Kenny Slyzuk

First post: Dec 1, 2021 Latest post: Dec 16, 2021
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November of 2020, Ken endured a major set back. That was ultimately the month and year that he truly had to show the world he was more than any ailment that tried to take him down. He spent a little over 3 weeks in the hospital, facing several hurdles through that time. He saw every specialist the U had to offer, and did non stop testing to get to the problem. The doctors at the U of M could never come to a conclusion of what the reasoning was for him to pass out in his truck. But he proved to everyone he was going to fight his way back to his baseline. 

Transitional care was being sought for him at the time of discharge, being he would need a lot of help getting around and completing every day tasks. Being in the hospital for that long he wasn’t able to get up much and required him to work hard in PT and OT and get his strength back! Sending him to a transitional care unit was not something we wanted, knowing it was likely nobody would be able to visit him with all of the COVID-19 restrictions. So, we got 24/7 help and brought him home! In true Ken fashion, he “graduated” from PT and OT in no time. He faced internal battles of his new “identity” and all the things he would now need help with. Through many amazing caregivers he gained confidence and made strides to getting back to some of the things he enjoyed. 
Through the past year he truly showed us how strong and determined he was. He faced a few hospital visits, and some lasting longer than others. But he typically made quick improvements and was eager to get home. 

November of this year, we were faced with another set back. Similar to past hospital visits we saw an increase in lethargy, dehydration, confusion and generalized weakness. Each time he went in, they did more testing, tons of blood work and had specialists see him again. Time and time again he was put on a bipap and oxygen because he continued to have high CO2 levels. Each time he would need different lengths of time on the bipap, but would stabilize and be discharged. 

November 5th he was hospitalized again, with similar concerns. This time, upon his admission, he didn’t respond as quickly to the bipap treatment. By day 2 we were relieved to hear he was headed in a better direction by waking up and conversing with doctors. He was able to come home on November 14th with no changes. 
November 24th, he was presenting with more confusion, and O2 levels in the 70’s. Unfortunately, despite his dislike for being in the hospital he needed to go back. He arrived at the hospital unresponsive and was started on a bipap immediately. They did the standard tests for him and saw he had high CO2 levels, again. He took longer to wake up this time around (a couple days) and then got an NG tube placed so they could get him his medications being he was still not awake to take them orally. But, again in true Kenny fashion, he bounced back and was doing much better. On Saturday, November 27th, he was ready to be discharged and came back home that afternoon. This was the first time a doctor could give us a “reason” for this continuing to happen. Parkinson’s can look so different in everyone, but it appeared that his Parkinson’s was affecting the lower part of his brain which controls the respiratory system in a persons body. He wasn’t able to always take deep breaths which resulted in his body being unable to exchange those gases and caused high CO2 levels. The doctor had ordered a sleep study and indicated that is the only way to get a bipap at home. In the meantime, she also prescribed him oxygen for at home to (hopefully) keep him out of the hospital until his sleep schedule could occur. 
Through that evening, he was doing better than the previous week, but was still showing signs of confusion, and wasn’t as present during dinner as we have seen before. He continued to not want to drink much that evening and while sitting for a few hours, his pulse continued to be extremely high. However, one of his fave caregivers was coming in and we had hoped Kenny would drink some fluids for him and with a good night of rest at home he’d be better in the morning.
The next morning, it was reported he did not drink any additional fluids on the overnight. He was attempted to be woken up Sunday morning, which was increasingly difficult. He did wake, after awhile, and agreed to get up and use the bathroom and take his meds at the kitchen table. When he stood up, he wasn’t moving and seemed to have no interest or ability to start walking to the bathroom. He told the caregivers and Mary Ann he couldn’t walk, he just couldn’t do it. He was then assisted back into his chair to lay down and rest. 
The discharging doctor from the previous day was consulted as we knew he would need to be brought back to the ER.
Last year Kenny and Mary Ann got a health care directive in order, and his wishes were very clearly determined at that time. He wanted to die a natural death and did not want any interventions. At that time he chose DNR/DNI status, but, the proper document (called a POLST) was not completed, therefore he was continually getting bipap during hospitalization, which is an intervention.
On Sunday, it was clear that the symptoms he was displaying were similar to past events and we wouldn’t be able to help him at home. However, sending him back to be put on the bipap, stabilize him, and discharge him back home wasn’t a feasible plan either. The doctor recommended initiating hospice at this point and offered to send in a referral. 
After many phone calls throughout the day, Healthpartners Hospice was able to come out late afternoon and start services for him. At this moment, he hadn’t woke up at all, and did not wake up when it was attempted. 

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