Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
It'll work itself out fine
All we need is just a little patience
Said sugar make it slow
And we'll come together fine
All we need is just a little patience
Patience, patience, patience
-Guns N Roses, Patience
No real news today; it was a fairly steady day. I feel very relieved to be through the first 24 hours post ECMO, but that certainly doesn't mean we're past the scary times. He's still heavily medicated with drugs that help to support the function of his heart. His latest echo showed that the outside of his heart is squeezing pretty well, but the inside part (the septum that divides the chambers of the heart) is not doing much yet. We're still very hopeful that it will continue to get stronger as it heals from the trauma of the past week.
I'm trying to remember that Jay's body IS healing ... but he's going to take his time getting there. We begged and pleaded for his heart to return to a normal rhythm - and it did. We begged for his heart to begin squeezing on its own - and it did. Now I want to see him able to come down from some of the medications so he can start waking up - and I fully believe that he will. But it's all going to take time, and I need to relax and be grateful for the steps that we're taking, even when they are somtimes too small for me to see well.
It's very hard not to get caught up in what "the numbers" mean. The monitor above the foot of his bed is constantly giving information ... instant to instant blood pressure, O2 sats, heart rate. The daily echo gives measurable data about the function and output of his heart, the pressures within his heart. It's hard not to hyper-focus on those numbers and read more into them than I should. They are just hints to help understand his overall healing. At the same time, the numbers give insight about how he's doing, and if those numbers start dropping, we want to address it before the trend becomes a problem. That is a major balancing act, and one I'm struggling with. Why is it that one day dropping pressures and beeping alarms are a big problem, and the next day those same pressure readings and beeping alarms are a "wait and see" indicator? I trust the docs, but I want so desperately to see signs of improvement and tend to latch onto anything that will tell me he's getting better. Sigh.
So, patience. I'm trying to remember that God's healing hands (and the wisdom of countless doctors and nurses!) have brought him this far and trust that they will continue to support him in the days and weeks to come.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
...I'm gonna let it shine!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
No one wants to be defeated.
--Michael Jackson, "Beat It"
So yesterday our excuse for the late post was that there was nothing new to report. Today our excuse is the opposite. We had a post halfway written this morning when the stream of doctors and tests started. Now that post is pretty irrelevant and outdated, so here's the latest.
It has been a pretty full day of activity--it's amazing the difference in the pace around here on a weekday versus the weekend. This morning they performed another echo to look at how well his heart is contracting. Still squeezing some, and a little better than before, but still not quite good enough.
Since he did so well, they went down to 50%, and got the same response. The doctors looked at one another, and the fellow on his case asked, “25%?” The attending agreed, and everyone got ready. They made sure the echo technician was ready so that he wouldn’t be turned down too long while she got the images. The ECMO specialist told everyone he was turning down the machine, and I felt a combination of excitement, hope, and sheer terror. I constantly shifted my eyes from Jay to the screen of the ultrasound to see what his heart was doing and to the monitor to see what happened to his blood pressure and heart rate. And what happened?
Nothing! Glorious nothing! No alarms, no bells, no whistles! His blood pressure even went up a bit, and his heart rate stayed steady. Again, his heart squeezed a bit harder with the extra blood flow.
So this is obviously great news. But he clearly is not ready to get off ECMO. Now the plan is to give him a couple of days and reassess his heart on Wednesday. As one of his doctors said, "He has a bit of homework to do over the next couple of days, so he will be ready for his next test."
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
In the TV series The West Wing Leo tells Josh the story of the guy who fell in the hole. A good support group is like the friend who jumps in the hole with him. Here’s the story:
“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by – ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me! Can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before… and I know the way out.’”
Am I the one you were sent to save,
When you came upon me wave on wave.
Wave on wave.
Wave on wave.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
It's enough for this wide-eyed wanderer
They did CPR on him for over an hour, and then did a surgical procedure in the ICU to put him on ECMO, which is a heart-lung bypass machine. ECMO was described to me as "crutches" for your heart - it does the work of pumping blood through the body so that the heart can heal. His heart is beating again on its own, but it is not strong enough to pump blood through his body. They hope to begin weaning him from it in a few days, but they have told us to focus on what happens in the next hours, not days.
He's now in the cath lab where they are creating a small hole between the upper chambers of his heart. That will take additional pressure off the left ventricle which is currently so weak.
He's on major blood thinners, so bleeding is a significant risk - from the tubes and lines for IV, cath insertion, and ECMO canulas, but also a major risk of bleeding in the brain (stroke).
Derek was with him when he went into cardiac arrest, and he called me to come to the hospital immediately. The entire cardiac staff was around his bedside - I've never been through an experience more terrifying or heartbreaking. We were able to be with him for part of the night between the many procedures and tests. He is heavily sedated and I'm told he will not remember any of what happened. We talked to him and sang to him, praying our voices would bring him some comfort. One of the docs even let him take his cow lovey to the cath lab.
Please pray for him. Please pray for us. We are scared beyond words.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
...it's the thrill of the fight