Small steps add up

April 23, 2016

ICU Day 6

After Den finally took some pain mess, he slept well. And that also meant that I got some sleep also. At 1AM, Den was awake. He needs to use the bathroom again. After he was finished, we gave him a bath and his dressings were changed.  Respiratory therapy gave him another treatment at 3AM.

He told me he wanted corn flake with milk and a banana for breakfast, so that is what I ordered for him. It was so good to see him eat and enjoy his food that I was almost giddy.


After breakfast, Den got some more X-rays taken. Dr. Hart stopped in, he told Den that he was not on any kind of fluid restrictions. Den could drink as much as he wanted…water, juice, coffee or anything else that he wanted.  He also assured Den that he was making good progress. When respiratory therapy came in again at 8AM, I asked if it was possible for us to use a stethoscope. Neither of us had heard his new heart sounds. Out nurse came in with a stethoscope that we could use and she offered to help us find the new sound. She didn’t need to….the thump, thump, whirl, thump thump, whirl was unmistakable!

The doctors had started Den back on Lexapro, his old antidepressant. He still had 6 IV bags running fluids and melds into his central line. They had to watch his blood glucose very closely. It began fluctuating again when he was released to the soft diet. After breakfast, Den’s blood sugar surged to 203. They gave him some insulin and would keep checking.

Dr. Cossack, one of the Doctor, came by to check on Den. He said everything looked really good. His opinion was that Den was hallucinating due to after effect of the long time under anesthesia, a lack of sleep and the pain mess he was being given. He left an order for melatonin to be given tonight. We all hoped it would help.

Den wanted to sit in his chair for a while, and then use and I helped him to move over and get comfortable. He feel asleep almost immediately. Now, I have to remind you that I have not left the hospital for the last 7 days. I have run out of clean clothes. I asked the nurses if there was a laundromat on the university campus. No, the nearest one that would be in a safe neighborhood was 3 miles away. The nurses were kind enough to lend me a pair of scrubs pants….Den had spilled some of his breakfast all over my last clean pair of sweats.  I gently woke Den to let him know that I was going to wash my clothes, made sure he had his cell phone and headed out with my smelly, stinky clothes.

When I got back to the hospital around 1PM, I got an earful from Den when I walked in. He said things like…..”How dare you leave me here alone? I thought you weren’t coming back!” He honestly thought that I had been gone for 2 days. I assured him that I had only been gone for an hour and a half to wash my clothes…he really did smell better than me at that point. I went to take a shower and put on clean clothes. When I came out…smelling much better, Den was extremely confused. He said he felt like he had just been hit by a truck (sudden onset can be a sign of major complications). Trish, his nurse, gave him some Tylenol and we put him back in bed. We set him up on his Bi-Pap, with supplemental oxygen. She elevated his feet, called for some labs and checked his blood glucose. He did seem to calm down and we watched some TV. Den napped on and off the rest of the day. The only problem was every time he would wake up, he was very confused. He started to hallucinate more and more. He told me one time to “catch that reel!” I asked him what he was talking about. He said, “The film reel that just rolled past your feet.” I assured him that there was no reel and it was just his mind playing tricks on him. A short while later, a doctor came in, he was alone in his visit. Den asked me when he left, “Why didn’t that guy in the yellow polo shirt not say anything?” Now, the doctor that had come in was in scrubs and a lab coat and there was no one else in the room, so I again reassured Den that his mind was making it up. He continued to see things all night. Each time, the nurse and myself would reassure him that this was normal and would go away in time. (We look back on this day and laugh, but at the time is was no laughing matter.)

At 5PM he got another breathing treatment. At 5PM the doctor removed the SWAN in his neck and replaced it with a Triple Lumen.

Den didn’t eat lunch and refused to have any dinner. He told me he wanted to start fresh with eating in the morning. Den was down to 4 IV bags, oral meds and insulin as needed at this time. When they checked his blood sugar that evening is was high so he got one unit of insulin. He got one more breathing treatment before he went to sleep that night.

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