Thursday, September 9, 2010

Money...'s a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands
And make a stash.
--Pink Floyd, "Money"

Jay continues to improve by leaps and bounds each day. No literal leaps yet, but I don't think it will be much longer. He is walking farther and farther each day, crawling up onto the couch, and going up and down stairs. His appetite is improving, and now he is up to about 80% of his caloric needs. It's not really a balanced diet (whole milk, French fries, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs), but it is calorically dense and high in protein! It is a good thing his appetite has improved because during one of his vomiting episodes yesterday, his NG tube came up. They decided to just leave it out since they were only using it for his meds anyway.

That is why getting his meds in has become more difficult. Fortunately, Jen figured out that mixing it with applesauce and letting him drink it with a straw would be fun. He thinks it is funny to drink his applesauce-medicine smoothie, and likes to show off this trick to his nurses.

So with continued improvement in Jay's strength and appetite, and in taking his meds, they are now talking about sending us home. The only problem--they cannot find the appropriate dose of coumadin. His INR is no where near the therapeutic range in spite of them giving a dose of coumadin that should be more than enough. Apparently, this is the most frustrating part of the whole recovery (for the docs and us) because each patient reacts differently to coumadin and it has an infinite number of drug interactions. So we can keep Jay alive for a week on ECMO, but tiny doses of rat poison are the best we can do for an anti-coagulant? Come on modern medicine!

In preparation of going home (eventually), Jen and I had to attend a CPR class. Both of us had been trained previously, but it had been a while and the recommendations had changed. Neither of us really thought about how emotionally hard it would be to take the class. When the instructor started performing CPR on the child size mannequin, the memories of the night Jay arrested all came rushing back. That vision was quickly followed by the realization that we could really have to use this training. So as a follow-up to Jen's post "Help," I'll ask that everyone get certified in CPR. Not just for Jay, but for your kids or your parents or that person beside in line at the grocery store. It has been dramatically simplified in the last few years, and you can find a class near you here.

While I'm asking for things, let me also ask that you give blood whenever possible. During Jay's surgery and while on bypass, he has received 5 units of blood and many different blood products (packed red blood cells, platelets, albumin, and fibrinogen). Only because someone was willing to pay it forward could this happen. Everyone who can should do it if for no other reason than you get free cookies and stickers. You can find a blood donation site near you here.

Finally (I promise this is the end of my public service announcement), there is a radiothon to raise money for CHOP on Friday and Saturday (hence the title of this post). The phone bank is set up in the atrium here in the hospital, along with the DJs from WOGL 98.1, a local radio station. The least I can do for these folks who have done so much for us is give them a bit of free publicity. The website for the radiothon is here with the phone number and a link for online donations.

Thank you again for all your funny stories, recipes, thoughts, and prayers. Maybe we'll be able to thank you all in person soon.


Beth said...

You have a nice career as an NPR fund raiser if this vet/cow thing doesn't work out for you, Derek. Re: Jay's diet - dairy, vegetable, meat - count the coating on the chicken nuggets as a carb, and you've got the four food groups covered. At this point, I'd let him eat Goldfish (the crunchy kind in a bag, not the swimming kind with fins) and Coke (as in cola) 'round the clock and call it a day.

Speaking of calling it a day, it is 12:45 and I have a lot of sleeping to do before my students sleep through my class tomorrow afternoon. So good night and sweet dreams of coming home. Soon.

Love, Gabby

Anonymous said...


You would be a great fundraiser. We are on it.

As far as his food goes... Rebecca has decided that she only eats penut butter and jelly or hotdogs for dinner and lunch. No chicken nuggets not pizza no hamburgers. Not even a french fry. We have given the fight up.

Take good care of yourself and Jen and the family. We are still thinking and praying for you. Hopefully next time at a different hour.

Dee & Bob Derr

Cara Lynn said...

I really don't have to read past the title and lyric to know which one of you is posting on a particular day!!
We are ready to plan the homecoming celebration as soon as you give us the word.
I like Jay's smoothie you think he would show Jesse how much fun it is?
We love you and are still praying,
Cara Lynn

Anonymous said...

Raising boys:
I have 3 grown boys and here are some things you can look forward to.
-Getting his head stuck between the iron railings on the porch (ears go in but they won't come out).
-One brother in the dryer, the other trying to start it (thank goodness they didn't shut the door because it would be too dark).
-Happily playing at 3:00 AM (brother let the crib side down).

Debbie Gilland

Anonymous said...

All of us former colleagues of your Popper continue to pray for Jay and all of you. We are so glad Jay is getting better everyday!!!

Would it be alright if I used the information in Derek’s post during a blood drive? I coordinate 6 blood drives a year at Pfizer in Sanford and in November we are having a Blood Drive Event to encourage new donors to sign up. Having Jay’s story gives a face to why we give blood. If you have any questions, you can contact me at

Amy said...

Today's recipe is Carmlized Onion Dip. Funny story about this recipe. For a long time, I would not share the recipe. Everyone loved it, but I kept it my secret. Then one day, a friend called while I was napping and asked for the recipe. In my half conscious state, I rattled off the ingrediants and she figured out all my secrets. When I woke up later- I thought it was a dream and smiled that my secret was still safe. I was shocked 2 weeks later when it seemed like EVERYONE now had my prized dip recipe...
Carmelized Onion Dip
1 tb Unsalted butter
1/8ts Tabasco sauce
1 ts Red pepper flakes
1/4ts Cayenne pepper
1/4ts Salt
1/2c Mayonnaise
1/2c Sour cream
Large red onion, sliced
1 tb Peanut oil

Saute onion in butter and oil until caramelized (golden brown), about 20 minutes. (Your house will reek for days- but it's worth it!)
Cool and combine the remaining ingredients. I don't measure out the spices anymore. Just a few good shakes of each. + I add a dash or two of Mrs. Dash "extra Spicy".
Mix well and chill for at least 1 hour.
Serve with crackers or chips.
If this sounds like something you'd like- I'll whip up a bowl for your homecoming.
Amy Kunkle

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear Jay's appetite is coming back and glad you came up with something that worked for him to get his medicine. That is certainly a major accomplishment.
I performed many PT's in my day, and it makes it even more personal looking back when working in the lab, seeing the same patients name on that blue top tube of blood and seeing the values jumping up and down. Are they drawing a flush tube? They should be drawing a plain top before the blue top. May want to note it next time; it removes tissue thrombin that may interfere with the results. There is a new school out there that feel it is not necessary to draw a flush tube, but I still do it when drawing for coag studies. Since they are using pediatric tubes, it may be even more sensitive to that tissue stuff (stuff for you, Jen). I have confidence that they are doing the best job, but I thought I'd mention it since they are having trouble getting the therapeutic range. It most likely is the fact he has been throwing up the meds. Every little bit helps to get the right results.
I read the posting on the Caramelized Onion Dip. Sounds yummy and I am so hungry-waiting for my lunch break. I did not need to read that right now.
We received that Combine Campaign thing the State does. RMH is on there and thats where one of my contributions is going. I haven't given blood in a while because I was so anemic, but I may consider it again. It would take me 6 mos to get over it in the past. I took CPR about 30 years ago when I was about 10 yrs old. I guess it is time for a refresher.
Hang in there. The light is at the end of the tunnel (facing south) and you are almost there. We love you and are keeping the prayers before our most gracious Lord.
Aunt Ali

Anonymous said...

We're here for you now and we're here for you when you get home. Can't wait to hug you all!


ANAPatterson said...

So glad to hear about Jay getting some appetite back. I am excited about you guys getting to come home soon. I know it will be a lot but it will be HOME. The onion Recipe sounds yummy too thank Amy K for sharing it and trusting it to everyone. Im saving some coupons for you guys since somehow i have become the coupon queen. LOL
I will pass on to folks on facebook I know about the radiothon as we have family in PA who can listen to it and can prob find it online to listen to and donate elsewhere too. Oh, I AM CPR Certified as is Tony. HUGS, LOVE, THOUGHTS, and PRAYERS!