Friday, June 30, 2006

Update for Shelokov and Eric:

Chuck's breathing is improving (which is KEY to everything)! He's back to 30 minutes each time he's off the ventilator (on the trach collar). He goes on the trach collar twice a day. Once he does well on the collar, he will get to eat again.

Dr. Shelokov told me Chuck is mad, mad, mad ... he wants to eat; he wants to drink; and well ... who can blame him? Those of you who know Chuck won't believe this, but he asks Dr. Taylor for popsicles continually ... everyday ... several times a day. It's so unlike Chuck to drive an issue(joke, story, etc) into the ground like that. Finally, Dr. Taylor consented. However, Chuck gets only a tiny bit, and a nurse must administer the much coveted prize.

Chuck sees no end in sight. Pray for his determination and hope.

I travel to Dallas tomorrow (yea!!!) I'll be there until Wednesday. Oh, and my phone is on the fritz ... email if you need me. I'll take care of the phone thing ... eventually!

Love to all!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Eric's report for today:
  • Chuck is still running a fever.
  • As the tests of Chuck's fluids, samples of tissues, etc turn up negative, the doctors are narrowing the search for the infection. It may be confined to his lungs.
  • The hematoma fluid came back negative for infection, so the drain was removed.
  • Chuck is adjusting to "gut" feedings. He has been nauseous all day. Hopefully this will go away soon!

Thank you for your prayers of healing for Chuck , and of encouragement for me. Your sweet words of hope make me feel loved and supported. THANKS!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Update from Eric (Dr. Shelokov's right-hand-man):
  • Pneumonia has been confirmed. His lungs seem to be the source of his infection. They have also located staph in the lungs. This makes me squirm ... please pray for super-natural healing!!
  • His fever has not gone over 100.9, so that's an improvement.
  • His P.I.C.C. line (peripheral intravenous central catheter) has been moved from the right arm to the left. This effort has been made as part of the "infection hunt." The old line has been sent away for testing.
  • More fluid was pulled from around his left lung.
  • He is chronically anemic. Today he was given more blood.
  • Dr. Taylor wants food in the man's gut. Discussions are in progress = through the nose (Chuck abhors the idea), or through a tube in the stomach. Eventually, if he is not eating, he will get a tube in the stomach anyway. The holdup is his hematoma, which is still draining.
  • Trach trials have been put on hold while all of the procedures are occurring. The pneumonia has really slowed his progress, so again, please pray for super-natural healing.

I miss Chuck like crazy!! Pray for my broken-heart. My plan is to fly back on Saturday and stay through Tues or Weds.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The docs are chasing Chuck's infection. The cause is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a riddle. Today, they have taken Chuck for a CT scan of his back. If they discover any fluid in the soft tissue, they will take a sample.

The current thought is that Chuck will be transferred to another hospital in about two weeks. Most likely, he will still be on the vent. The new hospital specializes in weaning people off vents. It is called Baylor Specialty Hospital.

I will be traveling home tomorrow morning.

That's it for now! Thanks for all the encouragement you send!!!

Monday, June 26, 2006

"Uh...I don't know..." that is one of our FAVORITE quotes from the first season of Survivor. One of the reward challenges was a quiz. Rudy, the 70-year-old navy seal known for his brusque manner, could not answer a single question. It just got funnier and funnier as his "Uh's" got longer and longer. By the end of the game, his reply was "Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuh ...I don't know."

Long intro to get to the point ... I feel just like Rudy felt!!! Ask me any question about Chuck ... how is he doing ... when will he get better ... what do the doctors think ... my answer is "Uhhhh...I don't know."

Afternoon update:
  • The abscess, of which I spoke earlier, may not be an abscess. He's had a hematoma since the surgery (one month). It looks like the mother of all bruises. It is on his left side, and reaches from his armpit to his hip. The bruise has not lightened in the least ... hmmm, seems like I might have caught on earlier! Again, I feel like Rudy. In any case, they put in a drain. They sent a sample to be tested. This just may be the source of Chuck's infection!
  • The feeding tube was not done today. Perhaps tomorrow? Uh...I don't know.
Morning report:
Whew! Chuck's catching his breath before beginning the afternoon escapades. This morning he was X-rayed, sonogrammed, and defluidized (yep, I made that one up).
  • His chest is looking a bit worse. A sample was pulled from the lung to get an idea of what's going on. It will take at least a day to know the results.
  • Dr. Taylor pulled some fluid from around his left lung, but was surprised at the small amount of fluid.
  • The sonogram showed some issues with his liver (remember when he was first put on the intravaneous food?? same issue). I suspect this will be fine, as it was the first time.
  • Finally, the wound vac sponges were changed. This was really cool because I got to see how VASTLY improved his wounds look.

Up for this afternoon:

  • He'll go for a CT scan of his abdomen. The docs suspect his leaky gut may be caused from an abscess. Once the abscess is located, a needle will be inserted to draw out some of the fluid. If the fluid shows infection, he'll get a tube. The tube will drain the infection. If there is no infection, they may simply pull out the fluid with a needle.
  • Supposedly, he'll be getting a feeding tube (via the gut) this afternoon.

I'll post later with the results of the afternoon.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Today's report:

  • Wounds are healing.
  • Chuck seems to be fighting off an infection, but docs are unsure if it is in the lungs or the back.
  • Chuck's trying to figure out how to breathe ... he's been on the trach collar (off the ventilator) once today. He gets nervous about 15 minutes in, then he starts to breathe quickly. It's almost impossible for him to slow his breathing once he goes fast. No one (docs nor Chuck) is sure how Chuck's new body works ... as far as breathing is concerned. Therefore, it is up to Chuck to figure out how to breathe slowly. His dad is off to Best Buy to get a distractor for Chuck.
  • Tomorrow Dr. Taylor will remove the excess fluid surrounding Chuck's left lung. This is done "bedside" and takes about 15-20 minutes. He inserts a needle between Chuck's ribs and pulls out the fluid.
  • Tomorrow Chuck is being assessed for a feeding tube via the gut. He needs food in his stomach. He has been on intravaneous food for about a week now, which is at the TOP of Dr. Taylor "worst forms of nutrition" list. Chuck does not want the tube down the nose! Thus, Dr. Taylor is considering the "peg."

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The wounds are on the mend! Dr. Young ordered a "wound vac." This nifty contraption speeds the healing of open wounds. It works like this: a sponge is cut to fit inside each wound. The sponges are attached to a vacuum ... the vacuum creates a suction which pulls out fluids and pulls together the skin (from deep within the wound out). Within the week, no more leaky gut ... no more gaping wounds.

Overall, this was a very good day.
Chuck is moving right along. The CT yesterday confirmed that he had developed pneumonia. He's being treated for that, and no longer has a fever.

Today he resumed work with the trach collar, or time off the ventilator. So, the pneumonia did not set him back as far as we feared it might.

Dr. Young (plastic surgeon) came in and removed two drains from his back. He has only two more to go! I got to see Chuck's back. It's looking wonderful, and his incision is healing beautifully. The wounds on his chest and abdomen are also healing, but at a much slower pace. Please pray for continued healing.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Slow and steady ... I had a good, long heart-to-heart with Dr. Shelokov this morning. He reminded me, once again, that we are running an endurance race. We all want for Chuck to hurry up and get well ... but it's in Chuck's best interest to go slow and steady. Shelokov thinks I should resign my heart to Chuck coming home in about three months ... rather than as soon as possible.

It seems he may have developed pneumonia ... which slows everything down. He will get a chest C.T. today to confirm.

Also, I have been lectured on babying Chuck. Please pray for me to be tough yet kind.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Update from Stacie - Chuck has been smiling and seems to be improving by leaps and bounds!

Okay, the chant now should be "Breathe, Chuck, Breathe!" He was able to come off the ventilator a few times yesterday ... 20 minutes was his longest stretch. It seems he gets nervous ... so please pray for determination and strength of mind. He needs to make it to 30 minutes. (He does not remember that he has actually done it for a three-hour stretch!)

As for his "leaky gut," my friend Laura has provided a GREAT explanation:

  • "It's called third spacing of fluids. The fluid(plasma) that is normally in the bloodstream has seeped out into the tissue. If the albumin in the blood is low the body tries to seek equalibrium in fluid status by leaking it into the tissues. When albumin (protein) is at normal levels in the bloodstream, it holds the fluid in."

I don't know about you, but this explanation has greatly settled my nerves!

Thanks for your continued prayers and support.

Monday, June 19, 2006

We are so blessed! The outpouring of love, support, prayer, and empathy has been humbling. You have completely overwhelmed us with your kindness.

I am home this week, with the hope of returning as soon as is "respectable." How many days at work is enough? I'm afraid they will give away my cubicle if I'm not careful! That would be terrible, as I am surrounded by the coolest people. As far as work goes, I will never be able to repay my colleagues. They have been so gracious concerning my absence...covering my workload, helping me to stay afloat!

Stacie, Mom, Dad, and Christy are taking care of Chuck while I am at home. It sounds like today was a good day. The goal right now is to get off the ventilator, and to heal. Pray for Chuck's physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Moving right along ...Chuck is recovering slowly from his last surgery. He's frustrated because he feels like he's fallen behind in his overall recovery. Please pray for his low spirits. Know that he really is improving ... he just can't see it.

On the physical side, there's one issue remaining. I call it "the ol' leaky gut." His abdomen is draining and the doctors are not sure why ... as it is draining A LOT. He is going for a CT scan in a while. Hopefully, they can identify the problem and put an end to it.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Yet another THANK YOU, GOD! Everything went well during surgery. The skin on Chuck's back (from the inside...) had already started to heal. Dr. Young removed all of the dead tissue along Chuck's scar line. Fortunately, the dead portion of his skin was fairly superficial. There is a small area on Chuck's chest that is still questionable. We're "keeping an eye on it." Please pray this particular wound heals. Please pray all wounds heal, that his hardware stays perfectly in place, that his recovery goes smoothly.
A big ol' THANK YOU, GOD is in order. Chuck will be going down for surgery at 5:30. The surgery should be over around 7:00. Whew! We are elated.
"If it is the Lord's will," Chuck will have surgery today at 5:30. However, Chuck's final blood test will occur at 4:00. We will not know the results until 4:30 ... talk about a suspense-filled day. At least this will give Chuck's body all day to get ready!

As for the church affiliations connected to the wonderful, faith-filled responses to posts... they are from a variety of churches! God has blessed my life with people of faith from many different congregations. My home church is in Fair Oaks Ranch, Tx = Cibolo Creek Community Church. Most of the responses are coming from San Antonio. However, some are from Oklahoma, New Jersey, and Florida. There's even one from Ecuador! I thank God that his church is everywhere.
Good morning. Thank you, dear friends, for you encouragement. Thanks for the chant, "Clot, Chuck, Clot," and for the reminder of what God has done thus far.

This is concerning my penchant for scheduling everything ... my frustration with events not going according to plan:

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will do this or that." James 4:13-16.

Hmmm, if only the Bible were more clear!

I love you and am MOST grateful for your prayers and words of hope.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Chuck's surgery has been rescheduled for tomorrow at 5:30. Pray for comfort for his body, mind, and soul.
Ready, set, wait...Chuck's been off the blood-thinning medicine for 26 hours, but his blood is still too thin for surgery. We may be looking at surgery later today, perhaps tomorrow, or early next week. Please pray for a miraculous, super, fast rebound from the blood-thinning med.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Thanks to some lovely friends, I was picked up from the airport, taken to work, and then driven home at the end of the day (Thanks Lynn and Deborah!) I came home to a clean house and a stocked refrigerator...not to mention beautiful flowers (Thanks Wes, Stacie, Letty, the Griffins, the Millers, the Zapatas, the Heyens, and the Wilsons). God has blessed me over and over again. Thank you so much, sweet friends!

Mom and Dad are taking excellent care of Chuck. Rumor has it that he is eating real food! His beloved nose-tube-feedings are no more. Also, he has received some communication boards from Nicole. He is better able to "talk" to Mom, Dad, and the nurses. (Thanks, Nicole!! XXOO). He is steadily improving! One more hurdle tomorrow. Please pray concerning his surgery tomorrow. It is at 11:00.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Chuck's blood was not able to clot well enough for a surgical procedure. So, his surgery has been rescheduled for Thursday at 11:00 A.M. Funny enough, the whole flexibility thang is kicking in. Chuck and I were quickly able to shift gears and make alternate plans.

I am catching an early flight back to San Antonio tomorrow morning. I really want to see our home, and do a few things at work. Stacie and I will be driving back Wednesday evening after work ... wait, let me be clear ... Stacie will be driving back while I snooze in her car! Happily, this will actually give me more time with Chuck. I'll stay in Dallas (Plano/Bedford) until Sunday. I'll be in San Antonio for the week of June 19 - 23.

Chuck's spirits were low earlier today, but now that he's had a grape popsicle or two, he's much happier!
Chuck was taken off his blood-thinning medicine at 4 A.M. It is a new medicine, and the thought was his blood would be good to go within 8 hours...due to this dandy, new blood-thinner. Sadly, his blood is still not clotting. Pray, pray, pray ... as we have one shot left for today. They will test his blood at 4 P.M. If it is clotting well, they will do the surgery today at 4:30 ... if not, the surgery will be Thursday! Pray, pray, pray!

Chuck's surgery has been pushed back to 2:00 this afternoon. His blood levels are low (26), and the anethesiologists would like them up around 43 or so. So, Chuck will be given some blood, his levels checked, then off the surgery! Needless to say, he is not pleased.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Wise words from a wise friend: "Do lean on those around you...If you don't, you are denying them the opportunity to help in one of the few ways they can!" Thanks for the reminder, Denise!

Speaking of leaning on others ... I will be leaving this next Wednesday, and am currently arranging for my replacements. If all goes well with Chuck's surgery tomorrow, I will be flying to San Antonio on June 14.

Here is Chuck's current state of health. There are only two issues:
  1. The skin on Chuck's back has "dead spots." Dr. Young will be removing these tomorrow. When Dr. Young initially closed Chuck's back incision, she created a flap of the "extra" skin. This flap has developed dead sections which must be removed so that they do no reach his handy-dandy hardware.
  2. Chuck is still on the ventilator. This is how the whole ventilator/weaning thangy works: for most of the day he is on CPAP = the ventilator gives him pressure and oxygen once Chuck initiates a breath. By the end of the day, Chuck is woooorn out! At night, the ventilator breathes for him. On one occasion, Chuck was taken off of the ventilator completely and allowed to breath totally on his own. He did this for three hours on Friday. He has not been allowed to do it since Friday.

Please pray for a successful surgery with no complications (Monday at 12:30). Please pray that Chuck's lungs heal and that he can come off the ventilator.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

We are trying to be patient as we await Monday. Until then, Chuck's still in I.C.U. We hope after his surgery on Monday, he'll quickly be moved from I.C.U. to a regular hospital room.

Chuck is getting stronger every day. He is amazingly patient with me, as I still lack the ability to read his lips. Sometimes I get a hit ... but mostly misses. I get all teary-eyed, and he lovingly tells me it's okay ... and then tells me not to be such a big baby.

Pray I start to accept help from those around me. Once I get tired and crabby ... I'm no help to anyone (ask anyone who has seen me after 9 in the P.M.)! Seriously, this is a hard lesson for me to learn. Pray I can balance helping Chuck with taking care of myself.

Love to all!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Messages for Chuck:
Hey. Chuck has a speaker on his mobile phone - so if you want to sing Happy B-day, or pass on a good joke, just call his mobile and he can listen to it at his convenience. I've been trying to coordinate birthday serenades with Chuck's schedule, and it's just not working. Sooo, you can call 210-681-8715, and I can play it for him ... his fine motor skills are still a bit shot ... so pushing buttons on his phone is a challenge. Last night, he listened to a funny message from Tod, and it made him smile - SUCH a lovely sight to see!

He is currently O-F-F the ventilator. Furthermore, his surgery is scheduled from Monday at 12:30. I'll keep you posted.

Love to all!!!
Chest tube O-U-T ... grape popsicles I-N. What more could a man ask for on his birthday?

We are still awaiting the trache collar = complete separation from the dreaded (yet life-giving) ventilator. They will do a trial separation to see how Chuck responds. If all goes well, good-bye ventilator!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. I will pass them along.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

No news is good news! Sorry for the LATE post. Chuck has kept me hopping all day. He's doing really well. He has been breathing without the ventilator all day. Tomorrow, his BIRTHDAY, will be very busy. This is the plan:

  1. His right chest tube will be removed. (This is the tube, under his rib cage/above his lung, which drains blood and other lovely fluids.)
  2. He will be taken off the ventilator.
  3. His trache tube will be capped.
  4. The speech therapist will determine Chuck's swallowing abilities. If all goes well, Chuck will be able to eat and drink.
  5. If Chuck can eat food, the nose tubes will be removed! (Unlikely Chuck will get cake on his birthday ... but perhaps a nice bowl of soup will do just as well!)

Future plans: Hopefully the left chest tube will be removed this weekend. On Monday, the extra skin on Chuck's back (yep, the skin expanders worked like a charm = toooo much skin) will be removed. This will allow Chuck's back to heal with little chance of infection. As it is now, that extra skin is dry and is slowly dying.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Moving right along ... Chuck was off the ventilator and breathing on his own today for two hours. That's great, as I think they were expecting him to last one hour at the max. He's so tough! His weaning is going quite quickly. Who knows, he may be off the ventilator by Friday.

Monday he will have another procedure to take care of some skin issues. I need more information in order to explain it! I was so excited by Chuck's progress today, I had a hard time focusing on what Dr. Young (plastic surgeon) was saying.

My travel plans are changing daily. With the procedure taking place on Monday, it looks like I will remain here in the Dallas area until next Wednesday. Then, I will be home for a week or so.
Yahooooo! Chuck is doing GREAT! He is alert, he is asking questions, most importantly, he is smirking! I have not been able to pull myself away, as he has been so "talkative" and attentive. I am so thrilled! His signs are hard to read, his spelling is even harder to read; he does not have enough muscle coordination to write; he's trying to mouth words. PLEASE pray I can figure out what he's trying to tell me.

We were pleasantly surprised this morning 1) by Chuck's progress since last night and 2) by our GREAT friend, Paul Brouse. Paul stayed up here all night, and he is no doubt, the first person that Chuck actually remembers. Chuck remembers almost nothing of the past two weeks.

Please know, if you are planning a trip, our schedule has changed. Now that dear Stacie has returned home, we are no longer staying in the hotel; nor are we here 24 hours. Now, we arrive in the morning around 9:30 and leave at 6:00 in the evening. I am staying with Mom and Dad in Bedford.

Thanks to GOD, thanks to YOU all for your prayers, thanks to Chuck for his incredible strength, thanks for your visits, calls, words of encouragement!! Chuck's really rolling now.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

As the folks at Credit Works say ... "It is better to look good than to feel good." Thankfully, post-tracheostomy, Chuck looks good AND feels better, too. He looks so much more relaxed...and so much more like Chuck! The nurse said I could bring in a razor tomorrow to clean up his hairy face...well, hairy for Chuck...not "Corey hairy." (Yep, I just called you out, Corey.)

That's really it for today. Chuck has turned yet another corner. Now, to get him off of the ventilator!
Morning update:
Chuck is continuing to improve. The tracheostomy will take place today at 2:00. It will take less than 30 minutes. It will take place "bedside" = cool, doctor lingo for "in his own room." He will be completely "out."

Stacie has gone back home - and we all will miss her so much! She did so much to ease our minds and lift our spirits. She has been a great coach: she pushed us when we needed pushing; and encouraged us when we needed encouraging. Basically, she lightened our load and made this whole experience bearable. As Mom said, "We needed you more than we knew!"

Please say a quick prayer for the Waugh family. They have been with us in ICU from the beginning. Harry Waugh will be taken off of life support. His sweet wife, Winki, and their kids are all gathering to say goodbye.

I'll post again later today.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Peaceful day:
The tracheostomy will be tomorrow. Chuck has been resting beautifully today. They upped his oxygen - which means they can keep him more heavily sedated.

All of his levels, tests, readings, etc. are improving! Please pray for an uneventful trachestomy procedure tomorrow. Also, please pray for quick healing. Finally, offer a BIG thank you for what God's done thus far.

Much love to all!!
Morning update:
Chuck had a good night. He has grown much more mobile and restless. His sedation has been reduced so he can take over his own breathing. It is my personal opinion that food going into his gut enhances to his new energy level as well.

Chuck will be getting a tracheostomy (or tracheotomy) early this week. We are all praying TODAY will be the day. The trache will help Chuck be more alert, more in control, in less discomfort. Most importanly, he will feel like he can breathe! Alas, he has been on a blood thinner - to reduce clots. He'll be tested this morning to see if his body is ready for an incision. If not, tomorrow will be the day. Please pray he's good to go ... now. (Hmmm, seems like someone still has not learned to be patient!!)

Love to all!!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

How we do ... what we do: thought I'd give you some insight into how a typical 24 hours goes for us.

The ICU does not allow vistors from 6 - 8 (A.M and P.M. for shift changes). On a typical day, I try to arrive around 7:15 ish in the A.M. and tell the nurse at the ICU desk I'm here ... in case Dr. Shelokov or another doctor is available. Then, the lovely and talented Stacie tells me how Chuck did during the night (more on Stacie's role later). Then, Stacie leaves for the hotel across the street, and gets some MUCH needed and well-deserved sleep. Stacie has made it possible for Chuck to have 24 hour support. You know how you sometimes wish there were two of you ... so you could get more done in a single day? Well, God's granted me this by sending Stacie to me. Well, actually, she's an improvement on me ... which was very good planning on God's part. Stacie is a real go-getter!

Some mornings, I get to see a doctor before 8. At 8 - I rush to Chuck's room (as I've missed him like crazy the past 12 hours!!) I typically hang out there for the day, taking breaks when needed ... or asked by the nurses to leave.

Mom and Dad handle all of our physical needs. Daily, they come with a cooler of beverages and snacks. Ahhhh. Then, Dad either takes all of us out to lunch, or picks up lunch for us. So, there are always munchies awaiting me in the waiting room.

Christy and Jonah, Tony and Heather come up as often as they can. They offer tons o' moral support. The entire waiting room loves it when Lindsey shows up. She typically dances for us.

Sadly, at 6 P.M., I leave Chuck. It breaks my heart every time! I meet with Stacie for a debrief .... Stacie stays with Chuck all night. I told Chuck he's lucky, cause he knows there's no way I'm staying up past 8:30 P.M.!!!

Please offer prayers of thanksgiving for Mom (Mary), Dad (Chuck), Stacie (Zigi and Jake who are at home missing her), Christy and her husband Jonah, Tony and his wife Heather, Letty who is back in San Antonio running the whole office while Chuck and Stacie are here in Plano, Shea and Kelli and my dad (John) for daily pep talks!

Thanks for your prayers. We all feel so loved and supported.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Hi everyone! Chuck is doing fantastic. He is making steady, daily improvements. Sorry for the late post - I took the day off. It was wonderfully refreshing. Oh, I did spend the day at the hospital, but we had EXCELLENT company. Darin and Corey came to spend the weekend. We also received a visit from Ross, Laura, and Nicole. It was just soooo great!

For anyone wanting to visit ... a few tips:
  1. Bring warm clothes. The hospital is freezing.
  2. Chuck may not be up for visitors - but his wife is! Seriously, it was so refreshing to walk from Chuck's room into the waiting room, and to hear our "group" cutting up. There was plenty of laughter today ... which was incredibly uplifting!
  3. Know, if you come, you might well be spending all your time in the waiting room. However, this is a HUGE support to me, Mom, Dad, the family, and Chuck.

Now, for those of you who worry about not being able to make the trip, no worries. We feel so loved, and so supported. Your emails, posts, calls, and prayers are so encouraging. I know how frustrating it can be to feel powerless to make the situation better ... know this - you are making the situation better. It may seem small, but your sweet words and prayers are very uplifting and make a HUGE impact.

I feel blessed beyond belief.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Ahhhh, all is well! The cardiologist declared Chuck's heart to be in excellent shape ... and if it misbehaves tonight as it did last night ... not to panic. His heart is not in danger of sudden cardiac death ... or some such scary term. We all felt soooo relieved to get the cardiologist's stamp of approval!

They pulled the PICC (not PIKK - I know, but I'm in the publishing business and misspellings are a big deal) line away from Chuck's heart. They inserted a feeding tube into his intestines. All looks great! Whew, what a day. I'm heading to Central Market ... I noticed they have massage therapists!

Thanks for your prayers, calls, and words of love.

Looking good. I met the cardiologist, and am awaiting results of an EKG. This will give the cardio guy info on the condition of Chuck's heart.

Plastic surgeon came by ... all is looking good. The only skin issue he has is on the front side ... the skin over his bottom, left rib is not healing as well as the rest of his wounds.

Pulomonologist / Critical Care doc came by. He will start to wean Chuck off the ventilator today. This will take several days. On Monday, he will reassess Chuck, and decide whether or not to take Chuck off the respirator. Also, he has given instructions for the "PIKK" line to be pulled out a bit, as it may be touching Chuck's heart ... causing the frightening episodes of last night. Finally, the doc insert a feeding tube that goes through the stomach and into the beginning of the intestines so that Chuck's stomach will not get upset from food.

More later.

Currently, all is well . Chuck's heart has been stable all morning ... with the expectation that it will remain that way. Docs still are not sure why his heart went nuts last night (he was probably just missing me): chest tubes could be "tickling" his heart, the medications could have caused it, they just don't know. All is well!

Hoping for the best!
Morning report:
Chuck had a very hard night. His heart is not beating correctly. I don't fully understand the issue, but Eric (Shelokov's right-hand-man), said this is as serious as things have been for Chuck. Please pray. The doctors are doing all they can. My sister, Shea, reminded me ... as I was bawling on the phone ... just look at God. He's here. He loves me; he loves Chuck; he knows what's happening; he does not want either of us to be scared ... but to trust him ... trust whatever happens ... trust God is in control and is doing the BEST thing in the BEST way for me and Chuck.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

One more thing ... of course Chuck does not want a dog. Does that mean we will not get a dog? That remains to be seen.
Evening update:
Okay, so the only doctor I spoke with today was the super-cool dude with the pony tail. He's the infectious disease doc. He's thrilled to report that Chuck is clear of all infections ... and the good Dr. Allen would know, as he has, and I quote, "cultured Chuck from head to toe." He will start weaning Chuck off of his antibiotics.

Super day for Chuck! First of all, a reminder: Dr. Shelokov warned me this would be a "marathon" ... by "marathon" he meant a 26.2 mile run followed by a brisk hike up Everest. My point? Things that may sound insignificant ... are actually quite HUGE events.

Today, Chuck received nourishment through his stomach, and his stomach accepted it. This is FANTASTIC! I expect that this will lead to his body responding more positively to absolutely everything. The docs had said that a body cannot truly thrive unless it gets nourishment through the ol' gut. Well, bravo, Chuck Picciuti! He's really on his way now.
Morning update:

I've not been able to speak with any doctors yet. However, here's my expert opinion: he's more alert today. He squeezed my hand and answered yes/no questions ... like, can we get a dog?

They brought in a contraption to weigh him, because his super cool air bed is not giving an accurate reading. The bed claims he has gained 22 lbs since surgery. I'm still waiting for them to finish. I can tell you this, he will NOT be happy... he's so sensitive about his weight. Seriously, he does NOT like to be moved.

I've noticed that his heart rate is better! That's another improvement. It's been up in the upper 90s ... now it's in the upper 70s. A resting heart rate of 60-80 is super.

Love to all. I hope to have "official" updates for you later today.