All posts by Sally

Thank You

I want to thank everyone who has reached out via a message on the blog. Seeing the responses have been wonderful for me to read. Also, thank you if you texted, called, left a message, or emailed me. Please know that all forms of communication have been appreciated and please know that they touched my heart even if I wasn’t able to respond at the time and it was later buried in the avalanche of communication.

I thank you all who have hugged us in person or virtually. We feel them all.

Yesterday, I awoke before dawn and there had been a message from one of my pals who is always in charge of coffee when we travel together. so since she isn’t far from the grocery store that I needed to get to first thing, I asked if I could come over for some coffee.

I I left and walked past the remnants of the plants in the flower beds, I got weepy thinking of Ted. I got into the car and started to drive over and again something triggered a Ted thought and again I was crying. Exasperated with myself a bit as I just didn’t want to be the gal about town that always has the puffy watery eyes, I grabbed my dark sunglasses from the seat and threw them on as my best shield. Then, like some sort of magic, I immediately stopped crying. I actually giggled a little at the absurdity of it, but was happy for it all the same.

My sister called and we cried and then laughed at the dark sunglass trick too.

When I arrived at my friends house, she grabbed me and pulled me into a hug like she was fishing me out of the ocean where I had been treading water for too long and had started to flounder. I mean, metaphorically, it likely isn’t too far off, but it literally felt like that as well.

We cried some more – I had taken the magic dark glasses off, so the tears rolled. We laughed too, cause tears go with good laughs and good cries.

We just couldn’t believe that of all people, Ted would be the one to get Covid bad and die. He was healthy and he had prepared for if he was to get it. He had everything to combat it. It just wasn’t in anyone’s imagination of how Ted could some day die.

I then started to tell her that I really thought that in the end…… and I paused to get the words straight in my mind, and I was choking up again because it’s just so hard to think or talk about losing someone. I could see in her face that she was trying to think of the end of the sentence that I couldn’t quite get out. I finally put it together and said that I really thought that if Ted were to ever died, it would be because I killed him, not covid. She busted a gut because she has known us through all of our marriage and has even worked for us when we worked together. She knows how much we loved each other but could also get on each other’s nerves if we tried. I guess the message was really, this was just inconceivable and unfathomable.

More friends stopped over during the day, Ciara and Galen came up and Devin was here, and even more people stopped by, and it was a love filled day.

Today looks to be more of the same as I get together with the friends that have known both Ted and I from before we were even married. More hugs, more tears, more stories, more laughter. I’m grateful for it all and everyone.

Thanks Again,

Sally

Mike Ted’s Party

Ted has been in the ICU since October 19th and today he got out.

He didn’t walk out with me like I had hoped, but his spirit is free from the horrid Covid and free from his ravaged body. Everything went sideways today and he just couldn’t overcome it.

My first emotion is shock followed by an overwhelming gratitude. I’ve been lucky and have thirty some years of memories to hold fast to. While I know he is gone, my mind – or maybe it’s my heart – doesn’t want to believe it. I feel like I’ll go home and he’ll be in the garden messing with his water storage system and making sure nothing will freeze in the next cold spell. He’ll be mad that we didn’t fold up the plastic for the secondary greenhouse and will comment that the heater for the bees isn’t how he wants it – but will acknowledge that at least we tried and it should work. He’ll be exasperated at why we haven’t brought more wood over and gotten it cut and split because you know we are going to get hit by cold and snow before we know it.

I also feel lost. We have been part of each other for 32 years and can’t imagine what this will be like. I am also now so use to coming to the hospital everyday and watching his care and connecting with this incredible hospital family of folks who have cared for the both of us, that I feel sad for losing them as well as Ted. Weird I know, but I do get attached to folk. (well, some I am holding onto and will definitely stay in touch with, but still.)

I’m the one use to adventures and having Ted there at home to return to. Now he has gone onto the eternal adventure and I’m left as the one at home.

It is going to take the brain trust of everyone we know just to figure out all of the contraptions and things that Ted has contrived in and around the house. I hope I can find at least some of his hidden stashes. He never much read manuals, but I sure wish he had written one to go with all the switches, hidden compartments, LED setups that are abundantly thoughout the interior and exterior of the house. This just may be the worlds next mystery.

Ted was my guy. I could bitch at him, to him, make fun of him, love him, want to kill him, make him three full coarse meals a day if we were both home, find his tools when he couldn’t remember where he set them down and threatened to buy five of whatever was missing so that he would always have the tool handy. He was my guy who could fix anything and if he couldn’t, he’d make sure it was so broken that no one could. He’s been the only guy I even ever dreamt about. I mean I have friends that have really good hot dreams with all kinds of famous people, but my hot dreams always had Ted in them.

One of my dear friends that is across country booked a flight yesterday so that she could come be with me for a while. I think some angel must have known and whispered into her ear that the time to come was now.

I’ll be around for hugs and will need lots of those and will return them as I know so many of you also need a hug because Ted wasn’t just my guy, he was lots of people’s guy and it isn’t just me that lost him today.

Ted’s body won’t be around, but Ted’s energy will always be in our midst. There will be tons of reminders for us all.

I feel like we’ll need a memorial cornhole tournament at some future date for us all to celebrate his time with us. Maybe a pig roast to go with. I don’t know, but with everyone’s help, we shall figure it out.

He’d want a party.

I want Ted.

I don’t suppose there will be a daily update now, but I’m sure thoughts will eek out and I’ll share since you have come this far with me.

Hug your loved ones today, tell them you love them, get vaxed if you haven’t already.

Thank you for being a part of his and my lives.

Love Sally

Dealers Choice

Today I came in and Ted’s mouth sores were so much better. Or maybe I should say that the bloody scabs finally succumbed to all of the meds and moisture that has been copiously applied and so they had released and in turn, he looked so so much better.

They tried to come out of the sedation a slight bit, but Ted’s body would have none of it and everything was precarious for a time again. Luckily that wasn’t when any of his visitors had been around. His lungs continue to decline and his O2 stats rapidly drop if he has any movement with his body. Even repositioning him seems to take it out of him anymore whether he is sedated like an elephant or just like a bear. Either way, he is under copious amounts of sedation (along with the paralytic) and that too takes a toll on a body.

While I have always known that this is not really in any of our hands, I am starting to feel that Ted is folding his hand in this poker game and going home with the dealer. Every time that his body is given a chance, it says Heck NO and they have to take measures to take him out of the equation once again so that the body can be made to work without his influence. It feels like somebody’s hand will be forced very soon and either he’s been holding Aces or we will know that we have all gone “all in” and have lost this game.

A friend texted me today that : If love could clear Ted’s lungs and dry my tears, I’d be on my way home.” Truer words could not be said. I get asked alot from the Doctors/nurses/staff, if I have the support around me to cope with this. I always reply that I am perhaps the most blessed person alive with all of the support that has been mounted for Ted and myself. If love and support could fix his lungs, this would have been over long ago.

As for tonight, all bets are off and hoping for a new hand tomorrow.

Than you all for your continued love and support.

Love Sally

If you wish to visit

I hate to say it, but we are nearing the point where the hospital will lift the one visitor per 24 hour period and let others visit to see Mike Ted Fill and say whatever it is they wish to say to him. Please know though that it will be more for your benefit as he is still in coma and so heavily sedated that he will not acknowledge you or have a reaction. We cannot, of coarse, know what his spirit is hearing or feeling.

Before you contemplate requesting to come, please know that it will be harsh for you. He is frail thin, hooked up to 8 or 10 IV’s, has a feeding tube down his nose, a trach into his throat, monitors all about and has enough bloody sores around his mouth and nose that I tend to joke that he looks like a zombie who ate a nurse. (I know, it’s a bit of an unpleasantly rough description, but a sense of humor is mandatory to make it through these days and I so wanted him to get better so that I could show him one day and tease him about it. It could still happen)

Please also don’t think that you should come for my benefit either. I will be ever so happy to come give you a hug away from this hospital and share Ted stories at any time.

I cannot honestly say if Mike/Ted (those who work with him, know him as Mike and the rest know him as Ted), would want you to see him like he is currently, but I will trust that you know in your heart if he would or not.

And who knows, maybe tomorrow his stats get better and not worse and some of us won’t have to cry ourselves to sleep as I did last night. I was a regular toddler who couldn’t stop herself until sleep took over and made me stop,

So, let me know if you think you really must visit. Call my cell or Mike/Ted’s cell and I’ll ask the hospital to put you on the list.

With Love,

Sally

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