Karen's Keepers

Karen's Keepers

Monday, February 28, 2011

Of hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient surgery centers, life, death, and miracles…

You know, I never wanted to be a nurse. But this month I’ve done a lot of nursing. This morning Randy went in for surgery for Meniere’s disease. The doctor had to drill into his skull, carve out the bone, and puncture the sac in his inner ear that fills up with fluid (the fluid build-up is what causes his Meniere’s attacks). He also put a tube in his eardrum so the pressure wouldn’t build up. The doctor said everything went really well, but Randy had a hard time coming out of the anesthesia and had a lot of nausea. I thought we would be home around noon, but it was after 3pm. He has a large cup over his ear that can come off tomorrow. He says his ear really hurts like a bad earache and he gets especially strong pains in it when he belches (from the pressure). If he sneezes, he needs to be sure he keeps his mouth open. He’s got antibiotics and pain pills to take. The doctor said his equilibrium should return within the week, although it could take up to a month.

One Sunday as we went to church, Randy was having pains in his abdomen. Shortly after we sat down, he decided that he needed to get up and walk around. He thought that maybe his bowels just needed to move. After a short time, a friend came in and told me that he was going to take Randy home. I guess things hurt so bad that he ended up throwing up outside. So, our friend took him home and then got another Elder to go and administer to him. I guess Randy was shaking from the pain by then. Dylan went home to help him, and he was trying to decide whether to go to the emergency room or not. Finally, though, he was able to fall asleep and eventually felt better. By that evening he decided that he had probably passed a kidney stone.

On Monday morning, Feb 14 (Valentine’s Day), Randy got a call from a friend of his younger sister Janna – the news was not good. She said Janna was in the hospital because she had a kidney stone and it had gotten infected and the infection had gone through her blood stream – she was septic. All of her organs were trying to shut down. They performed surgery on Monday afternoon and did a bypass for that kidney because the stone was too big to pass. That afternoon and evening she was not doing well at all. I guess they almost lost her that night. She was flat-lining and everybody rushed in her room and started working on her like crazy. One thing they had to do was give her lots of fluids, so she was extremely bloated. The ER guy that is a friend of (her husband) Marty's went up to ICU and took charge and wouldn't let anyone in the room that he didn't trust could help. After they got her going again, the ER guy wasn't very encouraged and told Marty that he'd better get the family around. Then, she had a good night and by morning her vitals were really good. But, her lungs were filling up with the fluids that her body needed. They kept her highly sedated because otherwise she would fight the tube down her throat. They had her on a respirator because she couldn’t breathe by herself. Randy flew to Dallas Tuesday morning and stayed at their place. His 2 brothers, his older sister and her husband, a nephew and 2 of his kids also went down there. All of Janna’s kids that weren’t in town (she still has 2 at home) flew or drove in from where they live. She continued to improve throughout the day and Tuesday night - she even coughed, which was a good sign that she was breathing on her own. The culture showed that it was e-coli so then they were able to give her correct antibiotics. Randy spent 4 days there and ended up flying home on Friday even though she still hadn’t regained consciousness. On Sunday, her 47th birthday, her husband let Randy know that she was awake, eating and talking – although only in a whisper because her throat was raw from having a tube down it for 6 days. It seems that she will be fine with no residual effects, although they still need to get the kidney stone out. She came home last Friday. So, the ER guy saved her life. What’s really cool is that the reason that the ER guy even saw Marty in that part of the hospital is that he came in a different door than he usually does because he was going to check himself into the psych unit because he was having suicidal thoughts. So, Janna also saved HIS life! Two miracles happened that day. What a testimony to the way God works with each of us!!

Becky and Dave were up one weekend to visit his brother that had a kidney removed because it had a cancerous growth in it – all went well with that. They stopped by the rehab center and chatted with mom. I also got to visit with Connie Hubbard for a few hours one morning and catch up on all that’s happening in her life. She is now the Stake Relief Society President in their stake, was diagnosed with 2 stomach ulcers, she talked about her trips to Fresno, CA and to Spain, and about the happenings in Jim’s family since his father passed away.

My mom finally came home from the rehabilitation center last week. She was so glad to leave there, although she had made some friends and really liked the people that worked with her on physical rehabilitation. She will have a nurse, occupational therapist, and a physical therapist come in a few times a week for a short time. Hopefully, she will be able to keep up the exercises that strengthened her. We will have to make some adjustments to the height of her chair and toilet, maybe add some bars to hold onto, etc. because everything has been wearing her out and her knees have really been hurting. I’ll get some recommendations from the therapists.

Then, at the beginning of the month the receptionist at Randy’s work died unexpectedly from an infection. She was in her mid 30’s and had a couple of small children at home. One of her ex-husband’s will raise the children, I guess. Pretty sad.

In other news, Brisco is really becoming a part of our family. He has been to the vet twice to finish up his puppy shots and get his rabies vaccination. I had his hair clipped, although I’m not sure if I like him better this way or not. One Saturday I took him to a clinic to get neutered. While Randy was in Texas, Tyler came over and installed a doggie door in our wash room. It took Brisco a few days to get used to it, but now he can go outside whenever he needs to (I close it up at night though, so we don’t have any strange animals enter through it!). I viewed a video on YouTube that showed a possum coming through someone’s doggie door at night, and I certainly don’t want that to happen. He is really a ‘mama’s boy’ and doesn’t ever want to leave my side. It also takes him a few minutes to get used to strangers – especially men. He barks or growls at them.

Randy’s blues band played several shows in February. One was up in Ogden on Valentine’s weekend and they had a couple hundred people at it, I think. Then they played at one in Murray the following weekend, but the crowd was small. I’m sure the promoters lost money on that one.

I will finish the class that I am on (Managing Information Technology) this week. I have had to do a consultant’s report plus a power point presentation in it, along with all the usual discussion board entries and unit assessments. For the next 3 terms I am doubling up classes and will have 2 every 8 weeks instead of just one. This way, I will be able to graduate by the end of this year with an MBA in Marketing. And finally, we had record-breaking weather this past month that was really mild. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

1 comment:

  1. Wow what a busy life you lead. I hope Randy continues to improve and I'm glad his sister is okay. Amazing!