Monday, October 10, 2011

Team Derek

We were sitting in Derek's room chatting today when a handsome young man walked in and asked if McConnell was up for a visit.  I looked over his smart uniform and, after asking Derek, said "sure," not knowing who he really was.  He looked vaguely familiar, and who he was quickly became evident.  Congressional Medal of Honor Winner, Leroy Perty.  He saved some of his fellow Army Rangers when he threw a grenade, losing his arm in the process.  He has a prosthetic right arm that is fully robotic, attached to nerves, and he was so nice and so wonderful.  They talked about another Medal of Honor winner who knows Matt LeBlanc, one of Derek's platoon leaders, and their experiences in the field.  I am still gushing over shaking his hand all these hours later.  He is a true hero who understands what Derek is going through which made this visit so special.

We have met so many politicians and high ranking officers and those visits are nice, but this visit today was very special.  This is a man who was in the field and put himself at risk for his brothers.  He understands.  He knows.  This is the visit that made Derek's day.

So today was busy.  We had a special visit from NYC.  One of my fellow PLJ (95.5 FM) listeners, Katie Mary and her boyfriend Tim, were driving back from Florida and stopped in with McDonald's sweet tea.  And Laura and Brittany from Operation Ward 57 came by with goodies.  Derek loved his ice cream cake.  Thank you, everyone!

Medically, we got so so news.  The fluid taken from the hip area started to grow gram positive coxi (sp?).  That's a staph infection, but it could have been contaminated from the skin, and we won't know for sure until the culture is finished growing in 5 to 7 days.  To be on the safe side, they are starting another antibiotic. So much for getting off all antibiotics tomorrow.  The infectious disease doc said they can start weaning him off some of them, but they won't stop them all until they know all infections are gone.
One big success today was the last wound vac was removed!  He went from five down to none in 79 days!  It has been 79 days since injury, 72 days since admission to Bethesda and the wound vacs are gone.
White count is down to 8.9, so even though there is this staph infection brewing, it is contained.

We were supposed to do the decanulation (removal of the trach) yesterday, but it was postponed due to the IR procedure.  Plastics said they wanted to wait until Tuesday, but Dr. Goodlett spoke with the trauma team and came in to do it in the afternoon.  The oxygen was removed and his sats were watched.  Derek held his own in the mid-90's for about 20 minutes, but then he dropped to the mid-80's.  We will try again tomorrow.

Dr. Goodlett walked in today and was being a brat, so I told him to leave, and he said Derek had the say.  Derek said he could stay, so I said I would leave.  I started to walk out and Derek yelled after me, "No!  We're all a part of Team Derek!"  So, I guess that's what we are.  We have met and love Team Allen, so we are now known as Team Derek.

We are losing Dr. Goodlett!!!  He finishes his rotation on the ward this week.  :*-(  Sob!  Dr. Clifford Raymond is taking over for him.  Okay guy.  He's got BIG shoes to fill.  So today I was asking Dr. G if I was okay, meaning, if I was interfering with care, and if I was being too much.  He said I was definitely too much, but that I was not interfering with care.  He asked where I was from, and when he learned it was Jersey, he said that explained SO much.  He said I am the most boisterous Mom/wife he is dealing with, but I am the most tame.  He does not see any reason I would ever be removed or asked to leave, like a lot he has seen.  He said I am simply advocating for Derek, and that is fine, because more guys should have that.  He also said I make his job interesting, and that I was his favorite and gave me a hug.

I wish this place had a stronger patient advocate program.  One thing I want to see in place before I leave is a better patient advocacy program.  Each patient should not have to have someone with them in order to protect certain things.  I know certain aspects of Derek's care would be worse off if I wasn't there, and that has been confirmed by nurses and even some doctors.  A patient should not have to pay for internet.  This is something that should be asked.  Nurses should be appointed to the patients in accordance with their level of skill depending on the patient's needs.  I am making my notes and plan to start some type of program or group for patient advocacy.  I'll get back to you on that when I get my thoughts together.
Derek has become a TLC junkie.  He watched several episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras yesterday yelling that it was a train wreck and he couldn't look away.  He said the little girls looked like wild west hookers.  He also watched Four Weddings and was nitpicking and telling Krystina what they need at their wedding.  His favorite is Extreme Couponing and wants to do that himself.

We finally had a corpsman today who did proper pincare and gave Derek a proper cleaning.  Showed us how poor the cleanings have been.  He yelled at me and said I had not been taking proper care of his penis!  I told him I failed him in that regard because I trusted that he was aware enough to realize whether they were cleaning him there, and I was not going to look at my 22 year old son's penis!  He said, "Well start taking better care of it.  It's a very important part."  Ok then.  I told him at least he still has it.  Many of them come back without it when they have severe injuries.  The psychological aspects of that are not yet known because this is all so new.

While the corpsman was doing her awesome job, Derek called her a "she devil!"  She was doing such an awesome job she dug out all the crusties and hurt him a little, but it was good.  She laughed and he apologied.

I talked to Lt. Michelle Bennett about her plans to go to school to learn to be an ICU nurse.  Derek said, "What the hell?  When is this?"  When she told him not until December, he said, "Okay.  You're allowed."  He was upset because Sarah left, and now Michelle is leaving.  He said all the good ones are leaving.  We hope he will be long gone by then!

And it's Derek's birthday until the balloons deflate and we better not pop them!  He can have his birthday for as long as he wants with as much as he is going through!

Time for a quick shower and to pack some clothing to change into tomorrow morning.  Krystina and I are spending the night in the hospital.  Cannot discuss why right now, but I will more than do so tomorrow... trust me.  Have I ever kept my mouth shut for long?

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