Richard Spisz

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Written by: Julie
My Dad's journey started with his annual trip to Dauphin Island, Alabama.  We left Michigan on January 13th.  I stayed with him until the 20th and then flew home.  I expected to be flying back down there to drive home with him on March 14th, but other plan were in store.  For those of you that have been around my Dad recently, you know that he has had some issues with his legs and swelling.  He has also been seeing a Podiatrist to take care of his nails.  Before we left for Alabama, he saw all of his Drs. and since his left leg was very swollen, they wrapped it in a soft bandages and told him to leave it on for 13 days.  While I was still there, he told me that he had a water blister on his right leg, but that he took care of it before I woke up.  What that exactly means, is beyond me, but I think he lanced it and then covered it with a bandage.  

After I left & the 13 days came,  Dad unwrapped his leg.   Everything seemed to be going good for about 2 weeks, but then he ended up getting some sores on his feet and legs, and his friends, Clark & Karla,  thought he should go to Urgent Care.  That was Monday 2/20.  They told him that he had an infection (Cellulitis), gave him antibiotics and told him they wanted to see him Thursday, 2/23.  When I talked to him on Wednesday, 2/22 - he said he had slept like a baby for the past two days and we were excited that he finally got some good sleep.  (Later we would find out that this was a sign for something else.) 

On Thursday 2/23, Clark & Karla picked up Dad and took him back for his recheck.  That's when things started going downhill.  They told me that he could barely walk, even with the cane &/or walker.  The Dr. sent him straight to emergency and that is where we found out that not only did he have cellulitis, he also had a blood infection.  He was septic.  (This was the reason for the sleeping that I mentioned before).  They admitted him to Providence Hospital in Mobile Alabama and he's been in the hospital ever since.    His friends called to tell me what was going on, and my sisters and I made plans for me to go down and be with him since I am currently unemployed.  I arrived there on Sunday 2/26 and he was quite surprised.  

While I was down in Alabama, he seemed to be doing better the first week I was there, but then took a turn during the second week.  All he wanted was to get back to a Michigan hospital, but the trip insurance that he bought, said he would have to be well enough to fly a commercial flight.  For the 2 weeks that I was there, we tried to get him better, but it just seemed to get worse and his kidneys were not working well. I asked multiple times what it would take to get him transferred back to Michigan & all the Dr could tell me was that it's not that simple.  Needless to say,  I was very unhappy with this Dr.  and I asked for him to be taken off my Dad's case.  They told me they could possibly switch him on Monday, but during the weekend, this particular Dr. was the one on-call.  Christine came down to keep me company that weekend and the Dr. in question had the nerve to tell us that Dad might not recover from this.   At this point, I started researching air ambulances on my own.  I found a couple of different companies and started setting this up.  While I was doing all the leg work to get him transferred, Dr in question was doing nothing.  St. Joe's AnnArbor had no rooms, so I called UofM.  The told me to have the Dr. call and ask for the transfer department.  When I gave that number to him, he said, "who will I be talking to?".  I told him that I didn't know because they would not transfer me there because I was not a Dr.  He said that he wasn't going "to waste his whole day playing phone tag with another hospital".  Well finally, we got one of the hospitalists and his cardiac Dr. to help us out and we were all set.  He flew home on Monday 3/13 and arrived at UM hospital.  They ran more tests on him at UM in one day, then they did the whole time he was in Providence.  He's currently still in ICU, but his kidneys are functioning normally again and we are working on his breathing and then Physical Therapy.  He is now off the BiPAP all day and only uses it at night.  During the day, he is only using nasal oxygen, which is a huge improvement.  

Please keep my Dad in your thoughts and prayers as this is going to be a very long recovery.  

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