I am not modest about the fact that I love to bargain shop. I keep caches of coupons, piles of punchcards, and am on more email distribution lists for coupons than I care to count. To give you an idea of how much I save, here is a list of of items I purchased today at a popular national discount store. The retail of the following items was approximately $160.
1 Serta Perfect Sleeper Pillow
2 bottles of spices
3 boxes of Fiber One Bars
1 Lady Speed Stick
1 bottle of shea butter body wash
1 bottle of Matrix Sleek Look Conditioning Treatment
1 bottle of Flat iron hair serum
2 bottles of hand sanitizer
1 pack of "Hello, My Name is..." name tags
2 tubes of Neosporin
1 pack of Hanes Girl Boyshorts
3 packs of hangers
1 pack of chocolate-covered Mint Oreos
1 pair of Panasonic Gumy Headphones
3 boxes of Yogos
2 different kinds of 100-calorie snack packs
3 packs of scrapbooking glue-dots
1 bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles
How much did I pay??? $43.17. Yep, I know...I'm a rockstar.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
I am not modest about the fact that I love to bargain shop. I keep caches of coupons, piles of punchcards, and am on more email distribution lists for coupons than I care to count. To give you an idea of how much I save, here is a list of of items I purchased today at a popular national discount store. The retail of the following items was approximately $160.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tonight I made my favorite banana bread. The center gets nice and gooey from the vanilla pudding. I had to lick off my fingers to post this :D
Vanilla Pudding Banana Bread
2/3 C. Oil
4 Large Eggs
3 Ripe Bananas, mashed
1 t. vanilla extract
2 C. Flour
2 C. Sugar
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Mix oil, eggs, vanilla, and bananas in a bowl
3. Combine remaining ingredients (in separate bowl) and add to banana mixture
4. Grease and flour glass loaf pans, either one large, two medium, or four mini-loaf pans
5. Bake 50-65 minutes. Edges will be golden brown and top center will be slightly mushy.
When Taylor and I decided to relocate to Michigan, we though that in addition to finally living together again, we would be saving a lot of money. This is what we've seen so far
I started out by pricing out moving trucks and storage units. Taylor started looking for apartments. We price-shopped, and figured that if we were in Michigan for less than a year, it would be a better deal to take the most important living items in a moving truck, stick some long-term storage stuff in the shed, and get rid of the rest. I sold my couch to Liz, gave away hundreds of dollars of clothes, housewares, and unused food. Our quoted $1700 moving truck ended up being $2300. Gas money for a cross-country drive and hotel rooms were about $500. Luckily we didn't have to pay for a hotel for the two weeks that we stayed with the Pearces. We did have to pay more money than we expected on trips to SLC, but that couldn't be helped.
This week I've been going to the store at least once a day. The first trip I spent about $150, thinking I was doing great on our budget. We had a few trips to IKEA to buy furniture and housewares. But then as we were unpacking, we realized things that I decided not to bring. I didn't bring the mop, broom and cleaning supplies, since I wanted to leave it for Eleanor to clean after I left. I ragged out some old towels, which meant that I had to buy some new towels. I had to restock the fridge with condiments, sauces, and other staples. So $800 later, I think we're finally set!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Since I got back into Detroit, there haven't been a lot of updates to post. I've notices a bunch of hits on my blog sitemeter that have only lasted a few seconds...Sorry to disappoint if I don't post something on him everyday. It's a good sign if there's nothing to report...no news is good news! He's a pic from him in the ICU a few minutes before they took the trach out. He was acting like a space man with the oxygen mask on his eyes.
From what I can tell, the ortho surgery on his knee has been postponed until Friday. He's still having some difficulty swallowing, but he should be able to have food and drink within the next two days. He's in good spirits, and happy to have visitors for short visits.
Monday, January 28, 2008
One of my greatest heroes passed away yesterday, the beloved Gordon Bitner Hinckley. His life is well documented on many websites today, including desnews.com, so I won't go into a full eulogy. But I wanted to share a few thoughts, and my favorite quote.
I was fortunate (and pushy) enough to meet President Hinckley in 1997 at the Bountiful Regional Center while working a performance of Barefoot to Zion. He was attending with his wife and entourage, incuding security guards and members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. I had a different seating assignment to usher, but I knew exactly where he was sitting and didn't know if I'd ever get another chance to shake his hand. I shook Marjorie's hand, and then Pres. Hinckley's. I immediately was filled with an energizing sensation through my whole body. His goodness was evident and his smile was contagious. It was an amazing experience.
When he was sustained in 1995, his first admonition was given in the General Conference where he was sustained in solemn assembly. It continues to be my favorite quote of his to this day:
"The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a time to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike."
I will miss you, President Hinckley. I hope that the your reunion with Marjorie was sweet.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
My visits with David on Saturday were fairly short. I arrived in the morning when he was getting physical therapy. I helped the therapists sit him up and move him to the side of the bed. He's getting much stronger moving himself up with the trapeze bar. He sat up for about 15 minutes while enjoying the view. It was a crystal-clear day outside, sunny and bright...so he loved the view. But then he started talking nonsense about what he saw out the window....and the patient monitor started beeping. He kept telling the nurse, "You need to adjust the flux capacitor." He had coughed up part of his feeding tube, and he went in to have a procedure to fix the tube and have another swallow test.
Unfortunately, he aspirated on the swallow test, so he has to keep waiting to drink his root beer. When I came in the evening around 7:00, he was peacefully sleeping. I didn't want to disturb him, so I left about 5 minutes later. He had a few visitors from the ward in the evening, but after about 10 minutes, he was lecturing my mom on visiting time limits. He said he likes visitors, but not for longer than a few minutes. From what I've noticed, he's a bit more lucid in the mornings, and less agitated. I think as the week progresses, he'll be requesting more visitors. He realized that there's a phone book by his room phone, and he keeps threatening to call people. So if you get a random, raspy-voiced call from David...be prepared for some silly talk.
This morning I thought it would be fun to post a blog about my dear friend Kathryn. We met a few months ago at her Nikki Forova gig at Genghis Cohen (Melrose and Fairfax). She is a very talented musician, who plays a mean viola. We hit it off immediately, while bonding over good food, Keane, and ex-Utah resident stories. We really only saw each other a few times while I was actually in California, with LA gigs and an evening in Pasadena with Lizzie. She's in the music biz, and has been affected by the writers strike. She happened to be in Utah this week to see her family, and graciously offered to give my dad a viola concert in the ICU. She played some classical, hymns, and a little Frou Frou. My dad has been raving about how beautiful the music was, and I know that families all over the unit were coming out in the hall to hear the concert.
So what does a good friend do when you need a break from family crises? Take you out for fondue and dueling pianos! Sure, The Melting Pot and Tavernacle was my idea...but she drove. We had a blast in two places that are as un-Utah as you get (we've revised our long-time resident identities to "California Girls") Above is a picture from our night out, laughing at all the drunk people at the Tavernacle.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Today David's main issue has been his ICU psychosis/hallucinations. He has complained of ants crawling on his face and on the ceiling, sea creatures on the window, water dripping from the wall and tv, a cat in the corner of the room, and a baby's head suspended out the window. He has upgraded to sucking on ice chips, which taste "more decadent than fine wine." He explained to his sister that this was his third rollover car accident, even though it wasn't. It's a bit worrisome to see him only partially coherent. When Jim, his friend and home teacher came over, he said "There's my neighbor that works at the U," but then started off on talking nonsense again. His body is working through the remains of all the sedation he's been on for the last two weeks.
Tomorrow morning the vascular surgeons will complete the "full amputation," which will assess the damaged tissue still there, adjust the length of the bone, and close up the wound. Dr. Goodman was optimistic that the surgery would go well, and only minimal tissue would have to be taken out. But we had to listen to the list of risks, benefits, and alternatives before signing the consent. He had an evaluation with a psychiatrist, had his wounds redressed, reinstalled the feeding tube, and then was transferred up to the 11th floor. He's in room 1116, and is able to have non-family visitors. He will be in surgery for most of the morning, and will probably be out of it for most of the day from the anesthesia. I would venture to guess that he can handle visitors by Sunday, but be prepared for a little psychosis.
While on my math chat today, I decided to call up the optometrist's office that I purchased my lovely glasses from. I explained how they broke, and they agreed that they could exchange it with the supplier as a manufacturer's defect. They're going to charge $10 to FedEx the glasses back, which is a lot less than the $100 I was going to spend otherwise. Yay!
This morning I went to visit David for a few hours. He was in good spirits, but still complaining about being stuck in the hospital and wanting to sneak out. The trauma team was there on their rounds, removed his trach and bandaged the stoma. He's able to talk a little more easily, but it's pretty breathy and fragmented. The stoma (the hole from the trach) will heal on it's own, without sutures, within a few days.
He'll have the next surgery to revise the amputation tomorrow. Either tonight or tomorrow he'll be moved out of the ICU and into a step-down unit. His first phone call was to his mom in Oregon. I put my cell phone on speaker phone and they had a short, but emotional talk. He keeps asking for phone books so he can call people when he's bored. But after about two hours of visiting, he started drifting off for a nap. I'll be back over this afternoon, and will report any updates as they come.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I could not believe the progress my dad has made since the last time I saw him. His body isn't swollen and bloated, there are less tubes coming out of him, he is able to force-talk through the trach, and he's done with the ventilator. Unfortunately, this morning he pulled out the NG feeding tube out of his nose, which is bad because he's not getting nutrition or a route for medication in pill form. This afternoon they will be doing a swallow test, and if he does okay, he will be able to start eating and drinking. Tomorrow or Friday, he will have another surgery on his leg to make sure that the tissue is healthy and not infected, bloodflow is good, cut down the bone, and sew it up with plastics. After that surgery, he'll have the trach removed. Next week he'll have surgery on his other leg to repair the knee.
I met with the rehab case manager, who said the doctors have ordered no weight-bearing activity for 6 weeks. She said that acute rehab could be done through the hospital, where willing caregivers would be trained in proper caring and lift techniques. She said the better option would be up to 6 weeks in a rehab facility. He says he really wants to come home, would not be a viable possibility unless we had many, many willing caregivers to take shifts every two hours for 6 weeks. We'll have to play it by ear and explain to him why we can't take him home through the ICU psychosis....and how the tray table is not a wheelbarrow to take him home in.
I'm feeling really jet-lagged...I've been in 4 time zones in 4 days. I've been having insomnia issues since dad's accident, and multiple flights haven't helped regularize me. I was lucky enough to get on both flights I'd listed on, arriving in SLC a little after 11 PM. I napped a little on the plane, but when I woke up and looked in the empty seat next to me...my favorite-est glasses were snapped in half!!! I have no idea how it happened...I didn't sleep sideways that I know of, and I am pretty sure any time I picked up my carry-on bag, it was on my lap. It's ironic that they broke, because I specifically took them off my head in case my neck flopped against the window and broke them.
These specs were pretty expensive...I got the thinnest, non-glare Crizal lenses, and bought an actual pair of designer-ish Bebe frames. Before insurance, they were about $450, but I paid about $180 with the discount. I've had them for under a year, and they are the best pair I've ever had. Luckily they are zyl, which makes popping the lenses out possible. I looked on a bunch of websites and found my exact frame for $95 with shipping. I decided to go for it, since my new vision insurance isn't in effect yet. I've been recovering from a weepy/allergy-ish eye infection, so I can't comfortably wear contacts right now. I'll be a bit blurry for a few days, but that'll match perfectly with the bags under my bloodshot eyes.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Yesterday, we got our apartment lease squared away, and the movers arrived with all of our cargo from
I’ve been trying to calculate all of the miles I’ve traveled since December 21st (the day I left
DTW to MSP ......................................................600 miles via plane 1/11
MSP to SLC .......................................................900 miles via plane 1/11
SLC to MSP .......................................................900 miles via plane 1/16
MSP to DTW ......................................................600 miles via plane 1/16
DTW to MSP ......................................................600 miles via plane 1/19
MSP to SNA .....................................................1700 miles via plane 1/19
LAX to DTW ......................................................2100 miles via plane 1/19
DTW to MSP.........................................................600 miles via plane 1/22
MSP to SLC .........................................................900 miles via plane 1/22
Total: 11,380 MILES
In some ways, it’s a shame that I don’t get frequent flyer miles. But I’m not going to complain…the employee travel program is a wonderful perk. It’s saved me thousands of dollars just in one month. When I was at the airport gift shop the other day, I saw a luggage tag that said “TRAVEL JUNKIE.” I think I need to buy it.
"David is stable, he still has some temperature but that is normal. He will go back to surgery in a couple of day & the surgeons will amputate a little above the knee to make sure they got all of the necrosis. He is still on a ventilator, but seems to breathing a little easier. And he still has a feeding tube. He's on a lot of medication so he is still a little confused, but he is not in pain. As soon as he is not in critical condition, he will be moved either to another floor, or to rehab, wherever the family & his case manager & his nurse decide."
I'm now moved into my Michigan apartment and I'm flying to SLC tonight. More details later!
Monday, January 21, 2008
Last night my dad was taken in for surgery, after signing a consent for possible amputation. When the surgeons went in, there was so much decay/necrosis and infection that they had absolutely no choice but to amputate. From what I understand, the amputation was right at the knee. In a few days they will have another surgery to cut down the bone and seal up the end of the stump as soon as it drains enough...and to make sure there's not any more necrosis or infection.
Elder Dickson of the Quorum of the Seventy came to the Highland Ward today ("for Mary Watson") and spoke. He then went to the hospital to visit David and give him a blessing. He's talking a little bit now, but very labored with the trach. Dad asked Elder Dickson what he should do about consenting for amputation. He lifted up his coatsleeve, and revealed a partially amputated arm. He had bone cancer when he was 18 and required an amputation. He advised David to do what would save his life. What a perfect man to be counseling dad on this life-altering decision.
Rosie and I safely arrived back from California. It was so nice to see the sun shine and enjoy 65 degree weather. We spent time with family, helped out and enjoyed John and April's reception, went to Heritage Ward, and went to the Upland Singles' branch to hear Liz and Mary sing. We were able to also talk with Deanne and Gary Bluhm, and Gary spoke in church. Brett picked Rosie and I up from the church, grabbed some sabbath-breaking In-n-Out (since I'm sick of airport food right now!) and he drove us to LAX. The plane was delayed 2 hours, so we didn't actually tumble back into bed in Michigan until after 3:00 am. Today we sign the rest of the lease paperwork for our apartment, and the movers will be here by noon. Tomorrow morning I'm heading back out to Utah to see my dad and help out where I'm needed.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I felt that it was more appropriate to have a separate blog to document David's recovery and progress. I will continue to put the stories on this site, but the entries solely about David can be found at davidewatson.blogspot.com . Over the next few days, I will transfer the posts I have created so far to his blog. You are welcome to visit my site anytime, but I'm needing a little bit of non-sick-dad normalcy right now. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll roll your eyes.
Friday afternoon I pulled Rosie out of school at lunchtime, and Mike drove us to the airport. We had our standby reservation for the 3:30 flight to LAX. Once we were at the gate, we found out that the flight was oversold by 8 seats. After 2 hours of security and waiting at the gate, we watched as passengers went to the gate agent to accept a flight on Saturday for a first-class upgrade and free travel voucher. Just as we were going to be getting on the flight, two men changed their minds on the bump and we didn't get on the flight. The next two flights (5:30 and 10:00 PM) were both oversold by at least 10 seats. The gate agent changed our reservation for the 6:20 am flight on Saturday and told us to go home and get some sleep. It was MSP to John Wayne/OC, but it still would get us there in time for helping with the reception.
We got back to the airport at 5:00 am Saturday, with no problems getting on the MSP flight. When we talked to the gate agent at MSP, she said that there were 4 open seats, with 10 ahead of us on the standby list. She wasn't hopeful we'd get on, but said we might be able to get on the next flight 3 hours later (which consequently, was also very full). Rosie and I braced ourselves for a long wait, looked into options of Minneapolis sightseeing opportunities in case we couldn't get on a flight in time for the reception. Just as they were ready to close up the flight, they called our names and we were on!
Tomorrow night on our way back to Detroit, we're on the standby list for the 5:20 pm flight. Although there are earlier flights, this one has 38 open seats...which we're fairly certain we can catch. We'll arrive at DTW just after midnight, run home for a few hours of sleep, and get our apartment keys and move in to Stoneybrooke Monday morning.
While at John and April's reception, I got a call from my mom with the happiest news of the week...David was breating on his own! He had been breathing without the ventilator for 5 hours...which just shocked the nurses and doctors. The previous day, we were told he could be on the vent for up to 2 more weeks. The trach is partially responsible, as there is less obstruction and makes it easier to breathe. The respiratory therapists said they will continue to keep a close eye on his breathing, and may need to reconnect the vent over the next few days if any issues come up. This a huge step in his recovery!
Unfortunately, his leg isn't doing so well. Despite the surgery on Thursday, he continues to experience more muscle death. The enzymes from the dying/dead muscle are very hard on the kidneys...we don't want his kidneys shutting down from this. There's a fairly strong chance he will need his leg amputated from the knee-down this week. We are praying that his leg will recover, but I personally feel that amputation isn't as scary and dramatic as everyone thinks. It will speed up his whole-body recovery by several months, it will make physical therapy much more effective, he won't have life-long chronic pain issues, and prosthetics are so amazing now that he'll be up on his feet/foot in half the time. We should have some answers on this by Tuesday or Wednesday.
Friday, January 18, 2008
For the most part, David's condition is about the same as yesterday. His fever has decreased slightly, and the blood cultures didn't grow out any bacteria. The trach tube was inserted, so he's got the "Christopher Reeve" neck look going now. His leg is still exposed from the surgery, and the opening is gaping about 3 inches by 7 inches. The leg is packed with gray sponges and the wound vac is still sucking away. He is developing pneumonia, which is scary, but a common condition when you've been on the ventilator for a while. The doctors don't expect any big improvements in the next few days, but we're hopeful that his body will continue to heal and be ready for less sedation soon.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
This evening, David was in surgery for approximately 2 hours with the vascular surgeon. His left leg muscles were assessed for death/damage. Unfortunately, I'm not up on my muscle anatomy these days, nor is my mom who gave the report. Apparently two muscles were okay with no tissue removed, but 50% of the other two muscles was irreparable and removed. The surgeon tried to be conservative and take only was was absolutely necessary at this point. He will have another surgery in a few days.
Tomorrow, he will be having a tracheotomy, which is a surgical procedure to create an opening through the neck into the trachea(windpipe). A tube is inserted through the opening to allow passage of air and removal of secretions. Instead of breathing through the nose and mouth, he will temporarily breathe through the tracheotomy tube. It'll leave a noticeable scar, but will be much better for his body in the long run. Below is a diagram of where the trach incision will be.
From within hours of the accident, we have had an outpouring of offers to help our family in this time of great need. Usually at the time of these offers, we said we'd let them know because the family hadn't fully assessed our needs. Now we have a list of ideas for how you can help the family run. Unfortunately, a lot of the family need is financial. Without David's DISH income, a lot of day-to-day expenses will not be able to be paid without help.
1. Gift Cards: Smiths, Harmons, Costco, Shopko, Target, Walmart...to help pay for groceries and other items that may need to be purchased. Mary will be sent out on a lot of shopping assignments (and who can trust a teenager with their parent's credit card??? jk) Cash or checks are also gladly and thankfully accepted for any amount.
2. Ready-to-Eat Meals: We have been blessed with many fully-stocked hot meals so far, but what would also be helpful are ready-made casseroles, lasagnes, meals for the crockpot, etc...that can be refrigerated or frozen, then easily heated up and served. We're big fans of the fruit and veggie trays from Costco too :)
3. Cases of bottled water, juice and other snacks: Since we stand vigil at the hospital for so many hours at a time and all of the vending machines are outside the unit, we've already scraped our stash of bringable snacks at the house. We get thirsty, and Barbara prefers juice over soda. Other snacks like granola bars, fruit, junk food, Orbit Gum and munchies also help us curb our hunger and minimize our trips to the hospital cafeteria.
4. Outside-the-house help: If you happen to drive by, and see that snow has not been shoveled, or garbage cans haven't been taken from the curb, please stop by. We also need our Christmas lights taken down (since David will obviously not be up on a ladder anytime soon...) As the spring comes along, there may need to be some yard work done also.
5. Prayers, Letters, Emails, and Supportive Phone Calls: While David is in the ICU so long, this means that whatever progress he does make will probably come slowly. I know that my nerves have been frazzled after 6-9 hour shifts at the hospital each day. It can be hard to keep spirits up when looking at his swollen, bandaged body with various tubes hanging out.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org . You can email me with questions or just to let me know that you're thinking of us. Any donations, cards, and meals can be sent or dropped off at their house. If you would like to mail something, and are not in the Salt Lake area, please email me for their home address.
Yesterday, Taylor, Rosie and I flew back to Detroit. We left for the airport around 6:00 am, but due to layovers and a 2-hour delay on the ground in SLC, we didn't arrive back until 5:00 pm. We're pretty exhausted, and Taylor leaves on a 4-day trip this morning. I wish he wasn't going to be gone. We get our apartment keys on Friday, and the moving truck comes Monday.
As for David, his status continues to remain the same. He's had a temperature around 102 degrees for a few days now. They use fans and ice packs to keep him cool. His vital signs have remained steady, but he is heavily sedated. I don't think his lungs are quite as bad as the RT who signed him up for the albuterol protocol led us to believe. There are some crystalized parts of his lungs, but the vent protocols are going as expected. The lady from the wound team looked at his leg and said part of it looks "dusky", which means there hasn't been adequate bloodflow to that area. Thursday he will go into surgery with Dr. Merrill and his resident to work on his leg. They will take out any necrotic tissue, assess his muscles and take out any part that has died. This surgery will give a good idea on what the long-term prognosis of his leg will be. Now the time estimate is for him to be in Shock-Trauma for up to two more weeks.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
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.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Dad continues to make progress. When I went to the hospital this afternoon, his wound-vac had been installed. This machine helps drain out the infection and excess fluid to speed healing from the inside out. They also cleaned up his bandages that are barely dripping now. He did develop a bit of a temperature, but with some ice packs and a fan blowing, it never seemed too out of control. He did need two more units of blood infused, likely from all of the wound vac/cleaning/ evaluation by the wound team. Mom and I rubbed lotion over his arms, hands and feet after Thana (our favorite nurse) washed his hair and shaved his face. He looks a little less like an a accident victim, and more like a man who is just really sick. He'll likely still be intubated a few more days, so I don't know if I'll be able to talk to him before I head back to Michigan on Wednesday. Rosie's got the 25th off school, so we'll likely come back to SLC that weekend.
Mom and I talked to a case manager nurse and the HR representative for dad's department. His billing and pay should be figured out over the next few days. Luckily, he has 32 sick days accrued, which will guarantee full pay until at least Mid-February. We'll find out the details on his other compensation and benefits sometime Tuesday or Wednesday. In the evening, we had a family council with Bishop France and Jim, our home teacher. We figured out some of the upcoming needs for keeping the household running, such as paying bills, housework, and meal preparation. Jacob knows how to do the Dish installations, so hopefully that stream of income won't dry up during dad's recovery. It's great to have such an amazing support network, especially within our own family.
Posted by Nicole at 7:24 PM
For those who are visiting my blog for updates on David, this post is specifically for questions you may have. If you want to know more about a procedure, doctor's updates, recovery estimations, post a comment below. I will respond a few times a day.
Also, for the time being, only family is being admitted into the ICU for visits. We had a few people come in that were not family that happened to get his privacy code, and saw him in his fairly gruesome state. I'm sure he doesn't want the general public seeing him like this, so please keep him in your prayers and stay tuned for updates. Once he's out of the ICU, he will love visitors.
Thank you for all the support we've had so far, through meals, prayers, cards, and visits to the house. We'll still need help for some time to come. I'll try to answer the emails and voice mails I've recieved, but I also have been on the phone for several hours over the last few days.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Mom, Mary, Taylor and I went to see dad after the shift change. He'd been changed from Versed to Propofol for sedation. His bandages were cleaned, he was in a more comfortable, larger airbed. The swelling in his body was still pretty severe, but the bleeding in his leg has decreased significantly. There wasn't enough time in the afternoon to do the IVC filter and the wound vac, so that will be installed tomorrow. He didn't respond much to our touch because of his sedation level, but tomorrow they will probably take the sedation down and see how he responds. They added a breathing treatment into his ventilator line to help with any mucous in his lungs and make sure that his asthma doesn't kick in. His toes are pink and warmer than yesterday, and bloodflow has been consistent on the doppler everytime.
When I arrived at IMC, the nurses and RT were preparing him to be transported to Angio for his IVC filter procedure. He was gone for about 2 hours, and the procedure well perfectly. The trauma surgeon gave me a little update on his situation...and it was pretty similar to this morning. My mom and I left soon thereafter so the nurses could change his sheets, clean up his wounds, and other nursey duties. I'm leaving to pick up Taylor from the airport, and we'll head back to IMC after 8:15.
I went back to IMC around 8:30 this morning. I met with the trauma team on their morning rounds. The acid levels in his blood are now normal, but there is evidence of muscle death. The enzymes from the muscles are very hard on the kidneys. They checked his BUN and Creatinine levels, and his kidneys are now okay for now. Today they will be inserting a feeding tube, wound vacs, and an IVC filter. The IVC filter is iron mesh, and it prevents any blood clots he may acquire from causing a pulmonary embolus. They are unable to use anticoagulation therapy to prevent the blood clot because he still has a gaping open wound in his leg.
At church today, there was a flood of love, support and prayers. I know our family will be taken care of. I was also told by Bishop France that Elder Dixon from the Quorum of the Seventy contacted him, and let us know that the First Presidency is personally praying for David.
I'm heading back over to IMC again. Taylor was released from duty early today, and I'll be picking him at SLC airport around 6:30.
This week in Michigan I felt that the Bullock family was settling in quite nicely. Rosie started school at Allen Elementary, and her teacher is wonderful (and also the wife of regional pilot, with whom I can commiserate) Taylor was off Sunday night-Thursday morning...and I finally had some wholesome, consistent alone-time with him. We went on a day-date (On the Border and "Juno"), did some furniture shopping, went for drives around the area to get acquainted with greater Canton/Plymouth/Westland/ Northville/Livonia area. We set up bank accounts, auto and renters insurance policies, and other necessities after a move. We've been reeling in generosity of the Pearce family and their lovely home. I started my Quantitative Reasoning, Statistics, and Critical Thinking classes. I felt like things were settling down...as much as they could for not actually moving into our apartment yet. Until Friday night.
I received a call from my mom. My dad, David, had been in a pretty serious rollover accident near Fillmore on the way back from a work trip to St. George. He's an audio/visual engineer with the LDS Church, coming back from equipment upgrades on the Temple and Visitors Center. He was with two other coworkers, Bruce and Nathan, in the back seat of a van (we still aren't sure if it was a minivan or large 15-passenger van), with lots of heavy A/V equipment that was being transported back to Church Headquarters. I haven't gotten the full story, but here's what I've pieced together.
Around 1:30 PM, Friday January 11, Bruce dozed off while driving, pretty close to the Meadow/Kanosh exit on I-15. He was startled awake by the sound of the caution grooves on the freeway, and overcorrected right when my dad yelled out his name. There was a slight hill down which the van flew over and tumbled a few times, and landed on the other side of the frontage road. Matt, a passing motorist from CA on his way to Provo for his daughter's wedding, saw the accident and was the second person on the scene. I've talked with Matt a few times, and this is what he explained to me:
The van was very well crushed and totaled. It had flipped and flown three or four times. Matt saw David's rear end was hanging out the side window of the crushed, upside-down van. It looked like he was crawling in with his left leg squashed under his body. Matt saw that the seatbelt was still attached, so he found a knife and cut him out of the seatbelt to relieve the pressure. Matt and some of the other motorists who stopped to help, set out some blankets, clothes, and other items so David could be laid out on the ground without getting cold and snowy. He was fully conscious through the whole ordeal. They administered consecrated oil and gave him a priesthood blessing.
The paramedics arrived and started triaging and treating David. Nathan was freed from the car fairly easily, and walked away with some minor cuts and abrasions on his forearm and elbow. Bruce was crumpled, not crushed, in the debris of the van and required the Jaws 'o Life to free him. He sustained some lacerations and contusions to the face, and was patched up within a few hours at Fillmore Hospital. My dad was taken by ambulance to Fillmore Hospital, where they diagnosed a pelvic fracture and a completely dislocated knee that had stopped adequate bloodflow to his leg (below the knee). Two hours post-impact, they decided that his condition was way too serious and he'd need to be LifeFlight'ed to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.
For those who read this blog, and don't know David....he's no lightweight! My guess is that he's somewhere around 6'2" and 320 pounds. Due to weather conditions and the weight and balance on the helicopter, they were unable to chopper him to Murray. They loaded him on a fixed-wing LifeFlight plane, and flew him to Salt Lake International Airport. Then they took him (via helicopter) to IMC. Within an hour of arrival, my dad was taken in for an 8 hour surgery with a vascular surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, and general surgeon.
The pelvic fracture was on the wing of the pelvis, which is a non-essential area for bodily movement, and did not require surgical intervention. He had a pretty massive open wound over the pelvic fracture from the seatbelt, which they cleaned up and took care of. The main concern was his knee and lower leg. In addition to the dislocation/fracture of the knee, he had a significant crush injury to the leg. A saphenous vein graft from his right leg was required to restore bloodflow to his left leg. An external fixator was installed on my dad's lower leg, which elevates the open-wounded leg for drainage. After just over 8 hours in the OR, he was moved to the Thoracic ICU.
By the time I got the call, Taylor was into the 2nd day of his 4-day trip, so I decided to take Rosie out to SLC on the first flight of the morning. After 4 hours of sleep, we woke up at 4:00 am and drove to the airport. The layover in Minneapolis and flight to SLC was pretty uneventful. I knew that Rosie wouldn't be able to go into the ICU, so I arranged for her to stay with the Lewis' family while I stood vigil at the hospital. My mom and Jacob had stayed overnight through the whole surgery until 6 am, and were sleeping, so my job was to be on call for questions and support at the hospital. After taking about 6 condition-calls at my parents' house, I drove over to IMC. The IMC Campus is huge, and I was a little confused because I'd been told he was going to be transferred to Shock-Trauma ICU. After about 15 minutes of going from nurse station to nurse station with no luck (his trauma alias was ZZZIM, ZITI for some reason) I found a doctor who has been briefed on his condition and he showed me where to go.
When I walked into S204, I couldn't believe how swollen and bruised up he was. His neck had swelled so much that it was bigger than his head, but even his ears, eyes, nose, and tongue were swollen. He was sedated on Versed and intubaed. The most gruesome sight was his leg, itself. It was covered in bandages and elevated, but was soaked in blood and fluids from the open wound (to help reduce swelling and edema). Thana, his ICU nurse, was absolutely wonderful. I spent 5 hours with her, as she kept tabs on his vitals, dopplered his feet to verify adequate bloodflow, infused more units of blood, checked labs, glycerine-swabbed his mouth to keep it moist, and other nursing functions. She and I got along really well, and she designated me as the family spokesperson to give updates to anyone who called the ICU with the privacy code. Throughout the afternoon, Mary, Grant, Julie (his sister), Grandpa Jack, Mom, and Bishop France visited him. He was given another priesthood blessing by Jack and Patriarch Sheffield, and was guaranteed a full recovery.
I spoke to all three surgeons over the course of the day. The vascular surgeon said that this was one of the most difficult surgeries he's ever done because my dad's calf was so large. We joke about our "Watson Cankles"...our giant calves and ankles that have no end. The swelling made his calf about the size of a volleyball, and he had to use his deepest instruments. The maneuverability within the leg was darn-near impossible to operate quickly, and the surgery lasted over 8 hours. Unfortunately, from the time of impact to bloodflow restoration was just over 9 hours...and normal function of the leg is only guaranteed within 6-8 hours of blood deficit The orthopedic surgeon said the health of his muscles and nerves will take a few weeks to determine, and he will likely have permanent nerve damage. He could have partial or full muscle loss, which could require amputation. The general surgeon said she'll be rounding once or twice daily to make sure that his other vital systems are functioning normal (i.e. respiratory, urinary, cardiovascular, etc)
For a while, the respiratory therapist tried to wean him from the ventilator to see if he would breathe on his own, but he coughed and gagged irregularly, and it was clear that he would still need to be intubated for a while. We were told that due to the pain medication and sedation, it was necessary to keep him on the vent while his body healed, because he wouldn't be able to adequately breathe on his own (due to trauma and existing asthma and sleep apnea). His Versed dose was weaned from 10 to 2 while I was there, and for part of the early evening he was responding to stimuli. The first response made me laugh...I asked him if he knew that 3 of his 4 favorite girls were next to him, and he smirked and shrugged his shoulders. A few times he tried to open his eyes, but his eyelids were swollen shut and purple, and his eyeballs were completely red. He loved it when I scratched his head, and would lean into it a little. He grabbed my hand a few times, but didn't have much grip (from a bandaged hand with a chunk of flesh missing).
I stayed at the hospital from about 1:30 PM to 6:00 (at shift change) and went back from 8:15 to 10:30 MT. I had been up for 21 hours, after only 4 the night before, so I headed back to Chez Watson and slept on the couch. I will probably go back again this morning around 8, stay till 10:45, go to sacrament meeting at 11, then come back to his bedside. I'd originally planned to fly back to Detroit this afternoon, but in my priesthood blessing from Grant, I felt that the family needs me here for a few more days. I'll have to play it by ear.
Any prayers or positive vibes through the universe would be muchly appreciated. I'll try to keep updates on my blog everytime I'm back home by my computer. You can call my cell for updates also.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
A few weeks ago, I'd made the decision to just stay at home and do school full-time in Michigan. I'm still wavering with the idea of working, because I know that our bank accounts are pretty dry and it's not going to get better anytime soon. So I was looking online this morning, and found this job that I want. This is the type of job that will get me out of bed in the morning!!! I applied, but I'm not really hopeful (It required a bachelor's degree plus experience) I don't know the pay either, but I have a feeling it's pretty commensurate with what I made in Cali.
We are currently seeking an Epidemiology Research Associate in our Ann Arbor, MI office. The Epidemiology Research Associate will work closely with project teams to assist in administrative and epidemiologic aspects of studies.
- Prepare agendas and take minutes at meetings
- Data entry as needed
- Assist in preparation of tables, reports, presentations and manuscripts
- Work directly with project managers to identify other related tasks needed for project
- Coordinate medical chart abstraction effort involving assistance in setting a timeline, utilize Access databases, mail letters and forms, participate in the creation of abstraction tools, assist with the development of training materials, train abstraction firms, track medical charts, follow up on pending charts, contact with abstraction firms, hospitals and doctor's offices as needed
- Conduct literature reviews and summarize findings
- Other administrative tasks deemed necessary
- Bachelors Degree plus experience (in related field)
- Interest in public health, epidemiology and pharmaceuticals
- Experience with Excel, PowerPoint and Access
- Experience with medical records and/or claims data a plus
Sunday, January 6, 2008
After 1750 miles (in addition to the 670 from LA to SLC), I am finally "chillin" in Michigan...both literally and figuratively. Actually, the weather has warmed up a bit, so it's a balmy 31 right now. Our apartment won't be ready until January 18, so we are basking in the generosity of the Pearce family from our new ward. We looked for deals on extended stay motels, temporary rentals on Craigslist, and options with people we barely know in far-off corners of the Detroit-Metro area. After a few weeks of looking, nothing was panning out. Last week I got in touch with my new RS president, who helped set us up with a family in our ward that could host us for two weeks. They are totally generous and lovely, and living in their house feels like I'm playing "house" as a child again. The beds are more comfortable than I've ever owned, the theater room rivals any one I've ever visited, the three fridges are stocked with goodies from Costco, and the house is just amazing. It'll be hard to move back into our painted-cinder-block-wall apartment in two weeks.
Today I'll be attending church in the Plymouth Ward, and this evening I'll pick Taylor up from the airport for his next 3 days off. Rosie will be signed up for school tomorrow, and we'll find a bank account to open (with access in CA, UT, and MI...none of which BofA, Wamu, or Wells Fargo can offer) I'm signed up for intermediate algebra, statistics, quantitative reasoning and writing...and will order my books this week and start with coursework.
It's been so nice to have a couple weeks off. I'm glad the roadtrip is over...and Michigan is ending up to be nicer than other peoples' predictions. There's my update.