Saturday, November 20, 2010

I believe in miracles.. and now have been fortunate enough to witness one firsthand

I've always believed in miracles, but always thought the miracle of birth of our son was the closest I would get. This past, short week I have been shown differently and have first hand witness to a miracle.

My husband is alive!

A week ago today my husband had just finished the first 24 hours of a battle for his life after a massive heart attack at age 35. He went into the ER via ambulance but the heart was not the first suspect. Severe ketoacidosis was. Then his oxygen levels went low and they had to intubate him. After that his heart rythms would not stabilize.

45minutes after I got to the ER, probably 60 minutes for him.. with supplemental oxygen being given to him already and a room of no less then 8 hospital dr's, nurses or techs.. he flat lined. I saw the events, I saw the nurse jump on the table and administer CPR. I wasnt sure what was going on for the first 15 seconds.. then it all clicked. He ended up coding twice in the end.

he then an emergency balloon catheterization to locate and then remove a large blood clot in one of the main arteries over the heart.

Satruday morning I was informed his kidneys were shutting down, by Sunday he was on dialysis. Monday we were told he was in multi system organ failure and that realistically his chances of surviving were 2%. They were unable to locate a source of a massive infection. They had an idea and had a surgeon coming in to assess what they thought it was.

They were able to locate the source and drain it. Within 24 hours his many organ failures started to restore function. The last hurdle was to get him to wake up and there was some concern that he had suffered brain damage as he was not responding as expected.

Last night he was finally following commands, simple ones that showed he was in there.

Then this morning the final tubes for ventilator and feeding were removed minutes prior to me being able to go back and see him!

We spent hours talking with him as much as he could. He knows what happened but is still coming to realize how much it was. He remembers everything from that night up until they intubated him which was done under sedation as he was fighting so much. We've since found out the story (if not specific information) has made the rounds of this very large hospital. He is an amazing story. I have informed him it is not to go to his head, lol.

At one point today I just had to laugh. He looked at me with all seriousness and asked what his odds were of living now. I just laughed and told him that yesterday his odds were 98% and that he was stuck with us all.

not bad since last Saturday and Sunday his odds of living were 0%. He should never have made it to his 36th birthday this coming monday. I should technically be classified as a widow today.

I am so deeply grateful for all that sent their prayers or positive thoughts for us as we went thru this. It is the most amazing feeling to sit here sad because I can't stay longer at night with him.. but am able to know that he will be there tomorrow.

He has been given a second chance on life and we have been given a second chance to make our marriage/family the union it should be. We have a long road to go to get there, and counseling for him and for us is part of that.

With what we've just gone thru - I think we can find the strength to make it to the goal. What's another small miracle when you've been blessed by such an incredible one.

Thank you God for giving me back my husband.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Improvement with Joe.

It looks like we may very well be getting our miracle that we needed.

Joe had a 0% chance of surviving on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday it was 2%. Yesterday morning it was 3.5%. He's been in MASSIVE systems failure of at least 8 different systems.

However then yesterday small miracles started happening:
His kidneys are functioning again on their own and he put out more then he took in yesterday.
His liver enzymes are off the chart because the liver is in shock and it does that.
His lungs are still filled with fluid, but his oxygen need was decreased from 70% to 40% - HUGE change.

They found the source of the infection on Monday and cut open an area around his ankle and drained an unexpected  amount of infection. That was the catalyst. that had to change first and then his fever went down and his body started to work again. His BP was holding strong with less and less medications... and by 5:30 last night the balloon was out of his heart and the pump is gone! Today they may take him off the dialysis, and IF he continues to make this much improvement, then the ventilator is taken away tomorrow and they are waking him up.

the staff is amazed and you can tell the difference in their demeanor. He is still in a lot of risk though. He has so many IV lines in, and if any of them get infected it will be a different story - however his chances are better. I'll be leaving for the hospital by 10 ( can't really get into CCU before - even for me). Hoping for fabulous news today, but am realistic and know he may be in trouble still.

the hospital staff wants me to talk to one of their social workers because I appear to be handling it all extremely well. The intensivist is afraid I'm going to break badly. I should have my pastor talk to her about the MASSIVE meltdown I had on Monday in the hospital chapel.

not fully out of the woods yet..but maybe we are seeing the trees thinning and are closer to out of the woods then we think.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Update on Joe

I've been at the hospital most of the day. Went in hoping for positive news.

the  kidney dr and intensivist ( intensive care dr ) spoke to me first thing. Joe;s condition was deteriorating as of this morning. His kidneys had worsened and fluid was building in his lungs, bp meds were maxed out and his bp was low 70's/40's.

the dr's both told me age was on his side and that they will do any and everything they can to give him a chance - which to me gives hope. If he was so bad that nothing would work, then I would think they would have talked to me more about keeping him as pain free as possible.

they finally got the continual, and extremely gentle dialysis started mid afternoon. The concern was that the dialysis would lower his blood pressure, but without it he wouldn't have much of a chance. Thankfully his bp has stayed steady. It did drop from last nights normal range. This morning it was 70/40 range, when dialysis started it was 80's/50's by the time I left at 6:30 he'd been on the dialysis for 3 hours and his pressure increased to 90/55. He;s still deeply sedated.

its such a small thing to cling to. Other wise nothing else is any better or any worse. I'm so afraid of mornings for many reasons.. this morning being one of them.. my grandfather going thru this with not good results 20 years ago. I have to go on minute by minute.

the minister that married us came to the hospital today and will keep in touch with me and support  me regardless of how his recovery goes. My mom worked all night and came to the hospital and stayed with me all day.. my best friend watched JP and my boss got off a plane at noon - and came straight up to the hospital and stayed with me for hours. In addition I have been keeping in contact with many many people via text message updates and am so deeply grateful for all the support, prayers and well wishes.

he's so so sick.. and the outlook can;t be determined yet - there is no guarantee that he will pull thru... there is no guarantee that he won't. which is why I'm living minute to minute.

i'm off to bed now to see if I can get some decent sleep - i'm so worn out

Massive heart attack

Friday night I came home from work to see joe on the couch muttering something. I thought he was sleeping and just waking up, then had to go over to him and yell at him 5 or 6 times to get him to repeat himself. He handed me the phone told me he couldn't move and had chest pain.

whats folllowed is a nightmare. Ambulance came and took him so fast that I had to yell to them on where they were taking him ( 3 or 4 local hospitals could have been it ).

got to the ER and couldn't even see him as the room was packed. Had to listen to nurses begging for an ICU room as he was critical.

nurse came out to speak with me and said he was severely ketoacidodic and they also needed to put a breathing tube in. They asked me in briefly to see if I could get him to stop struggling. He could only focus on me for seconds at a time and then his eyes would roll back.

the xray techs came with the portable machine but by then the nurses and dr wouldn't let them in to get the pic as his heart rate was extremely abnormal. my view of the room only allowed me to see his lower body.

then I saw his legs start to convulse and the nurse jump on the bed to administer CPR... Joe's father  was by the door and saw them plunge the epi needle into his heart. That was the first time... we were all in the chapel when it happened again, the cardiologist told us.

cardiologist was waiting for his team to get there and then and IMMEDIATE balloon angioplasty was done. The artery that feeds the front of the heart was 100% blocked. they have a balloon pump in for 3 days and he's heavily sedated to keep him asleep and not fighting him.. also restrained still.

there was the absolute slightest change yesterday in the right direction with his positive response to a bp med that is keeping his blood pressure at a normal level. When they went thru the surgery his BP was 60/20. they had to fight to keep him alive.

he is still in severely critical condition and may still not make it. However last night i went to say good bye when the sedation was lifting slightly and he responded to me ( still has breathing tube in) and was able to squeeze my hand. hoping its the start of a good recovery.

tomorrow or tuesday they should be taking the balloon pump out and i'm nervous about that as that is whats helping his heart not work as hard so it can recover right now.

please pray... thats whats gotten him so far right now... the heart attack is one of several massive issues (kidneys have shut down right now) and its a miracle he's still fighting