Saturday, June 27, 2020

February 18- March 12, 2020 Pete's hospital stay

I have shared the details of Peter’s hospital stay with many family members and friends.  Therefore, I will give an abbreviated version for my own memory/records.

In the early hours of Tuesday, February 19, the CT scan determined that the pain was not from his appendix.  They could see an abscess in his ilium, lower section of his small intestine.  Not sure at this point if surgery was necessary.  First mention of possible Crohn’s disease because it affects this part of the intestines.  Spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday waiting for different doctors to check him and come up with a treatment plan. 

On Wednesday, February 20, GI Dr ordered another CT scan, Pete started feeling worse, ended up in emergency surgery from 10:00-11:30 pm with Dr Tsai.  They removed 10cm of necrotic tissue in the small intestine and the connection to the colon.  He has had digestive issues for years that had gone untreated, just dealt with it in his diet.  He had an open wound with a wound vac that helped with internal healing vs just closing the surface.  Before sending us home for the night, they told us they moved him to ICU because of his breathing.  He needs to be on a ventilator until he is stable.  We kissed him goodnight and tried to get some sleep.

On Thursday, February 21, we were told that his right upper lobe of his lung was collapsed.  When a patient is on a ventilator, they take a chest x-ray daily and discovered the collapsed lung.  It was hard to know if it had been that way or if it had happened during the surgery.  A bronchoscopy was done and a mucous plug was removed.  It should re-inflate on it’s own, but would be monitored.

He had a hight fever and was on Tylenol and antibiotics.  Infectious disease Dr was monitoring antibiotics and watching for sepsis.  GI Dr said a biopsy was done to see if Pete had Crohn’s Disease, which will take 3 days.  His blood pressure was dangerously low 85/40, so they started him on fluids, then put in a pic line to give him a vasoconstrictor to increase his blood pressure.  Took blood culture to see if septic, but takes several days.  That can lower the blood pressure.

Friday, February 22, Dr Tsai said they were no longer concerned about his renal failure.  That was news to us.  He will need a second surgery to close his wound in about a week, but they won’t keep him on the ventilator until then, probably only a couple more days on vent.  He was kept on high dose of pain med and sedation because of the ventilator tube.  The Respiratory therapist lowered the dose when she cleaned his vent tube.  He opened his eyes and I was able to assure him that everything was alright.

Wound care changed his dressing, looked good.  No longer on blood pressure meds.  Lung re-inflated.  Will wean him off of the ventilator by decreasing the oxygen and the pressure.

Saturday, February 23, Infectious Disease Dr said blood cultures didn’t show signs of sepsis.  But his lungs could be infected, which is prolonging the use of the ventilator.  Dr Tsai said that long term infection in his intestines forced bacteria across the diaphragm and into his lungs, which increased the infection there.  Plus the intestines were swollen, which crowded the space for the lungs making it more difficult to fully inhale and clear infection. 

CCU DR/pulmonologist said they would remove fluid off his lungs to help them improve.  Pete had a CTA, computed tomography angiogram to check for a blood clot about 3:00pm and was given blood thinners.  I waited until 7:00pm for the Dr to tell me the results.  Finally, the RN on duty said he wasn’t coming back that evening, but the test was negative for a blood clot.  Whew!!

Sunday, February 23,  started on steroids and bronchodilator to help with lung infection.  Fluid wants to settle in back of the lungs when the patient lays in bed for many days.  Started reducing the % of oxygen.
Dave and I both visited Pete today.  Usually, I would sit at Pete’s side all day talking to the various doctors, therapists and nurses that came and went, and making notes.  I had a little table set up with my computer in a corner.  Dave continued to work on the boat and stay busy. 

Monday, February 24, still on ventilator.  Dr Tsai confirmed that Pete does have Crohn’s disease.  He had cardiac, renal and pulmonary failure!  Heart and kidneys are doing fine.
His body was very stressed going into the surgery, so just taking longer for lungs to improve.
Started Pete on IV nutrition, one week after being admitted to the hospital.
Dr said I should take time for myself, not stay here so much.  Dave and I went to a movie that night, The Call of the Wild, thinking it would be light hearted and scenic.  Harrison Ford’s character headed into the wilderness because his son had died.  Not what we wanted to see at the time.

Tuesday, February 25, continued to drop the oxygen %.  Before leaving, Pete gave my hand a squeeze.  I asked him for a squeeze for his dad and he lifted his middle finger.  I asked if he was flipping him off and he nodded yes.  Later he told me it was because I had told him we were going to a Mardi Gras party at the marina. 

Wednesday, February 26, Dr Tsai thought Pete’s wound looked good and was ready to close, but he wanted his lungs to be more stable first.  He won’t start him on tubal feeding or real food until he is off the ventilator and can tell him whether he is passing gas and how his abdomen feels.

Thursday, February 27 my sister, Janice Moore, and niece, Sherri Zeller Hansen, arrived to spend the day.  Janice is spending a couple months at a condo in Florida south of Tampa.  Sherri lives in Key Largo, but was returning from work via airplane.  They met in Tampa and drove here overnight.  We went out for breakfast then to the hospital.

We talked to Dr Tsai at 9:30 am.  About 5 or 6 am, RN Jeanette noticed feces in his JP drain from his abdomen, indicating leakage from his anastomosis-the connection of his intestines.  Dr came in early and decided to schedule surgery.  They will open him, wash the area and stabilize.  Will go in again tomorrow to wash again and reconnect or place an ileostomy.  Worse than a colostomy, because fluids don’t get absorbed in the colon, dehydration and lack of electrolytes. 

Surgery was from 1:00 to 2:30.  It was called exploratory laparotomy bowel resection with possible ileostomy.  After surgery, Dr Tsai said the anastomosis had not connected at all.  Probably because of the severe inflammation at the time.  He removed about 5cm of small intestine and about 10cm of the ascending colon to the proximal end of the transverse colon -right semi colectomy.  He stapled the ends and will go back in tomorrow to wash again.  He’ll either reconnect the ends or place the ileostomy. He was feeling more confident that the ileostomy wouldn’t be needed.

It was really nice to have Janice and Sherri here.  It gave us something else to visit about instead of just staring at each other from 9:30, when we found out the news, until the surgery was completed at 2:30.  After seeing Pete, we took Janice and Sherri to St Simon’s Island for BBQ and to see the pier at the inlet.  Then we drove over to Jekyll Island for a quick tour right about sunset. 
dirty oysters and lobster nachos with Sherri and Janice
Janice and Mary at St Simon's Pier with lighthouse in the background and Dave's shadow in the foreground
Mary, Janice, Sherri, Dave on Jekyll Island
better view of the sunset on the ICW west side of Jekyll Island

They stopped to see Pete one more time and took off for Florida.  It was a long day for everyone.  But so thankful they were here.

Friday, February 28, lungs were stable after first surgery at 50% oxygen.  Blood sugar has been high, possibly because of being on steroids for the lungs.  Started a long acting insulin.  White blood cell count was high, added another antibiotic.

Surgery 1:00-2:00 Dr Tsai-NO ILEOSTOMY!!  2 JP drains, hoses with little bulbs about the size of a pear.  The wound vac is now different.  This one will allow the wound to close naturally.  Will probably take about 30 days.  So will probably leave the hospital with a traveling wound vac.  Asked why so much more colon was removed.  The ascending colon was more diseased.  And the position of the transverse colon will promote healing better for the anastomosis than in the position of the ascending colon with the first surgery.  (FYI, the appendix is now gone, too.)

Saturday, February 29, started Pete on trials of spontaneous breathing without the aid of the ventilator.  By 1:00 he was OFF OF THE VENTILATOR, 10 days!!  He was less sedated so was able to converse, even with a face mask for oxygen.  Dave come up, and we spent some time updating him on the last 2 weeks.  He had ice chips for the first time and was in heaven. 

Sunday, March 1, moved Pete to a surgical recovery room.

Monday, March 2, Pete gets a nebulizer treatment every 6 hours, including during the night.  Rough time sleeping.  Physical and Occupational therapists helped Pete stand for the first time, pretty weak.  May need to go to in patient therapy after leaving the hospital. 

Tuesday, March 3, Nasal tube out and started on clear liquids.  PT had him up and down more today.

Wednesday, March 4, Pete had chicken broth and apple juice and thought he was in heaven.  Later that day he had his first BM and called it a “religious experience”.  Great day.

Thursday, March 5, White Blood Cell count has been high, but may be from steroids, will monitor.  PT walked around the 2nd floor!  Eating soft solid foods.
making an escape

Friday, March 6, Was able to walk to the bathroom and wash up.  Blood sugar is still high, but may be from other medications.

Saturday, March 7, count was normal.  PT said he probably won’t need to go to rehab after dismissal, just out patient PT.  Played guitar for about an hour.  Good therapy for his hands, lungs and mind. 

Sunday, March 8, Surgeon gave ok to remove all IV’s/hoses.  Made 2 laps around 2nd floor twice today.

Monday, March 9, lots of visitors, hospitalist, surgeon, PT (walked again), OT, Infectious Disease Dr, dietician, GI Dr.  All checking him out for dismissal and plans for after dismissal.  Started him on IV iron.

Tuesday, March 10, Dr Tsai arranging for mobile wound vac to be set up.  More iron and tapering off steroids.
Pete's loving all the attention

Wednesday, March 11, Dr Tsai gave ok for dismissal.  Hospitalist wants him to have more iron and will give discharge orders tomorrow.  Setting up care for after dismissal.  Wound care twice a week at Dr Tsai’s office.  PT at the hospital’s PT as outpatient. 

Thursday, March 12, hospitalist came in about 10:00 with discharge orders.  Wound care reviewed wound vac care.  Nurse reviewed meds.  Dressed with a belt for the first time, uncomfortable.  Out the door by 2:45pm.  He was almost in tears being able to see the sunshine and breathe fresh air. 

We had rented a VRBO condo on St Simon’s island since it was difficult for Pete to walk and bend, let alone climb on and into a boat.  We ended up with one that had the bedrooms on the second floor.  The stairs were actually good therapy for Pete. 
first meal at the condo

What a journey!!  We feel very fortunate that Pete was living in Georgia, and we were able to help him through all of this. Thank you to everyone that supported us through this whole ordeal.  And thanks for the many prayers for Pete’s recovery.  He has a lot to learn about Crohn’s disease and how to live with it.  He will be receiving infusions of immunosuppressant drugs after his wound is healed.  But for now, he is out of the hospital!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

February 13-17, 2020 Weekend in Florida

I spent Thursday unpacking and doing laundry.  On Friday, Dave and I drove to Fernandina Beach, FL for a boating class for docking on Saturday.  Since it was Valentine’s Day, we drove to the beach to have an early dinner to beat the crowds.  Our class was at the city marina on the intracoastal waterway from 8-5:00.  Actually, part of the morning was a written test.  Then the rest of the day was spent practicing on a sailboat a little smaller than ours.  There was only one other student, the 2 of us and the instructor. 
After class, we drove to St Augustine.

On Sunday, we met Gene and Colleen Schneider for brunch.  They are South Dakota friends that spend a few months at an RV park north of St Augustine.  We drove to their campsite that afternoon to visit longer.  They cooked whiting fish for us that Gene caught in the ocean off the beach.  Very good!  We spent another night in St. Augustine before heading home on Monday.  We had to stop in Jacksonville, FL to pick up chain and 2 anchors that Dave had taken there to be galvanized.  We stopped in St Mary’s, GA to have a late lunch/early dinner.

Our table was on the second floor deck at O.C. White's

Gene and Colleen's RV site

Dave, Mary, Colleen, Gene
moving the chain from the fork lift to the trunk of the rental car
We returned to the boat about 5:00pm to find Pete with severe and constant abdominal pain.  It had started on Friday after we left town.  He was able to work Friday and Saturday.  He had Sunday off.  But on Monday, he had to come home from work about 10:00am and had been laying there in pain all day.  We took him to an Urgent Care clinic.  They decided he should go to the emergency room for a CT scan to determine if it was appendicitis.  We arrived there about 7:00pm, but he wasn’t examined until 11:00pm.  

February 4-12, 2020 Sioux Falls visit with friends

Bev’s flight back to Oklahoma was today, Tuesday, February 4.  After I took her to the airport, I drove to Sioux Falls to spend time with grade school/high school friends.  On the way, I stopped for dinner in Mitchell, SD.  The daughter of good friends, Devyn Killion, was attending Culinary School at the VoTech school.  She gave me a tour of her classroom and her apartment.  Then we had dinner together before I left for Sioux Falls.  We have known Devyn all of her life, so it was really an enjoyable evening.
Mary, Barb and Marge at coffee once more before leaving town
I spent Wednesday and Thursday at Sheryl Gerdes Bedard’s home, friends since 1st grade.  I visited her last September after her hernia surgery.  She was in and out of the hospital until Christmas Eve.  So she was still recuperating.  I helped her with a few household chores.
Sheryl with Bella
Gail Weiland, Zeller joined us by late afternoon on Thursday.  We have been friends since she moved to Miller in the 4th grade, and she married my cousin, Joe Zeller. 
On Friday, Gail had an appointment in Sioux Falls to buy a wig.  Not sure if she wants me sharing this, but for heath reasons, she has been wearing a wig for over a year now.  We helped her pick out a new style, but with the same color.  It was really kind of fun.  Sheryl even ended up buying one. 

We rented a VRBO for the weekend in Sioux Falls.  Sheryl didn’t have beds for all of us at her house.  Lori Landgrebe Schneller joined us there before dinner.  We have all been friends since Lori moved to Miller, SD in the 6th grade.  Sheryl had made us lasagna for dinner.  It was great to just settle in and spend time together.
Lori, Sheryl, Gail and Mary
On Saturday, there was heavy snow predicted for the Miller area.  Sadly, Gail decided she had better head home.  Sheryl, Lori and I spent time shopping and had dinner at the Outback Restaurant with another Sioux Falls friend of Sheryl’s.  It was snowing in Sioux Falls, too, so we headed back to the VRBO for a relaxing evening.  We just enjoyed being together.

We had to check out of the VRBO on Sunday.  Lori spent the day with us before heading home to Canton, SD, about 30 miles south of Sioux Falls.

On Monday, I spent the night with Chelle Foley Hart.  Chelle and I have been friends for close to 30 years.  I was her cross country guide at Ski for Light for about 10 years.  I picked her up from work, then we went out for dinner.  Her husband passed away last year.  She had moved into a “villa” townhouse last October, which I hadn’t seen.  I was her first overnight guest.  We had a great evening visiting and sharing a couple beers and some homemade Kahlua and celebrating my birthday. 
Mary and Chelle
On Tuesday, February 11, I took Chelle to work and headed west.  I stopped in Mitchell again to see Devyn.  The cafeteria at her school is open to the public.  She was one of the breakfast cooks that week, so I had breakfast there.  It was fun to see her at work.

Then I continued on  to Rapid City.  I was able to have dinner that night with a couple sailing friends along with the Petersen’s.  We met Scott and Marlene Dannenbring, Denny Stuck, and Jackie Killion at Jambonz, a cajun restaurant.  Debby Stuck was out of town.  Always good to see all of them.

I had an early morning flight back to Georgia on Wednesday.  Even with the flu, I was able to see many great friends over the 3 weeks I was there.

February 1-3, 2020 After Ski for Light parties

Saturday, February 1. The party continues
One of our previous board members, Diana Cornford, hosts a party at her house on the Saturday after Ski for Light.  They have a big beautiful home that is perfect for party’s.  It was such a nice day that many people were able to be outside on their deck.  There were many participants from Canada there.  Most of them also sail.  They wanted a photo taken of all the sailors that were there.  There were 11 people in the photo, I believe only 2 of us were sighted, crazy. 
Kylie on the left is from Australia, all the others (besides me) are from Cananda.
Kaye, Mary, Silvia

That evening, there was a 50th birthday party for Tracy Perdue at their home.  I think there were between 75 and 100 people there.  Fun night of seeing more Rapid City friends along with the Ski for Lighters that were still in town. 

On Sunday, I attended mass at the Cathedral and was able to visit with a couple other choir members that still remembered me.  They had invited me to sing with them, but I still had a cough from the flu.  That evening, I had dinner with Fred and Pati and watched the first half of the Super Bowl at Murphy’s Restaurant.  Then I joined Bev at Cornford’s for the second half.  Another fun gathering of people.

On Monday night, Bev and I provided take out Chinese food for the Petersen’s and Perdue’s.  Kim Weyer had stopped by to visit, too, but couldn’t stay for dinner.  After dinner, I introduced them to my new favorite card game, 5 Crowns.  It is a type of Rummy game using a special deck with 5 suits.  They added stars for the 5th suit.

Mary, Kim Weyer, Bev
Tracy and Richard Perdue, Mary, John Petersen, Bev, Tami Petersen

January 27-31, 2020 Black Hills Regional Ski for Light

On Monday, I slept most of the day, but drove to Deadwood that late afternoon while it was still light outside.  I just stayed in the room, which I was sharing with Nancy.  She had arrived late Sunday and had a great day volunteering with Bev.  They work at a table in the main ski lodge selling t-shirts, hats, and other SFL bling.  They are also an information desk as needed.

On Tuesday, I got up for breakfast, but decided to go back to bed for awhile and come up late.  Well, I slept until 3:00.   That night, I was able to go out for dinner with my family, including Nancy.  Bev, Don, Katie, Memphis, Nancy and I had dinner at Mustang Sally’s close to both or our hotels.  It was great to be with everyone, but as soon as we ate dinner, I was off to bed again.  Ski for Light had a slot tournament and karaoke that night.  Everyone else had a great time.
Bev, Don, Katie, Mary, Memphis

On Wednesday, Nancy and I slept in and then went to the ski lodge for the downhill portion of the event at about 10:00.  I didn’t have a lot of energy, so I just said hello to people and took pictures.  Pretty pathetic.  It was almost harder being here while feeling awful than it would have been if I hadn’t come at all.  I was able to see Kaye Leslie.  Someone else had stepped up to guide her.  She usually cross country skis, but decided to try downhill skiing today.

Richard Perdue and Tara Knutson
Don Zeller guide
Chris Jonas, Canada, guided by Tracy Perdue
Mary with Gwen Brandhagen Rapid City friend
Kaye Leslie from Canada with guide

Kaye Leslie making it down the slopes

Nancy and Bev

Brian Korwin guided by Katie

Miss Wheelchair America with Memphis
Nancy modeling the SFL shirt making fun of SD's campaign that said "METH, we're on it"

Katie and Brian
Nancy and I left before lunch and drove to the cross country site.  They prepare the food onsite open an open fire and in a cook tent.  Always yummy.  We only stayed until about 2:00 and I had to head back to the room.  Nancy had a lazy day with me.  There is a bonfire at the cross country meadows on Wednesday’s, but we missed it.  That night the family gang had dinner at the Mineral Palace, the Ski for Light headquarters.  Kaye Leslie, Pati and Fred joined us.  So nice to finally spend time with each other. 
Kaye Leslie and Mary

Pati, Mary and Fred

Memphis had enough of the adults and moved to her own table, but Grandpa Don had to play with her
Thursday is race day.  Nancy and I went to the cross country ski area again.  
We helped with the races.  I helped keep time for the skiers and Nancy handed out metals.  It was a beautiful day with fresh snow falling all morning.
Nancy helping Kaye off of the "people mover" that brings people from the main road into the cross county site

Nancy ready to hand out medals

Add caption

Tami Petersen with Heather

Kaye Leslie at the starting line

warming tents

Nancy and Mary friends for 45 years
Nancy always ready with a smile

The banquet is on Thursday night.  Again, the family was able to sit together.  It was so fun sharing time with them and getting to see Memphis.  She had her halloween costume along to keep herself entertained.  She had met Miss Wheelchair America that week.  Before the banquet started, she wanted to give her a bracelet with magical power.  It was so cute!

Bubba and Wild Willie

Mary, Jeanine and Hope, long time volunteers

Kaye Dial and Bev

Memphis presenting Miss Wheelchair America with her magic bracelet
Katie, Memphis and Miss Wheelchair America

Not sure who was having more fun

Mary with Fred and Pati

Memphis and Mary
 After the banquet, I actually went to the Saloon #10 with the crowd.  I made it until midnight, then turned into a pumpkin. 

On Friday after Ski for Light, there is an unofficial gathering at the Saloon #10 at 10:00 for Bloody Mary’s and fair wells.  Then we packed up and headed back to Rapid City.  That night, Bev and I joined some of the Ski for Lighter’s that were staying at the Alex Johnson Hotel downtown.

These guys have been around since the early years of Ski for Light

Kaye Leslie and Storm with Kaye Dial

Mary with Nancy, Pati, Fred and Kaye

Nancy, Kaye D, Kaye L, Pati, Mary, Bev

Bev and Memphis having fun at the slopes

Kim Weyer, Janet Sanders and Mary keeping track of time during the races

Katie and Brian, they have radios in their helmets to communicate while skiing

Mary, Kaye Leslie, her guide Dave Schaefer and his wife

Don and Katie

Pati and Katie at the lodge

Don, Brian and Katie
 These last photos were additional photos from other people.  Great week!!