Saturday, September 09, 2006

Update on my Dad

For those of you who have expressed concern about my Dad, thanks so much. It really means a lot to me.

This update is for you.

It turns out that, as well as the bleeding ulcers, he has pneumonia. We just found that out a few minutes ago, and I'm editing the post that I'd finished writing just before the phone call, to cut to the end result (now that we have one.)

To backtrack a bit; on Thursday, he was moved into the Critical Care Unit, which isn't all bad, since it means that he's getting the kind of care he needs.

His abdomen was badly swollen, and he was having a great deal of trouble catching his breath, or oxygenating when he did. They put him on a BiPAP machine to help him breathe, and his blood oxygen levels would plummet into they had to remove it for meals and things. (Not that he's eating much, because he really feels, in my sister's words, "putrid.")

For the last several days they've been running all kinds of tests. We found that it's not an embolism, not an infection, and not any kind of perforation in his heart or bowel. We know that although his arteries are a bit narrowed here and there (he's 83, after all,) it's not enough to cause these symptoms, and the vascular surgeon says that the blood supply to his extremities is fine. His EKG is normal, although he might have slight damage to the right side of his heart, due to the edema. So no, it's not congestive heart failure.

He does have some fluid in the bottom of his lungs, and in his abdominal cavity. They drew that out today, and he's feeling much better, and resting more comfortably. They've even been able to take him off the BiPAP and put him on the regular oxygen mask, and his blood oxygen levels are in the high nineties.

The doctors say the prognosis looks good; he's a very sick man at the moment, but should recover.

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