Monday, June 6, 2011

PT Day 15, by David

We are going into the third week of this nightmare.  It is not getting any easier but I am here for the duration.  It is certainly the longest and hardest endurance race My Little Darlin and I have ever done.  I am always most anxious mixed with excited antipation each time I go in for the 6 am visit.  This is the longest time between visits.  Every time I go into that room I am terrified she has had some kind of bad event and hopeful she has had some kind of major improvement.  Having neither is ok and the normal (Never would have expected something like this to be called "normal").  Slow and steady.  I live by the small changes from visit to visit.  Shouldn't let these get into my mind but I can't help it.  We all want everything to go perfectly, you know get hit by a car going 55 mph plus, stop flying through the air,  stop and roll off hood of car and hit ground, get run over again by that car, helicopter ride to hospital,  tubes placed in every part of your body,  innumerable medications initially to keep alive acutely,  innumerable medications long term to quell the secondary problems that come up, heal, wake up, smile and say lets go home. Simple.  I still have no idea how long she will be in the CCU.  At least she can be in the CCU, it could have been worse.

This morning she remains on 60% oxygen.  Her blood gases looked good to me (for what that is worth).  Have not talked to her pulmonologist so do not know if there will be any ventilator changes.  Most of her labs are doing pretty good.  Her albumin continues to rise (TIGT).  Her sodium has been up the past several days but is coming down nicely.  Her hg/hct (blood count) remains stable. No fever and white blood count down to near normal (TIGT).  To not be crude I will say her GI tract has not yet started working properly.  One concern that I addressed on an earlier post is her bilirubin.  It continues to rise and she is jaundiced (looks yellow).  Now suspecting this is related to some of the medications she is on and her hyperalimentation (IV nutrition).  Her docs are working on this and a gastroenterologist has been consulted for input.  She will probably be getting a PEG tube (tube through her abdominal wall directly into her stomach) in the near future.  A followup CT of her head was done this morning.  It shows normal evolving resolution of the hemorrhage.  Do not have any idea what kind of long term effects she will have from this.  She also had a CT of the abdomen and pelvis.  No surprises here.  On this CT part of the chest can be seen and she does have small clots in her pulmonary arteries (pulmonary emboli) and small clots in the filter placed to keep any clot that may form in her pelvis or legs out of her pulmonary arteries.  It is doing its job.  I wish it otherwise but she is not close to being out of the woods.  Please continue your thoughts and prayers for her.  We need all we can get.

A little about Jan.
My Little Darlin has a sense of adventure.  She and I have been fortunate to do quite a bit of traveling over the years.  The world is a large place and we have seen our share of it.  We have done the usual large famous city tours of old large buildings and sites,  we have cruised in many parts of the world including the Nile and Amazon Rivers (pirana taste like chicken).  A few of our adventures have included trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda,  been in the slums (Slumdog Millionaire) of Mumbai, India, been to the Australian outback and spent a week white water rafting and camping in Idaho.  Several years ago she asked me one day if I thought I would like a trip where we could mountain bike, trail run, learn white water rescue, orienteering and mountaineering.  Sounded cool, this was the trip for me.  Now she had run several marathons and felt like she was in pretty good shape but she had never, again never been on a mountain bike.  This was a one week long adventure racing academy.  Neither of us had heard of adventure racing.  Went to Wal mart and got some gear and headed out.   First day in the West Virginia Mountains, we get there  and rented base model mountain bikes with flat pedals.  First ride just a few miles.  Did not take her long before she did her first endover.  Then her second.  Finished the ride. Later that evening she was sitting on the bed crying " I can't do this".  I offered to pack up and take her home but she decided to stick it out.  The next day was orienteering. She loved it and we were back on.  We did a night course that evening.  Finished about two in the morning.  OK now she was good.  Next day was the mountaineering.  This included a 200 foot repel and 50 foot vertical ascend with ascenders.  She loved the repel.  Went to the ascend and I suspected she would not have the upper body strength to do it but she flew up the rope with ease.  She was on fire.  White water rescue day. Half of us were hurling ourselves into rapids and the other half would learn how to safely throw a rescue rope.  By coincidence I was to be rescued by Jan.  She had the rope in hand and was ready.  I jumped into the rapids.  We were taught to roll on our backs, wait for the rope to fly over our head, grab it and be pulled to safety.  I did as instructed and watched a beautifully thrown rope sail over me. I grabbed it, held on and waited to be saved.  It did not happen, all I heard was a fading, as I rapidly floated down the river, yell of "DAVID, SWIM" over and over.  Jan had thrown the whole rope.  It was pretty funny after they found me in North Carolina (not really).  We later did a night time mountain bike ride.  She had a hard time needless to say.   Did not like it at all.  This was followed again that night sitting on the side of the bed sobbing "I can't do this" but she would not quit.  The final test was to be an adventure race estimated to take 36 hours.  It started at midnight.  An adventure race involves using a compass and map (no GPS) to navigate yourself from designated point to point through the woods.  This race was about 100 miles long.  It was supposed to be done in teams of 4.  Instructions were given that told you what portion was to be done on foot, mountain bike, canoe/kayak and some mountaineering.  The other two people assigned to our team include a 30ish man who had completed two ironman triathlons and was close to qualifying for Kona (he is fast and in shape) and a 22 year old young buck full of testosterone.  Jan described herself as a 50 year old grandmother.  She convinced the director to allow the two guys to race together and the two of us to race together.  We were given our instructions 3 hours before the start to allow time for plotting our map course.  She became so anxious by race start the only way I could get her to start the race was to give her a Xanax.  The first section was six miles through the woods on foot.  She was so buzzed by the Xanax that I had to tie a rope to her and to me and pull her all the way. It took six hours to go six miles.  That was a DNF (did not finish).  We have done several adventure races successfully since then.  We called ourselves Weathehekawi (where the heck are we) racing.  Our tag line was "No quitting, No crying" in honor of Jan.  We got lost a lot but we had fun.  I love that woman.  Sure do hope I get to do things like that with her some more.  Right now I would take just a little smile.


I love My Little Darlin and miss her terribly,


  1. Hello David,

    My name is Srikanth and I live in India.I just read about this incident and wanted to wish you.I hope Jan recovers quickly and this nightmare would end.I would be reading your updates periodically.Hopefully you would update good news everyday.


  2. Hi David,

    I'm Elaine from Pittsburgh, and I just wanted you to know that there are folks praying for you and Jan up north too!

    My sister lives in Starkville, and told me about this blog. I've been keeping up with the updates every day, and keeping you guys tightly in my thoughts.

    I walked two miles today, and will be picking up my first bicycle in 20 years from the local bike shop tomorrow. I hope that those of us who are getting moving in Jan's honor are sending a special kind of prayer for her with our feet and sweat.

    Blessings to you both.


  3. I hope and pray her condition continues to improve. God only knows why someone would hit and then run over again a human being... I can only have faith that the authorities are doing a proper investigation and will charge, prosecute and convict the driver. While it seems contrary to logic, the fact that no charges have been brought against the driver may be a good sign that the proper charges will, in the end, be filed.

    I hope this nightmare culminates in a positive ending... both for your wife and the conviction of the driver.

    Mike G.