Welcome to our CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most. Len has been in the Palms of Pasadena hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida for the past ten days. He's spent 2 nights and 3 days in the Intensive Care Unit and 7 days in a regular room. He's being treated for double pneumonia and his pre-existing condition of congestive heart issues are being closely monitored.
The onset was the morning of April 2nd when he woke on a Saturday morning with a fever, chills and incessant coughing. He thought he had a cold or flu so he threw the covers back over his head and went back to sleep. When the coughing persisted, and he began to cough up blood, they knew it was time for him and Judy to go the ER.
Good friend Bonnie Synder drove them there where they were attended to by 5 male nurses and a doctor who reassured and informed them every step of the way, what they were doing to make sure Len got prompt and competent treatment, was everything in their power. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit where they took a biopsy of his lungs and found no evidence of cancer, they performed a thoracentesis where they extracted fluid from the left lung which was filled with fluid making it very difficult to breathe and put him on two antibiotics.
Len has a weakened heart due to previous heart attacks and bypass surgery. The cardiologist has been keeping the congestive heart issues stablized with a dose of several daily medications but because of low blood pressure readings in the ICU, they had to take him off all of his regular heart medications.
The level of care at the hospital has been very impressive. He has a wonderful team of doctors and many nurses monitoring his condition.
On April 4th, Monday, he was transferred to a regular private room where he spent the week mostly sleeping to allow the body to fight the bacterial infection in the lungs. The infectious disease doctor calls the name of the bacteria hemophilus influenza which has nothing to do with the flu. In the ICU, he was given what I was told is the strongest antibiotic available in the medical field today ~ Vancomycin (Vanococin.) While his body responded to such strong medicine, he had no energy for phone calls, eating much or staying awake very long.
On Sunday April 10th, he had a 2nd thoracentesis where they extracted a liter and a half of fluid from his left lung again. He coughed for an hour after the procedure. After he slept, he woke up feeling much more able to breathe, incessant coughing subsided, and he was in a lot better spirits. He was able to receive visitors in the afternoon. It was Sunday so his priest showed up to give him communion, and the protestant chaplin paid a visit too since he was making his Sunday rounds.
On Monday April 11th, he walked for the first time in 9 days with a physical therapist to the nurses station and back. He had good color in his face, the best appetite to date, and a good oxygen level while breathing on his own without the oxygen mask. His blood pressure was a little low but his body appears to be responding to the antibiotics. He had many visitors on Monday. (I) Annie visited from KC, Judy of course has been by his side non-stop from 11Am to 8pm everyday, taking breaks for lunch and dinner, Bonnie and Denny, and his friend AJ.
On Tuesday April 12th, Judy and I arrived in Len’s hospital room in the morning only to find him discouraged again since fluid continues to accumulate in his left lung. The right lung is good.
His pulmonologist performed a third thoracentesis procedure which again, drains fluid from his problematic left lung but this time they inserted a drainage tube which will stay in for awhile and keep pulling fluid out of his lung with a pleur-evac that measures the cc's. He was very uncomfortable after this procedure as anyone would be if you had three thoracentesis' within 10 days. The fluid is being tests and we await the cytology report which takes 24-48 hours.