I promised an update on how my Dad’s been doing, so here goes.
Dad’s still in the ICU hooked up the respirator. They’ve had him sedated for the past couple of days because he kept trying to take the breathing tube (aka “THE TUBE”) out of his mouth. He absolutely HATES that tube. It was the first thing he talked about when he finally got his voice back after the first time he was on the respirator right after surgery. So when he was having difficulty breathing last Thursday night and THE TUBE be had to be put back down, he was not too happy about it.
But what’s ten times worse, is not being able to breathe.
Yesterday, they tried to wean him off the respirator and took THE TUBE out a little too soon. Clinically, he looked good. His lab studies were picture perfect and his oxygen saturation (O2 sat) was doing well. That’s all fine and dandy, but since my Dad has a long-standing love affair with nicotine, sometimes “picture perfect” for non-smokers is not as “picture perfect” for smokers. Despite the fact that both my Dad’s nurse and us (my brother & I) thinking it was better to give him an extra night of rest, the ICU doctor felt otherwise. So THE TUBE came out.
And sure enough, within minutes his O2 sat dropped, he started gasping for breath, and he became more and more agitated. The ICU resident chalked this up to him being “anxious,” but when I started seeing my Dad’s eyes glaze over, I told her otherwise. And well, let’s just say that my brother (also known as “The Doctor” as he’s currently in his 5th year of residency for Orthopedic Surgery) was not AT ALL happy about what transpired. Within a half an hour, THE TUBE went back in. And now, to top it off … it appears that he’s got a bit of pneumonia in his lower lungs. Yet another thing to set his progress back.
And while Dad wasn’t too happy about having to be “intubated” (medical-ese for “placing the breathing tube”) for the THIRD TIME, I think he was just happy to be able to feel like he could breathe.
So today, Dad’s doing better. He still hates THE TUBE, but he’s come to accept it. For now. And they’ve started him on IV antibiotics to help fight the pneumonia. And the nurses and RTs (respiratory therapists) have been aggressive at doing lung treatments to help get rid of any fluid that may continue to linger in his lungs. The plan is to try to wean him off the respirator slowly and as soon as he’s able to breathe without any help, THE TUBE will come out.
I know I’ve said this time and time again over the past two weeks now, but THANK YOU for all your thoughts and well-wishes. If you can continue to keep my Dad in your daily thoughts and prayers, I will forever be grateful to you.