November 12, 2008 8pm

Dear Family and Friends,
Today was a mixed bag of events for Mom but I think ended up being mostly positive. I noticed when I arrived at the hospital at 6:30AM that Mom seemed much more out of breath and a bit discouraged. She just kept saying, "I just don't know how I'm going to do this" and we would reassure her that we were in this thing as a team and we WOULD make it, together! Both the cardiologist and her surgeon dropped by early to give her rave reviews about her heart and talked about the upcoming pace maker/defibrilator which is wired in but will need to have the power source implanted in her chest. They mentioned that her white blood count continues to drop nearer the normal level, no fever and no bowel problems today.

Yea for more solid, though still nasty, hospital food. The pulmonary guy and gal showed up and mentioned the fluid that still needed to go away and a diaretic was started up again, though her kidneys are doing fine. Her pic line, which was re-installed a day or so ago, is leaking and so is a bit of an inconvenience to one and all.

Throughout the day, Mom continued to mention how she felt as though she was suffocating and I noticed her breathing was more labored and her voice more whispery than yesterday. During one of the visits by the nurse/doc, it was determined that an X-ray was in order to check out those lungs and lo and behold, they both had quite a bit of fluid that needed removing in order to take the pressure off her chest and free up that horrible feeling. It was decided to put drains in, for just a day or two, until they have drained off and show signs of no longer being needed when they can be easily removed. I stayed in for the procedure, for moral support, though she was slightly sedated and didn't mind a bit. They talked to her thoughout the procedure and when asked if she was okay she said, "I'm doing fine!". As soon as the pump started, she said she could notice an instant relief and seemed elated as opposed to discouraged as we had feared she might be. The doctor who performed the procedure told her the tubes in her chest would be no excuse to slow up her physical therapy progress.

She did manage to stand, unassisted for a few minutes, three different times and moved from the bed to the recliner twice (about 2-3 steps). The nurses, doctors and therapists have been nothing but soooo positive and upbeat that she can honestly see an improvement, though slow and small, on a daily basis. She IS getting stronger and is now on semi-solid foods, which is just as nasty as the pureed stuff but you have to chew it! If she lifts the lid on the plate one more day and finds nothing but mashed potatoes and squash, I fear what may take place! I had brought in some homemade egg salad, one of her very favorites, and she ate a few spoonfuls of that in place of the pureed mystery meat of the day. Today, she ate very little because she felt so "full". No doubt, with less fluid in her tomorrow, the thick chocolate milk shake that she couldn't finish today, will disappear quickly. She is off all water for a day or so until they are positive she won't asperate, so it's thickened fluids, juices and shakes. Has anyone ever seen/tasted gelatinous coffee? Believe me, I would swear off java if I had to consume that stuff!

As of about 7PM tonight, Dad was donning his hospital PJ bottoms, the huge clock which Mom swears "doesn't move one bit" has been covered with a towel and they were happily bedding down for the night. It was quite enjoyable trying to train Dad how to use the new CD Walkman-like device that Pat had bought Mom! It seemed very space-age to him and it took awhile for him to get the hang of what all the arrows and symbols stood for. I could hear the thing blasting all the way across the room until I showed him where the volume knob was. I also bought him some Q-tips to add to his shaving kit because I caught him trying to clean out/itch the inside of his ears with a toothpick! Lord give me strength! Kelley and Kara, you'll never know how much Dad has used/enjoyed his new slippers! He pads around the hospital room and down to the kitchette in them and looks like a real styling dude in them! Thank you! Mom continues to pick through all of your cards and e-mails, between naps, and I can't wait to put them all together into a notebook for her to look at when this whole nightmare is over! Thank you all, again, for all you do/say/pray!!