On February 28, 2017 Paul went to the doctor’s office feeling under the weather. While he was there his temperature was 105°, and he was rushed via ambulance to St. John’s hospital. He was tested for influenza, and the results came back positive. He was given fluids for dehydration, they brought his temperature down, and they did an x-ray to check his lungs. They found his lungs to be clear, and he was sent home with medication and instructions to rest and relax.
On March 1, 2017 Paul went back into the emergency room. On top of the influenza, he was found to have developed pneumonia in both lungs and a possible tear in his esophagus. By the following morning his symptoms had worsened, so he was transferred to the ICU and placed on a breathing tube. It was discovered that on top of the pneumonia, both of his lungs and his chest cavity were filling with fluid. Paul had two chest tubes inserted on the 3rd day to help remove the fluids from his lungs and chest cavity. On March 10th he went through surgery, this procedure was performed in order to clean the fluid and infection from the right side of the chest cavity and additional draining tubes were put in. This was a very risky procedure, as Paul was not very stable, and they were not sure if his body would be able to handle the operation. The surgeon was able to do more during this procedure then he thought he could, as Paul’s body was able to tolerate the procedure better than anticipated.
Paul had surgery again on March 13, 2017 in order to clean the infection from his throat and to perform a tracheotomy. Paul had to have a tracheostomy placed, as they believed leaving him on the breathing tube any longer would cause other health related issues. He also required a drainage tube inserted into his throat cavity.
On March 17, 2017 Paul had his 3rd surgery to clean out the left side of his chest cavity, and at that time they placed larger drainage tubes into his chest cavity. This procedure was necessary as they wanted to have better drainage in the left side, and by doing this it helped to increase Paul’s lung capacity. Paul had been under sedation (drug induced coma) up until the most recent surgery, this allowed his body time to rest and heal. He was also medically paralyzed for approximately one week as his body was fighting the breathing tube. In the last few days Paul has slowly been waking up. He is unable to talk with us due to the tracheostomy, but he has been blinking at us and squeezing our hands to let us know he can hear us. Paul is continuing to fight the infection, but he will need months of recovery and physical therapy as he has been in the ICU for 3 weeks now, and he has been unable to move very much on his own. Physical therapy will also be needed in order to work his way off the trachea tube. Due to the amount of time that Paul has been in the ICU, the multiple surgeries, and the physical therapy, it is anticipated that Paul will be under medical care for an unspecified time into the foreseeable future.
Thank you all for all your thoughts, prayers, and contributions, Wanda, Gwen, Melissa, Michael, and all of the Poppie family.