Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday 3;15am. Mountain time

things are not going well.  They started him on steroids Friday, and said this was the last treatment they had to offer him.  He seemed to be doing fairly well, and then took a bad turn. The crash team came in (7 people and machines in his tiny space) and they've gotten him stabilized for now.

Sue will be here tomorrow, and Ann and Al are coming back here a day early. We'll just have to see what happens next.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday update

He had a good night, and seems maybe some better today. They're going to take the catheter out today. We've talked to the team again today, as usual. The head guy has talked to the insurance company about options and finances. He told them it'd probably be another week to get him so he would be able to go home on a commercial flight, vs the cost of sending him to a local hospital in his home network sooner via air ambulance. The insurance is supposed to be checking to see what his policy allows. The doc here said that , in the meantime, they'd treat him "like a Canadian".

If we're here past Monday, there are things that will have to be arranged at home. But things are okay until then.  We do think we'll be looking at moving to an independent facility when we get home. The time table just got moved up.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday midday update

I left the hospital yesterday about 3.  Got some takeout from McDonald's , and checked into the motel. After a shower and dealing with expected leg cramps, I crashed about 8. I had breakfast at the motel, then headed to the hospital.

John had a pretty good night, only one low oxygen spell, and le looks good today. The "team" came in, and again, a good talk with them. His white count has been low the whole time, which makes this an atypical pneumonia. They're still thinking three or four causes - the radiation scarring, probably some damage before that, pneumonia, etc., and all exacerbated by and precipitated by the altitude.

They're continuing antibiotics, but orally. All IVs have been removed. He's been fed, bathed, clean sheets, and other bodily functions are working. Now the plan is for more improvement and to get us home, and to a lower altitude. The docs here are going to talk to medical people at the insurance company to talk about covering medivac. That might just wind up being the transport, just to get us to a hospital in Chattanooga. That's still at least a couple of days in the future.

They've pretty much worn him out, so I'd guess he'll sleep most of the afternoon.

As we told the doc, what we want most, and what I think will do him the most good, is to get home.  I wish I was Dorothy and could just click my heels.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday noon, mountain time

After last night's panic, things are better today.  To recap, his oxygen level dropped to 55%, and the doc on duty was talking ICu and intubation .  John refused, and while was stuck in horrible traffic because of a wreck, (took 5 hours to do what is usually an hour drive), he started to improve. He was getting more aggressive oxygen therapy, and lasix to draw off fluid. The house doc this morning told him he hoped last night was the "nadir" of the problem.  John said first time he'd heard the word outside a crossword puzzle. 

The pulmonary team came by a little while ago. Great head guy, dr. Ward flemons. They're going to take over his case. Doc had spent time with radiologist going over scan. Still not 100% sure of problem, probably combination of scarring from radiation, scarring from something older, bronchitis, pneumonia ...all set off by coming to this altitude.  

So they're treating aggressively for pneumonia, with antibiotics and diuretics. No idea of when going home.  We'll probably be changing our flight so we don't go through Denver with even higher altitude. We could go directly to Chattanooga, too. Plus a Medivac flight has been mentioned as a possibility.  

Ann and Al have gone on to their week in Jasper. I'll be moving into the Travelodge Valley Park this afternoon, very near the hospital.  Btw, he's in #624, but no phones in rooms.  This is a bigger room , only two beds, but still co-Ed.  

Guess that's all for now.

Monday, August 24, 2015


John will be in the hospital until Thursday or Friday.  I'll be moving into a motel nearer the hospital tomorrow, and we'll decide whether to go to Jasper to catch up with Ann and Al then, or change flights and go home.  They did a scan last night and there in no evidence of blood clot or cancer, but he does have extensive scarring in the lungs, so his recovery will be slower than might otherwise be expected.  We'll move along, slowly, one day at a time.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

And then things turned bad...

Yesterday started out great. Beautiful scenery with new snow on the mountain tops , and bright sunshine.  We got to see my favorite waterfall, Takkakaw Falls. But the altitude seemed to really be getting to John .  He did get great cards when we played bridge, though.

Things turned bad overnight. John's coughing was getting much worse, and he started coughing some blood. He woke me about 2 a.m., to take him to the hospital. The folks in this small local hospital stabilized him, got him on oxygen, and sent him via ambulance to the major hospital in Calgary .  They're treating him for pneumonia, keeping him overnight,  and we hope he'll be well enough to leave tomorrow .  Then we'll have to see what happens about the rest of the vacation. We'll finish it out if we can.  At least he's in good hands. I'm back in the condo for the night.

Friday, August 21, 2015

From Canada

sorry to have not been writing. Our travel day was a bit longer than planned. In Houston our plane "broke", on the ground and before we boarded, fortunately. But it took them about 1 1/2 hours to get us a new plane. But we finally arrived ok, got rental car, and to motel. Ann and Al arrived shortly after.  We went to Drumheller the next morning.

Great day touristing there, especially the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology. Fabulous place - look it up, and visit if you get a chance. Then we came to Canmore for a week in a condo.

We've done driving around this incredibly beautiful country. Ann and Al did the walk into Johnston Canyon. I remember it from years ago - a gorgeous place. It's colder and rainy today, so there will be a lot of bridge playing going on. We'll be in this location until Tuesday, then off to Jasper.

I'll try to write again before long.