Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ronald McDonald House, CT Scan, Etc.

The Ronald McDonald House here is wonderful. Bob and I are so impressed with how nice it is. Such a haven for stressed out parents. Because there are so many people here who'd like to use it, and only so many rooms, it's a night by night lottery. Not exactly luck of the draw, though. I guess it's a charge nurse who looks at everyone who's signed up, then factors in needs, such as critical nature of the patient, distance from home, etc. I'm hoping we have access two or three times a week.

I'm often asked how Andrew is doing. Good question. I've seen so little of him in the past weeks, five weeks today actually. He's been at home, cared for first by my mom and now by Bob's mom. Thank God for our wonderful parents who have been willing to interrupt their lives and come in from out of town; my mom from Pennsylvania and my mother-in-law from Arizona. As expected, Andrew is having a pretty rough time. He misses us and his twin brother terribly. He's worried. His grades at school have fallen. So please keep Drew in your prayers, too.

I love in the morning when the doctors make their rounds. The whole group of them; attending, fellow, residents, med students -- discussing every aspect of Eric's care, considering input from pulmonologists, infectious disease docs, cardio-thoracic surgeons, etc. and determining the best course of action for Eric. It's a wonderful thing to see, the dialogue, brainstorming, cooperation. Great minds learn from listening to other great minds. Absolutely no one can be absolutely right absolutely all the time. And in medicine, sometimes there's no margin for error. The downside to the myriad of doctors here is that we've told Eric's story a gazillion and one times. There's been a steady stream of physicians at various levels of accomplishment. First the resident or fellow comes in and gets the complete history. A few hours later, his attending MD comes in and hears the same thing. I feel like typing and printing it all out and handing a sheet to everyone who walks in the door.

My northern readers may find this interesting. Here in Houston, and I've noticed it in San Antonio as well, English is a second language. Caucasians are a minority.

eric went to CAT scan today. What a major undertaking, with all his equipment in tow. The scan takes a total of about three minutes. But the prep, transfer, and return took up about two hours. The results weren't surprising. He continues to have extensive lung damage. But he continues to do well. We're weaning off the nitric oxide. We're weaning the ventilator pressures some. The plan is to have him extubated by the end of the week, if not sooner. This afternoon, the doctors, on advice of the cardio-thoracic surgeon, took a huge leap and put both chest tubes on water seal, meaning they turned the suction off them, aware that this likely would collapse the lungs to some degree, that Eric might feel some pain and become short of breath, that his oxygen saturation would fall. As long as it didn't drop below 88%, they were okay with that. They ordered a chest X-ray for one hour later. The rational was that possibly, even likely, it's been the constant suction all along that's been keeping these leaks in the lungs open. We'd prefer the leaks heal on their own rather than close them surgically . Bob and I, and especially Eric, were apprehensive about this. We tried this once in Lake Charles, to see if he could go to CT scan without the suction, and Eric immediately felt pain and his O2 saturation plummeted. That did happen today, initially. He felt some pain, but they gave him a pain med. His SaO2 dropped to 88, but only briefly. Then an amazing thing happened. It started rebounding. His SaO2 rose to 98-99%. His respiratory rate dropped from 40 to 23 or so. The pain subsided. And he looks more comfortable now than I've seen him in weeks. Who knew? And guess what? We've got a room in the Ronald McDonald house again tonight!


LKHarris-Kolp said...

Oh- that brings tears to my eyes- because I'm so happy! I hope things continue on the up and up for you. You are ALL in my prayers- thanks for keeping us posted.

Sara said...

AMEN! Definitely brings tears of joy! Thank you for sharing such detail. Our prayers continue for each of you and all the medical team.
Love, Sara, Mark and Rachel

Anonymous said...


Shannon said...

Sounds like great progress. I hope it continues, and that you ALL have a good night's rest tonight.

We've been wondering about Andrew too--I know this must be hard on him. Hope you are all back home with him soon!

jess said...

Thanks for the details, Angie. I hate the thought of Eric being in pain. I'm so glad he's showing some improvement. Praise God!

Anonymous said...

Five weeks of prayers by your family and friends are starting to be granted. It's good to hear teamwork among the physicians is moving Eric in a positive direction. I too was impressed with the team approach in the Houston Medical community.
Eric the Moss bluff Middle boys and girls track team dominated the track meet today. No other team was even close. You too will be enjoying sports sooner than you think. This whole experience will make you a stronger person in the long run. Keep fighting the good fight! Leslie says to tell you all she is thinking of you daily. Gary

Anonymous said...

God is so good! This is going to be another great day for Eric. Eric was crawling up out of this but now God has him by the hand and is pulling him up. Praise the Name of Jesus. Tell Andrew to be encouraged. His brother will be back to normal again.
May the peace (nothing missing, nothing broken, nothing lacking) of God which passes all understanding mount a guard around your hearts and minds and keep you in Christ Jesus. Have a blessed day.

Erica Vetsch said...

Wanted to let you know we're praying for you and for Eric.

Is. 41.10

Anonymous said...

I've been wondering and worrying about Andrew, too. I'm sure this must be extremely difficult for him, not being there with his twin to benefit from the reassurance that Eric is undoubtedly expressing that all will soon be well. I pray that they will be reunited soon. It would be incredibly difficult to be separated from a sibling in this way - how much more so from a twin.

I can't wait to read your words describing their joyous reunion, which I pray will come soon.

In the meantime, we rejoice at the little triumphs and continue to pray for the miracle of complete healing.

love to all,

Uncle Steve said...

It does sound like our prayers are being answered. This is a huge step towards Eric's recover. Praise God.

Earl Daigle said...

i'm very exited for you guys, i've been preying for all of you. Bob, don't worry about things here at PPG we've got your back.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob & Angie, just to let you know all of us here on Gabriel Square corner are still praying for you all and miss ALL of you very much! Everyone at the gym misses you too Angie! They all are praying for Eric and you and Bob as well. We all are looking forward to Eric's healing and you guys coming home!! Heather & Carl Arabie

Anonymous said...

Oh, Angie. We keep on praying! I just told my favorite story about the boys and Kody around the tree at Hiland. You, Bob, Andrew and Eric are on our minds and in our hearts. Thank you for the blog. Love, Donna Lee