Friday, October 23, 2009

Slow progress

I talked with Dad's primary care doctor yesterday morning and just now as well as his radiation oncologist yesterday morning. Right now Dad is slowly recovering from the pneumonia and time on the ventilator. He's getting more alert over time but he's still physically pretty weak after spending a lot of time in bed. He wants to communicate more but has trouble picking words and getting them out. This morning, Dad's blood sugar was high (about 300) probably due to increased food and steroid use.

Dad's son Dave is in town from Phoenix. We went to see Dad last night when he got here. I think Dad was a bit more lively and communicative. When we entered his room, he had a pen and pad of paper in hand but was sleeping. He's not coordinated enough to write something we can read yet. His voice is still pretty weak, but it's much less gravelly. While there's not much for us to do right now caring for Dad's immediate needs, Dave can help Mom out around the house and get a chance to visit with Dad. Mom is keeping up her busy routine thanks to wonderful friends helping out with transportation.

This morning, the primary care doctor told me that they are looking at getting Dad into a respiratory care unit as he gets well enough to leave the ICU.

I talked with Dr. Stewart, the radiation oncologist, yesterday morning for about 20 minutes. We were concerned that they appeared to want to get Dad back in for radiation treatments. He doesn't think Dad's fogginess or difficulty swallowing is a result of the radiation. He also says that the last MRI they obtained (before Dad got pneumonia) showed the tumor was declining but still there and the swelling (edema) around the tumor had been reduced. He said they design the radiation dosage to kill off a percentage of tumor cells with each treatment. If you do the full course of treatments, there should be less than one tumor cell remaining. Because Dad still has 5 treatments remaining, he'd expect remaining tumor cells to be present. I requested that Dr Stewart see Dad for himself. (Up till last night, they'd been following his condition with the records in the computer at the hospital.) He did get to see Dad and said they would give him more time to recover from his current state before revisiting the possibility of radiation treatment.

We let the doctors know that it is our understanding that Dad wanted to stop the treatments. Unless and until he says otherwise, that's what we want to do. From his ICU nurse yesterday, it seems that's what Dad told Dr. Stewart as well.

Keep praying for continued progress.

-- Bob


  1. Thanks again for the update, Bob. I find myself checking this site all the time. I'm glad that Ed is able to communicate his desires with the Doctor, and I'm grateful that the doctor finally came to see for himself. Computers and reports aren't enough to make those judgment calls. We continue to pray for his strength to return so that he can enjoy some quality time with his kids and grandkids.

    Thank you, Bob

  2. Thanks Bob... I am so glad dave can be there.
    We are at the end I hope of a very long week with flu.
    So GLAD I didn't go up!
    It is great that Dave can be there too.
    After the Texas saga is over, we'll regroup and try to get up there.

    And SOOOO GLAD dad is making improvement.

  3. Thank you for doing this regular update which must be very difficult for you. I check daily for your reports. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    Anne (Bill's friend from England)

  4. Dear Bob and all the Minich family especially Ed and Lois,
    Just to let you know that we are watching careflly to see how our dear frind Ed is progessing. You are all very much in our thoughts and Prayers. We are so grateful that even though we are separated by the Atlantic ocean we can be right beside you all in Spirit.

    With much love from Fr. Patrick & Maureen in the UK. Please tell Ed that he will be mentione especially in my Mass At St. Micael's Parish Tetbury tonight

  5. wondering how yesterday went. Will there be more radiation??