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...


Frank replied:


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.


Saturday, July 3, 2010