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Update on my Dad

Monday, January 07, 2013

Dad got admitted to ICU with pneumonia early this afternoon. Abrupt onset shortness of breath and chills at the breakfast table at his assisted living facility. For those who never realized, elderly can get terribly sick terribly fast, because their weaker immune systems don't recognize the illness and get mobilized quickly.

I had sent out quick threads on four of my teams asking for prayers. Now I need to update all my SparkFriends in the easiest way possible. Thus, a blog.

He was very critical from about 10-3, because the stress of the pneumonia triggered a congestive heart failure crisis. Also, he was having trouble maintaining his blood pressure - top number hovering at or a little below 100.
He was not incubated ( doesn't want to be) but was put on a breathing machine that uses a snug mask and head straps to keep it in place. Then the machine can blow 100% oxygen in under pressure. His breathing was so shallow that on just 100% oxygen mask he wasn't breathing in enough to make a difference.

But he didn't survive a WWII torpedoing and additional combat time, plus assorted heat attacks, diabetes, etc. by being a wuss. He's one tough cookie! The family decided to treat aggressively for 24 hours and then re-think the situation in terms of his response to treatment.

The IV antibiotics have stopped the worsening of the pneumonia already, so he can begin to actually fight it off. The IV meds to take fluid off his lungs have also worked very well, and he is breathing comfortably off the machine. If he has some trouble tonight in deep sleep, there are a couple of mask options to use and hopefully not restart the machine.

Elderly often don't spike high temperatures even when they're critically ill. So he maxed out at only 101* but is already down below 100*. His heart was racing over 150 beats per minute trying to get oxygen around his body, but he's been in the 90s for several hours now. And his blood pressure is 120-140; just right when he was at his worst, his breathing rate was >30 and now he's stable at 18-20. So all in all, he's doing amazingly well, and I hope he'll come out of ICU tomorrow.

So thanks to all of you who have been praying for him. And in some cases I know you put him on prayer chains. God has been very gracious to him today, and I'm so thankful that he is comfortable.

Of course, we'll still be looking at physical therapy to get some strength back. And it's too soon to know of he'll be able to return to the assisted living he's been so happy in since May. But we'll be taking one day at a time and go from there.
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