Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The PEG is out!!

Well, today I went to my G.  P., John Good as a part of the process of getting a second opinion about having the operation to remove the PEG tube.  We have been emailing him about how the specialist [hereafter will be referred to as THE IDIOT] was not able to pull the tube out .  Doctor Good, like Doctor Kerbavaz, has been our family doctor for over thirty years.  In the  back of our minds we wished Good would try to pull the tube out.  But we didn't think that was in the cards because after all the idiot specialist failed.  But when we told Good that the idiot was so uncomfortable around me that he would not talk to me the first time, that he asked if Linda and mikee really had to be in the room, that the people whose tubes he took out were normally comatose, etc, Good asked if I wanted him to try to pull it out because he shared our concerns about the operation.  Of course I said YES!  So after two strong pulls with the right intention, THE TUBE WAS OUT!  NO OPERATION NEEDED!  Dr. Good, like Kerbavaz, is my hero!  And I am typing this three hours later!

THE PERFORMANCE IS ON!

Stephen Emanuel wrote:
that's the kind of second opinion we like...have fun at the performance!  Steve and Marjorie

Frank Moore wrote:
you can say that again, Steve!

Sandy Mock wrote:
Interesting, isn't it, that the "specialist" couldn't (or wouldn't) do it, but Dr. Good did...HOORAY FOR DR. GOOD!!!!
SHIT TO THE IDIOT....GO BACK TO SCHOOL....

Frank Moore wrote:
EXACTLY!

Dr. Richard Kerbavaz wrote:
Perfect solution!!

Frank Moore wrote:
exactly!

Claudette Bibb wrote:
How brilliant!! Sounds so easy after all the anxiety caused by THE IDIOT. Wonderful news for you all.

Frank Moore wrote:
exactly, Claudette!

Betsy wrote:
Frank that is wonderful!!! I work with lots of kids with pegs, but unfortunately they typically have to have it because they cannot swallow nor chew to be safe. SO, good for you, glad everything worked out, I applaud you for speaking up and asking questions. Sounds like you had a great visit with our buddy Steve. I keep track of him through you! I miss him, we sure had some good times.
Have a wonderful holiday season with all your family,
Love,
Betsy

Frank Moore wrote:
hey, Betsy!  I learned a long long time ago they often don't know what the fuck they are talking about and they can put a fatal curse on you if you
fall for it!  I never have!

Yep, our tribe is still intact after forty years or more!  Great visit with Steve and his mate!

Paul Escriva wrote:
Hot damn!

Eda Malenky wrote:
what a story!  what a GREAT story!  Good for you  (haha)!  i'm really so glad.  wish i could have a doctor Good in NY. 

it's gotten cold here, but lovely.  we still picked a few raspberries in our backyard.  after alan and our upstairs neighbor/tenant buried her cat there today (poor kitty had feline leukemia and deteriorated suddenly and quickly while she was away 4 wks taking care of her mom in Minneapolis, where btw, it got to 11 degrees.)

so, time for me to get ready for bed so i can get warm from Alan's fur.

again, so glad.  lots of love, eda

Frank Moore wrote:
and ain't that what living is all about?  Creating great stories to re- tell!

Michael Diehl wrote:
Hi Frank and Linda.
Well it is hard to keep a good man like you down for long. I have been struggling with some of my own physical and mental disabilities but part of what gets me through the dark tis the season to be jolly is hearing you on Crack of Dawn singing Christmas songs. Here's to your long life. You are an inspiration of how to beat the odds by being even odder!
Ho ho ho,
Michael Diehl

Frank Moore wrote:
well, Michael, this places a great sacred responsibility over my head!  But I will do my duty tonight!  Keep in mind I just had my trach out, so my voice is untested!  The odds are more odd!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

peg tube update

Ah, well, today at the doctor's office, my PEG [feeding] tube [which I had to let them put in to get out of the hospital] didn't /wouldn't come out even after a couple of hard yanks...  Which turns out to happen in five percent of cases [this was the first time I heard that fact].  So I need to go to the hospital for an operation to remove it.  So there is at least one more hoop to jump through in this journey!  It also turns out most people keep their tubes in for forever!  So removing them ain't an everyday affair!  Again that is the first time I heard that!

Annie Sprinkle wrote:
Shit.
Happy thanksgiving!
Annie

Frank Moore wrote:
exactly, Annie!  Well put!  We decided to slow the process way down, cancel the operation, get other options and opinions.  Another risk of that "procedure" is tearing the Esophagus !  If that happens, you would need a PEG feeding tube, etc!  I don't know yet
the odds of that happening...  But...

Paul Escriva wrote:
Oh shit Frankie....
sorry to hear this.
Conversely, I'm glad you are well enough not to need a PEG.
Odd that this is the first time you're hearing the scoop!
Paul

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My trach was taken out today!

My trach was taken out today!

Jeff Snyder wrote:
That's wonderful news! Congrats Frank.
~ Jeff Snyder

Frank Moore wrote:
ah, thanks, Jeff!

This is the kind of email that got me out of the hospital!

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:
Re: From Frank
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 2010 14:38:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: jeremy watts
To: Linda Mac


Frank, you are the weirdest motherfucker I have ever met.  Please know that you are in our thoughts... naked.  ; )

-------- Original Message --------
thanks, Jeremy!

In Freedom,
Frank Moore
http://www.eroplay.com
http://www.luver.com
facebook: Love Underground Visionary Revolution
facebook group: The Universal Underground Video Bank
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=117921371580943&ref=ts

Thursday, September 2, 2010

my ENT

Kerbavaz replied: "Great to hear restaurants are back on the agenda!!"

A big day!

We went to the doctor's today.  She ok'd the  start of the process of the removing of  the trach.

But the big news....  On our walk back to the car, we stopped in at Mokka (the great Cafe where the guys got their coffee during my hospital stay... We kept saying just wait until I am eating again!)  I suggested we could drop in there!  I ate a bowl of raspberry sorbet! Yum!  I  had no problem. First time eating in a restaurant since the hospitalization. It's a big day around here!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Article in the Contra Costa Times featuring Frank!

Read the photographer's blog version article

Read it at The Oakland Tribune web site

Photos by Doug Oakley

Ann Cohen

Yesterday Ann Cohen came over to do a very magical concert of Songs and poems.  Some of the poems  were by her late husband, Allen...  a major alternative cultural figure of the sixies [the force behind the San Francisco underground paper THE ORACLE and the organizer of THE BE- IN [trying to bring the San Francisco hippies and the Berkeley political activists together].

Ann is a force herself...  playing her hand made harp as we talked, making up Songs jamming with what we were saying.

we were kids in ann's school for tots.

When we were talking about Louise Scott [who opened everything up for me forty years ago], Louise called right then.  magic.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kittee: 1989-2010

Today is a sad day  here.  We have to say Good-by to Kittee, our twenty year old Siamese cat. He waited until we got back home from hospital. He spent the last weeks on my lap night and day ... Very demanding. 

Even when he couldn't hardly walk, he climbed aboard.

[hours later]

They brought his body back home to be put in our back yard with the other two.  He has gone to the vet's almost every day for fluids for over a year.  He established relationships with every person there (they would talk to him, not to us).  So he went to sleep among his adorating fans as well as Linda and mikee.  What a way to go.


Paul Escriva wrote:
Hi Frankie,

Sorry to hear that Kittee passed on.
I can remember when I met him in 1993....
The first time I walked into the house he looked across the room and very loudly talked to me.
Later that night he found his way into the bedroom.
I awoke with him tip-toeing across the back of my pillow until he settled down and decided to curl up on the end of the futon for a little snooze.

Heaps of hugs to everyone,

Paul

Lob & Yvette wrote:
very sad Frank.. sorry to hear of Kittee's passing.
hugs and condolences to you and the family.

Lob & Yvette

Diana L. Battle wrote:
Frank,
So sorry to hear that. I am going through the fluid thing with my 14 yr old kitty,Cleo now.. They can be so comforting.

Annie Sprinkle wrote:
Thinking of you, here in West Virginia, when I read about your cat.
So sorry that you loose this precious member of your family.

Better to have loved and lost...

Blessings.
Annie
Sending world's sexiest and biggest flower for funeral. by email.

Frank Moore wrote:
yes, Annie, we miss him.  But we had time to hang out with him.  You lost your cats in the fire without a warning.  That must be harder.

Monday, August 9, 2010

expanding

Possibilities!

In the hospital several nurses said to me separately that they always thought that they needed kids so  they would have someone to take care of them when they got old.  But when they saw how we six were tribally taking care of one one another, they realized that there are many different ways, many kinds of families.  It blew them out how were there for one another.
In Freedom,
Frank Moore 

Dr. Richard Kerbavaz replied:
Indeed!  I had several of the nurses and therapists comment about how well everyone was able to pull together to help Frank.  That's a pretty good working definition of what family is all about
rk 

Frank Moore replied:
exactly!  And it was day-to-day for six weeks, so they saw it wasn't just show...  But very practical down to earth love /intimacy /tribal body that operates effectively uNder hard situations.

Btw, RK is doctor Kerbavaz, my ent for over twenty years...  But much more!  A dear friend!  He is on the e-salon.  He put in my trach, and basically is over seeing my recovery.  We email him questions almost daily !  he even checked in on me on his camping trip! 

Annie Sprinkle replied:
Wow Frank and Family.
Thanks for showing us the way to do hopsitols and aging and illness as love and art.
Very inspiring.
You should be so super proud of yourselves for being so phenomenal and special.
Annie

Frank Moore repilied:
yes annie, life always gives you opportunities to do possibilities-opening art.  The emails I got were my first sign that it wasn't just my personal situation that was involved.   many demanded me to do my duty and live to  do more trouble-making magic together.  There was a thick pile of them before I was in any shape to understand reading them.  But when I was, a lot of them said i better not die or else.

There are a lot of layers of this "piece "...  The RECOVERING CAM...  A great female singer (Kaitlin McGaw) came over last week to give us a concert...  Tomorrow a reporter (my nurse's brother) is coming to interview me about IHSS....  So you never know what a piece will lead to.  But this is a little extreme even for me...  Although I did do DYING IS SEXY before.




Kaitlin McGaw replied:
You guys are so dear. Thanks for sharing, Frank and Linda!
Stay full of life, joy and love.

Kaitlin

Frank replied:
Kaitlin, it meant a lot to me that you came and sang to us.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Donation From Vinnie and Jackie

From Vinnie (Spit) & Jackie:

Hi Frank, Mikee, Linda and the gang,
We just arrived home from a trip and read all the emails on Frank's progress. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

We sent you some money through PayPal. If you guys are still tight on funds we can hopefully send you some more next month.

Get well my friend and thanks to everyone who has been looking after you.
- Vinnie and Jackie

Frank replied:
thanks, guys.  It helps.  We figured that we have gotten about a third of what we lost from the e-salon people...  Most who don't have much money themselves...  amazing and inspiring...  A layer of our family.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dodged a bullet

Frank was doing great when he first came back home from Alta Bates (Saturday, July 17). Linda and Mikee were much more comfortable with all the procedures and equipment after all the training at the hospital. He met with his visiting nurse, Jeannie, on Sunday, who was impressed with all of Frank’s stories. It turns out her brother-in-law had played slide guitar in Frank’s All-Star band in SF and her brother and sister are regular viewers of Frank’s cable TV show.

Wednesday, July 21, Frank had back-to-back sessions with a speech therapist for swallow therapy and with a physical therapist, (both of whom were great!) which all went well, but later that evening Frank started running a fever and the amount of secretions that we were suctioning had escalated and were getting thicker.

By Thursday morning it was obvious that Frank had an infection an then began a crazy daylong ride to avoid another trip to the Emergency Room. The nurses we called tried to contact Frank’s doctors and unfortunately they were all out of town on vacation. After many calls to nurses and various doctors it appeared our only choices were to go to the E.R. or to wait to get a call from a doctor who would probably tell us to go to the E.R. It was clear that all Frank probably needed was an antibiotic and it seemed crazy to run to the E.R. for every little thing. As the day wore on, Frank suggested we call Dr. Corey, who is Dr. Kerbavaz’s associate who we had only met once before at the hospital. That proved to be the perfect move. When we called she was actually available to talk to us and when we told her that we were facing another trip to the E.R. she said, “Oh, no, no, no!” and promptly called in a prescription for an antibiotic. Within less than 12 hours, Frank’s fever gone and the flow of secretions started to diminish.

Since then, Frank has been doing great. He is spending all of the day in his recliner. He also has been getting into his wheelchair once a day to cruise the house and supervise his Netflix Queue management on his computer.



Kittee, our 20.5 year-old Siamese cat, has been totally involved in Frank’s care. When we get up and start running around to do some procedure with Frank he climbs out of his bed and parks himself in the middle of the action. He even woke Linda up one night by tapping on her and because Mikee had been asleep for too long on his night shift watch.




Frank is physically getting stronger fast.

Keep those healing thoughts and good vibes coming!

To those who have donated money we deeply, deeply, deeply appreciate it. You will be hearing from us individually. We are squeaking by in July because of your donations.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Frank got the PEG.

At midnight Wednesday night, in anticipation of Frank approving the procedure to put in the PEG, they stopped all of his tube feeding and fluid intake. A PEG (Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube) is a tube placed in the stomach to use for feeding and water until Frank can eat by mouth again. The G.I. doctor was supposed to come in the morning to go over the procedure and a time had already been scheduled on Thursday for the surgery. But by 10AM, no doctor, and the nurse came in and told us that the surgery will likely get bumped and the G.I. doctor doesn’t know when he will come by. We were pretty upset…At 3PM we were told the surgery wouldn’t happen that day. Finally Frank could get water and food through the tube in his nose (NG tube). At 4pm the water and food started!

The G.I. doctor finally came in around 8PM Thursday night. He explained the procedure of how they send a scope down through the mouth and into the stomach with which they can shine a little light through the stomach wall. The light helps them place the position of the PEG so they don’t poke through any intestines. Then they make a small incision and pop the tube in and inflate a little balloon on the inside to keep it in. Frank approved the procedure and the doctor said he would schedule the surgery in the morning. That meant Frank’s food and water would be stopping again at midnight!

Come morning, we learned that Frank was scheduled for surgery at 12:30pm and they came and gurneyed him away at 11AM. He procedure went smoothly and Frank is doing great, especially after some strong pain meds.

It is now Saturday, and we found out this morning that we can go home this afternoon as long as the PEG tube is working well. Yay! So hopefully later today you will be able to watch Frank on the CheroCam http://www.eroplay.com/webcam.html.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Back in the hospital!

Frank is back in the hospital as of yesterday.  He started Tuesday feeling sick, with a fever and thick secretions, and they weren't able to keep his oxygen numbers up.  They were advised to go back to the hospital to identify the source of the infection.  So far, the x-rays have not revealed pneumonia, but they haven't ruled it out.  They put Frank on antibiotics ...   It is a setback, because Frank was due to start the swallow therapy again yesterday to get him on the road to eating again, and now they have to consider how to deal with his eating situation because he can not keep the NG tube in for too much longer.  They are going to be consulting with a GI doctor there today about a PEG, which they have been very hesitant to do because of it being another invasive surgery, and also because of the way another GI surgeon had portrayed it to them earlier in the hospital stay, not very confident that it would work well for Frank.  This morning, Frank is feeling much better, and they are not getting a lot when they suction, and Frank had a good night, was able to sleep, all of which is good news!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Back home ... again

frank was discharged from the icu at alta bates on monday early evening and returned to alta bates' e.r on tuesday early evening on the advice of his doctors. the trach he had in was not working and frank was basically breathing around it and thru his mouth and not getting much oxygen. he was immediately admitted back to the icu and they replaced the trach with a larger one that works.

we returned home again thursday late afternoon and everything has been going smoothly since. frank is doing well.

keep sending frank those good feelings to get him strong again!



From:    mary estes 

hi frank linda and mikee! so glad to hear you're home frank, a much more restful place to RECOVER.. wow talk about uncomfortable zones of fun...recuperation! i'm making a little trip to the east bay  this week and if it's something you would like, i would like to drop in and say hi, bring a smile and anything else you might request.  let me know if this is an idea that works, or if not, i totally understand.  let me know...

GET WELL SOON..
marz

Frank replied:

Marz,

i would love to see you, but we are doing a lot here and we need to focus on that.
maybe in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Going home!

We got word from the doctor this morning that they are going to send Frank home tomorrow (Monday)!!  You can watch him recover on the CheroCam later in the day.

http://www.eroplay.com/webcam.html

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

update 6.29.10

Last week, Frank had progressed well with the trach to the point that he was off the ventilator, breathing through the trach on his own with some oxygen, and getting used to eating our homemade food. He was able to get off the liquid tube feeding.

On June 24th, the night before his 64th birthday, Frank moved out of the ICU and into a room on the "floor". All was going well, to the point where it made sense to start weaning Frank from the trach, and plans were made for Frank to leave the hospital today, Tuesday. But when the trach was taken out yesterday, Frank didn't do well. It was a rough day. Frank had a hard time doing anything, eating included. By last night, he was in pretty bad shape, and the ICU was brought back on to the case. The decision was made to put the trach back in, and he was moved back into intensive care at 5am this morning.

The doctor says we are "waiting for the dust to settle". If all goes well, we may be going home in a few days, with the trach in, so that Frank can build up strength at home, so he is able to move around, re-build his muscles, cough again, and ultimately have the trach removed.

Frank is working very hard to get better, and it is still very, very challenging.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Update Frank in the hospital

Hi everybody,

In case you have been wondering why you haven’t heard from Frank for a while, here is why …

Frank has been at Alta Bates hospital in Berkeley since Sunday, May 30th.  He has been in intensive care since Tuesday, June 1st.  He is doing much better, but we wanted to let everybody know what happened.

Several days before Frank, Linda & Mikee decided to bring Frank into emergency, Frank was experiencing symptoms which they later found out were related to gallstones, and gall bladder problems.  Dark urine, severe gas, tightness in the body …  They called Eda, Alexi’s mom, in Brooklyn, NY, who has been an RN her whole life.  She recommended that they go into the hospital right away, better not to wait to go into Frank’s regular doctor’s office.  She was right.  Frank went into the emergency room Sunday night, and was admitted sometime early the following morning.  The exploratory procedure the following day revealed a gall bladder filled with gallstones, and beginning to gangrene.  They entered the hospital not a day too soon. 

The surgery the following day to remove the gall bladder was successful.  The surgeons said that his gallbladder was like a “sack of marbles”!  But the surgery was very hard on Frank, and immediately following the surgery, Frank could not breathe on his own, and was put on a ventilator, and taken into intensive care.  We knew that Frank’s lungs were sensitive, but there were a whole host of other physical challenges that came at Frank following the surgery, including the threat of kidney failure.  So this started the first week of a hair-raising journey that has now lasted 3 weeks, and is still not over. 

1st week: Sunday, May 30th – Saturday, June 5th

Following the surgery, Frank was brought into the Critical Care East wing at Alta Bates.  Frank was soon very eager to get off of the ventilator, and to begin eating and drinking normally again.  Frank’s friend and ENT doctor of 25 years, Dr. Rich Kerbavaz, became involved in the case, and talked to the ICU doctors about his experience of Frank, and what is “normal” for Frank.  His breathing and eating may not look the way they are expecting.  This is controversial.  Not all of the doctors agree, but there is a strong push to wean Frank from the ventilator, and get him started eating and drinking again.  They remove the breathing tube, which is a big deal, and Frank embarks on several days of swallowing and eating tests.  They are disasters!  Frank ends up on the BiPAP (basically a breathing mask), a substitute for the breathing tube.  The “tests” result in heart rate problems, gas, difficulty breathing.  Frank is also dealing with fluid in the chest and lungs, very bad kidney numbers, the heart “A-fib” (Atrial Fibrillation), blood pressure problems, gas and digestive issues.  All of these things make it harder for Frank to breathe as well, and he hasn’t eaten for a week! 

At the end of this week, after the East unit’s patients are all moved to Critical Care West, Frank is very anxious to get off of the BiPAP.  Saturday night, Frank’s heart goes A-fib, he is having trouble breathing, and the breathing tube is put back in. 

2nd week: Sunday, June 6th – Saturday, June 12th

“Two steps forward, one step back.” – Dr. Olson

This is a week of setbacks.  The week starts with a scary warning from one of Frank’s nurses: “Frank is a very sick man.”  This followed a request, standard procedure, for Frank’s medical directive paperwork.  It throws all of us into a temporary meltdown.  This is Monday evening.  Later that night, the night shift doctor sums up the week’s theme: “You know as they say,” she tells Linda, “in Critical Care its always 2 steps forward, 1 step back.”  It really helped to hear this.  “No,” said Linda, “I didn’t know that’s what they say!” 

This was a week of “weaning” trials on the ventilator interspersed with setbacks.  A rash that appeared in the first week starts to spread across Frank’s belly and back, and Frank bites, unintentionally due to his spasticity, through two tubes!  First, the tube that creates the vacuum seal on the tracheal balloon for the breathing tube, and the tube has to be replaced!  Then, later in the week, Frank bites through the feeding tube, which also needs to be replaced.  Each time, a day or part of a day is lost, and “weaning” is postponed. 

The nights are difficult, Frank is very uncomfortable with this mouthful of tubes, and can’t sleep.  There are continuing problems with digestion, retaining fluids, and Frank’s kidneys.  Also, he has a fever, which like the rash, is mysterious and stumping the infectious diseases doctor …  Another day is lost to a CT Scan to try and locate possible sources of whatever infection is causing the fever …

However, the week ends with what feels like a turning point:  Friday night, Dr. Rubaii, a great Critical Care doctor, often working the night shift (Mikee thought he should be wearing a cape!), flew in and gave Linda and Corey a guided tour of Frank’s body on the ICU computer, showing them everything through the CT Scan’s cross-sections of Frank’s body.  Basically, everything looks good!  There is some fluid, but they are starting to get the fluid moving through, drying up, but everything looks fairly normal to him.  Added bonus, Frank’s prostate is in good shape!  The real issue for Rubaii is getting Frank off of the ventilator.  All of these other “complications” that came up after the surgery were nothing to worry about, as far as he was concerned:  “We need to get him off the vent!”

3rd week: Sunday, June 13th – Saturday, June 19th

“Do they always put on a hospital show?” – Frank Moore

The third week has felt, in many many ways, like a significant turnaround, and on the road to recovery.  Frank’s swollen body, filled with fluids not being processed well by his kidneys, returns to its normal size, his kidney levels improve, blood pressure and heart rate finally stabilize and the IVs gradually drop away.  Day by day, the rash begins to clear up, Frank’s fever goes down, and he is on a liquid diet through the feeding tube that he is digesting.  Frank continues the “weaning” trials on the ventilator, gradually reducing the pressure support that he is being given by the machine. 

Over the course of this week, the issues involving the discomfort and risk of the tubes come to the fore.  Frank loses a tooth to the uncomfortable breathing tube, and the idea of a tracheostomy is looked at and then chosen as the better alternative, both for his comfort and for how it will help the process of weaning from the ventilator altogether.  After biting through a feeding tube for the second time, it is now moved into his nose, which is not perhaps more comfortable, but less risky; and the idea of a PEG feeding tube, fed directly into Frank’s stomach is considered. 

Dealing with the discomfort of the tubes and tracheal pain and trying to help Frank sleep at night continue to be challenges.  The doctors want Frank to rest at night and get stronger, but this is usually Frank’s “work time”!  The “go-to” drugs in the ICU are generally Fentanyl and Ativan, fast acting meds for pain and anxiety, but they tended not to work so well for Frank … he likes vicodin!  Frank on Ativan was a little disturbing at first, but mainly funny, surreal, and quite accurate!  Frank says he “likes the Halloween people,” and talks to Linda of their “delivering our next act.”  He tells Mikee, “Baby, I’m getting a lot of ideas.”  At times, he knows it’s the drugs, and says, “See why I don’t speak when I am tripping?”   In reality, it all made perfect sense.  The ICU at night is surreal even without drugs!  One night, he asked, “Do they always put on a hospital show?” 

But Frank, true performance artist, gives the ICU an unforgettable hospital show.  Wednesday, following a successful tracheostomy by Dr. Kerbavaz, during a routine turn in the bed, the “trach” tube pops out of Frank’s neck!!!  Without the amazing speed and focus of the team of nurses, respiratory therapists and doctors in Critical Care West, Frank would not be with us.  They saved his life.  They all said they had never seen anything like it.  Kim said that in her 30 years of nursing she had never heard of this happening, it was just something you read about in textbooks!  The charge nurse tells Linda and Mikee that Frank has certainly left his mark.  When they finally let Linda and Mikee back into the room, Frank was sitting up pretty and smiling!  But it is perhaps the most traumatic experience of our lives.

Meanwhile, Frank has been doing his thing!  The word has spread in the ICU that Frank is a radical artist and local celebrity.  Nurses and therapists love Frank’s paintings, and are inspired by his presidential platform.  There is practical talk of socializing the health care system, inspired by Frank’s health care plan.  “Everyone in the health care field knows that you could successfully socialize health care in the U.S. in 6 months …”

By the end of the week, Frank is making great progress toward getting off of the ventilator support.  He weans longer and longer each day, needing less and less support.  This time around, the other problems that surrounded his attempt to “wean” have all but faded away.  The end of this week saw Frank “Dangle” (off the edge of the bed), and then spend the following two days moving into a “cardiac chair” to get him sitting upright.  The first day he had his first “real” food and water for nearly two weeks.  He started off with a cherry popsicle!  Saturday the 19th, Frank wore only a “trach collar” all day, meaning that he was basically breathing on his own, with a limited amount of oxygen support from the machine.  He did great. 

As we head into the 4th week, and Frank’s breathing improves with every day, the focus turns toward eating!

We can not say enough about the nurses, doctors and therapists of Critical Care.  Without going into the ICU, you will never see this parallel universe of caring people from all walks of life, giving all of themselves, every day and night, to save the life of anyone who is given into their care.  They are superheroes, all of them, and it has touched us to the core to see what they do, both with Frank and with everyone in the ICU. 

Linda and Mikee have been with Frank nearly 24/7 since he entered the hospital.  Corey has started doing 12 hour shifts with Mikee, so that Mikee can spend time with Kittee, their 20 ½ year-old Siamese, who is also taking a hit with their absence.  Alexi is cooking all of the food for everyone, and Erika delivers these amazing meals to the hospital almost every day.  Hot miso vegetable soup and assorted delicious sandwiches are the standard fare.  And Betty is moving Frank along with her prayers and love, which carry a lot of weight!  Together we are making it through this!