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8/11/2016 Latest post:
As you all know by now, Frank Evans (my Dad) started having problems in 2015. He had a stroke & internal bleeding and my Mom got him into the hospital for both (first in Indy, then in Fl). He always insisted on going to the VA and during their stay in FL over the winter the Bay Pines location did not run sufficient tests throughout the several months that my Mom brought him in (both walk in and Emergency). They returned to Indy in April & he went to the VA almost immediately to have tests run, at which time the cardiologists ordered immediate surgery to insert a pacemaker. Over the next several weeks he continued to have the same symptoms (weakness, shortness of breath, edema, etc) and my Mom continued to take him back in. After many misdiagnoses the VA finally did a scope & discovered his mechanical valve had been severely leaking. Many area hospitals were contacted as the VA does not perform valve replacement surgery & Community North took him the next day. He arrived at Community North on a ventilator, with an infection that had attacked his new pacemaker along with the mechanical valve and minimal records of his recent health problems and/or any treatment given. The staff came out to the lobby and got as much information as they could on his history - we were told by the surgeon that he was in such bad condition that emergency surgery was required. That was a long night. At 5am most of our family & friends had gone home and it was just my Mom and my brother and I. We were called to the consultation room. We waited for what seemed like an eternity. Dr. Priest finally came in - he told us he took over mid surgery from the original surgeon and it went several hours over. The new valve was placed and it was going to be a long road. Community North saved him & continued to give him excellent care during his several week stay after the surgery. During this time they had removed the infected pacemaker & before he left had replaced it with a new one. His next move was to a long term care hospital with an intensive care unit that could handle his ventilator, feeding tube and pain meds. He also had intense respiratory care as his lungs had been compromised for so long while on a ventilator. That was Kindred Hospital where he is now - they have treated him for an antibiotic immune infection and replaced his ventilator with a trach. He slowly started waking up, moving his eyes and squeezing his hands. He could move his lips but when he finally spoke his first words were "my butt". He'll laugh later but he has a sore that is causing severe pain & unfortunately he can't move around much. My Mom has been there faithfully every single day since this ordeal started...months of traveling from VA to Community (staying with her longtime friend Les just minutes away) to Kindred. The last 2 weeks have had their ups and downs. He's finally sitting up and the PT's are taking him down every day for therapy. Yesterday they took the trach out but he's having problems falling asleep without his C-Pap. Hopefully in a few days (to a week) his trach wound will heal and he can start using the C-Pap again. They are slowly introducing soft foods this week. He cannot sit in a chair for a period of time yet but they are working on that. The biggest hurdle was getting the trach out successfully so he will not need continued intense respiratory care, so the best option is now our best choice for continued rehab - the new Kindred facility on Emerson just North of County Line. My Mom and I toured a few places and they have better equipment, the rooms are nicer and the place is clean. This is a very short version of the ups and downs of the last year and I've just barely talked about the problems with the VA's treatment (including releasing him while he was in critical condition), not talking about it simply prevents awareness and thank God we've moved onto much better care. His second occurrence of internal bleeding left him needing 10 pints of blood and the culmination of each setback (including several surgeries) has left him very weak. He is confused at times but he continues to get physically stronger each week. It's been very difficult to inform so many people (that care) that use different means of communication (messaging, texting, voicemail, phone calls, e-mail) and since things are looking up we hope to keep more regular updates for everyone on Caringbridge. Thanks to everyone for the love and support.