TuDiabetes member Sue, aka catlover, had an operation on Tuesday, April 9th. She could not wait to have it performed, but she did not want to tell many people about it. She did not tell anyone which Hospital she was going too, what room # and no phone calls. Following the operation, Sue became incredibly ill. It was entirely unexpected. The following is her husband, Jim's, account of what happened over the next several weeks.
Day 1 with Sue (4/9/2013)
Susan came through her surgery this morning. She is resting comfortably after 3 and a half hours.
Thank you for your prayers and please pray for her speedy recovery.
Jim the driver
Day 2 with Sue (4/10/2013)
Having not slept most of the night before the surgery, yesterday after the event, Susan slept.
Last night she was quite uncomfortable and she hardly slept. Today, Wednesday was not good as she was dealing with pain and plenty of discomfort.
Written at 5:00 PM
Part two to this story: I had visited with Sue from 1:00 to 3:30 in the afternoon. Around 4:00PM she told the nurse that she felt really bad and from that point on she was a mess. She was transferred up to ICU where she was treated. I was called at 7:00PM and immediately went to see her arriving at 7:30 and staying till 8:30. She was unresponsive to the doctors and myself. I don't think she knew who I was. I believe she lost most of her electrolytes while she was expelling waste and therefore needed further medical intervention.
The doctor attending to Sue called around 10:45 to explain what they had found and how they were going to treat her. That was the last call I got and as I am writing this it is 11:00 AM and still no word from the hospital.
As all of you know the saying: "No news is good news". So I am off to visit with Sue and to make sure she is getting everything she needs.Hopefully, a better report tonight to send to all of you.
Thank you for all your prayers.
Holding it together,
Day 3 with Sue (4/11/2013)
Hello,Here is the update. Sue, being in ICU has developed "Serotonin Reuptake Syndrone".She is resting and breathing on her own with a mask. She is in Critical Condition and having all sorts of tests done to rule out what it isn't. Doctors are asking questions and nurses are in and out of her room. Sue is not able to speak, just nod; but mostly she is in a very deep sleep. When I am there, I do not know if she hears me.My daughter, Melanie(even though she is in California), is on the phone trying to help figure out what is wrong with her mother. She too, is talking to the doctors and nurses. So, I do have help in that regard.I will be visiting Sue on Friday. If you need to reach me, my cell # is (ask Emily).
Good night and please keep Sue in your prayers.Susan's husband, Jim
Day 4 with Sue (4/12/2013)
These get harder and harder to write. The Doctors now think she has a blood clot near her heart. Her right side of her heart is not working as well as her left side. They can not do a cat scan as the dye would injure her Kidneys, so they performed the test a different way. Her body is swelling as her urine output is very low. She is breathing with a mask. Her lungs have fluid in them. Her breathing is NOT labored.
I was there from 12 to 4 today. About 10 minutes before I left, Sue seemed to respond to my talking to her, she opened or moved her lips to try to speak to me, naturally, there was no voice, but I saw that she was trying to say something.
It has been 45 hours since she got to ICU, that I know she knew who I was and she tried to tell me so. So there is hope.
When I write these reports, there are tears in my eyes, reflecting the visit I just made. We were married on Dec. 18, 1965 and have shared so many life events. Sue's birthday is coming up (4-16) and the last place she wanted to spend it was a hospital bed.
Melanie is flying in on Saturday to be with her Mom.
Please stay in touch.
Jim, ask Emily for me number (I feel so much better when I know that my friends are nearby, it really helps).
Good Night and Thank You
Day 5 with Sue (4/13/2013)
Today was like any other day. She was not too responsive. However, I had a plan. I did not tell Sue that Melanie was coming in. I had my reasons.
Melanie left her home at 5 AM her time and flew to Phila, arriving at 4:15PM. She was picked up at the airport by a great friend who volunteered his help. I left the hospital at 5 as Melanie arrived at our home.
After dinner we went to visit Sue. When Sue heard Melanie's voice, Sue was alert, eyes opening in disbelief and trying to talk. I went and got the doctor to see this event as tears were rolling down my face. I could hardly talk as I was all choked up with emotion. Melanie asked one question after another and the doctor answered everything and telling Melanie and I the timeline in the treatment process.
Susan's body was starting to do what it is supposed to do.
I left the two of them alone for about 15 minutes. When I returned, Melanie said that she had a "conversation" with her Mom. Susan asked Melanie questions (Melanie had to put her ear next to Sue's mouth to hear) and Melanie answered her questions. I was "stunned".
All of my prayers, your prayers and the power of human contact made this all possible.
So we have a better ending to this day and I thank each one of you for all your kind words, support and prayers.
I am exhausted and I must crawl into bed to start the same process all over again tomorrow.
Good Night and G_d bless you.
Day 6 with Sue (4/14/2013)
Good news, Susan, even though weak, is showing positive signs.
Melanie organized the gathering of family pictures, music Sue likes to listen to, and People magazines.
We loaded the stuff up into large tote bags and headed to the hospital to "stimulate" Susan's brain.
I must say it worked. The ladies spent a lot of quality time together while I roamed the halls. Each time I returned to the room, I saw more light in Susan's eyes. Yes, she is still quite weak and her eyes are mostly shut and when she whisperers, I must say, I can't make it out. But Melanie(the "Miracle Worker") has a magic ear.
Our visit was the longest so far(about 7 hours), Susan wanted to know when she can eat food with her mouth, When she could get dressed, when is she leaving, where am I, how long have I been here, What is wrong with me, why am I in this bed, this room. Over and over she asked these questions.
Just before we said our goodbyes, Susan looked at Melanie and said loud enough for me to make it out,"I Love You".
I just welled up and the tears flowed, it was so beautiful that it touched me to my core.
From how it started Wednesday night to this Sunday afternoon, what an emotional roller coaster.
I need to end this, but again and again we want to thank all of you for your kind thoughts and prayers.
G-d Bless you all, Good nightSue, Melanie and Jim (written by Jim)again, if you need to reach me, my cell is always on and always with me. Ask Emily for the number.
Day 7 with Sue (4/15/2013)
Two things happened today in the morning that were not pleasant for Sue. When Melanie and I got there, Sue was worn out to the point that it took the nurses a lot of time to stimulate any action from Sue. She basically semi slept the whole time we were there. Once, the Nurse put something cold in Sue's mouth and Sue murmured that it was cold. The Nurse was scrubbing her teeth. Sue said it felt like a "wet kiss". The three of us burst out laughing. We left at 5 and went to visit an old friend and he joined us for dinner.
Tomorrow is Sue's birthday. we will stop to pick up Balloons that we ordered today and bring her some love and cheer. If any of you want to call me on my cell, (ask Emily for the number), I will hold the phone to Sue's ear while you sing her happy birthday and try to cheer her up. I will try to be at the hospital around 11:30 and be there all afternoon. Sorry that I don't have better news, but Sue is on a long road to recovery.
G-d bless all of you for your prayers. Good night.
Day 8 with Sue (4/16/2013)
Dear Loyal Friends of Susan,
The saga today started early in the morning of Sue's Birthday day. A group of doctors, all manner of people in long white coats and some nurses, squeezed into the room and sang Happy Birthday to her. Sue looked up and said "that was very nice, but my Birthday is on Tuesday". They informed her that today was Tuesday. And so her day began with the fun that birthdays bring.
In the mean time, Melanie and I were not even there yet to see the goings on. We were driving around, picking up Balloons and cards and flowers that people had said that they wanted Susan to have. We got there at 11:45am. and saw that all the excitement of the morning had worn her out.
Susan is doing better, her numbers are improving and today, I watched as they removed the oxygen thing that gets put into your nose.
Plenty of well wishers called from all over the country to "sing" Happy Birthday to her. She smiled, tried to speak, asked some questions, just to hear their voices, I am sure was welcomed to warm her heart.
There was even a Bag Piper who played Happy Birthday through the phone(I am sure you heard it at your house).
Then we had our Rabbi come to her room with his Guitar. We sang songs(Rabbi, Melanie & Jim) for about a half hour.
We know how to draw a crowd. So, it was an exciting day and we will celebrate her birthday all week long.
Sue is progressing, like a snail, very slowly. We can only hope that the nourishment that is going into her body will get her to bounce back a little quicker. I think she has made large strides since entering ICU on Wednesday night.Please keep Susan in your thoughts and prayers. If you know of any Prayer groups, please see if you can enter her name.
Our family of Susan, myself, Melanie , Daniel, Jack and Heath; our four legged ones, Maggie and Zorro, Thank all of you for your constant support.
Good night and G-d Bless.
Day 9 with Sue (4/17/2013)
A very busy day,
Melanie and I got there very early as Melanie was flying home today. Melanie spent some time with Sue and before we left for the morning, we spoke to the Doctor making rounds. He was pleased with Susan's progress and liked her numbers. He said it was a slow process unfortunately, but it was a good sign that she was on the mend.
A Echogram was performed to see how the heart was.
I came back to the hospital after seeing Melanie off and spent several more hours with her. Tonight at 9, I got a call from the night nurse that they had changed Sue's room.While I had her on the phone, I asked for her test results. Here is what it said: Right side of her Heart was NORMAL (all of our prayers answered). Her Heart was moved from Severe to Moderate ( again all of our prayers answered).
I rethought visitation. Anybody visiting Sue can only spend 5 minutes in her room. I was told by many people that a five minute visit is so straining, that it takes 24 hours to get back to where she was. I find that a phone call lasting one minute on speaker is so pleasing to Sue, that she recognizes the persons voice and says their name. It brings tears to my eye every single time that happens. So please call my cell (Ask Emily for the number). If you get my answering machine, hang up and call a little later.
Thank you all for praying for our family at this difficult time, as you see, it is paying off.
Good night and G-d Bless all of you fine people.
Jim, the care giver
Day 10 with Sue (4/18/2013)
Dear Friends of Susan,
To say the day was exciting would be an understatement. I walked into the ICU (Sue was moved last night from 311 to 307 for some unexplained reason) and into Sue's room and the nurse came in. She said I have some news for you, The doctors making rounds this morning feel that Sue should leave ICU. As soon as a room opens up, she is out of here. (Prayers answered). Some of you called and chatted with Sue and she talked to you as well.
Now she is going through a faze where she cries and says"I want to go home", I want o eat", "I want to drink some water", "I want to take a shower", and on and on. This is a good thing, because she is coming back .
Tonight I went for a couple of hours to her new digs, Lenfest building second floor. This is the area you recover from surgery and she is in the same area she started from before going to ICU. I walked in and she was crying that her ice cream fell on the floor. I said I would clean it up which seemed to satisfy her. And the things she told me were all in her head. It was like a comedy club, and if I laughed, she would cry. So I went along with it:"Close the door, there are Bears out there in the hall" and so on and so on.
Oh yeah, she wanted to know when the nurses came in if they were real nurses.
Well, that is all I can write without breaking some Hippa laws. Thank you all for so much of your time praying for this miracle that happened. The doctor said today ,that she has two more weeks of recovering, one more week in the hospital and a week of PT (I don't know where). I am running out of ways to say Thank You to all of you, but if I see you in the next few months, I am going to HUG YOU and Thank You again.
Good Night and G-d Bless You
PS Melanie got home safely. Phila. to Denver and then onto Oakland was the plan. However, It snowed in Denver. So her route was: Phila to Nashville to Phoenix to Bur Bank to Oakland. It only took 12 hours instead of 7. It seems winter is still around this Spring.
Jim, Susan, Melanie, Daniel, Jack, Heath
Four legged ones: Maggie and Zorro (they won't hug you, they will just purr)
Day 11 with Sue (4/19/2013)
We had a setback. We missed our ICU home. We went from T311 to T307 and now we are in T314. Doctors kept calling today. Sue was back to talking clearly and properly. She had a problem and the doctors had to check her out, they took her off her blood thinner and a Vena Cava Filter was inserted into her body to catch blood clots before they reached certain organs. Blood clots usually come from the legs and work their way up to your lungs, heart or Brain. You don't want that. Her surgeon said that Sue might be in ICU for just a couple of days. So we shall see.
After visiting with Sue this evening, I drove to my synagogue to say a healing prayer with the congregation. My synagogue family is so warm and touching, there were hugs and questions and talk of prayer going forward. It is a good feeling and I need that comfort.
Sorry I don't have anything more to add, but I get in my car and say"Hospital", the car knows where to go.
So as the night gets later and the next day is soon to be here, I hope my Sue is sleeping after such a grueling day. Please continue to pray for her health.
G_d Bless and Good night,
Jim writing for Susan, Melanie, Daniel, Jack and Heath.
PS. I keep on calling it a ICU. I took a picture of the sign(I can not spell words over five letters). It is called "Neurocritical Care Unit" so it really is a NCU
Day 12 with Sue (4/20/2013)
This will strike your funny bone. When you are in the hospital for too long, you develop something called Hospital Psychosis(I call it brain freeze). Between the surgery, the drugs that are new to your system, the handling and touching of your body by strangers and that time seems to stand still, you develop this malady.
I walked in today (I was there from 2:15 to 6:30PM) and the nurse stopped me in the hall and said "your wife is on the warpath", watch out. So, forewarned, I went into the room. Susan starts by saying some of the following: Where have you been since I have been a patient here, this is the first I see of you?, The house is in my name(True), when I get out I am going to sell it and you will have to move out., The cats are dead.,Where do you sleep?, You keep on telling me that Melanie visited this area; why did she not come to see me?, This place has mice, I see them scurry across the floor., There are bugs on the walls, this place is not clean.,Nurses and doctors come in here and I don't know if they are really who they say they are., I yell for help and everybody ignores me(The day nurse who starts at 7 told me she was in Sue's room at least"90" times before I got there.
So, Susan had a most interesting day. However, anybody who called that I put on speaker phone, had a nice conversation and normal thoughts. She made sense on every call. A dear friend and neighbor just had surgery at another hospital. I told Sue that the operation lasted a long time and the patient was back home in three days. Sue told this person that she should have went to"that" hospital instead of where she is now. She can think, figure things out and be sharp on the phone.
I read some of the birthday and get well cards to her. She told me to hold them up and she wanted to read them again on her own. I feel that this too will pass as she starts to get stronger. Once she is eating on her own(still has a feeding tube down her nose into her stomach) and after she sees a Physical Therapist, Things will start to improve.
I was composing this as I was driving home. I was laughing out loud as I was driving (I did not dare laugh in front of Susan in the hospital). I just went along with it. No use making her any angry er then she already was.
So you see your prayers rising toward heaven are working. Her body is healing slowly, as it should. We are so spoiled by computers and technology, things happen in seconds. But the human body with so many parts, heals at its own pace.
Please continue praying for Susan's healing. G_d Bless and Good night.
Susan, Melanie, Daniel, Jack and Heath Thank You for all you have done and continue to do.
Jim, the journalist
Day 13 with Sue (4/21/2013)
Here we go again. What can I say about today that would make a difference from any other day. Well, if you read day twelve, day 13 was much the same. I can not think of anything to add other then she had 3 visitors. First a lovely women from our synagogue came up. She stayed a while, maybe 20 minutes and Sue unloaded on her all the complaints of her hospital stay. I felt bad for her, because she kept looking at me for explanations of the profound things Sue was stating as fact. I kept rolling my eyes and laughing to myself. I am sure she was glad she came to visit, yeh right!
Sue said she would like to have more visitors. I guess we are feeling better, but not sounding too clear headed. Next another couple, husband and wife visiting their two new grandchildren born April 20th at 1:50 AM, came over from another part of the hospital. These fine friends of ours are also from our synagogue and they spent about a half hour with Susan. The wife sat and reassured Sue that she would be better soon. I sat with the husband and told tales of my escapades around the hospital(there were many).
Sue is still in NCU and when I spoke to her nurse, she said that the doctors are just being cautious about releasing her from NCU. They want to make sure that everything is normal before she goes back to Lenfest building. So, maybe Monday will be her release day from one section to another one.
Here are some excerpts from a conversation between Melanie and Sue on speaker phone: (S)=Sue,( M)=Melanie
(S) I am divorcing your father and throwing him out of my house.
(M) Mom, where is Dad going to live?
(S) I will ship him off to California because you keep on insisting that we both move there, so you will get one of us. (M) So you will live in the big house with the two cats?
(S) I will sell the house and move into a motel with the cats.
(M ) Mom, I don't think there are too many motels that let you bring in an animal, let alone two cats.
(S) Well, I'll find one, don't you worry about my living arrangements.....
(M) Wow, you are talking very nicely, what a big improvement from when I was there.
(S) You were here? That's news to me.
(M) I was there Saturday night, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning. I left Wednesday afternoon to fly home.
(S) I don't remember that you were here, Dad keeps on talking about it but I don't believe anything he says....
Next we had a doctor come visit Sue who specialized in Blood Sugars. He started to talk to Sue and she twisted words and symbols around so bad, I interrupted her and answered the doctors questions. I was told to be quite. This continued and I made the mistake of answering another question put to Sue. At that point I was asked to leave the room in an unfamiliar tone. I got out pronto. The doctor came out about 10 minutes later shaking his head, shook my hand and said that I had my hands full and he did not envy me. No Kidding! Well that was my day. My job this afternoon was to feed Sue ice chips out of a cup with a spoon. This is as the close as she will get to ice-cream for awhile. We both LOVE Ice Cream, our freezer in the kitchen holds 4 tubs and in the garage we have a freezer that is filled with....????
So, as I end this long blog, I hope and PRAY that Monday will be better for Sue. Thank you all for holding Susan in your hearts and in your prayers. We will be forever grateful. G-d Bless and Good night.
Jim for Susan, Melanie, Daniel, Jack and Heath and our four legged kids who each day, in their own way, ask me when that Lady with the Warm Lap is coming home.
Day 14 with Sue (4/22/2013)
Hello all you VERY FINE people. Happy Earth Day.
Well, I needed my car serviced, so I was dropped off by the shuttle at AH around 11:00AM. I stayed till 6:15PM. It was a repeat performance of Hospital Phycosiss, confusing facts with fiction. I came into her room and she was furious with me for having a party in her room last night with Melanie and Heath. She said she screamed our names but we ignored her. I responded by saying I was sorry, it was my fault.
Then I called Heath and then Melanie, and they both spoke to her over speaker phone. They were both in California, so I suspect that they took a Red Eye back after this so called party. Sue was really confused; how were they home so fast? On and on the day produced strange goings on in her head that she thought they were real. On one occasion, I made the mistake of challenging her on some point. All of a sudden there were alarm bells going off. The point I was making, increased her blood pressure 10 points. It went from a steady 154 over 54 to 164 over 54. I quickly alerted the nurse to tell her "it was my fault" and not to put it on her record, hence she would get more medicine. Needless to say, I agreed with everything she said going forward.
Well, as I predicted, at around 4:00 PM Susan was welcomed back to the second floor of the Lenfest building. Out of NCU.(Prayers answered) Thank you one and all. She is in room 2L37. This is the third time she has been in this area of the hospital and I pray that it is her last move until she goes to a Rehab facility.
So if you would like to cheer her up (she needs plenty of that), please call on my cell to talk to her when I am there. You know the drill:Cell # is (ask Emily) , do not discuss food of any kind, do not talk about home, just wish her well and tell her you look forward to seeing her once again. No talking of going out to EAT. Sue still has a tube in her nose that goes into her stomach, she has not eaten by mouth since lunch on the 10th of April. I tell her she is LUCKY, she does not have to floss her teeth. I do feed her ice chips. I was thinking of changing our email address to JSPENQUIN@MSN.COM ( from all the ice she is eating). Ha-Ha
I have had so many compliments on my writing style, I THANK YOU. Today (at 7:38 in the morning) I got a call from one of my friends telling me that when they read the blog, they are so long, that when they near the end they fall asleep. So in honer of______, I am ending todays journal. Again, keep Sue in your hearts and your daily prayers. I write these daily blogs on behalf of Susan, Melanie, Daniel, Jack and Heath. G-d Bless & Good Night.
James husband of Susan, Father of Melanie & Daniel, Grandfather of Jack and Father-in Law of Heath
Day 15 with Sue (4/23/2013)
Five things happened today from all the praying.
I walked in around 1:15 PM. Sue was sitting in a chair, her legs hanging down (like normal) A First.
Sue had had her catheter removed. A First.
All of the beeping machines that monitor her heart, oxygen and fluids was gone. A First
Susan 's memory was coming back.A First
Her Hospital Psychosis was maybe 10% and she spoke clearly about most things for 90%. A First
Will the REAL SUSAN please step forward. Our Prayers have been answered. Thank YOU G-d!!!! I left around 6:15 to join friends who came to visit Sue and we went out to Eat. That was my exciting day and I spoon fed Sue ice chips
some of the time. The nurse explained to Sue that she can not take any liquids by mouth because the liquid might go into her lungs and that would cause pneumonia. We surely don't want that.
It is late and I must get some sleep and rest. So again on behalf of Susan, Melanie, Jack and Heath, we thank all of you for your uplifting support and prayers these past 15 days and nights. Good night and G-d Bless all of you and your loved ones.
Jim, the scribe
Day 16 with Sue (4/24/2013)
The Real Susan emerged today, No more Hospital Psychosis. Prayers answered. 100% conversation of fact.
What a change or what a difference a day makes. I have the Susan I used to know.
I got there around 1:15 and left at 6:15 to join an old friend for dinner after he visited with Sue. He was the Best Man at our wedding in 1965, he is my age,72 and I know him from the 50's. We dined in Jenkintown, right down the street from Abington.
Again, Sue feasted on ice chips. She is not able to use her hands and arms like she had before her hospital stay, I spoon them into her mouth. As she gets her strength back, hopefully she will be able to do all the things she did before.
We talked about various things, Sue and I, and Sue has her memory intact; a good thing.
From the Hospital Psychosis days, she has no recollection(I guess I can still live in my home for the time being).
Sue went to Physical Therapy again today and she was sitting in her chair when I came in. This time her feet were straight out like sitting in a bed. Thursday, she will be reevaluated by the speech person and given another test for swallowing. Hopefully we get good or better news then we got on Monday, and she will be allowed to eat by mouth. Please keep your fingers crossed for Sue.
That sort of sums it up, She is getting a CAT scan tomorrow to check something, a Hematologist came in just before I left and explained why they needed to do the test. Ruling out everything they are hoping not to find, puts Sue closer to the exit.
Here is the time in my Blog that we would like to THANK all of YOU for all of your kind thoughts and Prayers. On behalf of our family consisting of Susan, Melanie, Daniel (Last night I accidentally left Daniel off of the list so I will mention him twice tonight..this is not a typo), Daniel, Jack and Heath.
May G-d continue to shine his countenance over Susan from your prayers reaching up into the heavens. Good night and G-d Bless You.
Jim, the humble scribe
Day 17 with Sue (4/25/2013)
Susan is getting Better. It is a slow, but sure, process. Not much is different then yesterday. She was taken down at 6 tonight to get her CAT scan. The Swallow evaluator will be back on Friday. I have been meeting with a social worker about placing Sue in a short term(maybe two weeks) facility to have Sue regain her strength. Sue might be leaving AH next week, probably mid week. Here is keeping our fingers crossed and praying up to the heavens. More of her regular Medications are being added each day to see how she can handle them. A very positive step, indeed!
Phone calls are a "great fixer-upper" for Sue. Please call each day if you can. It is best to call my cell (Ask Emily for the number) as she can not pick up the phone or place it to her ear(too many tubes and wires around her neck). I simply put my cell on speaker and hold it up to Sue's mouth.
Keep those Prayers coming, Even Sue knows they are helping.
Good night and G-d Bless You wonderful people who all had a hand(a Prayer) in her remarkable comeback from such adversity. On behalf of Susan, Melanie, Daniel, Jack and Heath, we THANK YOU ONE AND ALL FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE AND WHAT YOU CONTINUE TO DO.
Jim, the Humble scribe
Day 19 with Sue (4/27/2013)
Dear Susan supporters,
I had some errands to run this morning, so I got to the hospital just before 2:PM. I was greeted by her nurse, Dawn, who informed me that they worked Sue this morning and Sue did fantastic. There was no PT today, so Dawn and a helper held Sue by the arms in a standing position and had Sue march in place. I guess they had her do exercises with her hands and arms, because when I walked in, Sue was feeding herself delicious "ice chips". Did any of you catch that? Feeding Herself! Prayers answered, Halleluyah, praise the Lord!!
Sue, naturally was exhausted from all this movement, had a headache and slept most of the time I was there. With a headache, she really did not feel like conversation. Only one person called and that was enough for Sue.
So, because it was such a beautiful day today, people were out and about, and this gave Sue time to rest. Most days, Sue can have a conversation with four or five different callers.
So, day 19 had some good results. I left around 6:20 and Sue was put back in her bed from the chair she sat in most of the day.
So in closing, Thank You for all of your Prayers. G-d Bless You and Yours and stay well. Good night from
Susan, Melanie, Daniel, Jack and Heath.
Jim, the fact gatherer
PS. Susan would like to Thank Jack, her 7 year old grandson, for his art work in TWO get well cards that "Bubbie" received today. They came in Fridays mail and I brought them to her room this afternoon. They are hanging on a special hook from a special plastic chain that hangs down from the TV. Also Jack sent Bubbie a picture of himself wearing his baseball uniform. The picture is on a special bulletin board next to a picture of twins born in AH last week and a Very Special Birthday card made by Sharon from CBOI.
Day 21 with Sue (4/29/2013)
It is late, and I must say that Sue gets a bit stronger every day. There is only a slight change and as she continues to fight her way back, I will end daily blogs and now that 21 days or 3 weeks have passed, I will send out a weekly blog every 7 days.
If you need to talk to me or want to speak a few sentences to Susan, please reach me on my cell (Ask Emily for the number). I can be found in the hospital between 1:30-6:00 most days.
Good night and G-d Bless you for EVERYTHING.
Day 22 with Sue (4/30/2013)
I guess I should finish out the month. Sue LOOKS much better. She is still in the hospital because she is still recovering from a long illness. The nurses say that she is doing better every day and from how sick she was, she is doing "great". Sue shared with me that when she does PT in the morning, she can walk with a walker to the middle of the room. Sue showed me how she could lift herself up on the count of 3, steady herself with a walker, and then stand up holding on for a little while. As I have said all along, each day brings a little better result. Twenty Four hours brings little changes that were not there the previous twenty four hours. This is good.
I got there today around 1:45 and stayed till 6:00. In that time, I helped with getting her more ice, reading her all the cards that came in the mail, fixing her room up from all the day's events, setting up her CD player that I bring in every day for nice music to hear instead of the racket in the hall. Anything to make her more comfortable I do without complaint. We discuss the pussycats, the weather outside, the trees that produce color(I take pictures in our garden and on my way in, if I see something pretty, I snap it and show her when it comes up in conversation).
Improving (Prayers answered), Improving (Prayers answered) and Improving (Prayers answered). That sums it up. Each day that comes shows signs of recovery, slow but sure.
In closing, Susan, Melanie, Daniel, Jack and Heath THANK ALL of YOU WONDERFUL, KIND and LOVING PEOPLE for ALL YOUR KIND WORDS and THOUGHTS. Your PRAYERS, without question have done only GOOD.
G_d Bless and Good night,
Jim, the scribe
Day 23 (5/1)
Congratulations, Susan passed the swallowing test and her feeding tube was removed. This happened after the breakfast hour and since her last meal was lunch on Wednesday, April 10th, her next meal was lunch on Wednesday, May 1st.
Susan ate every morsel of the "thickened" items on her tray. Then she ordered her dinner and did likewise to the food on that tray at 5:00, dinner time. Oh what a feeling her mouth must be feeling after such a long time on tube feeding.
Then we got more good news. Susan went for an evaluation at a rehab in Abington Hospital and she was accepted to join that program. Now the insurance company must make a decision if that is OK with them. This could happen as early as Thursday.
Susan said that at PT at 1:30-2:00, she walked with a walker for 45 feet.
I will write any NEWS on Thursday, when that day shows us what Susan has accomplished.
Oh what a GLORIOUS DAY today was, May the first!
To our friends on TuDiabetes.org, who today learned what happened to "CatLover" these last 23 days, your prayers and warm thoughts, added to those who have been Praying all along, might have made a difference.
To LT, who made a stop on her way to Doylestown, who left a note and some "magical" flowers with a note (Sue was out of the room getting her evaluation), your flowers and your visit may have made a difference today.
Thank you one and all, your cards, your flowers, your visits, your phone calls, your emails, your WONDERFUL FRIENDSHIPS and most importantly YOUR Kind Thoughts and PRAYERS; this all adds up to put Susan on the road to recovery. Another THANK YOU is in order!
Good night and G_d Bless,
Jim, the scribe(seems I can't retire to a weekly Blog)
Day 24 (5/2)
I was not even going to Blog tonight, because Today was like the day before. Susan had three meals and she did fantastic in PT. After PT she is usually "wiped out", and today was no exception. She was stronger today then she was the day before.
She was excepted at "Acute Care" and she was going to start on Friday, leaving Lenfest for Weidner Building 4th floor. I was there from 1:15 to 5:45. I left after she lay down in bed after dinner, because she was drained of any energy. She soon fell asleep, so I went home.
At 7:45PM I got a call from Dr. Alverez from NCU. He told me that Sue was having lots of problems starting at 7:10 tonight and that a team of Doctors and Nurses from NCU were down in her room in the Lenfest building trying to stabilize her.
I know Doctor Alverez from the two times Sue had been in NCU. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I could not believe that my strong willed wife who today finally had all her tubes and wires removed(the ones that were left), her red and black/Blue arms and neck were healing well, was headed to NCU for a battery of tests to see what was wrong.
I have my suspicions, but I will keep them to myself until I hear from the hospital what they found. I drove back arriving at 8:15 and staying till 9:30. There is nothing I can do there, but wait. So I would rather wait in my home.
So, what more can I say. As soon as I know something, I will Blog again.
Jim, not believing that we have to start over again and we were so close to healing.
Days 25 & 26 (5/3 & 5/4)
Dear Faithful Readers of Sue's Blog,
First, let me apologize to those who called or e-mailed me, thinking that their name was taken off of the list of send to. I am sorry to have you think that; I did not send a Blog last night. My thinking was that there was no change in Susan's condition and there was nothing to report. Silly me. This will not happen again. There will be a daily Blog or if my computer crashes, I will handle the fallout on my cell phone. Today's (Saturday) Headline would read: Things are the same (AM) Things are much improved (after 5:05PM) I arrived at the hospital at 1:45 and left at 5:45.
I spoke to the nurse who had a good review of Susan's stats of the day's events. This was around 2:15. She said that the doctor would talk to me and she felt sure that Sue was going to have her tube taken out of her throat. Sure enough, later that afternoon I met with Dr. Patel, answered his many questions and then was told, that if medical issues continued as they were this morning, the tube would be taken out. At 5:05 the miracle of PRAYING paid off once again.
Sue was trying to talk, fully awake and communicating with her eyes, desperately trying to speak with a very sore throat. She moved her lips and fought to speak; naturally nothing came out. She was moving, trying to sit up and she appeared to want to jump out of bed. A Nurses assistant had to take up residence beside her bed to keep her in the bed.
The doctors did a very wise thing when she was admitted to ICU; they did not take her off of her Meds. This action will have Sue back to Lenfest second floor much quicker and in better shape. She is now in ICU Lenfest third floor. She was in Toll NCU third floor for half a day on Friday before being moved to Lenfest. AMH is made up of various buildings next to each other and all connected together. Instead of calling it all one name, they still refer to each building by name. I believe Abingtom Memorial Hospital sits on three square blocks(it could be bigger).
So in closing this Saturday night, I want to thank all of you who have in one way or another, expressed your THOUGHTS and PRAYERS for Susan's well being in all forms of communication. We, all of us: Susan, Melanie, Daniel, Jack and Heath are forever grateful to all of you fine, fine people. We will try to thank each and every one of you for all your time spent in this pursuit. Let Susan battle back from this last setback and regain her strength to eventually enter a rehab center for total rehabilitation. Amen to that.
Good night and G_D Bless
Jim, the scribe
Day 27 (5/5)
Where do I begin? I guess at the beginning would be a good idea, indeed!
Last night when I finished my Blog and pushed "send", there was maybe 10 minutes that went by, my phone rang and my caller ID said Abington Hospital. Only Bad news travels fast. The Doctor on the phone told me that the team had to put back the tube down her throat into her lungs so she could breath without congestion. Or in other words, for her to continue to live they needed to put the tube back in. Again, another "stunning" turn of events. Hope at 5:05 Saturday afternoon and then at 10:10 Saturday night, gloom (notice how 505 doubled equals 1010, strange).
When I came in today, several Doctors approached me to give me their findings. Susan has developed a pattern. She will be well for two days and then not well for a day; this has happened for the third time and the Doctors are trying to figure out if there is drug interaction, an allergic reaction to a drug or some other pattern they can zero onto. Susan's body is a puzzle and they are doing there best to unravel the mystery. What a plot.
I get phone calls and e-mails asking me how I cope with it all, day after day? I find it very therapeutic to sit down each day and send this information blog. I find myself overly chatty and talk out loud as I drive and talk over a meal while others are done eating, my plate has 75% of the food still on the plate. I need a release and I think these two things I mentioned are good for me. Talking to good friends in their home, in a restaurant or on the phone helps as well. I am fortunate to have great neighbors who are also friends. Enough about me.
How Susan has all this strength through such adversity is beyond me. I think I know why she is fighting so hard to stay here. Her work is not done with her grandchild, Jack(the apple of her eye). Sue wants more time with Melanie and Heath. Sue wants to see Daniel rise above the level he is at. Sue wants to come back to play Bridge with her long time friends. Sue wants to go to lunch once a month with her former coworkers. Sue wants to start e-mailing her friends she has made over the years at TuDiabetes.org. Sue wants to see her "kitties" once again. Sue wants to enjoy this wonderful weather and be outdoors enjoying all Mother Nature has to offer. Sue wants these things and more. Susan has always been strong for others; now she is being strong for herself.
Picture a sea saw and you are seeing Susan's daily battle; one moment up, the other moment down. Please continue your kind thoughts, your well wishes and most of all your PRAYERS for her recovery. Some of you wish Susan a "speedy" recovery; I say let's just have a recovery, slow but sure.
Good night and G_D Bless'
Jim, your humble scribe
Day 28 (5/6)
Dear Friends of Susan,
Talking to the Nurse this morning, nothing new had happened. Susan still had a tube down her throat into her lung. There was talk that the tube would be taken out this morning, but that did not happen. I spoke to the Nurse in the afternoon and she said that all the procedures and drug mixing was working and that the Tube would remain in until Tuesday morning, where they would evaluate Susan's health. So, because of this, I did not visit Sue in the morning or afternoon. I played hooky.
The day was just gorgeous, I did errands in the AM and took a walk and a "nap" in the afternoon. I spent some of the day with my cats, Maggie and Zorro, who started calling me Uncle Jim because I was hardly home. In the evening I went out to dinner with friends, some more shopping and at7:45 I arrived at the hospital. My visit was brief as I left at 9. But I saw Susan, she was trying to sit up and it looked like she was trying to get out of bed. She is strong and strong minded, I wish I knew what is going on in her brain. To prevent her from hurting herself, all kinds of barriers are around the bed(like soft walls) Her arms are tied loosely to the bed frame so she won't pull out wires. She still has freedom of movement but a bit confined. This is a good thing. She is still in MICU on third floor Lenfest. To look at her, she has spunk and fire in her spirit.
Down but not out! So if this is good news to you, there is a little flicker of light in this Gal Sue. If it still sounds like bad news, this thinking is understandable because she is still in MICU. The plus of being in any type of ICU is that your nurse has only two patients and you get more care(you need it).
So in closing on this 28th day of a hospital stay, we would like to thank one and all for such an out pouring of support, kind words, LOVE, constant thinking of Susan's well being and most of all those wonderful PRAYERS that are reaching up into the Heavens in a constant flow. Susan, Melanie, Daniel, Jack and Heath THANK YOU from the bottom of their hearts for all that is being done in Susan's name.
G_D Bless and Good Night.
Jim, the scribe
Day 29 (5/7)
Dear Friends of Susan,
No change today. A Physiologist was brought in as a consultant. The Physiologist stated that she thought all of Susan's symptoms were Delirium. It is temporary and reversible, it is a quick change from let's say lethargy to agitation and back to lethargy.
Causes may include Surgery and body chemical disturbances. Susan is still in MICU and she still has a tube down her throat. Sue is breathing on her own. Maybe tomorrow will bring a change in her status. She is sure getting a lot of rest.
I am sorry I have nothing more to add. I spent the afternoon there, went to dinner with a friend and then went back to sit with her some more. I am sure I will be told by Sue that I have not been there, when she starts to come back. I will just agree with her to keep her blood pressure normal.
Good Night and G_D Bless all of You wonderful caring people.
Jim the scribe
Day 30 (5/8)
If you wanted to see Susan feisty and "strong like ox", today would be your day.
The Doctors let her meds run down slowly, they thought that Susan would lay quietly for a time and then they would remove her tube. After all the meds were gone, Sue was so agitated that she tried to pull the tube out herself. She was all over the bed, trying to sit up, trying to mouth words, it was a nightmare. She tried to swing her leg at me to get my attention or she tried to scratch the back of my hand with her nails to get me to look at her. This uncontrolled flailing is not good for her and it is so upsetting to me. I had to leave early because I was so upset with the goings on, I was afraid that I would faint and that is not the picture I would want Sue to see.
As I was leaving they were giving her drugs to calm her down. Part of the problem is that the liquid food she is getting is very high in sugar. This sends her sugar level up in her blood and she needs insulin to bring it down; the nurses are not quick at all to do this. I had to prod today's nurse to give her insulin with a blood sugar of 305.
Susan has more then one disease and if it is not one thing, it is another.
I feel helpless as Susan(another Susan that I don't recognize) struggles with what ever malady she has now. It is such a shame and I don't know what is next, I feel so bad for her and I would like to take her home, but not like this.
I was going to write that nothing is new and that would be that, but the words just pour out of my fingers.
So I PRAY to the Heavens above, that Thursday will be a better day.
Thank You once again for all the warm notes and PRAYERS coming Susan's way. Good Night and G_D BLESS!
PS. It was brought to my attention last night that the Blog of day 29, had an error. It was not a psychologist but a psychiatrist that was brought in to counsel Sue. Sorry for the error. I changed my hard copy. Who would think that I need a proof reader?
Jim, the scribe
Day 31 (5/9)
Halleluiah, Halleluiah, Praise the LORD,
A day without end, Sue was the same untill4:45PM. Sue was not as restless as she had been, more calm. I had gotten there around 1:45 and felt like leaving at 3:30 because she still had the tube in her throat and I felt so useless.
When I got there, I decided to put some lotion on her feet and then cover her feet with footies. Normally she fights me with her feet as they are moving so quickly and she is uncontrolled in her movements. But today was different. She did not mind the touching. After seeing to her needs and looking at the scowl on her face, I went and spoke to the doctor about the tube.
She told me she was waiting to talk to Dr. Reed who was making his rounds later in the afternoon. She thought that the tube was coming out later today after she would confer with Dr. Reed. So I hung around hoping that today would be the day.
My waiting was not in vain. After his visit to Susan's room, he spoke with me and then told Susan what his decision would be. At 4:45 the tube was removed, Sue was given a mask to wear and Sue started to try and talk in a very faint whisper.
Prayers, Prayers and more Prayers: answered, finally I can breath a sigh of relief for the time being. Now we wait and see if the new medicine protocol will stop or lessen the shaking. The next 24 hours will be a test. As I am writing this, there have been no phone calls from the hospital telling me that they had to re- intubate her. I left at 6:15 tonight to go home and have dinner. So far the phone has not rung from AMH.
And so the saga continues, but with an uplifting feeling. Day 31 has been exciting. I have been here before, hoping for better days to come, only to have been kicked in the teeth and pushed backwards once again. So we will try to go forward again.
So in closing, I would like once again to thank all of you for your kindness these 31 days. I don't know where Susan and I would be if not for the out pouring of all this Love and Affection toward us. Your Prayers have helped us so much, words are not enough in Thanks. Just keep on doing whatever you are doing because it works.
Good Night and G_D BLESS YOU!
Jim, your humble scribe
Day 32 (5/10)
Time tonight is not on my side so I will be very brief.
Things that happened today are:
Sue can speak(softly)
Sue passed the swallowing test
Sue can resume her diet of thickened food
Sue will be sent out of MICU and sent to Lenfest second floor.This is where she was before MICU
Sue is back in the fold, restless and eager to get back to where she was before all this happened to her.
Sue is weak but ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
Prayers,Prayers and more Prayers, they come together to have a very positive result.
Good Night and G_D BLESS,
Jim, your humbled scribe
Day 33 (5/11)
Hi out there,
Sue has been moved from MICU (pronounced Mick U) at 11:30 AM this morning and instead of going to Lenfest
second floor, she went to Widner Building third floor,West(her room # is 3W52). She will be there for more evaluation
and then we hope and pray, she will go to the fourth floor to "Acute Care" for rehabilitation. That is the plan as I see it.
Sue is a bit groggy and I would say her faculties are around 85% and 15% foggy. What I mean by foggy is she will ask questions that make no sense to me or make statements that are not based on fact. This will pass as she starts to do
PT and moves her limbs. Sue can feed herself, read her cards, view a cell phone screen and read magazines. However, she can not walk hardly at all. She thinks her feet are moving, but they are not. I would imagine that this is due to being in a bed for too long.
All in all, she looks and sounds wonderful. Tomorrow is Mothers day and I am sure the phone calls will come from her children and grandchild, Jack. To all you wonderful Mothers in Susan's corner all these 33 days, may you enjoy the day and let your families "spoil" you; you deserve it.
If you have time in your busy day and you would like to talk to her, please call me on my cell 215-817-3408. Please don't call her room directly; of all the things she can do, she still can not reach the phone or answer it. This would frustrate her. I plan on getting to her room earlier and leaving earlier to join friends for dinner.
In closing, let me once again thank you for all your warm wishes and so many PRAYERS. Where would we be without all of you? Good night and G_D BLESS.
Jim, the humble scribe
PS. Here is a suggestion: I have been doing this for years. I have so many name/address labels from so many organizations. When I send or give a card to someone, I put a label on the back of the card as well as on the envelope(return address). In this way, once the envelope is in the recycle bin, I have your name and address on the card.
Day 34, Mothers Day (5/12)
I hope you enjoyed your day off from cooking and chores. Today was very quiet except for the cell phone ringing and people wishing Sue a "Happy Mothers Day".
We got cards with photos of Jack and Jack and his new sidekick, Niocolas; a cute redish brown in color, dog. My kids adopted the dog from a rescue in Walnut Creek, California.
Sue spent the day complaining about just laying or sitting around, complained about the bland thickened diet, complained that she was not getting anything accomplished because of the weekend and generally complaining about most everything.
"She is back". Sue is still foggy. She told me that Rabbi Philmus came to visit her last night, he was outside in the hall, but for some unexplained reason, he did not come into her room(False). She told me that she slept wonderfully last night and then five minutes later complained that she did not sleep at all.???? She told me that I took her home last night and she slept in the hospital bed in my car in the garage(False). On the white board in her room the day of the week and the information about the Nurse and the CA. is stated. Several times today she did not know what day it was even though it is right in front of her. It is no fun to be "foggy". I was there with Sue from 12:30 to 6:00. I helped her with all kinds of tasks and answered any of her questions. It was a "long" day.
Hopefully, Sue will be evaluated for PT on Monday. She needs to start moving around a little more.
That is our days events, not exciting but a good day none the less. Her sugars remain high but her shaking is so much less, even Sue notices that her shaking has stopped. We can only keep our fingers crossed.
Good Night and G_D BLESS! Your PRAYERS and wondrous support through all these days is joyous to us, THANK YOU.
Jim, the Scribe
Day 35 (5/13)
Dear Friends of Sue,
Have you heard the expression"What a difference a day makes"?
Sue can walk. Sue had PT this morning and she got out of a wheel chair and with the help of a walker,
walked(she said) a half of a mile. I am sure she thought it was that distance, but it was down a hallway and back.
I did not believe that statement by Sue, so I went and found the PT instructor and she said"Sue said my husband will not believe me" The PT instructor confirmed that INDEED, Sue had walked rather well for the first time.
This instructor had been Sue's instructor at the PT department at Lenfest and was only today at the Widener Building filling in for someone. So she knew Sue and what Sue could accomplish before Sue went back to ICU.
The next big NEWS was amazing to my ears. Sue said, and then the Nurse confirmed, that a doctor from Physical Therapy on the fourth floor, Widener Building(just upstairs), had examined Susan and Susan would be transferred on Tuesday(tomorrow) to the Acute Care PT unit. We had thought that Sue would regain her strength where she is now for at least a week before going to Acute Care. She has been here only three days. Moving right along, this is happening quite nicely, everything seems to be falling into place. Wrong word, not falling, we don't want Sue to FALL.
I am speechless. I am forever so thankful to all the PRAYERS that have been going up into the Heavens.
In closing, A good day today. Good Night and G_D BLESS!
Jim, the Scribe
Day 36 (5/14)
Dear Fellow Sue Followers,
Sue went today at 2:30 to PT on the third floor for the last time while I moved all her"stuff" up to the fourth floor, rehab. She went from 3W52 to 4W51. This, hopefully, will be her last move in this hospital. She was seen by the "swallow Lady" and Sue is still having trouble with this test. I believe she had some swallowing issues before going to the hospital, but having two times a tube put down your throat into your lungs, did not help her throat. It kept her alive, and that was a good thing.
Sue was evaluated at 4PM and Dinner(a thickened dinner, even the water is thickened) was served to her at 5. It is such a pleasure to watch her, as their are no movements other then her normal ones. But her sugars are still high and that is not good. It seems her thickened food is all carbs.
The schedule mapped out for Sue is a lot of PT in the mornings and a little in the afternoon. She will have some time to rest in between.
That is all I can think of. Not much happens fast in hospitals. When I got there slightly after 1:00 today, she was so aggravated as nothing was happening. The evaluators from the fourth floor had been there to see her, but she was not moving upstairs until after 3:30. Too much time on her hands, wondering why everything moves so slow. I got her up from her chair and let her walk in the hallway with her walker. Just a couple of steps(maybe 50) and she needed the wheelchair to go back to her room. It is tough learning how to walk all over again.
Tomorrow, I will not get there much before 4 and stay till 8:30 when they throw us visitors out. There are things I must take care of in the AM and a Doctor appointment in the PM. Yes, I am still taking care of myself; no need to get sick while taking care of Sue.
Good Night and G_D BLESS!!
Jim, the Scribe
Day 37 (5/15)
Dear Sue Followers,
Great morning, Lousy afternoon.
Pt was fine in the AM. Sue went for her swallowing test where they inject Barium. Sue failed and then the phone calls began. Bottom line, after all was said and done, Sue chose "LIFE". She had a feeding tube put back into her nose that goes right into her stomach. All the complaints about thickened food were over. Now "Nothing by Mouth" to give her throat a chance to heal. Sue spoke to me, Sue spoke to Melanie, Sue spoke to the Doctor, the Doctor spoke to Melanie and me. All this on the phone until I could get to the hospital to help Sue with HER decision. Even though I have Medical Power of Attorney, Sue had to make the decision. Step by step, this is the process she had to make, not an easy one, I can assure you. We are going to skip all the details that led to Sue's decision, what is important, is that Sue made the right choice.
The Hospital Psychosis is back. She dreamt that she slept in a screened in porch somewhere in Newtown a couple of days ago, every detail is sharp in her mind. I helped her take off her pants tonight (wore her own clothes today to do PT) and asked her if she was wearing them tomorrow? Sue said a Bear touched her pants and that they were dirty because of that. I just looked at her and thought "yeah, right". Wonderful days lay ahead, the saga continues.
Good Night and G_D BLESS!
Jim, the scribe
Here ends this blog entry, as we're reaching the character limit. Please go to Part 2: "Virtual Hug", Updates on Sue, aka Catlover, by Jim for further updates.