A Long Weekend Behind, A Long Long Road Ahead

It’s now been four days since my Mother was rushed to the hospital.

My sisters and I have done our best to keep everyone updated on her situation and her progress through Facebook and text messages. Unfortunately those mediums are not the best way to convey complicated and emotionally difficult events in a manner that provides a full picture of the situation.

My hope with this entry on my blog is to provide some much needed clarity of the severity of Mom’s situation for those who have misinterpreted posts that state that Mom has made “good progress” or has had “positive developments” over the past few days.

To be clear as can be:

My Mother is on Life Support. She is living off of machines and medications. When we have stated that she is making progress it is always with the caveat that the progress she is making is small progress and that she is still very, very sick. But when the situation is as severe as this, small victories mean everything.

So here’s a basic rundown of what has happened so far.

  • Friday afternoon
  • Mom seriously bites her tongue in her sleep
  • She calls out to Theresa for help, Jesse hears her from his room and fetches Theresa
  • By the time Theresa enters Mom’s room she has rolled off of her bed and is covered in blood and unconscious
  • Theresa is barely able to revive her and calls the paramedics
  • Paramedics arrive and take Mom to the ER at Tri-City
  • When Mom arrives at Tri-City they are having extreme difficulty finding a pulse, reading a blood pressure and her temperature is extremely low
  • The bleeding from her mouth has stopped, but she is hacking up blood and sputum and is having a very hard time breathing
  • The next hour or two is a bit of a blur for me but basically they ran a central line to get accurate BP measurements from within her heart, they intubated her to help her breath (that’s putting her on the breathing machine or life support system), and they ran many many blood tests.
  • Verdict of tests was that she was in Sepsis Shock (infection in her blood) and had double pneumonia (that’s pneumonia in both lungs) that covered both upper and lower quadrants in both lungs (basically she was 100% infected with pneumonia).
  • The doctors were having a hard time getting her vitals to stabilize and they eventually moved her out of the ER and into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
  • Friday night was touch and go. After they managed to get her BP up with meds and after they had pumped her full of fluids (she was severely dehydrated when she came in) her temperature shot to 102.9 and they spent the night trying to get her temperature down and continued to have trouble maintaining her blood pressure.
  • Because of Mom’s infections she is getting a cocktail of three extremely strong antibiotics that I don’t recall the names of.
  • Saturday
  • With the assistance of blood pressure medications they were able to relatively stabilize her BP though it was on average very low.
  • Fear of organ failures are high as Saturday begins. Kidney’s aren’t functioning great. She gets meds for her kidneys.
  • Eventually her temperature began to come down.
  • The breathing machine was set at an Oxidation level around 75%. (Very high because her lungs were having a hard time processing the oxygen they were pumping into them.)
  • Mom was rarely conscious through the day.
  • Generally she will remain sedated throughout the time that she has a tube in her mouth. They do allow her moments of less sedation so that they can assess her brain function.
  • The majority of Saturday was spent watching numbers going up and down all day.
  • Mom was also given an Iron drip and a pint of blood as she was low.
  • Sunday
  • Mom made some progress by maintaining a good temperature all day.
  • By evening they were attempting to remove 2 of the blood pressure meds she was on.
  • By 10pm they had her off all three meds
  • They began lowering her oxygen levels slightly through out the night.
  • They began pushing a “milkshake” concoction through a feeding tube that she also has jammed down her throat with the breathing tube.
  • They kept Mom slightly less sedated throughout the day.
  • While nice to get responses from her it was terribly difficult to see her grow more and more uncomfortable with her situation as the day progressed.
  • She answered questions and recognized voices around her.
  • Monday
  • Temperature has risen to just below 100 degrees Farenheit.
  • BP med (Levo) has been administered off-and-on again all day long depending on her body’s ability to maintain it on its own.
  • She continues to cough up serious amounts of muck from her lungs through the breathing tube.
  • Her coughing fits are terrible to watch.
  • She has been less responsive today as they’ve kept her sedation level higher to keep her resting since she is too restless when they let her have some awareness.
  • Nurses emphasize to Theresa, Laura and I that she has made some good strides in the right direction but she is still on life support and that her recovery is not a guarantee.
  • Four days in and we are basically still going hour-by-hour with her.
  • Trying to revive her to check brain function was much more difficult this evening. So much so that I began to panic right up until I finally told her I was going home.
  • That news seemed to reach her and she suddenly “came alive” as she tried to get me to stay. She attempted to open her eyes and she reached out for me. (Well as much as her strapped to the bed hands could reach out for me.)
  • That was the only real response from her to anything we said or presented to her today.

I am certain that I am leaving something out. But this gives you a good idea of what we are going through. If she had not bit her tongue so badly on Friday it is very likely she would have died in her bed by Friday night.

Mom is on Life Support. She is surrounded by the best nurses I’ve ever encountered. Special thank you to the Tri-City Medial team. Fromt he ER to the ICU they have done an outstanding job of being compassionate with us and extremely nice to my unconscious mother.

I am going to try and sleep now. It was a tremendously long weekend and I have a lot more hardship ahead. I won’t rest well until Mom is off the life support machines and is breathing and maintain her BP on her own. Neither of those things are going to happen, to the best of my knowledge, until the signes of pneumonia have been cured from her lungs and that the infection in her blood has been eliminated.

Mom may be on the life support system for a few days, or a few weeks. That’s the hardest part of everything right now. Everything is a question mark. She may get better, she may crash and get worse. Even die. It’s a waiting game right now as we await her body and the medications battling it out with the infections.

Peace, Love and Laughter – May you share your love with your loved ones while you can.

David

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Halloween

David S. Dawson

David S. Dawson

So Halloween is coming up. This is a tough holiday for me. For one… I don’t find it to be much of a holiday… more like a state approved day for acting strangely.

Namely, children get dressed up in costume and are sent out into the world as beggars. And grown women use the day as a chance to slut it up as much as they can and turn every grown man around them into beggars. It’s a little bizarre really.

But on top of that, the first real experience with a death of someone close to me happened around this holiday in 1995. Sure my Grandfather had passed away the year before but, after spending 3 of his last 4 weeks with him talking, I bailed out a week before he actually passed. So I didn’t really experience losing him.

But that Halloween in 1995 what I went through was horrific. It was intimate and it was life changing.

Many of you know the story about my mother’s fiance Rusty dying in a car accident in Texas. Many of you know he was on that ill-fated trip in my place so that he could encourage me to actually live up to my obligations and go to work that night.

It’s a long story. One full of regrets, sadness and pain. Honestly there isn’t really anything good that came of it.

I guess the only thing I can say that might be good from it all is that my dedication to working… to growing into my potential really came into being at that point. That experience has fueled so much of my drive and my ambition in the years since. It stands, to this day, as one of the single most defining moments of my adult life.

I’d have to say the passing of my father in 2007 had as much impact on me, and in much the same way it has pushed me to further dedicate myself to pushing my limits and growing beyond what I comfortably am and instead moving into the unknown. I’ve found through both of these experiences that I am able to be so much more than I think I am if I just allow myself to do the things I am afraid of. To try the new… to explore the unknown and to not sit by and watch my life go by.

So hello Halloween. I still don’t know how to “celebrate” you, but I know that every year your return pushes me to reflect on my life and continue to choose to be something more than I am today.

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

This is a must read for anyone who is giving presentations out there in the world. The post is written by Guy Kawasaki… this man is someone you should really listen to.

As a slideshow Operator/Designer myself for many years in a few thousand settings for several hundred clients… I can’t stress enough how much thought should really go into someone’s presentation slides. Have a read and make your audience happy!

How to Change the World: The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.

Obama Signs Health Care Bill

Well it’s finally done. The President has signed this bill into law. Now we get to figure out just how the hell this thing really works.

I’m not happy with the entirety of this bill, for sure. But I’m not 100% opposed to the ideas that drove it’s creation. I honestly hope that this helps and solves a lot of problems for a lot of people. But I worry about the cost. I worry about the forceful nature of the government mandating I purchase health insurance.

We’ll see how this all plays out. We do still have the Senate running through it too.

Not looking to start any insane debates here, but what are your thoughts?

Pushing Forward

So 2010 is shaping up to be a big year for me.

In January I set some pretty lofty goals for myself. Some of those goals I am not sure I’ll be able to meet, but the attempt is really what’s important here.

To this end, I have spent the last couple of weeks really evaluating a lot of my life’s daily schedules. Particularly I’ve been re-evaluating the worth of working for the Surf Soccer Club on a daily basis.

I have spent 6 of the last 9 years parking cars, picking up trash and enforcing the Polo Club rules for the Surf Soccer Club. It’s been a great job, one that helped get me through my studies at Palomar, gave me the freedom to shoot “What’s The Vig?” and helped nurse my entire family through the economic downturn last year. In short, I am very thankful for the opportunity I’ve had working for the club.

But it’s time to move on. I have big dreams and big ambitions and as I approach my 35th birthday I am realizing that my time is increasingly worth something to me. I’ve come to realize that any time I spend not pushing forward on my dream is, for me, wasted time. I don’t want to be working on anything anymore that doesn’t meet one of the following criteria:

  • Stimulate my creativity
  • Advance my career/company
  • Increase my knowledge/experience

Those three items are my main criteria for deciding if something is worth my time. You’ll note that money is not part of my criteria. This is important. I do not want to work just to make money. To me, if I am pursuing the things that stimulate me and make me happy I know the money will follow.

This is a big step. It’s kind of scary, but I know it’s the right choice for me. I’ve already lined up a bunch of freelance work in the A/V business, Dawson Digital’s video production and graphics business has been growing steadily over the past 6 months and our software company is just about to launch. It’s exciting times around here and I want to give it my all. It’s time to step up and make things happen!

Two Weeks of Emergency Care

Hey all, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks taking care of my Mom. I thought you all might like an update from me on what is going on, so here goes:

We've done our best to keep her spirits up.

We've done our best to keep her spirits up.

So a couple of weeks ago, right as the second weekend of Surf Cup was set to begin Mom went in for an ultrasound of her liver and her leg veins.

Thankfully she mentioned to her primary care doc that she was having some serious leg pains. She’s not always good at sharing that sort of info with the doctors. She’s got so many pains and aches she hates to add to the list. But this time she told him, and it turned out to be a great thing she did.

The ultrasound revealed a blood clot in her leg. The clot caused her so much pain she screamed out when the technician was moving the ultrasound wand over that part of her leg because it hurt so much.

Once discovered things moved fairly quickly. She was sent back to primary care for a determination on how serious the clot was and how to move forward on it. Her primary care doc took a look at the results and spoke with her about it and sent her straight to the ER.

Theresa was with her all through this, God bless her. I was watching the nephews that day since Laura and Adam were in the midst of moving their lives from that tiny ass apartment into their new home in Vista.

After some time we all convened at the hospital to A. give Teesa some much needed company and support and B. to let Mom know that we were all there for her. (Thanks to Alissa, Missy and Jess for all their support through this!)

The ER docs were concerned that Mom may have thrown some of the clot to her lungs already so they ordered a CT scan of her to check her lungs for any clotting. Naturally this emergency test took several hours to get done and we just waited. And waited. When she finally got it they determined that her lungs were clear and she could go home. The treatment for the clot was constant care at home and a series of Lovenox shots (2 a day for 5 days) and Cumedin pills.

Naturally, we were going to have to administer the shots ourselves. So Theresa took Saturday and Sunday off from the tournament to stay at home with Mom and to take her out Saturday to the pharmacy and the Clinic to get the shots and then learn how to use them.

This turned into an 8 hour ordeal in which Theresa visited something like 5 different pharmacies (no one had enough), made another trip to the ER with Mom, and haggled and argued with pharmacist after pharmacist over the $90/dose cost of the shot medication. Eventually with the help of some social workers at the ER they were able to get the shots down to $60/dose (gee, thanks that was only $600 for the complete prescription!) and Theresa worked out the deal with the pharmacy to pay for all the shots and take what they had now, and pick up the remainder in a couple of days.

Oh, and don’t forget that when she first got to the pharmacy from the hospital they managed to lose all record of the reduced cost prescription so she spent more time arguing and calling social workers to get it all worked out again after she got there.

And poor Theresa, she was left with the unhappy task (Bryan too) of administering these subcutaneous shots to Mom. Each one cause her to bruise up terribly and scared the living hell out of us. Some of them even began to ooze blood eventually. Thankfully that stopped around the same time the shots stopped as well a few days later.

Mom seemed to get a bit better as the week went on. And then yesterday she woke up coughing blood. Lots of blood.

Back to the ER went Theresa with Mom. This time my schedule was more free, so I spent the whole day there with them. Mom was coughing up some serious phlegm and blood all morning. The sound of it was terrifying and painful. By 2 or so, the blood in the cough had subsided quite a bit, but she was still coughing very hard all day. The docs were once again fearful that she may have thrown a clot in her lung and ordered another CT scan. We only waited in the ER for that test to be done for 6 hours!

Mom was scared and Theresa and I did our best to help ease her nerves. Bryan was home watching the nephews and Laura was at work. We gave both of them updates throughout the day.

Finally they got Mom back for another scan and once again there was no sign of clotting in the lung. This made me both happy and sad. Happy that she wasn’t in danger of a clot in the lung, but sad that once again we had no real answer to one of her medical mysteries.

They told us that her blood thinners were at a good level according to the pulonologist who looked her blood work. So they don’t think the blood in her lungs was caused by her blood being too thin.

We were then told it could be any number of things and that she should see a lung specialist to test her airways and see if she’s got some other complication, including cancer, that may be causing her to bleed out (a condition made more obvious by the blood thinners).

Joy. So we are back to the primary care doc on Friday and we’ll have to see about getting her into another specialist to look at her lungs. The saga continues. I’ll update more as we know more.

In the meantime, please pray for my Mom. She sure doesn’t deserve all this suffering and pain. 😦

An Angel and a King Have Left Us

Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett

Wow. What a day yesterday was. First we get news that Farrah Fawcett has lost her battle with anal cancer and then the shocking news of Michael Jackson’s death in the afternoon.

I don’t know what to say right now. Wow. These were two of the most iconic figures of my childhood and they both pass on the same day.

Crazy.

I’ll have more to say about Michael, maybe later today. As for Farrah… I was too young to remember “The Poster,” but I certainly remember her in Charlie’s Angels and in a few different movies over the years. She was a beautiful woman. I’m glad her suffering is over and I hope for all the best for her family.

20 years later…

A new photo has surfaced of the infamous "Tank Man" - taken from street level you can see how he made a pre-meditated decision to confront those tanks.

A new photo has surfaced of the infamous "Tank Man" - taken from street level you can see how he made a pre-meditated decision to confront those tanks.

June 5, 1989.

China. A world away. My own awakening to global events had only just begun.

Suddenly with the protests in Tiananmen Square I found myself glued to the news for the first time in my life. I was touched by the protesters and as an American (always proud of being from the “land of the free”) I found their desires for more freedom and change in the communist country moving. I found myself cheering them on, as I know many others did as well. But things turned ugly. The protesters were suddenly faced with aggressive military actions and things as history recalls got out of hand.

20 years on and China is still stifling the freedoms of its people. Today the media was locked down, the internet was blocked for many there and families of the protesters were harassed and forced to stay home all day.

One of the "iconic" photos of Tank Man. -Widener photo

One of the "iconic" photos of Tank Man. -Widener photo

And for some of those families… the big questions still remain. What happened to their child? The Chinese government has not made a full accounting of their actions from that day. Kudos to Hillary Clinton for making some bold statements to the Chinese government about that. It’s high time we start focussing our attentions on the Chinese government and revealing more and more of what is going on behind their veil of secrecy.

In the meantime, say a prayer, spare a moment to reflect and remember the students and the victims of that day in Tiananmen Square.

Dom DeLuise 1933 – 2009

Dom DeLuise 1933 – 2009 — Ain’t It Cool News

So sad.

Dom DeLuise is one of the first comedic actors I remember laughing at/with in my childhood.

Cannonball Run was one of those funny movies we used to play over an over again. First on our Betamax and then on our VHS. Good memories.

Most recently I watched his episode of Stargate SG-1 with Alissa. He played a super hyper brain-implanted AI that drove the SG-1 team nuts. He was so funny. Such a brilliant sense of comedic timing.

He was always so engaging in his roles. He obviously had fun performing and his exuberance for his craft just leapt off the screen.

Laugh on Mr. DeLuise. Thanks for the joy you brought to the world.

Playing For Change

This was one of the coolest things that Bryan and I saw at the FCPUG Supermeet at NAB. Supposedly, they are releasing an album of this music at Starbucks this week.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and check this video out and then go to the website at playingforchange.com