Monday, September 9, 2013

Still in ICU

It's 4 days post-op and Danny is still in the ICU. His recovery thus far has been miraculous according to the doctors and nurses and that is because of prayer! There is another LVAD recipient in the ICU who is not doing well right now, which is a grim reality check of how bad things could have gone or could still go for Danny. I'm going to not think about that though--Danny is anxious enough for the both of us!! We have been steadily praying for that person...

Today some big things happened that help Danny move toward the step down unit:

  • off of Insulin IV (sugars high from surgery--that's normal I'm told)
  • catheter out---yaaaay!!!
  • both IVs removed from right arm (still have a couple in left arm, an arterial line in left hand, and a central line in his neck)
  • stood up out of bed without help (except nurse holding all wires and tubes)--he can only stand using core muscles--no arms at all because of surgical incision
must still accomplish to move out of ICU--matter of prayer:

  • BP (mean value I think it what this number is) must stay between 65-80. He has to stay on an IV for this until they figure out exactly what the dosage should be to make the heart pump work correctly (for him--changes for each patient). When Danny is on the IV, his BP stays within the correct range, but as soon as they take him off his BP rises. Currently, the number is switching between 77 and 78 (off IV). Once he stays steady between 65-80 off IV, the doctor can figure out what the oral dose would be and get Danny started on that. Again, he won't leave ICU until that number stays in the correct range.

not required to leave ICU, but definitely important:

  • Swelling--his extremities look terrible. His left arm and hand are worse than the right, but both are swollen. His legs and feet are totally out of control though. I'm told that during surgery his body fluids just got pushed around and will go back to normal at some point. For those of you who know Danny, you know how skinny he is--if I press my finger into his arm, leg, or foot it just gets lost.

that leads me to the next prayer request...

  • Fluid--he is on a 1000cc/24 hr fluid restriction. That is not a lot and he is sooooo thirsty! He's on 2 diuretics and is going to the bathroom constantly...hopefully that will help deal with fluid retention also. 
  • Anxiety/inability to sleep--significant anxiety over defibrillator shocks, nightmares about being shocked again, very realistic fears about LVAD complications, and today the latest source of of his teeth chipped (a lot) and he has a real phobia of dentists. He made me promise to find a dentist who uses sedation--and is praying that means fully asleep sedation. It's a tooth that is near the front and he is worried about how it looks. Danny isn't sleeping well because every time he nods off his body jerks awake again. Before surgery, the psychologist who works with the cardiology team put him on a sleep medicine that also deals with anxiety. She said most people who are shocked by their defibrillators go through PTSD symptoms and do much better being on this medicine for a while. Danny felt much better with it because he was able to relax and get some sleep. However, since the LVAD surgery this past Thursday he hasn't taken it because the surgeon won't let him--afraid it would suppress his system too much. Anyway, God is the master physician!!
Thanks for seems little compared to praying for the LVAD surgery, but it's still important!

If you compare this pic to earlier ones, you can see that he is on fewer IVs...4 boxes, but some IV's have 2 medicines's progress!

  • The incision down his chest looks great--fancy glue!! 
  • The dressing on the right in the picture is covering two chest tubes. 
  • The left dressing is covering his driveline (power cord that runs from the LVAD on his heart to the computer he carries on his hip that runs the pump. 

The left dressing (LVAD portal--where the driveline--power cord--comes out of his belly) was my first attempt at a sterile dressing change today. The nurse was right there making sure I did everything correctly. Since the driveline goes directly to Danny's heart, staying sterile is crucial to prevent infection. I'm amazed at how many steps there are in the process and it was fun! At home I will change his dressing on the bed and will set up my sterile field on the bed next to Danny. I'm a little worried about Snowball because he thinks our bed is his bed and I don't think he qualifies as sterile :(

Here's the Paypal information if you feel led to help out with the enormous costs of LVAD and Danny's future heart transplant. 
click on: Transfer, send someone money

1 comment:

  1. I feel for all of you, Tricia and have been praying every day!! Kendall has put Danny on the prayer list at her school also, so lots and lots of prayers and love being lifted up for all of you. I don't know if Maggie told you, but I saw her (and met your mom) on Saturday at the swim meet. She is such a trooper, and so beautiful! I know that y'all are pleased with his progress so far and that he still has a long way to go, but rest assured that we will continue to lift up Danny, praying for his anxiety and continued progress. We will also continue to lift you up, you are his rock and I can't imagine how difficult all of this is for you too, but you are such an inspiration!

    Wishing all of you comfort and peace,