Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Day 5

As of yesterday Dad was still in the ICU, which they are starting to call the "Critical Care Center" or something like that. I think that's kind of silly because all the signs still say "Intensive Care Unit" or just "ICU," plus, all the TV shows are scripted with "ICU" so changing it to "CCC" will confuse a lot of people.

Anyway, he's doing pretty good, but the nurses are having a hard time stabilizing his blood pressure and heart rate. While I was there yesterday, his systolic reading would alternate between 114-150mmHg, sometimes hitting every number on the way up (or down), and sometimes just jumping from one to the other. His heart beat would also jump from 50-90 BPM rather quickly.

He's still on the oxygen machine, the ByPAP, and will need to continue oxygen use once he gets home, and probably for the rest of his life. He has sleep apnea, which can cause some serious problems that we were never aware of. So although some of his arteries were on their way to being clogged, a major factor in his heart problems was his cessation of breathing every night. It causes high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. People with sleep apnea have a 30% higher chance of having a heart attack than those without.

So, now we know. Too bad we found out about this in such a catastrophic way...but at least maybe now he'll use the oxygen machine that has been sitting, neglected, at his bedside for the past two years.

The nurses say he obviously has obstructive sleep apnea, although they aren't sure if his trachea is collapsing when he sleeps, or if his tongue lulls back in his mouth. They also suspect central apnea, so I suppose he's got mixed apnea.

The mask of the oxygen machine bothers his nose...I wore one for a bit while I was delivering Rachel, and they really aren't the most comfortable things in the world, but when the choice is breathe, sleep, life and a sore nose, verses apnea, no sleep, death, and an unsore nose, I think I'd choose the former. He's been doing pretty good at leaving it on though. It helps him sleep, which will help him heal, but Mom suspects that having it on my raise his blood pressure because it frustrates him so.

However, I think he'll get used to it eventually.

He is looking a lot better though. When I first saw him after his surgery I thought perhaps he just got out of the morgue. His skin was pale and icy cold. He had a breathing tube down his throat, but I wouldn't have believed he was alive if the nurse hadn't asked him to open his eyes for us. People are so obedient when they're sleeping.

Now his color is a lot pinker and he's a lot more lucid. He still is hooked up to more things than I can count, but he seems to be doing a lot better. They made him get up and go for a little walk yesterday afternoon, so that was good progress.

He had another blessing on Sunday night from the Bishop and, I think, Brother Wright. I'm sure that helped.

Mom is doing well. She, of course, is stressed and tired and emotional, but I think she is handling the situation remarkably well. Josie misses mom being home, but the ward is taking good care of them all, bringing more food over than they could possibly eat and offering to have Josie over to visit.

The rest of us are also doing ok. It's just hard on everyone, I guess, but life goes on. No matter what happens, life goes on and you just have to keep up some how. Luckily for me, Rachel has started sleeping pretty regularly again. Friday night really threw off her schedule, but she's back to going to bed around 10 pm, waking at 4 am, and then getting up between 6 and 9 am for the day. We'll perfect her schedule yet!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a trying time for you all. I'm glad your dad is doing okay and our thoughts are with your family!