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Conor had a routine upper endoscopy on July 18. According to the discharge notes, "The patient tolerated the procedure well". Within an hour of returning home, it was obvious that was not exactly the case. He was wretching and began shivering. The doctor's staff advised me to take him to the ER. CT showed that he had aspirated during (?) the procedure and had aspiration pneumonia. He was admitted to the hospital and put on IV antibiotics. He was in good spirits and enjoyed ordering everyone around and watching favorite shows. In the wee hours of Friday morning, they started supplementing his oxygen with a nasal cannula because his O2 level was under 90.
Throughout the day on Friday, he was in good spirits. The canula was off most of the morning. He showered and watched a lot of favorite shows on his tablet. At one point he told me he liked the overnight at the hospital. (eye roll!) He continued IV antibiotics and Tylenol to keep his fever down. We were expecting to go home but then heard he'd been scheduled for an x-ray Saturday AM. Just before Reenie left to go home for the night, his fever spiked and he began shivering.
John stayed with Conor Friday night and Saturday AM. He ate a good breakfast early in the AM and then around 1 PM cousin Casey arrived around the same time his fever spiked and he began coughing, becoming agitated, and eventually vomiting. They began using ice packs to bring his temperature down as the fever was not responding to the Tylenol. They also began giving him morphine as his pneumonia was probably causing him pain he was not able to describe and, bonus, morphine is a vasodilator which makes it easier for O2 to get into the bloodstream. He tolerated them very well. They also gave him a 'Darth Vader' O2 mask to help keep his levels up. Reenie arrived and tagged John out so he could go home and get some sleep. Casey and Reenie helped change out ice packs and worked on keeping him comfortable. They finally got the nurse to disconnect his IV so he could get showered and change his soiled clothes and linens. It was clear he was getting sicker.
Despite the morphine & ice baths Conor continued to have a fever. Fluctuating between 102 to 104, the concern shifted somewhat to what stress the high fevers were doing to his body. There were talks about potentially shifting to a cardiac unit to help monitor his heart but Dr. Pham determined that the current regime of ice baths and morphine would suffice. Conor's O2 levels were also a concern. Although he was using the 'Darth Vadar' mask his saturation level was in the 80s and ideally, it should be in the 90s. Reenie & Casey continued to work on monitoring his breathing and temp as more loved ones stopped by. Amy Dill, Aunt Kath & cousin Amy all visited which seemed to perk up Conor's spirits. He even enjoyed some tapioca pudding and mashed potatoes with gravy.
As it got later the crew left leaving Reenie and Conor to get some rest. Throughout the night Conor's fever never broke and he continued to have difficulty getting enough O2. He became more and more agitated and the team determined it was best that he be intubated. Conor was moved to the ICU around 3:00 am on Sunday morning. It was a lot happening all at once but his room 'upgrade' would prove to be the ideal place to get the maximum amount of care.
The next morning, the weekend Pulmonologist, Dr. Farber (who used to be Gram Mac's doc) examined Conor, reviewed the Xrays and tests and informed Reenie the situation was very serious and he suspected ARDS. "There's no 'test' per se, it is a clinical diagnosis. You need to be prepared for a very difficult time."