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.