What a roller-coaster ride we've been on:
While showing some inprovement for a while, Bob still continued to sleep ALL THE TIME...just didn't want to stay awake. On Monday, Feb 8th. this condition, along with choking episodes and a sudden, high heart rate prompted another 911 call and our fifth hospital stay in the last 9 months. Three days in ICU, two days "on the floor", another three days in ICU and then another two days "on the floor"..released today..
A trip down his throat (via his nose.UGH) by Dr. # 2 (ENT) revealed that his airway had become seriously constricted. This led to the conclusion that his present condition was being caused by high levels of CO2.
"CO2 retention is a pathophysiological process in which too little carbon dioxide is removed from the blood by the lungs. The end result is hypercapnia, an elevated level of carbon dioxide dissolved in the bloodstream.
As CO2 levels increase, patients exhibit a reduction in overall level of consciousness as well as respiratory effort".
Radiation damage to the blood vessels and lymph nodes in his neck caused inflamation and swelling in his throat..thus his breathing became impaired. Dr. # 3 was called in (Pulmanary)..
"You're damned if you do and damned if you don't"...Without treatment the cancer which he was diagnosed with last May would have already taken his life...now the treatment results seemed to be trying to do the same.
Day two a tracheotomy was done.. Prayer request #1..that this will not be a permanent condition.
Next, he developed a blood clot in his arm...the side his medport is on...Dr. #1 (Oncologist) is reluctant to remove the port as he is needing so many injections and infusions. He started blood thinner, a steroid, another rx. for treating blood clots...and lasix for fluid retention.
Next came arrhythmia....his heart would speed up and slow down...irregular heartbeat..EKG's, a move back to ICU and Dr. #4(Coronary)... more rx. for that..
Sometime during the week he recieved blood transfusions.
Believe it or not...he got well enough to come home ... his heart rhythm is back to normal and, with the trach, his breathing is normal....'will most likely take another few weeks for the blood clot to dissolve.
We'll start "home health" again tomorrow...being flat on his back for 10 days will put him back to square one. HOWEVER, as his last PET cleared him of cancer he is eligable to receive VitalStem Therapy.
"VitalStim® Therapy is a non-invasive, external electrical stimulation therapy cleared to market by the FDA in December 2002. The therapy uses specifically designed electrodes applied to the muscles of the throat to promote proper swallowing."
This procedure has been very successful in correcting damage in the throat that prevents swallowing. I'm very excited about the possibility that he may be able to swallow again ...Prayer request #2 : He would have to be able to have the trach removed to accomplish this.
We're so glad to be home.