Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday - one week today - making progress

The insulin level continues to drop - down to the 160's - they are still giving him insulin. The cardiac doctors came in today - for the last two nights, he has had arrthyma (?) - an irregular heartbeat. Had it again this morning. We figured out that it was happening about an hour afrer his respiratory treatment - the Doctor said this could be a side effect, and stopped the treatments. Also gave him lopressor to help. They ran a bunch of tests and said it was super ventricular tacacardia - top part of heart - and said that that is good - it wasn't atrium fibulation - that can cause clotting and would be bad. I hope we have it under control.

Dr. Gamblin was in and said he is "not quite out of the woods yet", but that once we get the heart problem under control, we need to get the liver functions normal (Billyrubin is still high), and the kidney function is not stabilized (he was actually having problems with his kidneys before the operation). Before I left tonight the Doctor who came in said only the kidney function is still bad - maybe he can come home (to Family House) tomorrow or Friday! I don't think tomorrow would be good - he is still VERY weak, but - we will see how tomorrow goes to see about Friday. Lung capacity is pretty good, and he is walking a couple of times a day - up and down the hall. He is also getting a little grouchy, which I take as a sign that he is improving - he was too sick to be grouchy before this!

For lunch - I go to the 11th floor of Presbyterian - there are 3 cafeteria's/ restaurants in Montefiore, but they are either terrible food, too expensive, or generally awful - presby is better. To get there, I take the elevator from 10 down to 8 (7 is the main floor at Montefiore), and cross the passenger "bridge" (an indoor walkway over the road) over to Presby - about a quarter of a mile. When I get over the bridge, I am on the 3rd floor of Presby (these are all on big hills), so I go up to 11. Well - when I got down to 8 today - it was pouring rain - grey skies, the whole thing. When I got up to the 11th floor at Presby - it was beautiful - blue skies, sunshine. It was very strange.

All the nursing students were in for hospital training today - and tomorrow - and the Doctors always travel in packs - a couple of "real" doctors and the students from UPMC. Every morning my shuttle (the blue line) stops at UPMC Shadyside, Magee Women's Hospital, Va Hospital, UPMC Presbyterian, Children's Hospital and UPMC Montefiore, along with the Family Houses. If you are going to one of the other hospitals, you need to catch another shuttle - the gold line , for example. It is hard to explain how big this campus really is - seeing is believing. I feel like - instead of going to Disney World - we went to Hospital World.

The people I have met here , and the stories I have heard have changed my world forever. I will tell you 3 -

1) Susan is a lady staying here at Family House with her husband Perry. They came up from their home in Tampa in January to get a double lung transplant for her (you have to be able to get here in 4 hours when you are called). Because she has small lungs, not many lungs will fit her. She finally got a call last week. When she got to the hospital, the lungs were no good, so she came back to wait some more. She goes in 3 days a weeks for treatments (she has a rare lung disease), and lives on a portable oxygen tank (as do many other people here), and time is running out for her - she is a wonderful lady.

2) When they call these people for the transplant - they call at least two at a time - in case the 1st person can't accept the lung/liver, etc. it won't be wasted. They call you in the order of need, so - you are in pretty bad shape if you are at the top of the list. The night of the operation, I waited in TICU waiting room for Butch to get in a room there. Two girls were in there, crying. I asked them if I could get them something, and they told me they were step-sisters - their Father, Step-Father was in TICU on a respirator - lungs had come in and he was next, but he had to be able to breathe on his own to receive them. He couldn't, so they passed gim by, and they were going to shut down the respirator. It tears you up to hear these stories.

3) A man and his wife that stayed at Family House - his wife finally got her transplant, and he was glad they were able to save her. While he was waiting in the waiting room, another man came in sobbing - his wife was 2nd on the list, and would not get those lungs that went to his wife - this 2nd man's wife had 4 days to live, they figured.

The moral of this story is - organs are in short supply - we need to donate ours when the time comes.

Dr. Gamblin said he got the card from Carolyn thanking him for doing the surgery on Butch - and he appreciated it. Butch talked to our grand-daughters today, and that was a good thing. We are receiving cards and well-wishes and I want to thank each of you - you are all wonderful.

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