Journal

Journal entry by Jodi Craigie

Connie, Nicolle and I appreciate everyone who has contacted us to offer kind words especially in the past few days.

Arrangements have been made for a celebration of Dad's life to be held;

Saturday, November 10th 
Visitation - 1:00pm
Service - 2:00pm

White Funeral Home- Burnsville 
www.whitefuneralhomes.com
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Journal entry by Jodi Craigie

Today we made our way to the hospital hoping that overnight Dad would have made some positive steps in his recovery. Instead we learned that his blood pressure medication had been increased and his hemoglobin had dropped low enough that he needed a blood transfusion.

With his condition worsening, we scheduled a care conference to discuss the possibility of his long-term recovery. This brought together doctors from all of the teams who had treated him for various issues in the past 16 days;

-Thoracic 
-Surgical
-Kidney
-ICU
-Pulmonary 
-Palliative

The team summarized his diagnosis and reviewed all of the treatments he had received since the original procedure. With the information they provided we were told his chances for a full recovery were very slim. He had not regained consciousness, and other organs were being affected in his current state. His body had enough and would not be able to sustain another surgery. 

Knowing him like we do, Dad would not want the quality of life that they were explaining he would have if he recovered enough to leave the hospital. At each set-back we had gone ahead with the next procedure because we thought he had the best chance to get better and come back to us the way he had been.

We were forced with the choice to leave him on machines to sustain his life or let him go. It’s not a decision any of us ever wanted to think about or thought we would be in a position to make.

Our family had several hours to tell Dad how we felt and say goodbyes. Shortly after 1:00am on Tuesday, October 9th, Dad left us with family sitting by his bedside holding his hands. 

No words can fully express the pain of losing this husband, father, stepfather, father-in-law, grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, son-in-law, uncle, and friend... but we know he is no longer suffering and that gives us some peace to face the sad days ahead.

❤️🙏

Journal entry by Jodi Craigie

We’ve learned the day following surgery is an assessment day to see how the body reacts to the procedure.

Although Dad is stable, his blood pressure needs did increase again today. He’s also retaining more fluid again and with lower blood pressure the dialysis process is limited in the amount of fluid they can pull.

We also learned that some blood cultures recently showed that a yeast infection was found in his system. This is concerning and is being treated with antibiotics. Additional blood samples were taken to see how the antibiotics are working but cultures can take some time to grow.

Incredibly this type of yeast can also cause other organ issues including problems with the eyes. It seems there’s a possibility that Dad is showing some of this so the ophthalmology team will be further examining his eyes to look for spots on his retinas.

Wishing we had better news to share but seems there’s very little improvement with his recovery today.

Please keep him in your thoughts for these concerns to move in a positive direction.

Journal entry by Jodi Craigie

We might have our miracle... Dad made it through surgery and is back in the ICU!

The surgeons found a small section of the bowel that was concerning so it was removed. Most importantly they were able to re-section his small intestine and closed his incision which is the best outcome we could hope for today.

He is still on multiple antibiotics, ventilator, dialysis and of course pain medications. This will be ongoing and adjusted as his condition improves.

The care team has explained how critical he still is and we’re well aware that this next week could be very crucial in how his body reacts and begins to recover.

We pray for no more set-backs and small steps each day that might show us things are going in the right direction.

Blessings to everyone who has been following along and keeping us in your thoughts. Collectively we’re all breathing a sigh of relief for now. ❤️🙏🏻

Journal entry by Jodi Craigie

A very quick update, Dad’s condition since the recent surgery on Thursday night has not changed. His medications, dialysis and ventilator needs all remain in place.

The surgical team scheduled early tomorrow morning to determine if additional necrosis has occurred and if they will be able to re-section the small intestine successfully.

Any additional prayers would be appreciated - we keep hoping he can continue to fight!❤️🙏

Journal entry by Jodi Craigie

As much as we've tried to be positive through the last couple of weeks, today really took its toll on our outlook.

Dad had some major setbacks throughout the day which resulted in many tests including a CT scan, ultrasounds and blood work to determine why his white blood count was escalated and his blood pressure was dropping again.

The CT scan showed a blockage in his small intestine which brought up other serious concerns. Several teams of doctors were brought in to consult on his prognosis for long-term recovery. Because doctors could not "see" from the scan what the actual issue might be they suspected that he had dead tissue in his bowel or small intestine. With this condition we were given two very sobering scenarios:

-wait and see approach to see if the blockage might clear or improve
-surgery to explore the blockage and remove any dead tissue    

After a lot of consulting, crying and praying we chose to go the surgery route even though we were told of the high risks of Dad not making it through this procedure such a short period of time following the initial surgery.

The surgery itself was about an hour and half and did reveal that some of his small intestine had likely suffered blood loss at some point and had died, this is called necrotic bowel. The surgery team removed 3ft of his small intestine and his incision will be left open for them to see how the rest of his intestine reacts before they re-section the two ends together. There's still a chance that more of his intestine could be affected but we should know more in the next day and another surgery is planned for Saturday to attempt to reattach the intestines if all goes well.  

The most important thing tonite is that he made it through this surgery and Connie, Nicolle and I feel that we made the right choice in what has now probably more than ever become a life and death situation. 

If reading these posts this week has touched you in some way and you'd like to prevent family from having to make decisions for you in a situation like this, please plan ahead now and fill out a health care directive to put your wishes in writing. We can't even begin to explain how hard its been to see a husband/parent in this situation and be part of making life changing decisions when its unclear if you're doing what is best for them. 

We have run the full gamut of emotions just in one day; confusion, frustration, anger, sadness, exhaustion, and now maybe a little bit of relief. Time will tell how his body reacts to this latest shock and how much this will add to his long road to recovery.

Again, we can't thank the U of M surgeons and the care team enough for their continued counsel and most importantly their determination and skill in getting him through this latest challenge.

Journal entry by Jodi Craigie

What’s the saying? The more things change, the more they stay the same...

Dad had a few changes today but nothing too major that the care team hasn’t seen before. His dialysis was increased to begin pulling more excess fluid out of his blood. This seems to be successful since Connie said his hands and feet appear to be less puffy today.

The oxygen trials also allowed him to breath on his own for about 2 hours before he got too tired. During this time his blood pressure dropped slightly so a low dose of blood pressure medication was also added back to keep things stable. 

One thing I didn’t touch on before is the liquid nutritional feeding which has been regulated through a tube in his small intestine, the dedunum. When Dad aspirated earlier this week the feedings were halted but had been added back over the weekend and the was increased today. Apparently his body didn’t tolerate this well so doctors reduced the feeding amount again. 

All of these things together seem to be stressing his system so no further oxygen trials were able to be completed today, but we are hopeful that he may make some progress tomorrow.

Positive thoughts and prayers have helped get us to this point - let’s keep it up!

Journal entry by Jodi Craigie

Optimistic is the word of the day... Dad is showing some further improvements and we're thrilled!!!

Connie reported early this morning that he had no concerning issues overnight. She and Nicolle were with him all day and he's become quite the busy body in his bed, moving his arms and legs a bit throughout the day. His eyes are also open off and on which seems to show that his body is healing and allowing him to be awake more frequently.  

Currently his blood pressure is normal without medication. His heart rate is also in the normal range with no afib issues today. He's still on pain meds and the intense antibiotics to treat the infection as well as the bacteria in his lungs.  

Oxygen levels have improved and today the vent setting he's on allowed him to breathe on his own for about 2 hours before he got tired. The nurses explained that much like exercising, they will continue to transition his breathing settings to allow him to breathe more often on his own for longer periods of time. This is a huge step towards getting that breathing tube out for good!   

We continue to pray that he has 'Up' days and no more set-backs. As much as the ICU team has been great, we know many of them by name and have some fun conversations with them, they'd probably like to start seeing all of us less often. The feeling is mutual since it means that Dad would be well enough to move onto another care ward.    

Keep those positive vibes coming our way!   

Journal entry by Jodi Craigie

Today we begin week 2 of Dad's care protocol and so far his condition is relatively unchanged from last night.  

Some new test results came back from cultures that were taken over the weekend which is a bit concerning, it seems the infection in his lungs is a form of e coli. The care team also found that the antibiotic that he was on was not effectively treating this bacteria so he was put on a much stronger medication to fight the infection.

Given that his lungs are compromised, it will be awhile longer before he can be weaned off the ventilator and there's a possibility the tube may need to be removed from his mouth and placed directly into his throat (tracheostomy) instead. We're hoping with the new medication, his oxygen numbers continue to improve so this procedure won't be necessary.

Dad's blood pressure continues to bounce around lower ranges so one of the earlier medications was added back to keep it regulated. His afib is still an issue as well but his heart is squeezing better which is a good sign.

Still no signs of waking but we keep hoping that will come sooner rather than later in the days ahead as medications are adjusted and his body continues to heal. The ups and downs are hard on all of us and likely confusing to many people reading these posts. One of the doctors mentioned that its not like they turn one thing off and start another, its a continual re-balancing to adjust for changes, kind of like riding a wave. So at times it feels like we're dealing with a tsunami while other moments its more like a ripple on the lake. We just continue to put on our "life jackets" and brace for what may come next! 

Especially from Nicolle and myself, we are so appreciative of the understanding of our respective employers and the compassion of so many people who have reached out to us during this time. Hugs to all!
 

   

Journal entry by Jodi Craigie

We like it when he's boring... today was the first day since the surgery that there hasn't been an urgent phone call, critical doctor report, or immediate need to change anything in Dad's current health protocol! Yippee! ;)

This gave all of us some time to take a breath and not feel the need to rush to the hospital this morning. When we did arrive, Dad's condition was about the same place it had been when we left the night before. While he is still critical and we're well aware things could change at a moments notice we are happy to report the following:

-blood pressure meds have been removed
-oxygen usage is at 35%
-he's no longer being sedated 
-the dialysis is removing some excess fluid 
-he is showing more movement and responding to commands (squeeze hands, wiggle toes)
-liver enzymes are improved
-doctors are cautiously optimistic about these recent improvements and his recovery

Time moves excruciatingly slowly in the ICU and we have learned the "hospital half hour" is nothing like the 30 minutes we are accustomed to in everyday life. This is especially challenging for those of us who don't have a lot of patience! Connie, Nicolle and I have a renewed respect for anyone in the medical field as we have all agreed that we could never do the jobs of his care team. There are far too many names to list here but we are forever indebted to the doctors and nurses who we've met throughout this past week- they are truly amazing!!

Things we would like to see and ask for continued prayers;

-for Dad to wake up on his own and open his eyes
-for his body to continue to heal and fight the sepsis infection
-for the afib to resolve and his heart rhythm to return to normal
-for him to be able to breathe on his own completely and the breathing tube to be removed
-for no long-term adverse effects from the surgery or multiple procedures he's endured

Again thank you to everyone who visits this site to receive updates as we are focused on our family and supporting each other at this time.

Visitors are still limited to immediate family only while Dad is still critical in the ICU! We will update as his condition improves and feel that he may be able to have other visitors when he is moved to another recovery ward.
 
   

Journal entry by Jodi Craigie

We appreciate you visiting this site and your concern about our Dad, Odie’s recent health issue. Along with his wife Connie, Nicolle and I will do our best to keep everyone updated as we learn more each day about his progress.

Here’s the basis of his current issue;

This past Saturday Dad and Connie were out to dinner at a local favorite restaurant, after they returned home he felt pressure in his esophagus which is something that he has experienced in the past. Thinking this was a possible food obstruction, Dad went to the ER to have an endoscopy- which is a procedure he has had previously and not uncommon for him. During this procedure the ER team found another issue and he was rushed to the University of Minnesota hospital early Sunday morning.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers as this is unexpected and very scary for all of his family!

 
Odie’s Story

Site created on September 24, 2018

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.


Given that Dad is in the ICU and his condition is still very serious we are limiting visitors to immediate family only! We also know he would not want many people to see him in this state so we appreciate everyone giving him time to heal and respecting his privacy. 

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