Rudy’s been on quite a ride today. The weekend had activity enough, so as we walked into the hospital this morning, Trish offered up a quick prayer for a calm day with no surprises. But that wasn’t to be. It’s now just about six and we’ve sat here at Rudy’s bedside for the longest stretch so far today—about 40 minutes. Rudy underwent three procedures today that had us out of the room for as much as 2hrs each time.
When we came in this morning, he looked plump as a turkey due to infection and the fluids he was retaining. The skin on his torso was stretched taught and shiny from all the stuff in there. Through the night, the doctors were very concerned with keeping his blood pressure high. When we left last night the alarm for low blood pressure seemed to be going off every three minutes and that pattern continued. By this morning, they put him on another dose of paralytics and sedatives so that the team could regulate his blood pressure and ventilation without any movements of his interfering. While this was still categorized as part of the “ups and downs” it was an emotional step backwards to see him immobilized like he was around the surgery.
They decided to insert two chest tubes to drain the fluid off his lungs. The fluid coming from the left side bore evidence of infection, which confirmed the course the team had started with antibiotics a couple days ago. Fortunately, it was determined that the fluid was just “milky” and not “puss-y” (finally some medical terms we understand)—the latter would have been signs of a more advanced infection that would have set things back further. Almost immediately after the drains were placed, his body looked remarkably deflated and both his blood pressure and breathing began to improve. Relieving all that pressure made it easier for his blood to pump and his lungs to work. As we walked back into his room, we were asked to give consent for the insertion of a new IV catheter line into his chest which meant we had to leave again. Unfortunately the nurse was not able to place the line through his little arm veins (something they warned us might happen) after multiple tries, so after a brief return to his bedside it was decided that Dr. Kelly would put in a chest port, so even though we were running out of lobbies to sit in, we stumbled out for another hour or so. This procedure went well and an X-ray confirmed that the line was in the right place so now Dr. Abel and Nurse Katrina are making final adjustments next to me as it’s getting dark outside.
The vital signs and labs are looking good. They’ve backed Rudy off most of the medications and he’s starting to wake up. A few minutes ago, the alarm went off for high blood pressure which is something we haven’t heard in awhile. The ventilator has been turned down to 30 breaths per minute after being above 40 the last few days. The team feels good about how he looks, but we can’t help feeling he looks a bit pale and wiped out considering the day he’s had. Here’s praying for a night of rest and that calm day to be tomorrow.