View Full Version : Latest Linda/Bob Updates
03-07-2007, 03:56 PM
I just found these 2 updates from Linda - sounds really encouraging!!!
Seems impossible that it could be March already. One day seems to fade into the next day in a perversion of reality called "hospital time". Fortunately Bob doesn't remember much of the previous months. And speaking of the march of time....I seem to have aged a bit or something because one of the speech therapists (back when he was still getting speech therapy) thought that I was Bob's MOTHER! Good grief!
I have to admit that Bob is looking good! Everyone seems to comment on that all the time, especially staff that haven't seen him for a few weeks. He's getting a little bit stronger each day (very little baby steps) and it's great to see. Never thought a little thing like seeing him actually reach for and be able to pull his bed covers up one evening could be so exciting! Sometimes he can walk four lengths of the hallway, but he gets worried that I'll expect that each time and he just can't do it yet. I try to get him up 3 times a day to walk.
Today I made a deal with Bob and offered to take him outside in lieu of a walk. Initially he wasn't too excited about the extra work and effort that would entail, but the prospect of not having to walk the hallway intrigued him enough to agree to the trip outside. His sister Carol was here and helped with getting him in a wheelchair and his IV pole out to the roof top "garden" above the ER entrance. It's not much more than a concrete area with a few plants in concrete pots and a huge ventilator/air conditioner unit (noisy) but it's outside and Bob could see the hotel that I'm staying at across the street...and it was SUNNY! And in Washington we need to take advantage of the sun when it's out because it might not show again for weeks. As it turned out, Bob really enjoyed the excursion and asked to be turned more fully into the sunshine. We had blankets wrapped around him to ward off the breeze, but his face got a nice dose of sun and it was pretty wonderful.
The other really great thing is that he's finally off oxygen. When we finished our morning walk in the hallway yesterday morning and I got him back into bed, I forgot to put the oxygen back on him and we didn't realize that for about 3 hours. When the tech checked his saturation it was 95 so we left it off and he's continued to stay at 95-96 even while sleeping. I sure hope this time it works out....we've been through this twice before but his oxygen sat. dropped below 90 after a half day or two even though he didn't realize it, and had to go back on oxygen both times.
Saturday Bob had a CT scan and the doctors could see some improvement with the fluid pockets getting smaller. Baby steps again, but in the right direction.
Tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at 8:30 they are doing another "tube check". This is a procedure done in interventional radiology where they check the status of his drains and plan to increase the one that's more in the front again. The last two time they did this caused problems...one caused pain and the most recent one stirred things up so badly that Bob suffered chills so bad that he looked almost like he was having seizures and then a few hours later started running a temp over 102. He had to be on special antibiotics for over a week (because of the VRE...vancomycin resistant enterococci and a couple of strains of pseudomonas)...very scary stuff. But they need to increase the drainage tube again to be able to accomplish the next step. The plan is to take him into surgery in a week or two and try to aggressively flush out a bunch of the necrotic debris and infection via these drainage tubes. They jokingly called it surgical "hydrotherapy". They don't plan to make any further incisions but it'll be done in surgery so that he can be under general anthesthia. At least that's the plan.
So the next step is increasing the drainage tube size tomorrow and we hope that you'll join us in prayer that everything goes well this time and things don't get too "stirred up" or set Bob back too much. I always get more than a little nervous during these procedures, especially since the one that put him back in ICU...I'm so thankful that Bob's sister Carol is going to sit with me. And I'm thankful that the nurses in radiology recovery are so wonderful and allow me to be with him before and after the procedure. It's good for Bob and me both.
I'll try to get another email off to you all tomorrow night, even if it's just a short one, with an update on how the procedure went and how he's doing.
We're so grateful for all your love and support, and especially the prayers. Knowing that so many people are praying for him gives Bob comfort and encouragement whenever he goes through another procedure. We always talk about the power of prayer and God's hand of healing and protection in the moments before they take him into the room...he knows he is well covered in prayers...thank you all so much for this.
Linda and Bob
03-07-2007, 03:57 PM
Much answered prayer today!
Bob came through the procedure just fine. They were able to increase the size of the front drain tube without causing any significant problems this time. So far he's not having any pain and he ran a temp of about 100 for only a short while. He was very tired from the sedation meds and everything and slept most of the day, but now is fairly awake and able to watch TV.
His surgeon said that there are signs of improvement and they were able to flush out some of the "gunk" (necrotic tissue and infection) this morning. They still plan to take him to surgery in about a week and try some more aggressive flushing at that time.
He also thinks that there is enough improvement that Bob might be able to keep some food down now. He would like to get Bob off the TPN (that's the IV nutrition) as soon as possible and supplement the tube feeding with oral intake. Bob's not interested in eating at all, so this will be a struggle.
Because of the procedure Bob ended up back on oxygen today. I hope we can wean him back off it tomorrow when he's more active again.
So...Bob's plan for tomorrow is to try to eat some food (and keep it down)...walk 2-3 times in the hallway, and wean off the oxygen if possible. I still have to encourage him to use the incentive spirometer every hour because his lungs still aren't fully clear and open...it's tricky trying to walk a line between encouraging him to do the things he needs to do for recovery and not being a nag, but so far he's still putting up with me.
Thank you all so much for your prayers on Bob's behalf.
I'd like to ask for some extra prayer for Christopher too....he usually spends the weekend here in Seattle and stays at the hotel with me. This Sunday when he got back to Tacoma he started to get sick and has missed school yesterday and today. Hopefully it's nothing too serious ...but I worry about what he might have picked up here at the hospital, or what he might have accidently passed on to Bob this weekend without knowing that he was getting sick. It makes me want to go home and take care of him...but I know that he's getting the best of love and care with our friends Julie and Clark and that Bob needs me to stay here with him. I sure do miss Christopher though and it's not easy being a long-distance mom.
I just asked Bob what he wants to add to the update, and he said to tell you that he "sure was tired today and hopes that tomorrow is better." He also wants to thank all of you for your continued prayers and support. He feels blessed.
Bek, aka opeysmama
03-07-2007, 04:14 PM
I am so amazed at the strength of these people. I will continue to pray that God will grant them strength to continue this battle, the determination to not let it get them down, the peace in knowing He is always with them. I am goign to be SO honored to "meet" Linda on here some day!!!! Tell her if you can, she is one of my heros :)
Thank you for the updates, Maggie! I continue to think of our dear friends and continue to keep them in my prayers.
03-07-2007, 05:57 PM
My prayers go out to Linda and Bob. Struggling with a loved one's health is the hardest thing to go through.
03-09-2007, 01:29 PM
Sounds like Linda could use some prayers of support and peace sent her way. I know it must really seem overwhelming to her (from someone who has had a family member with a debilitating illness and prolonged hospital stay):
Nothing much new to report today....Bob is doing about the same, trying to walk a little and trying to get a little stronger. His vitals have been pretty stable and we're hoping he might come back off oxygen today. I think of these days as R & R....as much rehab as I can encourage with periods of rest. We've been listening to audio books on tape which Bob enjoys very much....it's the "reward" he looks forward to after all his hard work when he has a chance to rest in bed.
Christopher started feeling sick after leaving here on Sunday night and has missed school all week so far. Yesterday, Julie (the mom of the family he's staying with) took him to see his doctor. He has strep throat. I really wish I could be there with him but I can't leave Bob and I know that Julie and Clark are giving him excellent care and love...but I still miss my sweet son so much.
Yesterday I met Bob's doctor at his office so that we could talk about when I might be able to return to work. He is very grateful that I've been able to help Bob so much with his recovery and really feels that I need to contiue to be here working with Bob and supporting his progress both physically and emotionally. He said that Bob might be in the hospital until June......
I'm having a very difficult time wrapping my mind around that without going into a bit of a panic. I don't know how we can manage 3 more months in the hospital financially since the amount of sick leave that Bob had (from which we've both been drawing) is dwindling away. There's also a limit of $2 million on Bob's insurance, which sounds like a lot but may not be enough to see us through this critical illness. I'm trying not to be anxious, knowing that the Lord can provide for all our needs. We could surely use extra prayers about all of this. Please also pray that he might be able to get out of the hospital earlier and possibly be at home with help so that I can return to work.
03-12-2007, 08:56 PM
Happy Anniversary Linda and Bob (a day late)!!!
Bob's still doing well...working on getting a little stronger each day. Today he was able to stand on his own for a few minutes without using the walker and he also stood at the sink to shave and brush his teeth. That may not seem like a big thing, but each tiny step is another big step forward in his recovery! He walked the hall three times today for a total of 9 lengths and had a session of physical therapy. Even ate 1/4 of a sandwich for lunch and 4 bites of lasagna for dinner.
Today marks the 3rd month of hospitilization...this all started on Dec. 11. But that's not the anniversary we're celebrating today. What makes this day special is that it's our 39th wedding anniversary. And what makes it even more special is that we were able to spend the day together, something they couldn't promise me 3 months ago. I told Bob (as I have said a bazillion times over the years) that the best place in the whole wide world is right next to him....so it really didn't matter that we spent the day in a hospital room. He is the love my life!!!
Bob had two visitors today....a wonderful friend from work and later his sister. It's great to see him interacting with people and even smiling again once in a while. All in all it was a wonderful day.
03-15-2007, 04:45 PM
I've been remiss in posting updates from Linda and there's been a lot going on - so here comes 2 updates.
And PLEASE pray for Bob today - he is having "surgery" through his drain tubes.
03-15-2007, 04:45 PM
Bob had a CAT scan about noon today and the tube check procedure after that. They increased the size of the tube on the left side.....it hadn't been increased since the time quite a while ago that put him back into ICU when it stirred up a pancreatic pleural effusion and partially collapsed his left lung.
So far he seems to be doing okay....except for pain. He started to have pain while in the recovery room - as soon as he was back in his room and given a narcotic he fell asleep for almost 4 hours. He woke up and talked to me and watched some TV for about half an hour then complained of pain at the site and mostly pain in his left shoulder and neck. The nurse didn't seem too concerned, she thinks it's just positional and gave him another dose of narcotic...so he's asleep again.
One of his doctors (the chief surgical resident) stopped by to check earlier when Bob was still sleeping. He said they're still discussing options...nothing new about that. Then the infection control doctor stopped by...she said basically the same thing. They're both unsure of exactly why his white count is elevated, although it could be from the necrotic area.
Since Bob still has a cough they're going to do a CAT scan of his sinus area (his lungs are clear of infection) and see if he might have a sinus infection. It's a long shot...but at least they're considering every possibility.
That's about all the news for today.....
Bob is snoring and I miss his company, but at least he's getting some rest and not running a fever or having chills...I'm very thankful for that
03-15-2007, 04:46 PM
Bob's doctors were just in here and have decided that the time has arrived to take him into surgery. They've been talking about doing this all along and hope that this procedure will speed up his recovery. The interesting thing is that they won't be making any incisions. They'll be working directly through the drain tubes...which is one of the reasons that they've been increasing the size of the tubes all along. They hope to be able to "pick" out some of the necrotic tissue (parts are the consistency of tar) rather than keep waiting for it to dissolve over time. They will also be able to do some aggressive flushing during this time while Bob is under general anesthesia.
Meanwhile Bob is still experiencing significant pain from yesterday's procedure which increased the drainage tube in his left side. Because that tube is directly beneath his diaphragm it's causing referred pain to his left shoulder area. And because it passes between two ribs and rubs against the pleura it also causes pain with deep breaths besides pain at the site.
Hopefully...especially if this surgery procedure goes well...they might be able to downsize this particular tube again. It's very frustrating to see how much he's hurting and how much it's interfering with activity.
We don't know what time the surgery will be tomorrow, just that it'll probably be in the afternoon. Specific prayer needs are for this to be successful and safe, that it would speed up his recovery and that his white count will start to come back down to normal. They've started him back up on antibiotics today to treat the VRE (and other bacteria which are present in the necrotic area) in anticipation of this procedure.
We both appreciate all your support and prayers more than we can ever express. Bob feels incredibly blessed to have so much wonderful support from friends and family who cover him in prayer each step of the way...it brings tears to his eyes every time we talk about it. We know that there are also many, many people praying for him who have never met him ....that alone is a miracle to us. Thank you all....we love you much.
Bob and Linda
03-17-2007, 03:16 AM
Latest update I could find on Bob's condition - please keep him in your prayers.
March 15, Thursday 8:00pm
Linda just phoned to report on Bobís procedure today to flush out the necrotic pancreatic tissue. He apparently tolerated the procedure well, but soon after experienced shaking chills, low blood sugar, increasing pulse rate, increasing respiratory rate, and then decreased oxygen sats and low blood pressure. The nurse decided it was necessary to call a medical code to stabilize him, not without itís own challenges, but soon he was stable again. He is not having pain but something got stirred up during the six liters of flushing they did to try to remove all the necrotic tissue. At the moment his temp is not elevated. Please pray that his vital signs would return to normal, that the bacteria present would not cause a full body infection, and that he would rapidly regain the ground in his recovery that has been hard won. They thank you again for your perseverance with them in prayer. May the Lord hover over Bob directing each cell in its exquisite and complex job to bring healing quickly to Bobís body.
March 15...Thursday evening
Many thanks to Lura for getting a message out quickly since I can't be online in Bob's room in the ICM unit. I finally had a moment to type the following message (offline), came down to the waiting room to tranmist and saw the message she sent out for me. She recapped everything perfectly...but I'm going to send out what I had already typed also.......
Bob had the surgery procedure this afternoon.
They were able to suction out most of the necrotic pancrease and flushed 6 liters of fluid through the drains. His surgeon was pleased with the result. His only concern was the possiblity that all that flushing and aggressive manuevers could cause another pleural effusion, we'll know more about that after a CAT scan in the morning. So far 2 x-rays look unchanged.
After being in recovery for an hour, Bob was brought back up to his room. Just as he came back he started having extreme chills and shakes. All his vitals went the wrong way...his pulse went way up, about 160..his respirations were almost 50, his oxygen dropped too low, his blood pressure was too high and his blood sugar dropped low. Anyway...Bob almost went back to ICU...but instead they've moved him to intermediate care so that he can be on telemetry. His blood pressure is now doing the opposite and is very low.
The good news is that Bob is alert and in no visible distress. He's on oxygen and his respirations are now in the 30's (still high but better) with good saturation. But his blood pressure is still very, very low and his heart rate high. Bobby is here with me and will stay for a little while. I'll probably stay with Bob through the night.
Please pray that this is just a bump in the road and he'll be back on the road to recovery..hopefully a fast road.
I can't be online while in his room because of the telemetry...I have to go down to the waiting room, so I won't get much more out tonight. I'll try again in the morning when his sister gets here and I can leave for a few minutes.
Much love to all of you...and much thanks for continued prayer.
03-17-2007, 02:37 PM
I've not heard an update since Thursday, I'm so anxious for Bob and our sweet Linda! ((hugs))
03-20-2007, 02:29 AM
March 17...Saturday evening
About 3:30pm an interventional radiologist inserted a chest tube into Bob's left side. It drained out about 100cc but there are still at least 200-300 left, so the tube is hooked to suction and we're back to waiting again. I'm not sure how long it'll take to drain...seems like the previous 2 chest tubes took a couple of weeks or more.
Bob is in some pain from both the pancreatic area (from the flushing in the OR 2 days ago), from the left pancreatic drain and from this chest tube. He's pretty sleepy from the narcotics but as I'm writing this he's trying to stay awake for an hour or so and watch TV with Christopher. In typical "Bob fashion" he's refusing any more pain meds until he completes his own "survey". That is so Bob. He needs to take time to assess the situation and make an anyalytical decision.
It makes me smile.....but at the same time I'm advising him to stay on top of the pain at least for this first day and not let it get out of hand.
His vital signs look pretty stable although they just came in to draw blood to check for cardiac enzymes. Hmmmm...maybe that's because the intern that stopped by half an hour ago confused chest pain from the tube insertion with chest pain from a heart attack. I guess it's best to be cautious.
Bob's a little too sleepy right now to add anything to this update...he just shook his head when I asked him....but I'll add for both of us that we appreciate all the prayers and support he's received so much..and I'll try to get another update out tomorrow.
04-09-2007, 08:31 PM
I haven't been on "the other site" much lately and so have missed several updates from Linda.
The most recent news is Bob had his gall bladder removed last Friday. And he wasn't allowed anything by mouth over the weekend. Let's hope that this really gets him on the road to recovery finally.
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