Dad stood up for the first time since the accident. He was a little shaky and he expressed surprise and concern at how weak he was. The nurses sat him down in a chair and he sat for about 20 minutes. It was clearly more difficult for him to breathe in an upright position. His breathing rate went up to the mid 30s and his oxygen saturation went down to about 84% before he asked to be moved back to the bed. It was good progress, but it was also a reminder of how much work remains to be done.
All of the excitement tired him out, and now he's sleeping. His heart rate is 104. His oxygen saturation is still a little low at 94%, and his breathing is still high at 31. But his temperature is down to 37.4 C.
He still suffers from a bit of disorientation. Sometimes it worries me, and I have to remind myself that it is normal to have temporary cognitive deficits following head trauma and extended administration of drugs like morphine and midazolam. On the other hand, hanging around Kent Wood on narcotics is pretty fun! He is still the sweetest, gentlest man I know, and that sweetness comes out in very creative and, at times, hilarious ways. Yesterday, Kristen (my wife) was at his side while he was nodding off during a conversation about women's rights (apparently he was concerned that too many women were not being given enough opportunities). He suddenly opened his eyes and said, "Pastries." Kristen asked, "Kent, are you dreaming about doughnuts?" He closed his eyes again, smiled, and said, "Oh, the pastries I've seen. It's wonderful!" Not surprising, coming from a man who made us stop at every Dunkin Donuts we saw during a road trip on the East Coast.
A swallowing specialist just came in and did an assessment. Dad is still having a hard time executing a full swallow, and this would put him at risk for lung infection (i.e., food and liquid could accidentally get into his lungs). He's allowed to have ice chips (which he absolutely loves), and these will give him a chance to exercise his swallowing muscles. Unfortunately, this also means that he's going to have a feeding tube placed down his throat later today. Bummer.
The primary goals right now are (1) getting rid of the lung infection and (2) recovering the function of his swallowing muscles.