Mike Day 73: Catching Up

May 2, 2011

Family, Health, Mike

Phew!  It’s been a bit since I’ve posted.  This isn’t because Mike is not doing well…on the contrary, he is improving and improving quickly!  I’ve been spending a lot of time at the rehab hospital and they don’t have a nearby hotspot…so no web access for my laptop and when I get home I am beat.

Mike is doing great.  Nights have been rough…he hasn’t been sleeping.  I think it was a combination of two things…one is the “mittens” they put him in to prevent him from pulling his trach or feeding tube out.  Two was medication.  Was is operative…I asked the Doc to dump the one med and substitute Ambien short term.  Last night was the first night.  No mittens, I sat at his bedside in a recliner and was prepared to act like mittens, and we put on his cpap machine.  One of the obstacles to removing the trach is whether or not he would be compliant with the cpap…would he keep the mask on?  Prior trials were not successful.  Between Ambien, no mitts, his improved state and exhaustion, we trialled his O2 levels all night with the mask on.  No drop in oxygen sats, no fighting the mask, no trying to pull trach or tube.  He slept ten full hours.  A resounding success!  Tonight will be a repeat performance, on the record with official oximetry tracings, and tomorrow the doc will evaluate…and I’ll be campaigning for decannulation! 

Mike was scheduled for a swallowing test (modified barium swallow) last week.  Because he had slept only 30 minutes the night before, he was too asleep during the day to take the test.  I had hoped he’d be eating pureed food later that day but he’s still on tube feeds.  I hear a repeat performance is planned for tomorrow…keep your fingers crossed that he can swallow and the tube is a candidate for removal too.  It won’t go right away…they need to make sure he’s getting appropriate nutrition…but it’s next in my sights!

This morning I woke Mike and got him up and out of bed myself.  No two therapists or a nurse and me.  Myself.  And Mike.  That’s because he’s doing so well in therapy physically!  He walks with an aid on either side…for balance and safety, but he’s walking.  300 ft or so.  Several times a day.  He walks to the bathroom.  He stands to get changed.  He transfers from the bed to chair with just me (witness this morning…which was unauthorized but I ‘m a born rebel). 

Mike is also dressing himself with help, washing himself with supervision, shaving himself, combing his hair etc.  It’s all baby steps…and he gets stuck in one spot and you need to redirect him…but he’s come so far.  I see him coming home successfully and very soon!!!

Last evening he wanted to go back to bed at 4 pm.  I explained only sick people are in a hospital bed all day and pointed out he wasn’t sick…was he?  He nodded his head affirmatively.  When I asked where he was sick he tapped his forehead.  Perhaps he is becoming more aware of what is going on around him and that something has happened…something big.  This morning, when I told him Mel would be coming in the early afternoon to visit he looked questioningly at me and asked “My sister?”  Yes honey.  Your sister.  I am sure he is becoming more aware and his memory is returning, however, haltingly.   

The insurance company approved us for the second week…so we are good through this Friday.  Thursday they must recertify for another week and justify his continued placement with his progress.  I think it has been amazing…as does everybody at the hospital…but we thought that before.  The question is, will the insurance company  think so?

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