Thursday, March 20, 2008

John not talking, breathing difficult, nutrition though IV

Hi sweet ones: It is Thursday morning and we are listening to gentle African music in John's room. Hope Lipnick, close friend and Jewish chaplain here at the hospital, is visiting. Luis, very (sweet and caring sitter from Honduras who comes in every day at 7am and stays most of the day) was just massaging John's neck gently from the side of the bed. I called Jewish Family Services and hired Luis as a private sitter when the hospital informed me that they would only provide a night shift sitter 7pm-7am. Even though I or others are in the room most of the time, Luis and the night sitter attend to John constantly, adjust his position when needed, make sure oxygen is in place, offer wet swabs for his mouth, and handle a variety of maintenance items. Luis offers the added sweetness of massaging John's hands, feet, and neck to make him even more comfortable. With us at the Rotary House and visiting John this week are Peter, Myles, Ledia, Mason, baby Wolf and today David Baker of Wimberley is here too.

John's pneumonia has made his breathing difficult and heart rate very high. Dr. Jones (attending Dr. rotating in after Dr. Andersson was in for 2 weeks) and the team heard a bit of improvement in the right lung over the day before when they listed to his chest. They have established that John had definitely been aspirating food and liquids into his lungs, so they've stopped all food and drink and put him on a clear yellow nutrition formula called TPN that goes into the vein in a normal IV tube. Antibiotics have been adjusted to target the pneumonia better, as they know it is probably mouth-borne bacteria that is causing it.

John is very weak and mostly doesn't talk at all. He mouths words occasionally and sometimes answers questions by gesturing or pointing to where the pain is, etc. He is on a drug to reduce the agitation that he experiences from his brain injury and pain medicine as needed intermittently. Overall, John is weak, sleeps or rests all of the time, and cannot walk or even sit up on his own. The hyperbaric center at Hermann has told Dr. Jones that until John's pneumonia gets better as documented on a follow up CT scan, the treatments need to be suspended as there is a risk of too much pressure and possible rupture of the lungs. Overall, this picture represents a setback for John's health, but we can feel his sweet self more than ever and he continues to radiate love in response to the love coming his way.

We know you all join us in praying and sending positive messages of healing. Thanks so much for every kind of support you are providing. Allison Orr will be visiting on Saturday and all of you are welcome anytime. We are thriving on the emails, calls, and visits, and are using the lovely donations toward living expenses and nursing care "sitter" costs here in Houston. I know that each and every gesture you make is accompanied by a very tender and respectful love for John, and that you want so much for John to feel better and return to the vitality he brings to the world. I can feel this multiplied by a thousand, with each one of you doing so much.

Lots of love,
Anna and John


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