Sunday, August 28, 2011

Invasion by Walter Reed and Irene

This week: tornado warning, hurricane, earthquake, lightning strike, Derek borderline septic, locusts...  whatever is next...  Bring it! We can take it!

Well, the hurricane was more like a tropical storm when it finally reached us.  Winds were 43 mph and heavy rains, but not much else.  The storm that produced the lightning strike that set the tree on fire was worse than Irene.

And the patients from Walter Reed moved over today.  They were supposed to come tomorrow, but because Irene came tonight, the patients moved this morning.  It went without a hitch and now we have all of the doctors AND patients from Walter Reed.  The media and a crowd formed a "parade route" that cheered them on with signs and balloons and they chanted for their heroes!

And today I met with a Mom and tried to comfort her while she was heartbroken over not only her son's injuries but the fact that his wife took off with their two young girls. I was heartbroken just talking to her.  I felt she needed to speak with the chaplain more than me and left her with him.  How could this woman be so cruel?  Maybe she cannot deal with it, but to leave him now when she needs him the most?  The wedding vows are for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health.  She should at least stay with him until he is through this period.  How can she sleep at night and live with herself?  I do not understand the selfishness of people.

I also met another mother who moved over from Walter Reed today.  Her son was injured on June and was in A Co. of the 2-87.  Derek is in B Co.  We were at the same pre-deployment ball.  He is on the 4th floor and he has injuries that are very similar to Derek's, so they will be able to go through this together.
I checked with the doctors today to see if I could go back to Jersey for a day or two to clear up some things, and they advised against it because Derek is borderline septic again.  I am needed on a daily basis to sign consents and discuss things with the doctors.  It is so overwhelming.  Of course I will be there for Derek as long as necessary.

Derek's white cell count was 25 today, down from the 28.6 yesterday, but still too high.  He is not running a fever, but they still do not know where the infection is hiding.  They are debating a broncoscopy to look into his lungs, because he is still having a terrible time with the secretions and struggling to breathe.  He is back on the vent, switching between CPAP and full vent support.  And they are debating doing the CT with IV contrast.  I wish they would just do these tests already and get some answers!

Derek is still bloated and I do not like it. 

The arteriogram/vascular surgery went well and the flap/graft on the arm will hopefully be done next week, if the infections on under control in the arm and blood.

I also asked about the infection that I didn't have clear last night.  It is acinetobacter.  This species is innately resistant to many classes of antibiotics and in acutely sick patients, it can be fatal.  This is present in Derek's lungs and throat, as well as other places in his body, which is why he is on droplet precautions.
Dr. Paolino from the infectious disease team said that we are getting there, but he is still very sick.  He wants to stop one of the antibiotics.  He is currently on 7, and one of them is really only a "drop in the bucket," Dr. P said.  The trauma and SICU teams want to keep him on all of them.  My concern is that all of these antibiotics will start to work against each other.

Tonight while straightening up his room his nurse, Mary, who I really like and who does a good job explaining things to me and answering all my insane questions, accidentally bumped into his fan and knocked it over.  It broke and now bounces all over the place because it is off balance.  He gave us the lip and was upset.  Mary jury rigged it to get it to work tonight, and tomorrow I will go out and get him another one.  She felt bad about it and it was an accident.  I have to go to CVS anyway to get some hairdye (sorry, Sue!).  I am so grey and cannot get to my colorist in Jersey so I have to buy a box (gasp!).  It won't be as good as Sue can do it, but it will have to do.

Today was a quiet day for Derek.  Just rest and trying to fight the infections.  Tomorrow is another day of rest.  Monday is Surgery 18.

God bless you all and thank you for the continued prayers and well wishes.

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