Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Attitude of Gratitude"...Day 11 at the U

  Today was a good day for Dad. Yesterday he was so sleepy and did not want to do anything, but today he did walk with Physical Therapy and had a couple bites of food. He was up more too.He also was able to tell us he was at the "University medical Center," yesterday he couldn't remember that detail. Keep in mind that when I say it was a good day, things didn't get worse and maybe only slightly better. When I say he was "up more" and talking, I mean talking more normal, because he isn't all the way with it, and still confused. With time, things will begin to come back!  We are all learning patience.
  The other day I was talking with my aunt Jill about what I call "Gratitude Journals". I told her about them a few years ago, after someone else described them to me, and she has now used one and had her patients use them before too. The concept is to make one entry a day in your journal about something you are grateful for, even if it is only one sentence or one word. Well, that conversation got me thinking and now I am going to take this "attitude of gratitude" and find one thing while at the hospital with my dad, that I (or someone there) is grateful for that happened while visiting with Dad and write it in my daily blog entries. That way we can share these fun thoughts and maybe all appreciate our lives a little more while traveling on this journey we didn't (especially my mom and dad!) expect to take. 
   Today I am grateful for the Hukilau Beach in Hawaii. Why? Well, today Dad said something I didn't quite catch except for the last word "Hukilau". This was interesting because the other day I showed him pictures from our Hawaii trip when we went to Hukilau beach. So I showed him the pictures again, he halfway watched the picture slideshow and halfway listened to me talk about it, but I think he enjoyed it. Even though he can't express it, I think he remembers that trip now. About an hour later, out of the blue he says again "I want the Hukilau" so this time Natalie showed him the pictures and he just watched and listened to her describe our Hawaii photos. Whatever this means, I think it's progress!
   That blasted infection totally set my dad back because he doesn't have much of an appetite and gets tired easily (partly from the infection and partly from the head injury). The doctors are giving him medicine to make him more awake, which compared from yesterday, seems to maybe have worked. We are thinking by next week he will be doing some rehab downstairs, floor 2, of the University Hospital. I think therapy will help with talking and remembering as well. Keep going Dad!! You have a lot of fans cheering you on!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 10 at the U

Today is basically the same for Dad so not much to update on. Still sleepy but the Doctor's say that is normal for a head injury. His arm with the blood clot is getting less swollen and looking better. Also,we have decided to have him do his rehab at the U Hospital. For a little while we thought we might transfer him to St. Mark's, but the U has more experience with head injury and has more intensive rehab. He probably won't start that until sometime next week or so. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 9 at the U

Today was a great day for Dad. He has been on this constant one-on-one with a CNA always in his room, however today they moved him to a different (and bigger) room with a camera in it instead. He had the one-on-one because he was so impulsive and agitated all the time, but he has calmed down and now the doctors feel he doesn't need that. There is a CNA that watches the camera, and a nurse always close by. Dad is graduating to being more self sufficient! He seems to understand more that he needs to get better and stay at the hospital. Also, when the intern neurological doctor came in, he did a bunch of observation/tests and said dad was "sharp" and doing well. He made me feel good and think that Dad would pull through and recover, like we always say, it will just take time. 
The doctors also started him on a heparin drip and another mild blood thinner. They feel that the risk of internal bleeding in the brain is very low because it had been 15 days since the injury and his injury is stable now. It was kind of a catch 22 because the blood clot, if not treated, could break off and go to the heart or lungs. We feel all decisions being made have been good so far. He is very tired and doesn't want to eat very much either, however the Doctor said this is because some of his medicine he is taking mixed with his injury has caused his sleepiness. They are going to take him off of the medicine that is making him sleepy (I think they were to calm him down, but he is calm now) and give him medicine to "wake him up" to be more alert for therapy etc. Also, dad had looked a little jaundice or yellow, because when he got sepsis his liver was affected, but the liver is healing and his color is coming back, which is fabulous.
We are very optimistic and feel Dad has made progress. He kind of back tracked for a week with the infections, but is slowly fighting those off and getting healthier. 

**Also, to set the records straight, all doctors, nurses, and CNA's know my dad is diabetic.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 7 & 8 at the U

Yesterday and today have been about the same for my dad. He did physical therapy today and walked around the hospital floor he is on, he also did a few mild exercises. He is very tired and the doctors told me it was because of the brain injury and probably also the infections he is fighting off. Dad isn't as aggressive and doesn't try to leave the hospital or ask us to take him home anymore. I feel like he is starting to understand why he has to stay at the hospital. He still can't remember things from the day before (a form of amnesia the doctor said) but he can read cards sent to him, recognize people who come into the room, ask questions and answer most questions asked by the doctor.
It is very rare to have people with a brain injury like my dad's and also a blood clot. The doctors are watching it and doing what they can with it. Currently we would ask that only family members visit my dad because he is "not himself" and sick. However, I will keep this blog updated for when it is a good time to come see him. Thanks for all the support!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 5 & 6 at the U

So I apologize for not posting progress yesterday because I know several of you who are following to see how my dad is doing. Currently he is very sick, from the infection. He can talk and eat and stuff, he just gets tired easily. He is in a unit called "acute medical attention" where they watch his medicine for the infection. The doctor examined him today and saw some scab things on his neck, possibly staff infection, they are looking into that as well.
They were going to put a filter in my dad's arm to stop the blood clot in case it travels, but it has the danger of breaking off as well. It is a fine line with the blood clot and my dad. They can't give him blood thinners because of the head injury and the filter option could break off or cause more infections and he is already so sick. The current standing is to monitor it closely. The doctor did say that blood clots in the arms are better then the legs and have a less chance of breaking off and traveling to other parts of the body.
Please Please Please keep praying and thinking of my dad!! We love him and want him to get better. Deep down inside me I believe he will get better, it will just take time and I am not very patient :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 4 at the U

So are you ready for this? The infection was Sepsis! I didn't know that until today, I guess I am oblivious to some things and in most cases that is probably good. Well they are treating it, and it is totally under control now, but Thursday it was pretty scary, life threatening (as if the head injury isn't bad enough). Today he seemed better. The nurses and doctors have ordered him a room outside of ICU but he most likely won't move until tomorrow. This new room is just a step down from the ICU so they can still keep an eye on him. The blood clot is being well monitored and will most likely dissolve on it's own, he must keep that arm rested and not move it too much.
Dad was talking a lot today and reading some cards people have sent. He really wants to go home and doesn't fully understand why he has to be in the hospital 24/7 yet, however he is more willing to comply and listen and doesn't try to "Escape" nearly as much. He is getting "more with it" but is still a little confused. 
We hope to see continual progress, keep him in your thoughts and prayers!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 3 at the U

Thankfully today my dad's fever had gone down and he was at a normal temperature. Also his blood pressure was back to normal, it had dropped really low yesterday. He has an infection that they are treating with antibiotics, he seems to be responding well. Hopefully he will be out of the ICU when the infection is totally gone, probably by Sunday or Monday. He still has a blood clot they they are watching closely and treating as best thy can, they can not give him blood thinner because of the injury. 

He is still alert and talking well. They did a CAT scan and things had improved so that is good. We hope to have good news again tomorrow.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 2 at the U

Today was a harder day for my dad. He did a great job in the morning with physical therapy, but this afternoon did not want to participate. After I left he had also pulled out (entirely this time) his catheter. They were going to remove it today anyway. I am assuming that did not feel good. They also found a blood clot in his arm. They are currently working on that situation. He also had a fever that has since gone down. Because of all this he has been moved to the ICU again :( Will this ever end!!! Hopefully. I am not impressed with the U so far. In fact, maybe it is IHC I am unhappy with because they are the ones who said he was ready for rehab, obviously not. 

Visitors are only to come from 4-8 pm and two at a time for now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

University...GO UTES!

Dad was transfered to the University of Utah hospital today (good thing he's a ute fan;)  ). At approximately 1:30 he arrived at the U Hospital via van, and was taken to the rehab floor. Today was an "introduction day" you might say. He was asked some questions about his health history and given a room. At first he was sharing a room, but aunt Jill would not have that! (Thank Heavens because sharing the room even for 3 hours was miserable.) He was taken to his own private room where he now has his own bathroom, TV and visitor space. Thanks Jill for having friends in high places at the U Hospital, sometimes it's all about who you know. 

While I was there, he was getting his new room. Then he took a little nap. When dinner arrived he was served mashed potatoes, a roll, chicken, pudding, and was all mashed up though, he can't have "regular" food until he is given the official test that says he can swallow normal food. Hopefully that comes soon because the only items that looked appetizing were the roll and pudding. Maybe after only having one solid meal (yesterday) in a week though, it was good? Hopefully! 

He will be doing rehab exercises for 3 hours a day now. He will have a physical, occupational, and speech therapist. He will be here for 2-3 weeks we have been told. It could be longer, but that is just what we are looking at right now. 

One funny comment...when we asked him what he was drinking for dinner (obviously pink lemonade or fruit punch) he said "Jack Daniels High ball"! He was trying to be funny and throw us off...he sure did! Dad doesn't drink but this head injury sure makes him say funny things! I haven't added all that he says though, because one day when he reads this I don't want him to be embarrassed :) Dad is on the road to recovery!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Out of the ICU

Today my friend Whitney Fowlks called me, she works at the hospital on floor 11, and said she was getting a new dad! Hooray! He was moved out of the ICU after being there almost a week. Because my parents insurance is not accepted at the IHC hospital (it was while this was an emergency in the ICU, but not now) he will most likely be transfered tomorrow or Thursday to The University Hospital. I went and visited around 3:30. Dad seemed more alert and talkative. He read out loud several "get well" cards that were sent to him, he would not have been able to do that two days ago. Later it was dinner time and they actually gave him regular food! He can only have soft food but ate Lasagna, soup, and some green beans. I am sure that tasted great after almost a week with no food except for a feeding tube.

Since he has a brain injury he still says some really funny things, and is impulsive with his language. However, we have seen TONS of progress. Each day he acts more and more like Dad but it will just take time, patience, and practice to get back to being Dad. His personality is not yet back to "normal" but it's getting there. When asked how old he is, he responded "40-17" which is 57 and which is also one of my Dad's regular jokes. We are thrilled to see such improvement.  Thanks for the continual thoughts and prayers for our family. Stay tuned for tomorrow's update...

Monday, April 18, 2011


Today I turned 24. Besides the fact that I feel like I am getting old, it was a good day. My dad was talking more and seemed to be improving. He swallowed some ice on a more regular basis! This may sound like something strange to get excited about but a few days ago he couldn't swallow and he was so frustrated he couldn't have water (it was very hard to watch) so this is good news. I enjoyed eating dinner with the family and Megan and Whitney. Thanks to everyone for all the love and support. This will be a birthday to remember!

The Fall volume 2

My mom and I were up at the hospital this morning. Today he is having a better day then yesterday. He was able to remember it was my birthday! That was a great Birthday gift. He also smiled and laughed at a joke...making him seem more like dad. He had the occupational therapist in today helping him with hand eye coordination and writing. The physical therapist also took him on another walk and various other exercises.
Today has been a good day so far! Mom and I are headed back up to the hospital soon. We are celebrating my birthday in the hospital cafeteria, everyone is welcome! :) Don't get too worried, the food there is awesome and well priced. I am excited to spend the time with family and friends.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Fall that started it All...

On Wednesday, April 13th, my dad fell and hit his head at the Sports Mall gym while coming out of the whirlpool. No one saw him fall but several men heard him. They ran to him and could not find a pulse or see him breathing. After about one minute of CPR he was breathing again. The men called 911 and he was rushed to the hospital. At the IHC emergency room it was determined he had a skull fracture and concussion. When he was taken to the ICU later and after two CAT Scans we were given the information that he had internal bleeding on the brain as well, and there was nothing we could do but hope that it stopped. Mom and Aunt Julie stayed at the ICU all night while the rest of us tried to get some sleep (ya right). 

After a long and very stressful night we returned to the hospital. There was to be another morning CAT scan, however he was doing better neurologically so it was postponed to the afternoon. The afternoon CAT scan reported the bleeding had slowed (so there was more but not too much) but there was hope it had stopped. Thursday was a very looooooooooong day; lots of waiting, thinking and worrying. However, the main event that stood out in my mind was the ward fast. I say ward fast but I know other people (Kristen and family in Missouri! and others) who fasted and were thinking of us as well. There was an overwhelming sense of love and comfort abounding the room. It was a peaceful memory (one I hope we don't all have to repeat often!) and it was, as Tom Coleman said, what the Gospel is all about...coming together, serving and loving others.

Friday and Saturday we saw progress. Dad started recognizing people and remembering things such as the gender of Tiffany and Clay's baby, the date, the month, asking for water and other little phrases and sentences. He had physical therapy and the physical therapist and nurse helped him walk around the ICU, had him kick specific legs (he knows right from left), and had him sitting in a chair, etc. Physical Therapy lasts about 30 minutes a session. He was also able to brush his teeth and swallow little bits if ice. He currently has a feeding tube. Today he wasn't doing worse, but not better either, just the same. The CAT scan reported little change from before. The bleeding has stopped and is in a central location. We are waiting for swelling to go down. He told me today when I asked where he was, "hopsital" and when I asked why he was here he said, " I had an accident". It still quite isn't registering because he still tries to get up out of his bed and leave, but it is progress!

We have been told that with a brain injury the healing process takes time. There will be good and bad days. This is not an over night recovery, but one that may take several months. Some time will most likely be spent in a rehabilitation center. We are all hopeful that my dad will continue to make progress and slowly come back to being normal dad. Thanks for all the thoughts, prayers, and kind gestures that have been given to our family at this time. We are truly appreciative and blessed with such great family, neighbors, friends and loved ones!

Being in the ICU has truly humbled me and made me realize what a blessing it is to be here, today alive and living! To be able to tell your loved ones you love them is a miracle. "We may not have it all together, but together we have it all!"