Saturday, September 23, 2006

Stroke effects

Dad was moved to Select Specialty Hospital within the hospital this week. The time spent in ICU seemed unending - a succession of days and nights - good and bad where we were hopeful one minute and waiting for the worst the next. Dad was in a morphine induced coma to help keep him calm so that his blood pressure wouldn't spike. When they tried to bring him out of that, they still had him on one med that caused headache, so kept up the morphine to keep him comfortable. There were days when he was very agitated. For more than a week, he didn't open his eyes. He was on a ventilator, feeding tube, IV and had tubes everywhere. He had a special air bed that would turn him slightly from side to side to prevent bed sores.

Trying to make him more comfortable and reduce the risk of infection, the nurses inserted a PICC line. A day or two after that, they put his feeding tube into his stomach instead of down his throat. He developed an infection last week. We thought it could be a turn for the worse. Once they got the fever down, they did a tracheotomy. Now nothing is down his throat!

Yesterday was his first day at Select. I got there about 8:30am. The place is busy; much different than ICU with nurses having about 4 patients each. Dad has a team of a few nurses, a couple aides, his doctors(family, infectious disease, intensive care, neurology) , and the therapists(physical and speech) Everyone needed to assess him and by early afternoon, he was zonked. The most exciting part was the speech therapist who really got him responding and he seemed happy about that. For the first time since the stroke, he looked me in the eyes, seemed to recognize me, squeezed my hand and even mouthed that he was hot, so I took his blanket off.

Baby steps, Baby steps

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