Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Updates on J. #3

J is an ex police man who accidentally shot himself while holstering his gun. The bullet entered his stomach and traveled down his leg severing the femoral artery. He bled out immediately. They managed to bring him back. During surgery, he had to be revived back three times. Surgeons tried everything they could to save his leg, but had to remove it on the 6th. The beginning of this story is here and the second part is here. Please pray for him and his loved ones especially my friend M.

Update 12/13/2013: J is being released to rehab!!! They have also delayed dialysis to see what his numbers look like. He may come off of dialysis completely which is surpassing doctor's previous expectations. from M: " J freaked out the physical therapist that was working with him yesterday. He had him sitting on the side of the bed, working on balance, and John straight tried to stand up. The physical therapist said "*Expletive!* Good job, but take it easy dude!!" And then told him that he came very close to making it!!" Thank you to all who have been praying for J and M.

Update 12/10/2013: J is continuing to improve. His kidneys have not been putting out urine until yesterday 300 ccs and today 400 ccs with contaminants. The doctor has set dialysis to be two days a week. The surgeon is going to try to do the skin flap surgery. Once that is complete, they will likely remove the trach. The decision on where rehab will be has not been made yet. J has been having tremendous trouble with the phantom pains, so please keep praying on that. As mentioned before, these are nerve pains and do not respond as well to medication. J is making progress every day. There are still things J needs prayer for, but we also need to thank and praise the Lord for ALL He has done for M. and J. through this. Rejoice with me in what God has done and in what He is doing!

Update 12/6/2013: from M: "As of today, John is officially out of ICU!" Praise the Lord!!!

Update 12/5/2013: from M: If everything goes as planned, J is out of the ICU as of tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then after about 7-10 days, if everything goes well...rehab!!!!

Update 12/4/2014 11:00 p.m.: from M: "Still no skin grafts during today's surgery. The wounds aren't healing as well as the doctor wants to see. He said they should be healing faster for a man of J's age. He suspects the kidney issues are complicating things. So I'm praying that we will see things turn around and wounds starting to heal faster!" Let's join her in prayer for faster healing so J can get through this part of his journey.

There was another I missed somewhere along the way: "As of yesterday he is officially tube free. He’s only connected to the IV’s and his trach/breathing tube. was ridiculously excited to be there when his first meal of pureed chicken, peas and mashed potatoes w/ gravy arrived. He managed to get down a few bites of the chicken and mashed potatoes after we decided to try mixing them together but vehemently refused the pureed peas (with no judgment from me, that mess looked awful!) But even if it was a 18oz Porterhouse steak, it would hold no comparison to how in love he is with being able to drink water freely now (a.k.a. “The Chalice of Life”) lol. I started out this sentence trying to put into words what the past few days have been like for me, but I’m having a hard time. The only way I know how to describe seeing him awake, alert, and back to the normal, laughing, joking person he’s always been – is it feels like someone has given me my breath back. The conversations we’ve had about the loss of his leg and his feelings on the subject have reassured me that not only is he going to make it thru all this, but he intends on thriving in spite of it. He reminded ME last night, that God has a plan in all of this and He’s still very much in control of our lives and what happens to us. We’ve caught ourselves looking into each other’s eyes and shaking our heads with knowing smiles because there are no words to describe everything we’re feeling. We loved each other before the accident, but something solidified between the two of us that, again, can’t be described. Some areas we can pray for: Emotional strength for him during this extended time away from his son, physical strength as his body continues healing extensive wounds and protection from infections and complications."

Update 12/2/2013: from M: "Dialysis went well this morning for J. The swallow study that they perform before approving the feeding tube to be removed and a diet ordered went great too! The doctor came in this morning and told him that any future debridements/bandage changes would take place downstairs in the OR with him under anesthesia (no more blackouts from the pain!) and they were going to start taking steps to get a physical therapy program going to get him out of the bed and gaining strength! They moved the room phone over to his beside and J actually called me today several times. I can't describe how it feels to hear his voice on the other end when I pick up the phone. He's been texting me today too, and it still blows my mind how far he's come to be able to operate an iPhone. When we talked on the phone he had figured out a trick to be able to talk more loud and clear by covering his trach opening with his finger. Every day, more and more, he's amazing me with the leaps and bounds he's making!! My heart is overflowing with gratefulness right now!!"

Update 12/1/2013: from M: "The surgery is over. The wound needed more clean up and debriedment than the doctor expected so he did all of that and hopes Tuesday or Wednesday to be able to complete the skin graft." 

Update 11/30/2013: from M: "His platelet levels have started coming up again today, so much so that the surgeon is going to possibly do the skin graft surgery tomorrow pending the outcome of his labs in the morning. His heart rate has been slightly elevated so they're keeping an eye on that. (Btw, the unit just received a patient out of a 10 hour brain surgery, so send any extra prayers that way if you can.)"

Update 11/29/2013: from M: "Today he had been scheduled for surgery to place a skin graft over the muscle they placed over his femoral artery last weekend. They canceled the surgery because his platelets are too low. There's only a couple of things that could cause this to happen. The one they're leaning toward is very rare but the only one that is a reasonable conclusion. It's an allergic reaction that his body could have developed to the heparin he's been getting. This reaction could be causing his platelets to be forming clots somewhere inside his body (no good at all) which would explain their absence in the tests. So they went with this theory and switched him over to a different anticoagulant and now he's bleeding somewhere in his digestive tract, which explains why I saw blood underneath him last night when he was moved." The 29th marked 1 month of J's hospital stay.

Update 11/28/2013 10:00 a.m.: from M: "Spending this Thanksgiving Day morning sitting beside J. Yesterday was a good day for him number wise, his white blood cell count was still down. But for whatever reason they didn't give him pain medicine ahead of time for his bandage changes and he blacked out twice from the pain. Afterward they hooked him up to a pain medicine pump and there have been lots of interesting conversations since. He's still running a fever right now of 101.4 - yesterday however, they took him off the ventilator completely and he's now breathing on his own. I don't think he knows I'm here right now. I think the medicine has him good and comfortable, at least I hope it does. So today I'm thankful for things too numerous to list. His life, of course is at the top of that list, but I'm grateful for every doctor that saved his life and for the nurses that have given such amazing care to him and in doing so, became like family to both he and I. Happy Thanksgiving to each of you."

Update 11/26/2013 2:00 p.m.: from M: "Some really good (snoopy dance worthy) news... Yesterday, J's white blood cell count was in the 30's. Today it came down to 18. That is THE lowest it has been since he went into the hospital. His fever is still around 100-101. They're trying to keep him as comfortable as possible. The nurses also suspect that he might be dealing with a touch of depression, so please pray that his spirit will be strengthened." 

Update 11/25/2013 9:10 p.m.: from M: "Definitely in need of prayers right now. J is very pale, clammy and disoriented. His BP is running low again. This is no good because the medicine that they used to bring it back up in the beginning was part of the reason why he lost his leg. Please pray. This infection has got to go!"

Update 11/25/2013 5:26 p.m.: From M: "The cultures show pneumonia and a staph infection in one of the wounds in his leg. Doctor says the antibiotics he's being treated with already should cover both of those infections."

Update 11/25/2013 1:00 p.m.: From M: "His fever is hovering around 101, and they've got the cooling blanket under him. The doctor is going over culture results right now and will be talking to J's mom in a few about whatever has come back. He's in a good bit of pain from the surgery today, so keep praying that God would touch him and give him rest. They're still giving him the drip of sedation so hopefully it will help him sleep. So many prayers have been going out for him. I can't thank you all enough for the cards, support and the jokes and well wishes that have boosted his spirits. The nurses love coming in and reading the web wishes that are posted on the wall in his room. A few have chimed in on the heated debate over naked cats (sphynx's) with some actually taking my side!"

Update 11/24/2013: Please keep praying: "Yesterday before his fever started coming back down, it went all the way up to 105. The night was pretty rough for him, Finally this morning the doctor put in orders for meds to sedate him and keep him as comfortable as possible while his body fights off this infection that they still can't seem to find or identify. In addition to the muscle transplant over his femoral artery yesterday, he had a huge amount of work done on him everywhere else. They went back into his abdomen and other places on his leg and did debridement (removing any dead tissue they found). Surgeons generally don't like to operate on patients who are already running a fever, and are autoimmune compromised, because things like what happened last night happen afterwards. The body thinks it's being compromised by organisms and releases all sorts of things to fight off whatever the culprit might be. But in J's situation, they have to stay up on removing any dead tissue so it doesn't affect the good around it. So they didn't have much choice. He's sleeping very soundly right now with his temp at about 100. Please, please keep praying & thank you so much for all the prayers already offered."

Update 11/23/2013: My friend M is very concerned right now. J had the surgery this morning, and it went well. But, his fever has been going up. It was 104 and rising at 5:30 today. Doctors say the only real reason for the fever would be sepsis. That makes it very serious. J and his loved ones covet your prayers. Please pray.

Update 11/22/2013: from M: "Tomorrow at 8 am, J is scheduled for a pretty serious surgery. When they first went in the night of the accident, they opened up his stomach yes, but they also opened up a large incision from his hip across to his groin. This is where the operation will be taking place. The femoral artery at this location was where most of the damage occurred. Right now, the artery is fairly exposed, but there is no infection in the area and things have been healing in a slow but decent fashion. But they need to protect the artery. 

So what's going to happen is the doctor is going to go into J's abdomen and take one of the nine muscles that are available to him, picking the one he already knows is good for having the most blood flow, and laying it like a blanket over the artery in the leg.

The plastic surgeon that's operating on him told us that during his time as a plastic surgeon at Walter Reed, he did the most deployments of any plastic surgeon in the country. He has seen many many wounded warriors and done hundreds of these types of surgeries on guys way worse off than J. He said J is young and strong, and while there are some complications with other issues going on, they feel that this is a good time to do this surgery. He's going to look around and check out some other issues while he's in there, but for the most part he's really confident that J is going to do just fine." 



Update 11/22/2013: from M: This was shared yesterday, but due to helping a friend, I am just getting it posted today. "They did a CAT scan on J earlier, and it showed what appears to be an abscess in his abdomen. They just took him down to the OR where they're going to remove fluid from it to test for infection and put in a drain. This might explain the extreme tiredness he's been having along with the fever. One minute he's fine, the next he's wiped out. Up and down. At least they've found it."

Update 11/21/2013: from M: "We're making strides again! Today he is breathing on his own with periodical times of rest on the ventilator. Blood pressure is stable and his fever is low grade. Yesterday when the doctor came with an update, he said that frequent little surgeries like what they did in his leg yesterday would be normal for a bit while they work to make sure that the tissue that is sloughing off doesn't affect the healthy tissue around it. Right now they don't see any that is infected, but his body is picking and choosing what to send blood flow to, so when that happens and tissue dies, it gets removed. He is really worn out today and desperately in need of sleep, which is really hard to come by in ICU. But yesterday while I was there in the afternoon, he was writing what he wanted to say really well, and his smarty pants self was showing thru in typical J fashion as he told me that the only good naked cat was a dead naked cat, lol. He's lucky he's so cute." 

 photo 2_zps59922a6b.jpg
I am still going to petition J to buy my friend M a Sphinx (or naked) cat. :-)

Update 11/20/2013: from M: "J is being prepped for surgery on his leg now. I believe it's somewhat minor, but when it's your 13th surgery in 3 weeks, everything is serious. I stayed with him last night till about 12:30. He was in better spirits and I was able to spend some good time loving on him. Thank you all for the love and prayers that you've been sending both of us. They're so tangible and real."

Update 11/19/2013: from M: "I saw him this morning for only about 45 minutes. I'm planning on going after work today and after the boys go to sleep tonight. From what I saw today, he is better physically, but I can tell tell that being unable to talk is putting a strain on him mentally and emotionally. When I came in he started crying. He's trapped in a prison of sorts having his hands tied down, unable to communicate, having to wait for someone to come into the room just to get their attention and hoping they can read his lips well enough to interpret what he needs. I can't imagine the awfulness of it all....and my heart breaks. He really needs us now at this point to pray for him and support him, visit if you want, if you can't, leave encouraging messages here I will make sure I read them to him tonight. If you can send cards please do, whatever we can to get him through this incredibly hard time. They're going to do a minor operation on his leg tomorrow to remove some more dead tissue, but he really needs support emotionally. My heart hurts so bad for my honey."