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Notes to Eddie 2002 Part 1


I am trying to keep notes everyday so that you can see what you have endured. They tell me that most likely you will not remember anything about the surgery, or the majority of your time in CCU. This is the abbreviated version which I am posting on my website to help facilitate updating all our friends.

Day One: (Wednesday – January 2nd) you called me in Santa Barbara and said you were going to have Tom drive you to the hospital. About 30 minutes later the hospital called and said they were admitting you for surgery. You had a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. The doctor told me that you had less then a 80% chance of making it through the surgery. I drove the 130 miles back home immediately. I got to the hospital and you were still in surgery. I talked to the doctor afterwards and he said you came through it just fine, but were not out of the woods.

They were concerned about complications. They never specified what they may be so I looked them up on the Internet. There were a lot of them. The three biggest ones were kidney failure and loss of circulation below the aneurysm, and heart attack.
Day Two: (Thursday) You were awake and we talked. You were concerned that you had a doctor appointment, whether someone called Joe and a host of other minute things. But at least you were sitting up and talking.

Day Three: Friday) A bit more improvement. With the exception of your breathing you seemed to be doing okay. Kidneys were functioning; circulation was down to your toes. You were able to reach your own water glass and wet a sponge to soak your mouth. You were also suctioning out the phlegm build up on your own. Things were looking real good. You asked if I would make sure Roma made it in for her haircut tomorrow. You were alert, and as studious as ever worrying about getting the dog groomed. You told me I should go out with the “boys”, but I was not up to going out.

Day Four: (Saturday) Sometime this morning you had a heart attack. They cannot tell me exactly when. (They said they tried to call at 7am but were unable to get through.. Hard to believe because they had both home phone numbers and my cell phone.) The heart attack complicated things. It caused your lungs to fill with more fluid. You were put back on the ventilator, and heavily sedated. I sat with you for hours but you never opened your eyes, nor did you respond to my voice. They also said that there was a problem with your blood, that the oxygen was not adhering to it. You were turning purple. When I asked the doctor that was taking care of that, he stated to me, that they had no idea what was causing the problem. They took blood gases throughout the day, and the problem seemed to be correcting itself.

Day Five (Sunday) You slept again. Josh drove out from Arizona and got here in the afternoon. I went to see you in the morning and they told me that your blood was pretty much back to normal and they now believed it was caused by the Benzocaine they used to numb your throat to put the ventilator tube in. They are keeping you on high concentrations of oxygen. (around 90% concentration) You slept through Josh’s first visit.. You actually slept all day. The nurses said you had been getting restless, so they continued to keep you sedated.

Day Six (Monday) You are still heavily sedated. You will not even respond to me. Josh came by to see you at night he stayed about an hour or so.) There has been no change in your condition.

Day Seven (Tuesday) I had to schedule an appointment with the doctor so he would update me on your condition. We met in your room at 830am. They brought you out of the sedation enough to open your eyes and see me. I can tell you are uncomfortable. I feel so helpless. I spent the morning with you talking to you …holding your hand.. you seemed to understand me when I was talking to you… a far cry from the last few days… You had tears in your eyes.. I know this is hard on you.. I wish I could do something. Hard to tell if you were agitated when Josh and I were here in the afternoon. I know this has to bother you… But they tell me they will try to wean you from the ventilator today. They started dropping the oxygen concentrations and got it down to 60%. They are going to try to feed you through a tube and not the IV. Josh drove back to AZ today. There was no point in him staying not knowing how long you would be here. He did not want to go, I made him leave.

Day Eight (Wednesday) They have decided not to remove the ventilator. The concentration of oxygen is down to 40%. Unfortunately, you fight them too much. They have also had you restrained because you keep trying to pull the ventilator out. One of the bulbs in the mechanism did burst (or you bit it) there seems to be a controversy there. They sedated you heavily again. I noticed you were looking yellow and that your urine output was looking dark almost red. It was only after I asked that they said you were having some problems with your liver. Nice of them to let me know. They are not the most cooperative group of people I have ever seen. Getting information from them is like pulling teeth.

Numerous times I have had to ask them to see the doctor to get a status on your condition. Your nurse was in a foul mood. When I asked if she having a rough day.. her reply was “ there are not enough nurses and too many sick people in here” I told her I thought that was the purpose of the hospital and especially the CCU; to take care of sick people. After all if they were well they would not be there. She replied, “well not this sick” I just looked at her and told her, I was sure that if given the choice, no one wants to be there. She left the room and I did not see her for a few more hours. When I left, I just told her that I hoped she felt better tomorrow.

Day Nine (Thursday) Your doctor was there when I got there at 8am. He confirmed there were some bad things going on with your liver… may be a blockage or gallstones.. they are going to do an ultrasound on to see if they can find any problems. Doctor says they may have to do surgery.. Dear God..what are they thinking?? This was a thought that kept crossing my mind….. There can be no way your body can tolerate another surgery at this time. There has to be another way. At 3pm they still had not done the ultrasound. It was only after I asked the nurse did they finally bring the tech up to do the ultrasound. I watched, and even though I don’t have any medical training, I did not see any evidence of any gallstones. The tech told me that I could see the results tomorrow. You seemed a bit uncomfortable and I asked if you were in pain. You would nod yes. I asked if you wanted the nurse and you would nod yes.

When the nurse and the doctor came in and asked if you were in pain, you would nod no. We did this about 5 times. Made me think that I was the one being a pain to you. Your doctor said there was still a small chance that you could recover. (What exactly was that supposed to mean and how was I supposed to react?) So I asked him, well that is good news. I asked what your mental state would be WHEN you did recover. (I am concerned about this sedation and how long it was lasting) All he said was that, you would be recovering for months. Later back in your room your nurse said I seemed mad that you were in the CCU and in your condition. How does one respond to that? I told her I was not mad. I was feeling helpless. I just turned away from her and cried. I am trying to stay strong. I know I need to stay strong. Some days are just rougher than others.

They finally gave me a list of all the medications you were on. I had only been asking for it for 4 days.
Day Ten (Friday) You were responding very well to me. You held my hand. And even flickered your eyes open once in awhile. I told you things were looking pretty good. There was even some improvement in your liver (aka your urine was looking lighter and you were not as yellow). When I asked about the results of the ultrasound they did not have them yet. They did have them by later that afternoon and did confirm that they could not find any evidence of gallstones. We can only wait and see on this one.

Day Eleven (Saturday) – You did not respond to me at all today.

Day Twelve (Sunday) – My first visit and I never even saw your nurse. Matter of fact I sat by the nurse’s station for 10 minutes without seeing a sole. When I spoke to you, you nodded once..  I will be back in the afternoon.
You were still sleeping this afternoon.  They went to clean you up and took off the restraints, you were still “sleeping” but managed to grab the vent tube and not let go.

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