Friday, May 6, 2016

Good morning, good news!

Well, Poppy got things moving last night and was rewarded with a delicious clear liquid dinner. Trust me, no man has ever been more excited over Jello than he was. So depending on how things went over night and this morning, he might be released sometime today. We can only hope, right?

So all of y'all's prayers worked wonders, and I've got one more request if you're willing. The entire time he was in the hospital, he got one ONE floral arrangement, a gorgeous bowl of flowers with big gorgeous Yellow Roses of Texas, from wirecutter and Miss Lisa. I know he'd never say anything, would never let on that it bothered him, but I know with certainty it does. He and mom have lived in their hometown since 1967, been active in the church, he's been a Mason for more than four decades, he and mom are always the first to offer help, visit, send dishes, etc. when someone they know (and often when someone they don't know) needs help. And not one of the locals came through. Nothing from the church, but several members individually have visited him, nothing from the Masons, nothing from friends he's known for, well forever.

So my request is, if you'd like to, please send him a get well card. I'm very protective of them, so I won't post his home address, posting my PO box instead. If you'd prefer to send something directly to him, email me. Not that I don't trust y'all, but, you know.

I'd never realized how awkward it is to ask for something, but this is for Poppy and I'd give him the world if I could. So thank you for all your prayers and well wishes.

P.O. Box 476
Panhandle, TX 79068

Thursday, May 5, 2016

I need new hobbies

Good hearty peasant stock

Poppy Day 4


Acute intestinal ischemia is a gastrointestinal emergency resulting from a sudden decrement in intestinal blood flow. It may occur as a consequence of mesenteric vascular occlusion and/or hypoperfusion and may involve the small intestine or colon. Bowel infarction, sepsis, and death may result, making prompt diagnosis and management imperative. Acute mesenteric ischemia generally stems from interruption of blood flow within the superior mesenteric artery or vein, and leads to small intestinal hypoperfusion and infarction. It carries with it a mortality rate of approximately 70%, but improved survival may be achieved as a result of early diagnostic consideration, undelayed angiography, and surgical intervention, when appropriate. Acute colonic ischemia occurs typically as a result of a transient mismatch between intestinal blood flow and the metabolic demands of the colon. Although infarction may occur, colonic ischemia is often a reversible condition with mortality rates considerably lower than those witnessed in acute mesenteric ischemia. This article reviews the pathophysiology, clinical features, diagnostic, and therapeutic options applicable to patients with acute intestinal ischemia.

Yep, that's what Poppy had. Look at the bold, underlined part. 70% mortality rate. He really shouldn't have survived, but he did and he was out of ICU and walking under his own steam 36 hours after the surgery. What he hasn't been able to accomplish, much to his eternal frustration, is the requisite poop. One of the doctors who came in while I was there assured him that 4 days post-op was not uncommon, especially with as much trauma and handling of the intestines as went on during surgery. "The bowels do not like to be touched, noooo touchy. And the surgeon basically pulled them out, cut out 4 feet of dead bowel, stitched the ends back together and put them back in you. They are not happy. They are pouting. They'll get over it, be patient. Like a woman, no?" (Say all that with a thick German accent). Poppy is bored and restless and wants to be cut loose. All the monitors are gone; the catheter is gone; the direct line was replaced with a peripheral line. It's the only thing tethering him. Physical therapy has him running up and down the halls 3-4 times a day; actually, he has them trotting after him with his IV pole. They are making him use a walker for stability, and he's trying to figure out how to align the wheels. "Pulling a bit to the left, Jim, got any tools with you?"
Yesterday was the first time I saw him on his feet. Watched him tool down the hall from his room and back and was impressed. That's when he blew past me, Jim huffing and puffing behind him, and headed down the other hall towards the elevators. I was sure he was trying to make a break for it, or at least for the Cafeteria. After he got settled back in his bed, I asked him if that was what he was doing. "Why? Do you think I could have made it?" This was about 50 hours post op. I was shocked to find him still in his room this morning.
Today, after combing Amarillo for a handheld electronic Solitaire game that does not exist outside of Amazon, I brought him a deck of large print playing cards. We played 5 games of Gin, he won four. And he cut for high card and won three hard candies (two Werther's and a Jolly Rancher) from one of his doctors. I'm betting there will be legends of high stakes Strip Poker with the night crew by the time he's discharged. But with all of this, still no poop, still nothing  by mouth. It's a really weird request, but please pray for Poppy poop. It's the last hurdle he has to clear.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Not in my house

I'm posting this in honor of Poppy.
Who taught me to measure once, cut twice,
throw it in the scrap heap,
measure again, second guess,
measure twice, make the cut,
cuss when it's still wrong and
cover it with decorative trim.


Generation gap

If only this would work

Was reminded by phone this morning on the way to see Poppy
that Saturday is Teen Queen's last Prom.
Damn, where did that come from?
But we're ready.
Her Pretty Pink Princess Prom Dress is hanging in her closet.
And the petticoats are hanging in Baby Queen's closet.
Yep, that's a whole lotta dress.

Poppy Update

They took all the beeping monitors off Poppy and moved him to a private room this afternoon. He moved himself from the ICU bed to the wheelchair for the move and then sat in the recliner for several hours while visiting with church friends and the ROMEOS. He and his buddies have been harassing the cute nurses all morning, and I told him at this rate he'll never get his catheter out.

But he's looking pink and lively and just as ornery as ever. Seeing him this morning made me realize how gray and lifeless he looked yesterday.

He and mom want me to thank all of you for your prayers and good wishes.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Tougher than old boot leather

My phone rang at 6:30 this morning and I didn't recognize the number so I let it go to voicemail. Rarely do people leave me messages so I was surprised when the message alert beeped. You know that feeling of dread? Yep I had it as I dialed voicemail and listened to my mom's voice tell me that she'd driven Poppy to the ER in Amarillo at 2 am and they were about to take him to surgery. She sounded tired and scared and unusually lost. My mom is a force of Nature, hearing her like that told me this was serious. I caught the words "sepsis" and "bowel", and my heart sank. Poppy just turned 80, he's had his share of battles including prostate cancer and two fake knees, but he was much younger. This is serious at any age, but 80?

I had to take the Cute Chicks to their doctor's appointment at 9:45, take them home (spouse was home to watch them) and make it back to Amarillo and the hospital. Walked into ICU waiting room at 11:45 and found mom, sitting alone, looking small and lost. Nothing scares you like seeing your parents in a moment of weakness. I hugged her, realized she was sitting there in her pjs and a sweatshirt and tennis shoes without socks, and got more scared. Mom never leaves the house undressed and, in her words, unkempt. They must have flown out the door.

We sat there for just a few minutes, waiting for the nurse to take us to Poppy's room, and she pulled a piece of paper out of her purse, unfolded it and handed it to me.

"The doctor asked if I wanted to see what they removed, I was afraid he had it in a glass jar or something." Thank God, she still has her twisted sense of humor. But, oh dear God in Heaven.

I'm not entirely sure what I'm seeing there, I know it's part of his intestines and I know about necrosis, I know that's very very serious, but I don't know what part. Now I'm terrified. About this time, the nurse comes to get us, "Mary? Leslie? Bill is waiting for you, he's an incredible man. He said he just turned 80 and you've been married for 53 years? That's amazing!" 

OMG! He's that lucid? We walked into his ICU room to find him sitting up in bed, oxygen in his nose, nasogastric tube draining bile and blood from his stomach, monitors beeping and blinking, and he grinned at us. He's got a 5'2 big-busted redheaded nurse who he's actively harassing. He's figuring out how he can manipulate the monitors on his body to make the display go nuts. Pulse, blood pressure, blood oxygen, respirations. 72, 115/70, 97, 25. I'm looking around the room and see he's got
the picture taped up on his bulletin board next to the names of his nurses. Damn that's ugly.

We were talking and joking, making him laugh, when the ICU doctor on duty came in to check him over, get a history from him, I think testing his lucidity. After he asks for medical history, he asked, "So what did you have done this morning?" To which Poppy replied, "That" and pointed to the picture. I've never seen a Pakistani doctor turn so white. Don't think he was a surgeon. "When did you start feeling ill?" Poppy, in his usual laconic manner, "Well, I've had a bit of indigestion for a few days and I felt a little nauseous yesterday when I was pulling weeds." The man is tough as nails.

So here's the prognosis, one night in ICU at least. If he keeps doing well, he'll be moved to regular room for a few days. We think he'll be home by Friday, and back in his garden in a couple of weeks.

I'm going to be offline for a few days, and we'd appreciate prayers and happy thoughts.