happened on February 9.
Mom continued to do well, getting off the oxygen she was sent home on and getting visits from a state physical therapist. But last week Dad started getting sick. It seemed cold/flu-ish at first, with decreased appetite and fatigue. Then he started bouts of intense shivering, so cold that he couldn't get enough blankets on him, with labored, grunting breaths, and being mostly unresponsive. They'd last 45-60 minutes, then he'd get the sweats and pass back into normal alertness.
This all culminated Thursday morning, when at about 1 AM he staggered on his way out of the bathroom and lurched forward like a puppet with its strings cut, slowly falling down. av_lad
and I got him picked up and he was getting up and walking by himself a few hours later but he fell again about 5 AM. He perked up and was moving again during the morning but when he started having the intense fatigue and weakness again, I put my foot down and called 911.
The paramedics were fabulous and I followed them to a local emergency facility. We spend nine hours there and he was eventually transported to Virginia Hospital Center, the same hospital Mom had gotten out of two weeks before.
A day and a half later, his kidneys shut down.
He's been having dialysis every day since. He's got E. coli
in his blood, possibly from a prostate infection, possibly from some necrotic tissue in his intestinal system. They've been doing scans to try to figure out specifically what/where -- he's a big guy and exploratory gastric surgery is a risk in and of itself. But they could call us at any minute to tell us he's in the OR. His white count is up and he's gotten a number of antibiotics. A muscle enzyme, which should have a count of about 200, soared as high as 41,000. Last check, it was down to 1,000. It could have been caused by an interaction of two drugs he's been taking for years, triggered by the infection.
He was looking pretty good up until yesterday afternoon. I took Mom and her cousin, who's staying with us, in to visit and he was alert and interactive. But then, for the first time since he'd been in the hospital, he had one of the cold, stuporous episodes. His attending physician got to see exactly what it looked like.
When I got there today, he'd just come back from dialysis and I was told his blood pressure had been low during it so they won't do dialysis tomorrow. He was mostly out of it, telling me he'd had surgery on both his feet (um, no) and wondering if I was really there (um, yes). He was never really alert the whole day. When I left, he was about to get the second of two new antibiotics and then get another CT scan this evening for the infectious disease doctor and the gastric surgeon to evaluate.
As with Mom, I'm at the hospital with him every day. She stays at home with her cousin. And thank heavens we have her, because Mom's got some infection going on in a swollen jaw -- they went to a doctor's appointment today, Mom got a CT scan, and has to go to two appointments tomorrow in two different facilities. Her primary care physician is the same as Dad's so he knows the whole family/home/hospital situation and wants to keep her out of the hospital if at all possible.
I'm just exhausted and I have no idea what's going to happen next.