Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Update on Kent, July 7

Last night was the first time that nobody stayed the entire night with Dad. As Elisabeth was getting into the car to leave for the hospital early this morning, she got a call . . . from Dad! His voice was raspy, but clear enough to understand. He asked if anyone was planning on coming to visit him today. You might infer two things from this: (1) he had his ventilator tube removed yesterday, and (2) we won't be leaving him alone for very long any time soon. When Dad looks back on this experience, I don't want "lonely" to be a word that comes to mind.

His stats are still looking pretty good without the ventilator. Right now, heart rate is 120, oxygen saturation is 96%, and respiratory rate is 23. We had a small scare when one of the many doctors on the team assigned to Dad came in, took a quick look at the respiratory rate, and decided to tell Dad that if his breathing didn't improve within the hour, they would have to put him back on the ventilator. Since then, we've had a few reassurances that it would be very unlikely that he would be reintubated today. Just one more reminder that medicine, while hopefully informed by the latest science, is still very much an art. One would hope that the artists share the same artistic vision, especially when the canvas is Dad's body.

The nurses just set up a system that will allow Dad to press a button for a small dose of morphine every 6 minutes. This should keep him more comfortable and give him a small measure of control over his situation, and while I think the former is surely appreciated, it is probably the latter that is going to be the biggest relief for Dad.

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