Just (de)venting here...
I will update more later in the day if I get the opportunity, tonight at the latest.
Thank you all, once again, for your thoughts and prayers. I KNOW it has made a huge difference.
We love you all.
In order for the procedure to be performed, it was necessary for the nurse to unhook him from the many machines he was on. She was on a tight timetable in order to get him ready to go to the ER and his wrist would not stop bleeding. I had volunteered to help her earlier, and she finally took me up on it and let me apply pressure to his wrist. For the first time I felt like I was really helping! Don't get me wrong, I know that my being there gives him strength and I'm all about that, but this was something totally different and it felt really REALLY good! But enough about me...
His critical care doctor had told me that the procedure would be difficult for someone in Dale's condition and that there was a chance that he wouldn't make it through. As you can imagine, I was Nervous Nelly, waiting for him to come back to the ICU. I hadn't told Dan what the doctor said because he was already stressed enough and I didn't need 2 patients on my hands, so I'm sure he thought I was a nut-job (even more than usual) when I spent the next 3 hours pacing the hospital.
But, obviously, the outcome was good. Very good!
I took Dan to the airport without getting lost or running anyone off the road (that I know of) and am now back at Wolf's apartment. Stick a fork in me, I'm done (for the night). Tomorrow it's back to the hospital for the day. They are planning on taking him off the ventilator (!!) as he has tolerated the weaning process very well.
Thank you all, once again, for your thoughts and prayers. It means the world to us.
We love you all.
They said that they moved him because he needs such specialized care and they don't have the staff in place on the bone marrow ward to do it right now, but I think that Dale believes it's because he's getting worse. I've told him the reason, but he doesn't seem convinced.
To be honest, I'm very upset that they moved him and I'm sure they are aware of it. I tracked down the social worker in charge of his case and she promised to make sure that the doctor's tell him why he was moved. She also promised that he was at the top of the list to move back into the Bone Marrow Transplant ward once a nurse becomes available and I will hold them to that. I know they are doing the best they can, but I am very afraid that this will set Dale back or worse.
We are going to meet with the Dale's medical team tomorrow to discuss treatment options and also to figure out the medical power of attorney issue. Dan needs to go back to Billings to take care of some of Dale's affairs and would like to meet with the doctor's before that happens. I'll stay with Dale until Dan gets back.
Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts.
Dale, Dan, Wolf and Laurie
Because of a staffing shortage, they are moving Dale to the ICU. None of us, most especially Dale, are happy about it. The room is tiny and we can't be with him as much. He has improved a bit and I hope this doesn't set him back. Thank you all for your kindness and prayers. We love you all.
I'm giving platelets so this will be short. I'll try to post more tonight if I don't fall asleep at the computer again.
Hugs from Dale, Dan, Wolf and I.
5-20 Sunday Update
Dale has an infection that is antibiotic resistant. His critical care doctor said if they can't get a handle on it soon, they are out of options. Please keep Dale in your thoughts and prayers and hug the people you love.
Dale has made small, but important gains today. He has some infection growing in his main lines, but they are watching it closely. His liver counts are slightly improved and his critical care specialist seems really pleased. She says she believes the improvement he is showing is the real deal and I, for one, choose to believe her.
Cousin Dan asked Dale if he felt like he could continue on this way and Dale was very adamant that he DID want to carry on. It was a defining moment in Dan's eyes, though not so much for me because I already knew what his answer would be.
Wolf came to visit and brought some more of Dale's jazz CD's. Dale brightened considerably while he was here. He kept his eyes wide open, answering Wolf's questions with nods and he was even trying to form words.
They have lessened his level of sedation because he is tolerating the ventilator well. They are going to be letting him breathe some on his own today or tomorrow, which according to the nurse, is a very good thing.
I read a few more cards to Dale today and he got tears in his eyes when he heard your messages. I hope you all know how much it means to him. If any of you are considering sending more cards, the address is the same, but the room number is now 3404. I think he will be there for awhile.
Overall, things are slowly improving. Some say not to get too excited or count on too much, but I'm a very positive person so I'm going to continue to be positive.
I thank you again for all the love you've shown us. Keep those thoughts and prayers coming our way.
With love to you all from Denver,
Dale, Wolf, Dan and Laurie
When we were leaving I touched his arm and told him that he was strong and I knew he could beat this thing. I told him to keep on fighting and he shook his head up and down several times.
It is obvious to me that Dale is not ready to hang up the towel yet. We will keep reading to him and talking to him and playing jazz for him. If there comes a time when he is ready to stop fighting, I know he will tell us, somehow.
Please continue to pray for a miracle.
We love you all.
His doctor said that on a scale of 1 to 100, with 1 being healthy and 100 being deceased, Dale was currently at 99.9. His doctor told us that he had a heart attack on Tuesday morning and they had been forced to give him very strong drugs to control it. They would not be able to use those drugs on him again because of his condition. In other words, if he had another heart-related incident, they could not revive him. It was suggested that since Dale had voiced some opinions over quality of life issues, that we allow life support to be withdrawn. We were not ready, or able to make the decision at this time. They told us to take the all time we needed.
After leaving the meeting, shaken and despondent, the doctor came in and said he would like to try one more thing. Dale had already suffered through numerous blood clots, and so he wanted to try a drug that would prevent them from forming, hoping that the clots were causing the strain on the liver. We, of course, agreed to have them try the drug and it was started at 5:30 this evening. They will draw blood at 4 am and we should know more then.
It is really hard to know what to do, since Dale had not put any of his thoughts to paper, despite being asked to. I always thought he hesitated because he thought by writing it out, it would mean it was a possibility and he didn't want to even consider that. He is unable to tell us what he wants now, being sedated and quite confused because of the toxins in his system, so whatever decision is made will fall on Dan, and also on me. I pray that this treatment will work and a miracle will come to pass, but if not I ask for the strength we will need to make the right decision if the time comes.
When I talked to Wolf tonight, he told me of a conversation he had with Dale on Monday night as he was leaving. He said that Dale told him he just wanted to go home. Wolf thought that it meant he wanted to go home when he was well, but now he thinks that maybe Dale knew, as dying people often do, that his time on earth was ending and he was ready to go "home". My mom, Wolf's grandma, said the exact same thing as she lay dying not that long ago.
Anyway, that is the latest news. I will try to keep you all posted.
Thanks for keeping Dale and all of us in your thoughts and prayers.
Wolf read some of the your newest cards to Dale (kudos everyone, they really are amazing), and even though Dale wasn't able to comment, Wolf believes he was listening. Dale's heart rate was quite erratic for awhile, so Wolf put a jazz CD in the DVD player. The speakers are located right by Dale's head and his heart rate stabilized after the music was turned on. I am so thankful Wolf was here to be with Dale. No one should be alone in that situation.
Dale showed Wolf the multitude of cards and photos and artwork he had received from you bloggers and discussed what he would write back to each one of you. He showed Wolf each item and Wolf said Dale was fairly beaming with delight. He couldn't believe that people he didn't even know had taken the time to shower him with gifts. He was a very happy man and very thankful.
The plan they devised was to have Wolf bring in his laptop and type out the comments, then Wolf would email them to me for editing and posting on this blog. They agreed that Wolf would come over this afternoon (Tuesday) to work on the project. It would be Dale's first official ghost blogger post.
Wolf showed up at the hospital at the appointed time only to find that Dale's condition had deteriorated drastically and he had been moved to a different room. Dale was disoriented and non-communicative. He would answer questions, but didn't talk otherwise. His eyes were bright yellow. Wolf was beside himself when he realized that the nurses weren't able to give him any real information on Dale's condition because he didn't have the proper privacy authorization.
Wolf called me and I talked to the nurse. She was one that I had gotten to know rather well when I was down there and she finally, despite her reservations, told me what I wanted to know. Then she made arrangements so that Wolf could access Dale's information by calling a number and giving the security code.
The news isn't good. Dale was started on continuous dialysis this morning because he is in acute renal failure. His liver is shutting down and he is having some serious heart problems as well. What is startling to me is that he could go downhill so quickly in a hospital of all places, but according to his nurse, it happens sometimes with Graft Vs Host Disease. She said the situation was dire, but not to give up hope. Wolf will be talking to Dale's primary doctor tomorrow and I hope to have more information for you all then.
My son handled everything with grace and dignity. While I know he had to be shaken beyond belief, he held fast to the belief that this was a temporary setback and that Dale would shake it off and come out of it. Wolf stayed with Dale for several hours and spent the last half hour holding Dale's hand. After he left he went down to the parking lot and called me to reassure me that Dale would make it. I have a wonderful, strong, incredible son and I am so thankful that he is there for Dale.
Kay and I are trying to make arrangements to go down this weekend, if her work schedule permits. We will leave Thursday afternoon, drive straight through and stay until Sunday night or Monday morning and then come back to Montana. Our hope is to raise Dale's spirits and also give Wolf a break. If she is unable to go, I will probably drive by myself.
I know I've asked for your help before and you've given it more than willingly. I'm asking for it again. Please send forth your healing thoughts and prayers today and everyday until Dale is out of danger.