Monthly Archives: November 2021

In Football Terms

These past few days have felt like we have gained yardage here and there. Not much, but moving the ball so to speak. Today we got sacked, almost fumbled and it’s forth down. The doctor wants to throw a hail mary and see if it gets us to a new set of downs.

His first chest x-ray of the day looked bad, so she re-ordered hoping it was just an angle or something. The second was marginally better than the first, but still not great. His X-rays show more air space, but it isn’t the right type of air space. They wanted to prone him again to help out the lower lungs, but he didn’t handle that at all this time and so they flipped him back and ordered a CT scan to see how his lungs were compared to last week’s views.

Bad. When the doctor comes in and says that she wants to look at the latest results together, and isn’t sporting a wide grin, you know things are not going to be what you want to hear. She pulled up the scan that BH had shown me last week to illustrate how bad he was back then and it also showed where the areas were that there was the hope of him getting better. Then she pulled up today’s scan showing those areas and how they were now worse and showing permanent scarring. It was the absolute opposite of what any of us had hoped to see.

She will start some treatment that she couldn’t do while he was sporting the staff infection, and throw everything again at his lungs to see if they can recover, but I’ll be honest, it is a hope and a prayer.

I am sorry that I don’t have the same visuals to show all of you that I have had, but there are no replay buttons on this channel.

Maybe tonight, it will be like changing quarters, we will switch ends of the field and maybe the wind could be at our back.

I let him know that everyone is cheering him on before I left.

Love Sally

Alarming Activities

While things are generally very serious on the ICU floor, I am still one prone to inappropriate laughter and if it is really bad, then it is also really loud and cannot be stopped readily. Yesterday was one of those days and since it was the weekend, I had some new staff that I hadn’t spent much time with prior and so they were not yet accustom to my laugh. The Dr. had deadpanned a response to a comment I had made and it set me off to the point that all of a sudden, nurses were coming out of nowhere to see what the issue was and if they should be alarmed or amused. One could be heard saying it was just Sally (obviously, she had been my nurse before at some point).

I alarmed them again today when I tore out the room and ran down toward an end room. Turns out you shouldn’t run like you have an emergency when you are in an area where emergencies are imminent and frequent. Two nurses jumped up to see what was the issue before I realized that sudden moves such as that were alarming to them. You see, yesterday, I noticed that the rooms at the end of the nurses station face the heliport pad and I could see a helicopter approaching from the window in our room and wanted to go check it out from the newly vacated room down the way before it landed. Those copters are quick to come in, so I wasn’t wanting to miss a second of it. Sorry nurses, didn’t mean to get your heart rates up.

Ted had stayed prone all night and they were just flipping him when I arrived shortly after 8am. His gasses were not great, but they were not severe either. They decided to give his systems a bit of time to adjust to being on his back once more and planned to scope and suck out his lungs again. They wanted a culture this time to see if the staff infection in his lungs had gone away or if it was still growing. I was assured that the staff in his blood had cleared up, so that was now off the table of problems to deal with.

They had given him copious amounts of Lasix the last few days and the results really showed this morning. Where he was a little puffy before, all excess water in his system had been drained away and frankly, it was scary and disturbing to see how emaciated he looks. They have always warned that he will be very fragile if he recovers from this, but seeing just how little is left on his bones made that reality even more stark and obvious than it had been.

I got to stand in beside him on the bronchoscopy again today, and again, his morning chest xray looked to have more air space in his lungs than the prior days. He is still on 100% Oxygen and still in a so very fragile state, but they continue to try and are not ready to give up yet.

Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.

Love Sally

Strange Words

I don’t always read the notes in Ted’s file from the Drs or nurses. I tend to prefer the in person interpretations over the cold words on a paper (in a digital document actually). I prefer to look the person in the eyes and search for hope there.

I also spend a good amount of time looking up what words actually mean when I do decide to read a report. I mostly have the general idea of many of the definitions, but still, I get curious as to if a word actually means what I think it does.

Take moribund for instance, it seems like such an odd term. Honestly, if I just say it in my head, it sounds more like a Victorian name for a little girl or a crotchety old aunt. It could be a happy little name: “Look at little miss Moribund, she picked all of the dahlias from the side garden” or in a more exasperated tone, “Honestly Aunt Moribund, we don’t have to invite everyone in who knocks on the door”.

Needless to say, my versions are easier to contemplate than the actual meaning of ” being in the state of dying“.

The same report also used the term Purulence. Which, if I was just to guess on that one, it sounds like the description of a gem or opal or pearl or something. Maybe how it shimmers in natural light. ” Her pearl earings had the purulence of a calm lake on a moonlit night”. But no, it is really just another way to say ‘condition of containing or forming pus’. Eww

These terms were in the report of his bronchoscopy from yesterday. I had read them prior to coming into the hospital today, so when the sad songs came on the radio on the drive in, I let myself cry along. I was also curious to see what today’s bronchoscopy would result in.

The Dr. came in shortly after my arrival and said that they had taken another xray and she was curious to see how the radiologist would read it as she was a bit bias. Before I could stop myself, I asked just which way her bias ran. She assured me that her bias ran on the positive side of things when possible. She showed me the xray compared to the prior day’s and to my uneducated eyes, it looked slightly better as well. She said that she was setting up today’s bronch and would be back as soon as the respiratory therapy team came in with the equipment.

I’m on friendly terms with just about everyone on the RT team, so I stayed in the room while he set up the equipment. I lowered the blinds and positioned myself at an angle that I was out of the way, but hoping that I could still maybe be allowed to watch. Yesterday, they wouldn’t even let me wait outside the room, but I ran through all kinds of arguments to use to plead that I be allowed to view the procedure this time. Just as I had settled on which argument to use, the Dr showed up with my nurse and said: “I feel like you want to watch this one, so you may if you want”. I almost squealed with delight, and only felt the slightest bit cheated out of not being able to use my persuasion. My nurse put me right up next to the bed with a birds eye view and I got to see from start to finish. It was so cool to see the inside of his lungs – even if it was also a bit disturbing.

I went to lunch with a pal and when I returned, there were 4 people in Ted’s room and the Dr met me at the entrance to let me know that they had flipped him to his belly and just as she had predicted, it caused some distress and loosened more secretions. She ushered me away and said that I wasn’t allowed to watch this time. They then had to bronch him once more and left him on his stomach with the scope and camera still in the room because she was sure they would need to do it in a few hours.

They did come back and suctioned out a bit and again left all of the equipment in his room in case needed overnight.

He is still on 100% oxygen, so he doesn’t have much wiggle room on his settings, but he is still hanging in there.

Another win for today.

Love, Sally

Small Victories

I had a friend text me first thing this morning wishing for wins for myself, Ted and Ohio State.

After a shaky day yesterday, it was good to see that Ted’s settings and stats were mainly unchanged this morning. The Dr tweaked a few things, but she really wanted him to not get to the unstable position he was in yesterday.

Friends came down and took me to lunch. My only requirement was for the spot to have the Ohio State game on TV as I knew I would be at about half time by the time we left for chow. The food was good, the game was not. Ohio State did not win, but time spent with my peeps is always a win.

I came back and they had decided to call the RT team and do another bronchoscopy today. They haven’t been getting much of any secretions from the suction tube that they push down into his lungs on a regular basis, but she was thinking that just maybe he has some in spots the tube is not reaching. They did the bronchoscopy and did find some sludge to suction and so she ordered another one for tomorrow again. She didn’t want to shake him up by flipping him as that was a bit excessive for his fragile system yesterday, but we will see if we need to turn him over and ‘shake the change out of the cushions tomorrow’.

His stats are stable again tonight as I get ready to leave, so I’ll count it wins for Ted and I and a big loss for Ohio State. I’d have preferred a three win day, but I am happy with two.

Have a good night.

Love, Sally

Not a good day for Auto Pilot

I have been noticing that I have been maneuvering though mindless tasks mainly on autopilot these days. I do this, only to notice, at some point, that I’m not sure where I am, either physically, or in the completion of the task. I mean, I will be driving and suddenly look around and can’t say for sure where I am until I pass a landmark to reorient myself.

Today when I left the house, my autopilot had me driving in the wrong direction (to work instead of to the hospital). I turned around and headed the other direction and went to check my phone to see what time it was and realized I didn’t even have my phone with me. I guess it was good I had been going in circles for a bit or I might have really been late to the hospital.

When I arrived this morning to the hospital, Ted’s ABG’s were not good (the blood gases). Dr. Smart (actual name, not to be confused with Brilliantly Harsh) was concerned about the pressure resistance from his lungs, so decided that instead of having the ventilator force a certain volume of air into his lungs, they would set the vent onto it’s version of autopilot. The vent would sense how much volume of air Ted’s lungs could take and give it that amount. That way, we wouldn’t have to worry about forcing too much air into his fragile lungs.

Well, that was a big fail. The machine was trying to make his breaths more shallow since his lungs were too stiff to accept the previously allotted amount, but Ted’s body could feel he wasn’t getting enough oxygen and co2 was building and he kept involuntarily trying to over breath the machine. They tried adjusting the Peep, the breaths, they had him on 100% and still he was not doing well. His blood gasses were now off the charts and we suddenly had 5 people all in the room working on something.

They checked that he didn’t have a collapsed lung – he didn’t, then they tried to put him in the prone position after administering the paralytic once again. While this had worked in the past with success, this time, his body rejected that position really quickly. His O2 dropped like a rock and they had to flip him back over once more. They then performed a bronchoscopy to look at his lungs from the inside. They were able to see and do what needed to be done, and then gave him a big dose of diuretics to try to drain all excess fluid from his body and lungs.

He is back to being paralyzed and in synch with the ventilator and his blood gases are back to being in a level of concern instead of the critical level that they were.

I’m just not sure how much more his body can take, but tonight, we are back to some stability.

No more autopilot for either one of us.

Love Sally

A Gift For ICU Dr.’s and Nurses

Remember in the beginning of Covid how everyone was behind the health care professionals who were on the front lines? For months, many in neighborhoods all over the United States would open up their doors and windows and howl like wolves to show their support. Even if one didn’t participate, that mass of support could be felt and was tangible.

While that didn’t last forever, they still get support. I know my friends have provided treats for them on a regular basis while I have been here and I believe that is true for others as well.

I can tell you while I have been in ICU – Ted’s been here since 10/19 and I’ve been here every day since 11/08 – that the one thing that everyone is wishful for, is for Covid to all be seen in a different way. They would all love for that mass of support to be lifted again, but in a different way. It is so very hard on them to have to deal with the severe complications that can now mostly be avoided with the vaccine.

So, If you really want to give a gift. A real gift. One that might just cost you more than any money in your pocketbook or account. It may actually cost you in giving in to something you have held fast against.

Don’t get me wrong, no one is advocating that you change any of your stances. You can still rail against the system, you don’t have to change your political views, you can bitch and moan how you shouldn’t have to do it all the way to the pharmacy, but if you really really want to thank the front line workers in this pandemic, you will quit listening to anyone on a news program or podcast and listen to the 99% majority in any ICU ward in any hospital. They are tired of this. They are scared for their loved ones who are not vaccinated. The very last thing that they can endure is that one of you that they know and care about end up in front of them.

If you have a healthcare worker in your life, and you love them and have not been vaccinated, then I can guarantee you that you will not be able to give a better gift than the peace of mind that they will not ever have to suction out your lungs while you are on the ventilator. I see the pain in their eyes as they look in mine and I can see how they pray hard that they don’t have to personally have their father/mother/sister/brother/cousin/husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/neighbor/friend/or even their enemy, go through the ravages of covid. Yes, you can play the numbers game. That’s what Ted did and we are losing. In fact, through all of this, the United States have lost enough people to fill every seat in all of the NFL games being played this weekend.

If you still say that you cannot in all conscious get vaccinated, then I request that in all of the arguments running through your mind, please check to see if you are basing your decision on fear, hate, distrust of something external or can you instead make this one decision and gift to them based upon your love of them and your faith in what they themselves have seen and not what you have heard. It will be a gift of doing something for someone you love just because you know it will mean everything to them. And believe me, it will.

And if you don’t have a loved one on the front lines, the staff would still would love your gift. It is such a happy occasion in this hospital when a covid patient finally gets to leave the ICU, that they blare across the speakers the song “I get by with a little help from my friends”. Unfortunately, in the time I have been here, it has only played twice. So, if you have been on the fence, get your jabs and send the nearest ICU team a card and and thank them for their service and say that in appreciation of everything they do, that you got vaxed. I guarantee it will be a card that gets hung on their board for the rest of the year.

Lets rethink what a true gift is this year.

Love Sally

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I awoke knowing it was a Happy Thanksgiving. I awoke with gratitude for the love I could feel coming in from all over the world for Ted and I. I awoke knowing that I am truly blessed and lucky.

It had snowed and gotten frigid before my drive home last evening, so it was the first real hazardous driving of the season. The 285 highway I take into the mountains was iced over and there were several spots that cars simply could not get traction and move up or much out of the way of the people who could. I made it home fine, but decided to take an alternate route this morning that would add a few minutes, but would have the benefit of morning sun to unfreeze and dry up the road.

This morning’s route took me through downtown evergreen and to my surprise, it was full of families and dogs and strollers and all kinds of people bundled up and coming up the roadside. I had totally forgotten that we have an annual turkey trot every Thanksgiving. It was a cold morning of 18 degrees when I arose, so it was likely warmer now that the sun had amassed some energy, but it still had to be quite cold. No one looked miserable and it was easy to return smiles and waves as I slowly made my way past the herd.

I thought about how sometimes people get upset with the world moving on and joy abounding when their little piece of it is mired in struggle, but I didn’t feel any of that animosity. I felt like a sponge that was soaking up their comradery, their purpose, and their family time in the chill but bright morning. I was buoyed by the messages and texts from so many friends and family this morning. I was thankful that I was headed to a hospital that has such great care and amazing nurses and would get to spend at least one more day with Ted.

Please don’t think that I am having a bad day, because I am not. This is a day to reflect and celebrate our blessings and honestly, I don’t know anyone more blessed than myself. Everyone has hard things that happen in their life, but not everyone has the amount of people who send so much support and love that I do. The connections I have made to people because of this, have only enriched me even more. Yes, Ted’s condition remains tentative, but I will still get today with him and be joyous about it.

So, Hug your family, your framily, your peeps or whomever you get to share your day with. Keep Ted and I in your thoughts, but don’t be sad for us. Raise a toast or say a prayer for us if you will, but be sure to be thankful in your prayer for all that has been received and continues to be received. We are so thankful.

Love Sally

Just a note: I have one more post today and it is for the Dr.’s and Nurses of ICU. I know I have covered this partially on another post, but since then, I was asked to write something that they could share with their loved ones and others about what pulls on their hearts. If you have someone who is a healthcare worker in your life, maybe share it with them so that they can post for their families to read. So many have wished for a perspective from my side of the bed as they feel their voices have fallen on deaf ears of some family members. I’ll post it later and I hope it helps even one of them. I am putting the info here so that I do not clutter up their post later.

Ted’s gases were not good this morning, so he is back to 80% on the ventilator and honestly, they likely could go higher on the vent settings. We will see how the day progresses.

Dear Ted

Today is a bad day. Today, It honestly looks like you have already mostly left the room – so to speak. The Doctors and Nurses are hovering and seem to just be waiting for the final decision to be made to blow the whistle and call the game. They know that I don’t want to mark a Thanksgiving holiday as the day you pass from this realm to the next, but everyone walks around like it is now a forgone conclusion. It will either by my decision or nature will make it for me, but the outcome seems destined to be the same in their eyes.

I so badly want to kick your bed over, and punch you hard. I also want to gather you in my arms and never let go. Neither are really an option.

Everyone in here has heard the stories of you. Of how we met. Of how halfway through our month long honeymoon you got homesick and asked if I would mind cutting it short so that we could go to the Browns vs Broncos game that weekend (the answer was heck NO). Of how you are labeled as “Overkill Fill” for always going above and beyond where anyone has gone before in your projects. How “Ted Head” is a real thing and everyone knows what a bad hair day should be referred to. They know you cannot sit still – probably why you require more sedation and paralytics than a standard elephant during your time here in the hospital. They know you are gentle with lots of little things, but especially little girls and bunnies. Of how you are a great skier and a ringer at cornhole. They know you are ok to travel if there is action involved and you know what the bathrooms will be like. They know that you support me in nearly anything I say I am going to try or travel to, even if it is without you. They know you are fun and know how to throw a good party and that you have built a bar with more tricks and hidden treasures than any house ever. They know you have a waterfall feature that you have built, rebuilt, tinker with each year, have colored LED lights to coordinate to music and did it all yourself. They know you have two sons whom you love more than you say to them and are so proud of the men that they are. They now you can fix almost anything, and make things that others dream about. They know you are a good guy who just ended up in the wrong news feeds and in the end, wished you had been vaccinated.

Every first year of change with us has always been a hard year for me. That first year of marriage was a struggle to be as one unit, but not lose ourselves. The first year of having a child was tough as all of a sudden we had this extra love in our life and it took attention away from each other to which we were unaccustomed to. The first year of working together was a lesson in total communication as it was fairly quickly learned that any breakdown in communication effected every hour of the day. Then the first year of not working together (eighteen years later) was also hard, as all of a sudden, we didn’t know what was happening in every moment of each others life. It was like losing half the channels on your TV all at once.

I joke about when you will be gone. I mean, our friends have all watched you digging huge holes in the garden and joked that it needs to be just a little larger as you won’t quite fit into it yet. I’ve only joked because you are healthy and I know you will be around to drive me crazy long into our old age. That is until now. I could never have pictured you this gravely ill if I had tried. It felt like things were headed in a good direction, but that seemed to be the little bit of lungs you had left trying but then getting overrun. I cannot think about what the first year without you will be like and I still pray I won’t have to know that for a long time, but it looks more and more like I’ll know sooner than later.

I stopped by the patient administrator’s office earlier to ask if she had a printer that I could print to. She did not, but asked how I was – she was the one to say you would need long term critical care after this and I’m sure she has since been informed that it will likely not be needed now. I was honest and said that I wasn’t great and this was hard. She asked if I had support to help me. I let her know that we have the best support in the world. That you have more people praying and thinking about you from all over this wide world. Love isn’t anything we are in short supply of. What we need is for your lungs to open up like the Red Sea, for air to flood your lungs like Noah’s flood.

Ted, I still want to ski with you. I still want to camp with you. I still want to cook every single meal for you. I still want you around. Please try hard.

I love you,


Ted’s stats were for shit when I arrived. His blood pressure was up, his breathing was bad, they upped his oxygen to 80%. But as the day progressed, he settled, he looked better, they replaced his breathing tube, they dropped the oxygen back to 60% and he seams better than in the morning. Here’s hoping he has an uneventful night and tomorrow is a better day. I declined to speak to the brilliant Dr today. I listened in on rounds, but really couldn’t take another talk, so I kept to my nurses today.

Somebody’s Miracle

Life is full of miracles. And if you look, you can see the miracles in every day as well. Yesterday, I stood at Ted’s bed and told God and Ted that if he is to be getting out of this, then a clear sign of improvement is needed fast. I felt slightly better. I mean, I’ve always known that the outcome is out of my hands, but this felt like a clear passing of the baton.

I went out with my two favorite nurses last night and it was great. They sheepishly admitted that they had never before gone out with a family member of a patient, and truth be told, it is likely frowned upon, but this felt like the time to make an exception if there ever was one. We talked like a group that had met at a retreat or camp or something and you want to know everything about one another before everyone is dispersed and gone home at the end of summer. When it came to talking about Ted and his critical care, at least I didn’t have to explain anything about what was going on and we could just talk openly about everything.

Some time in the middle of the night last night, I awoke and had a thought. I wondered that if Ted is not to have a miracle and have his lungs recover, should we explore if his passing could be a miracle for someone else. I mean, his only pre-existing condition was that he wore a hearing aide (yes, just one as he lost the other one shortly after his extensive search, purchase (from South Korea – yes, this is probably another story to be told) and then wearing them for just a few weeks).

I brought it up to my nurse this morning and she couldn’t speak to how Covid would effect organ donation. Then, when the Dr. came around, my nurse and I brought it up to her. Turns out, you call the transplant group, they evaluate and let you know. My nurse gave them a ring. Now, don’t go thinking that we are ready to cash in all of Ted’s cards for someone else just now. We just need to be informed in order to make decisions. We hope this is a mute point and just good information to know. Turns out that complete organ donation is off the table due to him having Covid so recently. They did say that eyes, tissue and bones are a choice though.

In the meantime, they have turned the number of breaths down to 24 and have increased his sedation so that he is not over-breathing again. The pressure resistance that the ventilator registers when pushing air into his lungs has increased – meaning he has less space for the air to go, meaning the lungs are getting worse still. They hope with the fewer breaths and sedating him enough to keep him synchronized, we can buy more time for healing.

I don’t know if it is the increase in sedation again, or what, but he seems more peaceful today than yesterday. I told the nurse that I wanted to push him over to the other side of the bed and just crawl in with him for a bit, but she didn’t jump in to make it happen, so I took it as a no.

Thanks everyone for your wishes, prayers, hopes and time with us – physically and energetically.

We love you all.


Brilliantly Harsh

Today was not what I would call a good day. I came in to more air under Teds skin on his chest, shoulders and neck – and a bit in the belly I thought as well. They took another xray and it still hasn’t collapsed his lungs or anything, so we have that going for us. It was a new Doctor to me today and she said she would come in later after rounds to look at the sores on and around his mouth, so I wasn’t shocked when she didn’t have anything to say to me during the rounds.

Everyone says she is brilliant, but for me she was brilliantly harsh.

You know how you have taken your pet to the same vet forever and that vet loves you and loves your pet, so they want to do everything they can when your pet gets gravely ill? Then one day your vet is gone and another really well respected vet comes and says that, Yes, you can continue down this road, but you may want to think about how to let your pet go and these are the options? Yep, that was the convo with this doctor today.

The stupidly prophetic thing of it was, just yesterday, I joked at Ted that if he was our pet, I would put him down. I know, not funny, but he was so pathetic looking that it came out before I could sensor myself.

I cried and everyone tried to console me. I pulled it together and talked it over a bit on my ride back to get my car ( my car had recall work done today). I told work that I was taking the afternoon and tomorrow off. I talked with my nurse who has been with me for the past several days. Yes, we are still continuing treatment and seeing if a miracle happens. Then I went down to talk to my very special nurse and we talked it over even more. The great thing about nurses is, they already know everything that is happening, they know the people involved and they know what has or hasn’t happened with cases in the past. Taking some time to vent and talk it over with them settled me down.

Well, we are not quite done talking. There is a spot next door to the hospital and well, if we happen to run into one another there to talk some more, then it will be a wonderful coincidence (wink wink). I just love that my nurses are all in cohorts to take the best care of Ted and I and are willing to head out after their shift to see me in the non-hospital setting.

I’m not giving in to the brilliant doctor just yet.

Sorry that I didn’t have a better day to share.

Love Sally