Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Quickest Pneumonia Ever!

Well, that was quick!

I met Helen at the hospital this morning. Dad was sitting on the side of the bed waiting for his breakfast. He was in good spirits and seemed to be feeling fine.

Breakfast arrived, just as Dad had ordered. He was happy to have his smuggled salt. By the time he finished preparing everything just so, seasoning all his foods, buttering his biscuit, adding the jelly, no doubt it was getting cold, but he enjoyed. it.

And then it was time for Helen to go. She made of list of the things Dad needed to ask the Doctor when he arrived:

1. What is the prognosis?

2. Any more meds of antibiotics?

3. More x-rays?

4. Timeline?

The list seemed to cover all bases. Helen would be available after 3 in the afternoon. I was able to stay until 10, and Michael Malouf was planning to come by later in the morning.

Shortly after Helen left, the doctor came by. After exchanging pleasantries and a blow-by-blow recap of Dad's condition, he gave a quick listen to Dad's chest.

"There's only two things I need to do," he said. "The first is to write a prescription for levaquin. The other is to write discharge papers."

And that's what he did.

The prescription was for four pills to take daily starting in the afternoon. The hospital was to fill the prescription so he wouldn't have to have it filled after discharge. Since he had one more IV antibiotic infusion scheduled for later in the morning, the nurse was to prepare for a discharge around 3 or 4 when Helen would be available to pick him up.

Dad was to follow up with a visit to David Wiggins and an x-ray in a couple of weeks. If he develops severe shortness of breath, severe coughing or bloody phlegm, Dad is NOT to call his doctor, but head back to the ER.

By then it was time for me to go to work. As far as I know the rest of the day went according to the plan. Malouf did come by for a visit. Helen took him home and Will took him dinner.

And so life goes back to normal. We hope.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Year Later.....But Now This!

Hard to believe it's been a year since the last post. Been pretty smooth sailing for the D-Don. Life's about the same.

He may be a little slower afoot. A lot less likely to complain about being driven. But all in all, Dad's had a pretty stable year.

Another year, another flower for Polly.

Until today.

He had a good weekend. Seemed in good health and good spirits Sunday at church and when he went out to lunch with Susan, Travis and myself. He had his usual Monday dinner with his female admirers at Sevy's.

And then about 2 am Tuesday morning he woke up with a violent, racking cough, but was able to get back to sleep. He woke up with another violent, racking cough around 5 am and this time he looked at the phlegm and saw that it was tinged with blood. And he did the prudent thing.

Since it was too early to call Dr. Wiggins or Dr. Musselman, he got up, got dressed and drove himself to the emergency room at Presby where he was promptly admitted and examined. They thought his racking cough had broken a small blood vessel which would account for the bloody phlegm, but they also heard a rattle when he breathed. An x-ray followed which showed a cloudy patch at the bottom of one of his lungs and he was diagnosed with pneumonia.

Surprising, since he had shown no symptoms. No cold. No bronchitis. No sore throat. No fever. But, there it was.

They started him on an IV infusion of zithromax in his room in the ER and followed it up with another drug of which I can't remember the name. They also told him he would be admitted, probably just overnight if everything went well.

At some point in all this he called Helen who called in sick, went to the hospital and texted me the news. I was at the Transplant Clinic getting my quarterly checkup (numbers were great, by the way!) When I was done I headed straight for the hospital.

When I got there, he was just finishing his first infusion. His main concern was getting his daily dose of Immodium. Dad was apparently feeling fine other than being surprised that he was sick and dismayed to find himself on an uncomfortable hospital bed hooked up with IVs, blood pressure cuffs and monitor leads. Three things he really doesn't like: hospital beds, hospital food, and hospital waiting.

And wait we did.

But truthfully, his Hospitalist was a very good listener who spoke slowly and directly so Dad could understand (he never had a problem with her accent.) His nurse was terrific. He did a great job explaining the situation and why we had to wait. He said it would be a while, so he snagged Dad a turkey sandwich and Helen and I took his car back to the Apt and got him some PJs and things he needed to spend a night.

When we got back, he had eaten and was dozing. At which point I left Helen and went in to work. That was about 2 pm.

Sometime around 5 or 6 I received a text from Helen that he had finally gotten a room. And then another text that they still had not seen a doctor. And that was the last I heard.

Helen spent the entire day with Dad and no doubt has more to say, maybe even corrections to my version of the story, but I felt it was important to set down my memories of the day. Mary sent a text a couple of hours ago sounding anxious and confused. I attempted to reply via text, but my phone could not get a good enough cellular connection to send it. So I revived the blog.

I plan to be at the hospital in about six hours, so I'll stop now and go to bed. Will try to post again later on Wednesday.

Just to recap, Dad seemed to be in relatively good health. Kudos to him for recognizing the symptoms and getting to the hospital quickly. I know I would never had done that, and I doubt any of the rest of would either. We would just plow through and tough it out until we really got seriously sick. If anyone had any doubts as to Dad's awareness of himself and his condition at his advanced age, I think they can lay them to rest for a while.