Sunday, October 9, 2011

Celebrations and Procedures

22 years ago today Derek struggled to take his first breath as he was born premature with a birth defect.  Today he is struggling to overcome life threatening wounds from his heroic actions on July 23, 2011.  He is doing so much better, but he still has a long way to go.  He told so many people today that next year, he will be in the Army Ten Miler that is taking place tomorrow.

Go, Chaz Allen!  Go, Kristen Josephs!  Go, everyone else we know who is taking part!  Derek will be there next year!

Derek celebrated his birthday with a constant stream of visitors.  He had his Uncle Brian, his brothers Mike and Sean, and Mike's friend Kieran.  In addition iPods for Vets came by and presented him with an iPod Nano.  Gen. McConville of the 101st Airborne visited with his wife.  CSM Frank Grippe came around.  He told the VIPs that he intends on having a better quality of life than before, and he will be in the Army Ten Miler next year and he will be running marathons, if he can run, and if he cannot, he will be in a modified bike, because he will not let anything keep him down.

A "friend" sent a balloon bouquet that is taller than Dr. Goodlett!  I'd say taller than Krystina but that's easy.  It amazed Derek.  Thank you to whoever sent it.  It is beautiful.

Derek's overnight RT dropped off gatorade, frappachino and a balloon.  So nice of him.

Nancy Warner Pedersen, one of the Army Moms on Facebook, sent a HUGE, awesome cake for Derek.  Although Derek is on full liquids, Dr. Goodlett and Dr. Bograd said we good mush it up real good.  After the family celebration, we put the rest of the cake in the staff lounge for the staff to enjoy.

Unfortunately, Derek's birthday was not all celebration.  One of the wounds on his backside has started to reopen and has Dr. Bograd concerned.  We have to keep an eye on it.

Also, he had to have an IR procedure, so he was NPO'd (nothing by mouth) as of noon.  However, because he has a G-tube, and everything drains from his stomach, we were able to let him have a taste of the pudding and icing with the family celebration until 12:30.  We pushed it.  As I was talking to Major Reyes about Derek and his cake, this cute little doctor overhead my conversation and rolled around the corner giving me the evil eye as if I would give him away for allowing me to "push it."  When I didn't give him up, he smiled at me and rolled away.  Don't worry, darling.  You are safe with me.  As long as you continue to take care of my boy.

Dr. Bograd explained the need for the IR procedure in the simplest terms.  Initially, the abscesses in the pelvis were like a "pre-pimple."  They were surrounded by an edge that even if the interior contained infection, it could not get out and get into the blood, so there was no danger.  Now they had progressed to the poppable stage of the pimple, and one had even traveled to the edge of Derek's hip and was protruding out.  The trauma team, Drs. Perdue, Bograd, and Goodlett, were hoping that three areas would be able to be drained and cultured. 

The transfer to IR went well.  LT Josephs is very good, and I was right there to make sure that arm didn't get jostled. 

I do not interfere with his care, and I understand that a mother was removed from the ward recently for doing just that!  I know that certain things will be uncomfortable and even painful, but I will not let him be harmed.  I need things explained to me, and once I understand and am happy with the communication, I will let it go.  When I see incompetence as in the x-rays techs, and when I see a BP of 163/111, I step in.  Maybe I should have gotten the charge nurse at that time, but I was in PACU and didn't know who or where she was.  Next time, I will scope her out to begin with.  Hint for the future:  always know where the supervisor is and how to call for them in an emergency.

As for the "poppable pimples," when we got down to IR (interventional radiology), Dr. Lowe was the radiologist who did the procedure.  We got Derek settled on the table and Krystina and I went to SICU to visit the nurses and see a newly admitted patient's Mom (fellow Army Mom from facebook) who hopefully will be transferred to the ward tomorrow (*fingers crossed and prayers said*).  The nurses sent birthday wishes and hellos to Derek.

We got back in perfect time to talk to Dr. Lowe.  He was not entirely pleased with the results.  He had hoped to get to all three areas.  He got to one.  The one on the hip it was best to leave alone because it is so close to the surface and is resolving itself.  One area is below the wound that is reopening and should not be touched at this time.  The one that he was able to reach they were able to drain about 3/4 of a tablespoon of fluid that will be cultured to see if it is infected.  That one is close to the bone where the hip disarticulation occurred and is the one that is the most concerning.  We do not want Derek to lose any more muscle or bone.  A drain was placed to see if any more comes out.

When we got back upstairs, the celebrations resumed.

We added milk to the cake to make a little mushier.  Derek fired me from feeding him because he said I was going too slow and had ADHD!  He asked Sean to do it!  Sean went to give him a huge mouthful and I jumped up and said that could choke him.  Derek yelled, "Bastard!  You're trying to kill me!  Mom!  Help!  You're rehired!"

I took the cake away after a little bit because I didn't want him to get sick, and he frowned at me.  Sorry.  Couldn't let him get sick.  A little later he said, "I still love you even if you take my cake away."
Derek yelled out, "I want to file a complaint!  There are too many damn food commercials!"

Derek looked at Krystina and told her he had to marry her.  She just stared at him.  He said well let's do it.  She said it wasn't that simple and had to be planned.  He told her he wasn't going to spend a lot of money on a wedding and wanted to spend money on furniture.  We told him he could and let her plan the wedding, so he told her to talk to her parents and start planning because they were getting engaged in December and that was that.  Such a romantic.

Krystina and Derek were teasing each other and Derek called out, "Help!  She's picking on a cripple!  I have no legs!  I have no feet!  She's picking on me!  Make her stop, Mommy!"

Loudest room on the ward?  You got that right.  We laughed all day, except when they were moving him.  It was a fun day.

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes.  Derek said he had a better birthday than had he been in afoolistan.  He is happy to be on US soil for his birthday, and he feels that he has a lot of opportunities ahead of him.  He does not see this has a bad thing in his life.  No pity.  Only opportunity.

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