Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Video Tribute to Dad is posted on YouTube

At the lunch after Dad's funeral, we presented a slide show tribute to him. That is now available on you tube.

Thank you all for your support in these trying times. It is much appreciated. With our large family returning home, it is now much quieter here. Though saddened, we are doing well. Mom soon will be off to Arizona with Carla for a few weeks around Thanksgiving. We are winding down activity at the house for a while.

It's been a pleasure to meet so many of Dad's friends. It's great to know how special a person he was to you all.

-- Bob

Friday, November 13, 2009

Funeral Monday at 11:00 (plus additional info)

Dad's funeral will be Monday, November 16th at 11:00am at his church, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. There will be a lunch afterward at the church. Rosary will be said Sunday at 7:30pm at the church.

The Parish of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux is located at 4001 East 101st Street in Tulsa between South Yale Avenue and South Riverside Drive.

The church web site is at http://stbernardstulsa.org/

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Kairos Prison Ministry of Oklahoma, where Dad had volunteered extensively or to Maryknoll Lay Missioners.

Kairos Oklahoma
PO Box 54383Oklahoma City OK 73154-1383

Maryknoll Lay Missioners
PO Box 307
Maryknoll, NY 10545-0307

Several out of town family members have made reservations at the Tulsa Holiday Inn Express. The hotel have made rooms available at $73 per night if you tell them you are part of the Minich party.

Tulsa Holiday Inn Express
9010 E 71st Street South
Tulsa OK 74133
(918) 459-5321

If you have photos of Dad you would like to contribute to the family, you may email them to David Minich dminich@datamovers.us.

-- Bob

Funeral Monday at 11:00

Dad's funeral will be Monday, November 16th at 11:00am at his church, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. There will be a lunch afterward at the church.

The Parish of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux is located at 4001 East 101st Street in Tulsa between South Yale Avenue and South Riverside Drive.

The church web site is at http://stbernardstulsa.org/

-- Bob

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Farewell Dad

Dad passed away about 11:30 today. Mom, myself, and Christie were by his side holding his hands.

Last night he was nearing the limits of what doctors could do for him. We had called the family to Tulsa to be with him today and to ensure that his passing would be peaceful and respectful of his wishes. His body just wasn't able to hold out any longer. He was not in any pain.

We will post plans for memorial services as soon as we have them. For now, we anticipate a service sometime Monday.

Thank you all for your support and love for Dad and family. He was an amazing man. He lives on in the hearts of everyone whom he loved.

-- Bob

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A rough night

Dad had a rough night last night. When I visited him after work, his oxygen levels were lower (mid 80s) than the doctors wanted so they adjusted his ventilator to give him slightly larger breaths of the pure oxygen he was already breathing. At the same time, his heart rate was fast and irregular. It varied between 140 and 180 beats per minute. After performing an EGK, they gave him some medication for the heart rate and did another adjustment to the ventilator and by this morning his heart rate was down to 110 and his oxygen levels were up to 93%.

Overall this seems like two steps backward and then one forward.

We are working on setting up a meeting with Dad's doctors to evaluate how is doing and where we need to go from here to meet Dad's wishes.

-- Bob

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ups and downs

I think Dad looks a little better today. The swelling in his arms seems to have gone down a bit. His breathing is steadier and a bit slower paced. Today's nurse reported that he gets agitated when they mess with him. His breathing would speed up as did his heart. They had upped his oxygen back to 100%. She thought he might be in some pain. A little morphine every few hours has helped calm him down. Tonight's nurse said she would look at trying a reduction in the oxygen levels over night and see how that goes. While I was there, it seemed like his heart would occasionally speed up a bit to 130 beats per minute and then slow back down 115 or so. That is different, but I didn't see any other changes in breathing or noise or movement that went along with it.

Before I entered Dad's room tonight, I was getting ready to put on a gown and gloves tonight when the nurse told me that Dad was no longer in isolation. Whatever nasty bug they thought he might have apparently hasn't shown itself recently. I think about 1/3 of the ICU was under those isolation protocols. I'll count no sign of the nasty stuff as one step in the right direction.

-- Bob

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A little bit better

I just got back from the hospital. I sat with Dad for a couple hours. He's doing a little better today. They've lowered the oxygen level in his air to 80% and he's breathing a bit slower (28 breaths per minute). They are still giving him plenty of the two antibiotics they are using. His other vitals continue to look fine. The lung sputum and blood cultures they started the other day haven't shown anything yet. His arms are still swollen but he's better than yesterday. His latest blood sugar reading was decent at 184.

Today I held his hand a while and let him rest quietly. He's got the radio going if he wants noise. I said hello but didn't get a big reaction.

We're back to small steps in the right direction.

-- Bob

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hanging in there

Dad has had a bit of a setback Friday and today. They've currently got him breathing 100% oxygen and he's breathing faster than they'd like (33 breaths per minute second). His forearms were swollen enough that they removed his wedding band. Mom saw him Friday and now has the ring on her charm necklace. My understanding is he's still fighting the pneumonia, which they believe is caused by a fungus. Today they added in another drug to help fight that. Fungal infections in the lung apparently are hard to fight and take longer to show positive results, but we are hanging in there. Dad's blood pressure and blood sugar are doing OK.

Today the nurse gave Dad a bath and took a new sputum sample from his lungs. Those tests take at least 24 hours to get results and up to 5 days.

The nurse looked at the results of Dad's CT scan of his head done the other day. The writeup said it did not show any significant change from previous scans.

-- Bob

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Still hanging in there

Today is another steady day. He had the same day nurse today. The only thing new is they did a CT scan.  The results had yet to be interpreted by a doctor so we don't know what, if anything, was found there. Dad's primary care doctor makes the rounds early in the morning so I expect they'll have something to say (even if it is "no change") at that time. His vital signs are still good apart from the lung problems. His blood sugar was a bit better controlled today, but it still goes up and down on its own whims.

The nurse said they tried reducing his sedation again today, but when they do that his breathing speeds up to an unhealthy rhythm. After seeing that, they reset it back at the higher level. He tried reducing it a bit while I was there and Dad did open his eyes halfway for me and then explored around his mouth with his tongue. I wasn't able to get yes/no answers so I didn't push my luck. I relayed some the the comments from this blog to him.

Mom is slowly gearing up for her trip to Arizona. She's thinking ahead to grandkids' birthdays and mailing deadlines, not to mention getting her stuff packed. I think she could have had a career in logistics for the military.

Thanks for the wonderful blog comments. I appreciate them.

I'll let you know how the CT comes out tomorrow.

-- Bob

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Holding steady

Today is much the same as yesterday. Dad's vital signs are holding steady. He's breathing fairly quickly and his heart rate is a bit on the fast side. They don't want those to go too high and that's why the keep him sedated. His sedation level is about the same as yesterday at this time. Later last night they had turned it up a bit higher but they have been slowly reducing it (baby steps) since then. They were able to slightly back off on the oxygen in the air he's breathing. His blood sugar is up there in the 200s but they are keeping an eye on it.

I talked to Dad briefly tonight. He started to open his eyes a bit but he seemed pretty out of it. While I was there, the nurse came in to clean and moisturize his mouth. It looked like he was keeping his mouth open for the dentist until that was done. He's got his radio going, but other than that it is pretty quiet in his room.

We are still looking to make progress on clearing up the lung infection. They are continuing with the antibacterial medication prescribed by the infectious disease specialist.

He is digesting all the food they give him, so that is good. The nurse said his lab work looks OK apart from the direct effects of the lung infection.

If you didn't catch my added comment to the previous post, I *do* read your comments posted to this blog. I usually won't reply, but don't let that stop you from posting a comment.

-- Bob

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday T

I am just back from the hospital. It's been a steady day for Dad. The doctors are still working on clearing up the lung infection. They had an infectious disease specialist check him out today. He didn't find anything new but he did add a different antibiotic to the several that Dad is getting. They are giving him insulin with his fluid drip to help keep his blood sugar levels under better control. That seems to be working well.

This afternoon the nurse had been lowering Dad's sedation level a tiny bit at a time. He said that he tended to start breathing too fast when they tried that the previous couple of days and when that happens they have to up the sedation to ensure the rapid breathing doesn't cause problems. I was able to talk to Dad tonight. He opened his eyes for me when he heard my voice but he wasn't able to give me firm yes or no indications to questions I asked. I told him about things going on with family and I held his hand for a while. The last couple of times I visited him, he was too sedated or sleepy to respond to me.

The nurse said on Monday they did a "sedation vacation" which is where they stopped the sedation altogether to see how the patient responds. He said they didn't try that today. Overall, Dad's vital signs are still doing good. They are giving him a little more oxygen in the air he breathes and they are keeping a little more constant pressure in his lungs. That helps keep his lungs open while he fights the pneumonia.

They had a TV going along with the radio when I got there so I stopped the TV and turned up the radio a bit so he could hear it more easily. Dad wasn't ever much a fan of TV and I don't think he appreciates game shows and commercials very much. I tried to get the classical music station going but I can't get good enough reception in his current room so I left the talk radio going. The nurse said they like to keep something like that going so a patient has an idea of what time it is as they drift between wakefulness and sleep.

Hopefully Dad's lungs will get better so we can start getting him off the ventilator and the drugs that go with that. I was glad that he knew I was there.

Mom is still doing OK. She's looking forward to visiting Carla for a few weeks around Thanksgiving. She keeps a schedule that would feel busy enough to me.

-- Bob

Monday, November 2, 2009

Another slow day

I just got back from the hospital this evening. They still have Dad pretty sedated. His vital signs are good. They were able to get a sample of a bacteria in his lung and they have prescribed an antibiotic to target that. They are up to his target for feeding and he is doing well with that. They are keeping the oxygen he breathes slightly higher to keep his blood well oxygenated. His blood sugar was a bit high today (about 300) so they are going to up the dose of long acting insulin he gets at bedtime.

I am a little frustrated that I don't get to see Dad interact, but they are keeping him quiet to help his lungs get better and keep him comfortable. The nurse early this morning had him awake enough to respond to questions with yes and no. Dad was able to say he isn't in any pain. Then they raised the sedation a bit to keep him from being agitated and working against the ventilator.

I look forward to Dad getting past the lung problems so he can interact more and work on getting better.

-- Bob

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A sunny day Sunday at rest

Dad's still doing OK. They gave him a bit more sedative last night to help him sleep and he's still pretty out of it today. His vitals are OK and stable but they found his hemoglobin was low enough so they are going to give him some red blood cells and have turned up the oxygen percentage a bit in the mean time. I sat with him for an hour and a half to see how things were going. It was calm and quiet. They checked his blood sugar while I was there and it was good enough (140) that he didn't require insulin.

He had the same nurse taking care of him today as yesterday. He's still getting antibiotics to make sure no bacteria starts growing in his lungs form the recent aspiration problem. He had some tender skin where the previous tube in his mouth was held in place with very sticky tape, but otherwise is looking good. It has now been 24 hours since the tracheotomy so the wound from that should be less fragile.

At this point, we are just waiting for Dad to recover from the recent lung issues and then we can work toward getting him much healthier. Chris and Kevin are headed back to Dallas. It was good seeing them again. We even had some trick or treaters at Mom and Dad's house, though at a few dozen kids it was not too much of a crowd. Today is beautifully sunny. It was cool first thing in the morning but it's like a spring day today with no clouds but the trees are all changing colors.

-- Bob