Tuesday proved to be more trying than Monday for David. The temperature that he developed on Sunday night has increased, which is indicative of infection. He’s on Kefzol and Gentamycin, which are two great antibiotics, and his blood culture hasn’t grown any specific bug…so it’s a waiting game to see what is causing the fever. The two murses (male nurses, the metro training the redneck) weren’t particularly helpful in explaining his condition today. I got there too late to hear the report on the doctors rounds, and his wounds looked better, so I thought he was showing constant improvement. I talked with the respiratory therapist a lot today, stood at his bedside as she tried to wean him off the ventilator. She said she heard some “crackles” in his lungs and he didn’t do very well with the vent weaning. It made his BP increase, his pulse ox go down to 86%, he was very agitated, his body was quivering, and he had to be put on a higher dose of Propofol (sedation) to calm down. His hands were also put in soft restraints to prevent him from pulling at the tubes. I grabbed Taylor’s Zune and some headphones so he could listen to Crosby, Stills and Nash to calm him down.
I spoke with the HR and Workers Comp people at the Church. From what I understand, WC will pay 2/3 of his full time wage through a third party administrator. The remaining 1/3 will come out of his sick time accrual (11 hours a week, I believe) Health insurance will continue to be in force for the family, but he will not accrue sick time, 401k deposits, or vacation time. After 45 days, his Long Term Disablility coverage will kick in, and medical insurance premiums will be covered for no cost. Luckily, all medical care for the rest of his long-term recovery will be covered by WC and he will not have to pay a cent for his accident-related injuries. That’s a blessing for sure.
Around 5 PM, and 5 hours at his bedside, I gave him a kiss and said my goodbyes until next week. I had plans to go out on a double date with John and April. As we were leaving, my mom got a call from the respiratory therapist asking if David could be enrolled in a research protocol for patients with Acute Lung Injury. Up until this point, the family was under the impression that all of his major injuries were from the pelvis down. Apparently, his lungs have filled with some fluid, the trauma of the accident is exacerbating his decreasing lung function. To find this out freaked me out, because Acute Lung Injury is in the same pulmonary family as ARDS, which I had in 2000. The research protocol will give him doses of Albuterol through his vent tube every four hours until 24 hours post-extubation. The RT came to my parents’ house to explain it to mom, and the RT called me on my date to explain the protocols. I thought it was a great idea, and quite ironic because the ventilator protocols used now, with the highest positive outcomes, were the same ones established through the ARDS study in 2000. I gave my approval and mom signed the consent forms.
Due to the increased need for pulmonary care, David was transferred to the Shock-Trauma ICU last night. I was so exhausted that I couldn’t wait until 11:00 PM to visit him, which was the time the nurses said he would be ready for visitors post-transfer. If I wasn’t leaving for the airport so early on Wednesday, I would have been over to get the details from the horse’s mouth.
My blogs will become a little less detailed at this point, since I won’t be speaking with the doctors and nurses directly until next Friday 1/25 when I fly back to Utah. Hopefully he’ll be out of the ICU and will be able to enjoy my visit and see Rosie too. My blog will probably have a few non-David related posts, but I will put any updates I get on here for your reading fulfillment.