I finally got the video from the funeral and watched it again… The grand kids really did a great job putting this together. Several people asked me about it, so here you go, it is worth checking out again.
Dad Update – Final
It is with a broken heart that I am entering my final update. After 4 months of fighting like the warrior that his was Dad passed away from the injuries that he sustained in his auto accident on October 21st. After surviving 7 different health care facilities, multiple operations and being in 5 different ICUs Dad was reunited with Mom at their home of 56 years on Talbert Street. Truly, although biased, it was one of the sweetest scenes that I have ever had the privilege to witness. Mom was dressed up and standing in the foyer with her walker as Dad, exhausted from climbing the stairs, dressed in his jeans (synched tight with new holes punched in his belt), pocket tee, Members Only jacket and white Tennies, with the help of his walker came through the door. The joy and emotion that they displayed in that moment was really heartfelt and beautiful. Dad said that the smell of his house was the best thing that he had smelt in such a long time.
As Dad settled in to his familiar surroundings, he gave mom her birthday present, which was a sparkly gold chain that he picked out from a magazine while in the hospital and had my sister order for him. Then he started checking to make sure that all of his favorite foods were in the house, we had made a list in his room at UCSF and Carolyn had shopped for a couple weeks earlier, when we first thought that he was coming home. We sat around the table for a bit before Dad headed to the front room to settle in on the couch and find a good old western on the TV turned up to 11.
I believe a combination of the excitement of being home and the exertion of leaving the hospital had Dad working hard to breath smoothly. He was doing his breathing treatments to help open his lungs but was still quit congested, but so happy to be home. Late that evening he went to bed, but was not able to sleep for more then a few minutes at a time. Since he was not sleeping he and mom watched TV and talked through the night, Carolyn and I joked to ourselves that it was like having a teenage sleep over.
Tuesday morning, Dad was back to the front room watching TV, Mom would come and go. He was hot and not real comfortable, but was able to get a couple of short naps. Finally around 4:00 in the afternoon, he decided that he would try to lay down to see if he could sleep. Charlie had just got back to town and had a nice visit with pop before he left him so that he could get some sleep. Although he was still breathing heavy, he did finally fell into a good solid sleep. When Carolyn checked on him, he had rolled to his side, which is how he normally slept and was sleeping soundly, so she turned off all of the lights and the television. Mom stayed out of the bedroom, so as not to bother him and we check on him often.
Charlie left around 10:30 and went in to see Pop, but did not wake him to say good bye. Carolyn stuck her head in about 15 minutes later to check on him and he was still sleeping. Around 11:00 that evening Vince poked his head in to check on Pop before going to bed and called out that he was not in the bed. jumping to action, we checked the bathroom then beside the bed, where we found him laying on his side and non responsive. Carolyn and I started CPR immediately while Vince called 911. We were unable to get him breathing or get a pulse when the SFFD showed up in force. What awesome, professionals, they moved him out from beside the bed and worked on him until they got a pulse. They strapped him to a board and had him in their ambulance in a flash. In the ambulance his heart stopped again and they were doing CPR again before leaving for SF General.
We were able to get a hold of Amanda Fabbri to stay with Vince and Mom and got to General ASAP. An emergency doctor met us in the family waiting room and told us that Dad was alive but very sick. Dad was transferred from the emergency to the ICU. The Emergency Doctor went up with us to see Dad, by this time he had a breathing tube in his throat, multiple IVs and monitors and they told us that he they were going to insert a tube into an artery in his neck because his arms were in such bad shape from all of the previous IVs. They asked us to go to the waiting room while they did this. Dr. Nate from the emergency room grabbed us after about an hour and a half and brought us back to the ICU. While we were waiting to go in an see him his blood pressure bottomed out, once again they were performing CPR on him while they gave him an injection to get his heart pumping again.
Now we were speaking to the ICU doctor for an assessment and a cold shot of reality. Not knowing how long Dad had been out before the Firemen got to him, his brain functions were in question, his heart had stopped 4 times and was not beating without getting spiked from drugs, his body had taken tremendous abuse from the CPR, a cracked sternum and re-fracturing his ribs, his kidneys had appeared have shut down and if they were able to get him stable he would not come back to where he was.
At this point we decided that Dad would not want to live that way and were able to get Uncle Ed to go by the house and pick up Mom so that she could be with Dad. The doctors and nurse were absolutely fantastic as they accommodated a group of loved ones to visit with Dad and let him go. Father Twan and Father Mario both came and anointed Dad, we all prayed together while the nurse kept him comfortable, they removed his breathing tube and at 10:45 February 20th Dad passed away.
Through this long ordeal I have developed a new respect for Nurses and CNPs, the professionalism and compassion that Dad was treated with was truly amazing. I now believe that people in the health profession have a calling and I am so thankful that they are out there and that they treated Dad with such respect. I am also blown away by all of the people that have reached out to Carolyn and myself offer help, prayers and support, i know how much I love my father but am so delighted to know how much he meant to so many.
We will be holding a viewing of Dad on Monday night the 25th at 7:00 – with the funeral on Tuesday the 26th at 11:00 with a celebration of Dads wonderful life to follow. All of the events will be held at dad’s long time Parrish Our Lady of the Visitacion. To honor Dad Our Lady of the Visitacion School will be closed on Tuesday.
Mom & Dad Update
Chuck and Fran Barberini pushed by love and faith fighting to get healthy – fighting to get home.
I’ve updated the page a bit, changed the title and the picture. The most recent update on Mom and Dad is just below this paragraph. We had some good news this week and there some light at the end of the tunnel, with that in mind, I am taking a moment for some reflection, insight and perspective. It has been over 3 months since Pop had his accident and over a month since Mom had her accident. During this time, we have spent more time together then we have since I lived at home. I have seen them be humbled, suffer, struggle and fight to get healthy, it has been frustrating and heart breaking to be a helpless bystander watching their plight. The obstacles that they are overcoming would be difficult for a man or woman 20 years years their juniors. I have often asked myself during this process what keeps them going at their age, how do you keep pushing when you know how hard the road to recovery will be. Because they are not together during their struggles, I get to play cheerleader with them individually and during that time we talk about getting home and getting back together. They are both fighting for each other, to support each other and to help each other heal. Their strength is in each other, they want to get better so that they can get home and help each other get healthy. Their love for each other is real and palpable, their love is giving them the strength to fight and is awesome to witness.
I have never doubted Mom and Dad’s faith, I have witnessed it over the years as they have overcome so many hardships that would have broken others. Many people talk about a faith in God, but Mom and Dad live their faith and have never turned away from or blamed God for their trials. During this trail I have witnessed such inspirational faith that it has caused me to further commit to my own beliefs. I have walk in on both Mom and Dad praying the rosary when nobody else was present. They have both been anointed while in the hospital and received communion on numerous occasions. It is said that you can tell who a person is by how they act when nobody is looking, if that is the case, these are two people of absolute faith.
With all of that being said, I can say that I truly believe that Mom and Dad will be home and back together soon and regardless of how much time they have left, they will spend it together, sharing their love for each other and being grateful that they fought so hard to get there. What a great example of love and faith and how blessed am I to have them for parents.
I apologize for not having updated the site recently, I have heard from several people who have been quite concerned about Mom and Dad and i feel bad for not holding up my end. I truly did not believe that this would be a 4 month saga when this first started, but here we are.
A quick update and hopefully a huge step forward on the process. Mom is home and recovering, she is not progressing as rapidly as she hoped, so she has an appointment this week to see the surgeon to make sure that her leg is healing correctly.Mom celebrated her Birthday on Thursday and we were all hoping that Dad would make it home in time to celebrate with her. But that was not meant to be, although Dad has made huge strides, his doctors though that it would be better to take out his trach and feeding tube prior to sending him home, to reduce the chance of infection. He made it through both of these processes and get his clearance. So as it stands tonight and was confirmed yesterday, Dad will be going home tomorrow. We are all so excited to get the bad back together.
A quick update Mom is so happy to be home and she seems to be getting stronger everyday. She needs to be with somebody all of the time, but she will have more independence as she gets stronger.
Dad is having trouble getting enough calories in to get strong. He is sleeping better and is more clear headed during the day. It seems like the plan is to insert a feeding tube into his stomach so they force in more calories. If that works, he should be able to get stronger, if he gets stronger, he can go home.
We may be getting close. Thanks for all of their prayers and support.
How about some positive news? The long and winding road that leads to home. Mom is coming home, not because the doctors say that she is ready or that the therapist at the rehab facility think that she is self sufficient, but because the insurance company said that a person of her age should be recovered from hip surgery by now. Wait until medicine is socialized, they would have probably denied surgery. She is doing really well and has made huge strides over the past week, but will not be able to be alone and is still in danger of hurting herself again. But, she is real excited to be heading home.
Dad, got out of ICU yesterday and he is doing great. They have figured a way to get him some sleep without messing up his heart rate or blood pressure, what a different some sleep makes. He is breathing better and starting to walk again, so hopefully, he can continue to improve and we can get him home to be with Mom.
Dad received a nice mention in the Catholic San Francisco last week, writen by his longtime friend and all around good guy, Tom Burke:
A BLESSING: Prayers please for Chuck Barberini, a former longtime chancery grunt and now recovering from a very serious car accident. Chuck was one of my first friends when I signed on in the first days of 1985. Chuck’s job was with what used to be called the building committee. He watched over and knew personally every brick in the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s properties but even more the people serving in each of them. When I needed advice as I wound my way through my new job with the church Chuck was always there with a “try this” or a “you’re doing just fine.” Chuck and his wife, Fran, are forever parishioners of Church of the Visitacion Parish in San Francisco. Their daughter, Carolyn Dame, is a member of the faculty of Our Lady of the Visitacion School. I had the privilege to attend a Western Night at Visitacion a few months ago. Chuck was in the early days of his recuperation and unable to attend but his fellow parishioners with pastor, Father Thuan Hoang, shot a video where all in attendance could wish their beloved friend get-well wishes. Get well, Chuck.
Since Tuesday Dad’s team of doctors that have done the surgeries on him and have been overseeing his care said that they had done all that they could do for him and were turning him over to the general medical staff to see if they could figure out a plan to get him healthy. He was transferred from the 10th floor ICU to the 9th Floor ICU. He was still suffering delusional behavior with frustration and some acting out. While reviewing his file and examining him, trying to get him to sleep while monitoring his heart and blood pressure. They were able to level him off a bit and moved him out of ICU to a room on the regular floor, where he had a very hard time sleep and breathing and his body was not expelling gases to a critical level. Saturday morning he was moved to the ICU unit o the 13th floor and is working with a pulmonary team. It seems that his left lung, the injury side, is still undersized and not working to capacity and his right lung has developed an infection. He is now on antibiotics and back on a feeding tube, the IV’s are back in and he is getting poked and prodded and very, very frustrated.
Mom continues to improve, she is still quite confused, but is doing her PT and working hard to get home.
Keep sending prayers, they work.
Well Dam… It has been a long and windy road, it is so very hard to believe that this has been going on since the 21st of October and outside of the initial shock of the accident and the fear that dad might might not recover from his injuries, the situation has got worse not better. Tonight when I got home Mom is laying in her room in the Linda Mar Rehabilitation and Nursing Facility and Dad is back in the ICU at UCSF. It is truly sad to sit with either of them and have them ask about the other.
Eventful, mostly positive and very hopeful, but my word for the day is eventful, because stuff is happening. Mom is staying upbeat, but needs to be able to move more to get her out of the hospital and at least to a rehab facility so that we have a game plan in place. She, like Dad, is very lonely, they both miss each other and regardless of who visits or how much time friends and family spend with her the nights are long and lonely. She can’t help but let us know that Dad’s accident happened on the weekend of their 61st anniversary and that this is the longest that they have ever been apart. I believe that her want and need to be back with Dad will keep her pushing to heal so that they can be together soon.
It wasn’t until Thursday afternoon that Dad tracheostomy surgery finally took place, when we finally were able to see him late that afternoon, he was beat up, tired and very upset. Personally, besides his first couple days in the ICU at North Bay Med Center, these were the toughest, most difficult times to see him. He just looked whipped, he was not able to talk, but his eyes told a story and it was not a happy story. The doctor said that the surgery was successful and that he would stay on oxygen for now and would be gradually weened off. She was not sure how long he would need the trachea, but she was confident that it would help get him up and out of bed, breathing on his own and start to mend.
Friday, he was coming to terms with trach, being able to breath was a positive and helping him to feel a bit better. Later that day the put a passy-muir valve on his trach, which is a one way valve that allows him to take in a breath through his trachea and to exhale through his vocal cords. By late Friday we were able to have a conversation with Dad, by this morning he was talking up a storm.
Here is a little brain dump, stuff that I know and have heard about what is going on and what is going to happen. While they were doing one of the recent CT scans, they discovered a fracture in Dad’s back, that was previously not detected. It is not causing him pain, so they will keep an eye on it. They are hoping that he will be able to leave the ICU tomorrow and spend 5-7 days in a private room in the hospital. The trach that he has in now will be changed out to a less invasive unit before he goes home. They don’t know how long he will have to keep a trach in, it depends on how he recovers and if his wind pipe regains it’s structure. He spent 3 hours in an MRI machine on Thursday night, they were checking to see if there were any additional fractures, man was he pissed. They are doing a swallow test tomorrow to see if he can start eating real food. He has had diarrhea for weeks now, so the Doctor thinks that solid food will help. He looks so good, now that he can breath, he looks like Dad, I keep wanting to take a picture and share, but I think that when he gets out of the hospital and starts getting stronger, I want to forget how rough he looked and put this long, tragic event behind us.
Well, that was weird, my first reference, outside of saying Happy New year, to reference the New Year “2019”. I sure wish that we were starting the New Year with more positive news to report. Yet another difficult week at the Barberini house. Dad’s Christmas day surgery worked for a day then started to fail.
The swelling in Dad’s throat moved the stint into his vocal cords and he was unable to talk by Friday. Saturday, they went back in and hoped to repair the previous implant, but were unable to repair it and they removed the stint but left the breathing tube and Dad sedated. He has been kept peaceful with drugs, the breathing tube is still in and he is still in the ICU. This afternoon they are performing a tracheostomy so that they can remove the tubes, I know that Dad will be upset by this, but he needs to get out of bed and moving or he will never get his strength back. This has been such an unbelievable grind, I can’t believe how strong Dad is, but he keeps fighting and I have no doubt that he is on the road to recovery.
One of the things that is driving us crazy is that we are over 2 months into this process and they are just addressing the core issues with Dad’s breathing now. Thanks God Dr Shoene was so adamant that Dad needed his breathing issue addressed. Dr Shoene, Dr Ramsay and Dr Kukreja have all asked us why this wasn’t addressed sooner. That Dad’s breathing should have been handled in Trauma, we don’t know, how would we, we were believing the Doctor’s in charge and following their lead. We are also blown away that he was released to go home from the Rehab center without a bed, oxygen or having fixed his breathing issue. It was during that idiotic short stay at home that Mom fell and broke her hip.
Mom is doing better, she was moved to 7th floor at St Marys and will be going to a Rehab facility by the weeks end. She has a lot to do and will get there, but she needs to be able to walk with a walker and she is not really close to making that happen.
Keep up the prayers and good thoughts and support, it is really helping.
Well, it’s been a week since I last posted and what a week it has been. So, I am going to start with the end and work my way backward to last Thursday Morning, when everything that has happened since Dad’s accident on October 21st moved into hyper-drive.
This morning Dad is resting comfortably in the ICU and the University of California San Francisco Medical Center on Parnassus. He was transferred there by ambulance at 11:00 PM Monday Christmas eve for a urgent surgery on Christmas Morning.
As I mentioned in my last entry, Dad was sent home from the Rehab Facility in Pacifica last Wednesday, Carolyn brought him home, but a hospital bed, in house care or oxygen were not coordinated to be there for him at home. He was so happy to be home, but was very week, had a real hard time breathing and was still regulated to a liquid diet. The first night home, he was not able to find a comfortable way to lay in bed comfortable and to breath without working really hard. Carolyn was at Mom and Dad’s house and working to help Dad find a comfortable place to lay. He ended up on the couch in the front room surrounded by pillows, but was only able to get 5 – 10 minutes of sleep before he was grasping for air. This continued through the night, around 4:00 AM, Mom was in the front room with Dad but got up to go to the restroom, she didn’t use her cane or walker and fell in the kitchen. She went down hard and was unable to get up even with Carolyn’s help, a little later Carolyn called James and Dan, two of their neighbors, so they ended up calling an ambulance. Mom was transported to the ER at St Marys Hospital and after an X-Ray it was learned that she fractured her hip. Thursday night Mom underwent a surgery where they inserted a titanium rod into her femur and inserted some screws to stabilize the fracture. Because of the physical issues that she already had and the pain medicine that she was already taking the doctor where having a real difficult time finding a pain relief solution for her. She was moved to a room on the 8th floor to rest and recover and to start working on her rehabilitation.
Back on Talbert Street, Dad was still working on getting better, but still fighting to breath and not being able to get comfortable to sleep. While Dad was doing his part, Carolyn was burning up the phone lines advocating to get Dad the tools that he needed to help him recover. Thursday and Friday night I stayed with Dad, while Fred, Claire and Vince helped out during the day. The nights were long and frustrating, trying to help Dad get comfortable, listening to him try to breath and watching him sleep for 10 minutes then move to get a spot where he could rest. Saturday a nurse from the health insurance company came by the house and was shocked to see the condition that dad was in and that the Rehab Center sent him home in that condition without oxygen or a bed, she said that she would get on it right away. She was great and we all felt like we finally had someone on our side, but the problem was that by the time she left the house it was Saturday night with Christmas on Tuesday. Saturday night Dad was a real brutal one for Dad, not only could he not sleep, but he breathing had become more raspy and he was real weak, when she tested his blood oxygen level Sunday morning it was at 68%, she contacted our good family friend and nurse Nancy who confirmed that he needed to go to the emergency right away. They were equally concerned at the ER and admitted to the ICU at St Marys where we were so blessed to meet Dr. Robert Shoene.
Dr. Shoene had spent most of his career working in trauma and recognized the severity of Dad’s breathing issue and knew that something had to be done and fast. He started burning up the phone lines and got a hold of thoracic heart surgeon that could perform emergency surgery on Dad. As of Sunday night he was scheduled to be transferred to SF General Hospital for surgery Monday morning. That window closed and the move to General never happened. Dr Shoene was back on the phone. At one point I drove a copy of Dad’s CT Scan and his records over to UCSF and we had possibilities of openings at UCSF, Stanford and Valley Med in Napa.
Monday was spent bouncing between the ICU on the 2nd floor and the 8th floor of St Marys and by the time I left on Christmas eve we had a commitment from Stanford. About a half hour after Stanford committed UCSF called and said that they could do the surgery.
The procedure was schedule for 7:00 Christmas Morning. Dad was in the ICU at UCSF and was being made comfortable and prepared for surgery. His nurse, Gradia, was absolutely wonderful, she took a liking to Dad and was patient with his comments and lack of cooperation. By this point his delirium, due to lack of sleep, was extensive. He was confused about where he was, what was going on and where Mom was. Dr. Kukreja is a heart and lung surgeon and the director of the lung transplant program at UCSF was doing the surgery on Dad. She introduced herself to us and told us that after reviewing Dad’s information that it was a very difficult situation and that she wasn’t comfortable doing the surgery without her whole team being there and would prefer to do it on Wednesday. What could we say? After that she brought over Dr Ramsay, who was head doctor working the ICU. Dr Ramsay went on to tell us that his main concern was that if Dad was not able to breath on his own at any point that they would not be able to inset a breathing tube into his wind pipe because it was so damaged and that they would try to resuscitate him, but if they couldn’t, they would not perform CPR because the lack of oxygen would kill his brain.
Carolyn and I were left to contemplate this conference with Dad, who was growing increasingly restless and agitated. We didn’t see Dr Kukreja for a while, but Dr Ramsay stopped in several times to let us know that he was pushing to get it done and that he thought time was of the essence. Gradia, kept us in the loop with information that was being circulated between the doctors. Dr Ramsay came in about 11:45 to let us know that the surgery team had a plan and were getting everything ready.
Dad was not out of the woods and the surgery was going to be very tricky, if they could not keep his airway open while they were doing the surgery he would not be getting the oxygen that he needs. They had a plan to cycle and oxygenate his blood outside his body, but it is super risky and does not guarantee a positive result. They took Dad out of his room at 12:30 and we followed him to the elevator as we were saying good bye and good luck to him Dr Kukreja approached Carolyn and I and said I was reviewing your father’s chart and see that he he also has Coronary Heart Failure and that is also a risk factor. I said, “we have faith in you Doc, you got this, can you do it? She smiled and said yes, then I said “let’s do this.” We had a long walk back to his room and didn’t look at each other, then went to get some Christmas lunch.
Dr Kukreja called Carolyn around 4:00, she said that she was able to get the breathing tube in, then after several attempts was able to get the shunt in there and to hold and that she was very happy with the results. He was intubated and that they would keep him sedated and intubated through the night. They would do a new CT scan that evening and that we could see him in about 45 minutes.
It was son great to see him laying there peacefully. It is my sincere hope that by being able to breath and sleep that he will be able to return home and start to mend. Then we can work on getting Mom back on her feet and on the mend.
This, for sure, is a Christmas to remember.
The Eagle has landed – Carolyn picked Dad up this afternoon from Pacifica Rehab and brought him home. He still has a lot of work to do and has an appointment with the respiratory doctor tomorrow, but we are all hoping that the change of atmosphere and his comfortable surroundings will help him to improve.
We are all super happy that he will be home for Christmas.
It was a tough week for Dad, after getting out and spending a couple days at Seton, it was real hard for him to go back to Pacifica Rehab. The nurses and physical therapist have been super and really appreciate Dad’s positive attitude. He is working hard and improving daily, he is still real raspy and is undergoing respiratory treatment daily. He is wanting so bad to go home, but he still needs to do better on his walking. His not constantly on oxygen as he has been since the accident, but still doing his treatments. He knows that by working hard in physical therapy that he will get stronger and set himself up to go home. He has an appointment this Wednesday with the Dr that did the investigatory surgery at Seton and we are hoping that he will give Dad a treatment that he can do at home.
While visiting with Dad this morning I was so happy, he was sitting up on the side of his bed, talking about football, Claire, Vince and the boys. The aids wanted to redo his bed, so he got into his wheelchair and we went into the Rec Room to watch the Raiders suck and spend some time with the Galvins. Dad was super sharp, talking football and old times. Unfortunately Jim Galvin an old neighbor and friend is also a resident at the rehab center, but it is also a mixed blessing having kindred spirits to spend some time with while getting through the monotony of the day. Last week while I was visiting Jim’s wife Louise told me that when she was a young girl of 5 she remembers walking across the street and knocking on the Barberini door asking if Charles could come out to play.
Thanks for your patience with me in catching up on the post to let you know how Dad is doing. He has had so many friends and family stop by, call and send notes of encouragement it is truly amazing and a testament to the relationships that Mom and Dad have developed over the years. Thanks also for all of the thoughts and prayers, they are working. Hopefully on my next post I will be letting you all know that Dad is home, getting better and getting ready for a Christmas that we will all have something to be thankful for.
“A Day that will live in Infamy”
Well he has been cruising along, begrudgingly doing his PT, giving the trainers a heck of a time, which lets us know that he is getting back to normal. He is eating a little more, but is still relying on Ensure to keep him going. He is using his walker and doing a little better everyday, but still gets winded and fatigued real easy, I believe that it is a combination of everything, his lung, being in bed for so long and the lack of caloric intake that has his energy low, so we are all pushing him to eat some more we’ll see.
Tuesday of this week, I got a call from the Rehab home that Dad was having trouble breathing and that the doctor there felt like he had some sort of blockage in his throat, because he complained that he had a real hard time swallowing. They set up and appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor. Carolyn was able to take him, they wheel chaired him to her car, put in the wheelchair and off they went. The ENT doctor didn’t see any obstruction, so back to Pacifica. I got a call the next morning that they were sending him to Seton hospital to check his esophagus. Leaving from the East Bay on a rainy morning, yuk… Uncle Ed and Auntie Mary were able to get to Seton before me and stayed with Dad in the Emergency, a couple people check on him and apparently the GI doctor was coming by to check him out. Well we waited and waited, he was terribly uncomfortable on the hard bed in the ER and was not happy waiting. He finally got a room on the 6th floor late in the afternoon but still hadn’t seen a doctor.
He got checked in with a thousand questions and tests, which is pretty funny to watch since Dad doesn’t have his hearing aides with him and the nurse aren’t used to talking loud. His breathing was super raspy, he is tired and agitated, when he finally feel asleep, Carolyn and I snuck out in hopes that he would sleep through the night.
Wednesday was a bunch of tests to tell us stuff that we already knew, until late evening when the Dr told Mom and Carol that they were taking him in at 10:00 in the morning to do some more invasive tests and a possible operation. They found out that there is a mass on his chest pressing against the esophagus and that they were concerned about it.
Doctor Chin, who Dad has been seeing for years was in his room before 8:00 am on Thursday and gave a rundown of what what going on and what they would be doing, again with the hearing thing. So they took him in at 10:00 and did their thing, Mom, Carolyn, Vince and I were in the room when Dr Chin’s partner came into the room to tell us what was up. There is a mass pressing on the esophagus, they couldn’t get a good reading on it because Dad’s shoulder replacements are creating interference to get a good reading, but they believe that the mass is either some blood or fluid that has occurred since the accident. They didn’t want to try to drain it through the esophagus because they are afraid of getting an infection. They didn’t want to cut into Dad because of all of the trauma that he has already been through , it might really stress out his body, so they going to continue to monitor him. He did say that the scope that they used was 15mil and that is larger then most food, to chew his food good and follow with water and with time it will increase. He also says that as his physical activity increases, it will help speed up the shrinking of the mass.
He looks good, his spirits are good he wants to go home, but for now it’s back to Pacifica Rehab…
Apologies for the long delay between posts… I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. Now we are all shotgunning straight into Christmas, remember to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for as the craziness of the holidays descends upon us all.
Here’s a little catch up on the week that was with big Chuck’s recovery: Progress is definitely being made, he is doing PT, at least 2 times a day, but he is fighting it, I don’t think that he likes being told what to do. I wish that he would just go with the flow like the rest of the family…
I know that he had a bit of a tough time on thanksgiving , missing his first A Bowl and being away from the family for dinner, but he had lots of visitors and watched a bunch of football. The report from Carolyn today is that Dad is getting stronger, he still needs oxygen and lung treatments daily. He needs to eat more, he is relying on Ensure.
A couple of quick updates – Dad had several visitors on Sunday and he was happy to see so many family and friends, although quite worn out by late afternoon. The reports that I received from those that had seen him earlier in his recovery were very positive. He wore his brace and was sitting for over 4 hours and was still sitting when we left Sunday night, he seems real determined to push himself to get better.
The report that I received from Mom this evening was very upbeat. She was excited as we spoke, Dad walk the hall with the therapist then went back to his chair rather then his bed. The Physical Therapist came back later in the day to get dad to walk again and he told her to take a hike. LOL, well Dad is getting his attitude back.
Update – Update – Update
Thursday Afternoon, the doctor came into the room while I was there, I said “doesn’t he look a lot better then the last time that you were here?” He said, “are you kidding? this guy is Superman, we got notice of a bed open in Pacifica, and we are releasing him.” Dad said, “that’s great news, when are we talking, over the weekend?” The Doctor said “no now.”
So, Thursday night an ambulance came around 7:00 loaded Dad on a gurney and off he went. I cleaned out the little bit of stuff that he had in the room, loaded my truck and took off to meet them at the Pacifica Nursing & Rehab Center.
By the time that he arrived and got settled it was past 10:30 and Dad was wiped out. By the time that I got back late on Friday morning, Dad was a bit more comfortable and figuring out his new surroundings. He said that everyone was super nice and that he was fine but needed to work his PT so that he can get home.
His over assessment (layman version by me) His pain is way more manageable with Tylonal and Norco after physical activity. His energy level is very low, but he is not eating much and has been in bed for 4 weeks tomorrow, so that makes sense. Sitting for a couple hours is still exhausting, but he is able to do it a couple times a day now. Walking with his brace and a walker is really shaky, but I believe that he will really make headway in his walking this week. He still get short of breath and is still on oxygen, talking or having a conversation is difficult and overwhelming. His attitude is better and he is pushing to get home. By this time next week he will be the Mayor of Pacifica Rehab.
It’s hard to believe that it has been almost a month and the progress has been slow, but there is progress and I am so grateful that he is pushing himself to get better.
Thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers, keep them up, they are working.
Wednesday Night Update – 11/14/2018
Well it has a real Roller Coaster week. He is really doing well on his breathing, Charlie got to his room late morning Tuesday and Dad was wearing the BIPAP mask. He found out that he was just back in the mask after sitting in a chair for an hour in the morning wearing the low flow oxygen tube. He later had PT and practiced putting his brace on by himself. He then sat in his chair for another hour and a half. When I got to his room early afternoon he was wearing his big mask, I asked his nurse how he was doing and let her know how concerned we all were after speaking with his doctor on Monday. She said that he was doing great and filled me in on all that he did prior to me getting there. She changed him back into his low flow and we sat and talked for the rest of the afternoon. His upper back was bothering him and she did give him some pain medicine to make him comfortable. I stayed until late that evening and watched some history channel then NCIS, he had to fill me in on the players as I am not a NCIS watcher. The breathing tech came in around 10:00 and was switching him back to his big mask as I was leaving.
I was so happy and relieved to be leaving him in so much better condition then he was the night before.
I was unable to make it to the hospital on Wednesday because of work commitments, Charlie, who has been awesome, spent the afternoon with Pop. He was happy to report that Dad was in great spirits and was walking all over the place. WOW.
Carolyn spoke with his home heart doctor and was able to connect her with the doctor at Northbay, we are all hoping that will help with a plan to get him closer to home. She also spoke with Dr. Ismail at Northbay who was blown away with the Dad the he saw today compared to the Dad that he saw on Monday. He told her that he is a real strong man that is fighting to get better. Hopefully we can get him moved soon.
The breathing issues continued through the night and eventually in the morning, after a night of no sleep, they put Dad on a BIPAP machine. I spoke to his nurse in the morning, who told me that he was finally getting some sleep, since putting him on the new machine. When we got up there this afternoon, it was kinda scary seeing him in the mask and headgear and all of the equipment in his room, but he was so much more relaxed then when I left him Sunday night.
We were able to meet with his main doctor at the hospital who has said that Dad has had some set backs since being in the hospital. He said that his main concerns are his heart and lungs; Dad has an irregular heart beat and has been seeing a heart doctor for several years, but the doctor at Northbay said that it is under a great deal of strain. We gave him his heart doctors contact information, we have given all of his doctors and medicines a couple of times since he has been in. Carolyn gave Dad’s Dr. a call right away and should be talking to her this morning.
He is also concerned that Dad is not yet able to breath on his own and he told us that he has developed Hospital Acquired Pneumonia and is being treated for that. So we are definitely trending in the wrong direction and are hoping for some positive steps forward today.
Mom was having a real hard time yesterday, between seeing Dad in the head gear, all of the new equipment in his room and then meeting with the doctor, it was a lot for her to handle. Also, it has been over three weeks since the accident, Dad is not able to talk on the phone and Mom is not able to see him all of the time and on top of that, there is so much uncertainty as to his condition and his treatment options.
Today will be better.
Weekend Update 11/11/2018
Lots of positives stuff is happening with Dad, he is able to move a bit better and has been able to walk a bit with a walker and a couple steps to and from the bathroom on his own. He was being given laxatives to help him stay regular while taking pain medicines, now that he is off pain medicine the laxatives are kicking in. The poor guy has been hit by a bad case of IBS and in his current physical condition has been quite exhausting. He still is not eating much and is getting most of his intake from drinking Boost, between the IBS and the lack of caloric intake he is really wrung out.
The doctors have tried cutting back on his oxygen intake, they had him down to 4 liters (not sure what that means) after and exertion, it is really hard to catch his breath. They transferred him back to the high flow oxygen early in the evening but he was really struggling. He says that he fills like he is smothering, although the level of oxygen in his blood is right where the doctor wants it 92-94%. Because of the injuries to his ribs and back, he is not able to take a really deep breath, I believe that this is what is causing him to feel like he is smothering.
It is really hard to watch him work so hard to get comfortable, between the pain in his ribs and back and having to work so hard to breath, he is really frustrated. He keeps saying that he really wants to go home and thinks that will help him adjust, but in reality he needs to be right where he is until they get some of these things worked out. There is no news regarding a transfer closer to home.
I do better on my updates and am hoping for more positive news to come.
Thanks again for all of you reaching out to check in, the thoughts and prayers will pay off.
Sister Diane’s Birthday today, she would have been 54.
Carolyn spoke with Dad’s nurse yesterday morning and was happy to report that he seemed less confused then on Wednesday and that the ultrasound didn’t show anything alarming. Uncle Ed spent a few hours with Dad late morning and early afternoon and said that he was able to have some conversations with him and that his pain level was low. He commented on how beat up that he looked, but was restless and wanted to get the heck out of the hospital. I never did get that shave in, I have been carrying my kit with me, but he hasn’t been up to the challenge, I think it makes him look macho. BTW, his beard is only partial gray, I’m a bit jealous on that front.
The follow up with the night nurse is that he was resting, that he was clear headed and his pain level was at a 2. I am excited to see for myself in a bit.
Keep up the prayers, they are helping.
The afternoon with Dad was great, Charlie had been with him a couple hours and left about an hour after I got there. First of all, his clarity jumped out at me, conversed well, was aware of his surroundings and the process that he is going though. Having been with him over the last three weeks I am really aware of the baby steps that he is making. He is still hurting but is on Tylenol for pain, he is able to get out of bed to use the toilet, it is only a couple of steps, but there is no way that he could have done it 5 days ago. He rolls back into bed and is able to lift his legs back into bed.
I was there when the lung doctor came by, he checked his blood oxygen levels and he said that they improved significantly in the last two days. He said that he expected him to be on a smaller oxygen tube in the next day or two and walking the hall with a walker and his back brace by Monday. He explained that his ribs separated from his spine and that they inverted rather than expand when he breaths. He said that they could have done surgery but it is very difficult and he is old, Dad said wait a minute doc, I’m only 83.” I thought to myself, “hell yeah Dad, you tell him, fight for it.” I left him watch the Searchers on the DVD player with his headphones on. So Cool.
Apologies for missing a couple days this week and thank you all for following up, we all so appreciate all of the prayers being offered for Dad’s speedy recovery. Well after what seemed like daily improvements and what appeared to be a fast track to recovery Dad suffered some set backs today. His pain level remained elevated, he still has fluid in his lung and was terribly confused all day.
The doctors and nurses were also very frustrated today by Dads obvious confusion. They ran scans on his head and lungs, the did an EEG on his head and ran an x-ray of his chest and left side of his body. They are once again changing his medication and trying to get a grip on his treatment so that they can make a plan.
We have reached out to his primary care doctor as well as the doctor in charge at Northbay Medical Center, trying to find out if and when we can look to move Dad closer to home. Finally this evening we did hear from one of the nurses in charge, that there is no plan in place, because they are not sure how to treat his current condition.
Here is hoping for a bounce back day on Thursday.
2 weeks ago today Dad was admitted into Northbay Medical Center , it has been a very tough road so far and he has a lot of healing yet to do, but what a great weekend we have to report on. I know that I was optimistic when I left Dad on Friday, but I am over the moon tonight. He was moved down to a private room on the first floor late Saturday afternoon, which I’m sure will help him get more rest.
The nurses reported that he had a real good night, with good sleep and was taking his pain medication on their schedule and was in better control of his pain, they removed the epidural drip that he had in since day 2. Mom, Carolyn, Vince, Tracy and I were with him afternoon and into early evening, Charlie came in as we were leaving and spent a couple hours watching the Patriots and Packers game, Dad is a big Tom Brady guy, so he was happy.
All of us confirmed that he looked and acted just great, he spoke clearly and we even got a couple smiles out of him. He brushed his own teeth while we were there and asked us to figure out how to get his two weeks of growth off his face, the most growth that I have ever seen on him. Both Charlie and are sporting beards at this time so we are trying to figure out how creative we can be while helping him shave, Van Dyke, Foo Man Chou, Goatee?
Carolyn has been dealing with the insurance companies and his primary care physician, so we are hoping with his rapid recent improvements that we will soon know when we can have him moved to a rehab facility closer to home. He was very happy to be moved from ICU to a private room this weekend, and is really looking forward to a move closer to home. If it was up to him he would go home today, but that is not in the cards just yet.
Thank you for all of the prayers and support, they are really helping. More news to follow.
It took several tries, but I was finally able to speak with Dad’s nurse this morning, she said that he already did PT this morning and his sitting. She told me that he had a very restful night and once back in bed and settled in the he reported his pain level at a 2. They are still waiting for a room to be available.
Cole’s Birthday today – The big 21. Hard to believe. Happy Birthday Cole.
Charlie got up to see Pop early in the day and spent a couple hours with him until Dad kicked him out. Mom and I got up there early afternoon. He looks so much better it is amazing, he still has pain but is spending more time sitting up and doing his breathing exercises. You could tell that he has not been getting enough sleep, once that he was back in bed, he would nod off and fall into a really deep sleep and would wake with a start.
They want to move him out of ICU to one of the middle floor units and are making plans to get him to a recovery house, closer to home. He told us the Jonathan and Tommy stopped by on their way to the club and how happy that he was to see them.
I spoke to Dad’s nurse first thing this morning, he said that Dad had a tough night, after getting his tube pulled, he was having trouble adjusting to breathing. I got to the hospital early afternoon and Dad was sitting in his chair with his brace on, he told me that he had been there for awhile, 3 episodes of NCIS.
He was scheduled for a chest X-Ray and his nurse was hoping that he would be able to remain sitting until the tech arrived to do the X-Ray, Dad was done and was able to get the nurse’s attention out in the hall and let him know that it was time to get back in bed. Shortly after that they came by to do PT, Dad said Bull Shit, the nurse jumped in and said that he had sat in his chair for a couple hours this morning and had just got back into bed after a couple more hours in the chair. I was really happy to see some Daditude come back.
Dad is still in ICU and it sounds like they want to further monitor him until he is breathing better and a little more stable. The ICU is OK, except for the sleep deprivation, the nurses have been fantastic and Dad is in really good hands. After the slow start, he seems to be moving forward a little bit everyday. Baby Steps.
Here are a couple of updates on Dad’s progress today, Auntie Mary was there this morning and said that she couldn’t believe how much better that he looked since she saw him on Saturday and how better that he conversed. Mom was there late yesterday and said that he was hoping to get the tube out today and possible moved out of ICU. Although the nurses have been fantastic in ICU, it impossible to get any rest there.
There was news this afternoon that the doctor did remove the drainage tube from Dad’s chest, he said that it hurt like hell, but it was over quick, 1,2,3 go. They are planning to increase his sitting and PT and also monitor him for 24 hours, then a move out of ICU.
It was a good visit with Dad this morning, he was very lucid and we were able to have an extended conversation. He was sitting in his chair when I arrived and his nurse told me that it was over an hour, the PT ladies came in and had him stand up using a walker and take 10 steps in place, he did that four times. After PT, he was pretty worn out but sat for another half an hour before he went back to bed. He still says that his pain level is a ten, but is able to add meds every ten minutes through his epidural.
He told me that he ate some of his eggs this morning and a couple bites of toast, he said that food just didn’t feel good. They would really like for him to eat more, but he is very consistent in drinking his Boost. The chest tube is still in and there is still some drainage, but the x-Rays show that his lung is no longer deflated.
I left feeling very happy about his improvement and am praying that it continues and that he continues to fight to get better. Thank you all for all of your prayers and support, it is really helping.
I spoke with Dad’s Nurse Elizabeth this morning, she was his nurse yesterday and she said that Dad look pretty good, they had just got him in his chair so, he is back to the grindstone.
Carolyn and I spoke to Dad’s Nurse this morning – He is having a lot of pain in his back and didn’t sleep much last night, they were getting ready to have him move into a chair for a couple hours. They started giving him Lasix to get some of the fluid out of him. He is still not eating, but is drinking a protein drink.
He has had a very busy day, they had him sitting in a chair for an hour this morning and an hour this evening, it is a very difficult process getting him from the bed to the chair. It is hard to watch because you can tell how bad he is hurting through out the process. They want him to sit up so that he takes deeper breaths, once he does that, they can remove the tube from his chest, so they will continue to push him to move and sit. Carolyn said that he slept quite a bit during the day and after the sitting session this evening, once back in bed, he is finally sleeping.
The nurse told me that he has been in a lot of pain today, every time that they ask, he says that he is 10 out of 10, so they changed his drugs to make him more comfortable, I’m afraid that he may get confused again if they go back to what they are doing.
Just spoke to Dad’s Nurse Porcha – he is very calm and had a good night of sleep, his pain seems to be in control and she was very happy with him this morning. I asked about any game plan for today or going forward, she didn’t know, but they were getting ready to do their rounds.
Dad had a real tough day, they made him sit in a chair for 2 hours. He also had to do a bunch of breathing exercises. Mary, Lori and Mark came before Mom and Carol got to the hospital. I didn’t get here until about 7:00 and am really happy, he looks real good. They are saying that he needs to get up more so he can get his breathing going better to expand his lungs so we can get the tube get out. We’ll see? If they can level his meds out and get him some clarity, he will do way better.
Well, perhaps this is a good sign, Pop told Mom, Carolyn and me that it was time to go… I guess that he was done with visitors.
Friday – 10/26/2018
I talked to Linda, Dad’s nurse first thing this morning, she said that he got a good night sleep, that they are still trying to figure out his pain management. She said that he is still waking up disoriented but adjusts to his surrounding quickly. I checked to see if the doctor left any information about when they were taking out the drainage tube out and she said that it was still draining.
Charlie got out there before noon and said that he was really disoriented again, I got there early afternoon and the nurses were trying to get him in a wheel chair to wheel down for a CT Scan. They were having trouble getting all his lines and drains transferred over, by the time that they did, he was out of gas. They moved him back to bed and let him rest then took him down for the scan in his bed.
Friends from the Oakland Associates stop by on their way to the club for some duck hunting this weekend, he was happy to see them, he wasn’t able to converse much, but his spirits were up. While I was there he had a cup of apple sauce, some Ensure, a cup of Mira Lax and some cranberry juice, really the first food that he has eaten since Saturday night. He was calm the rest of the evening and slept sporadically until I left around 11:00.
Thursday – 10/25/2018
Dad seems to be doing much better this morning, they changed some of his meds around at about 4:00 this morning and he was able to sleep until about 7:00. The doctor woke him up, he was happy with the way that he reacted to the change in his medication.
He is hoping that he will be able to take the drainage tube out of his chest tomorrow. Charlie came to hang out with Dad around 1:00 and he said that he was calm while he was there. Mom, Carolyn and Claire stayed with Dad until late and he was calm and present for them also, I was planning on spending the night again, but the nurse didn’t think that it was necessary.
Earlier this morning I spoke with the nurses station, Dad had a real rough night, very confused. He is not sure where he is or what happened to him, he has had bad reactions to pain medication in the past, so I got Charlie to get up there right away. He knocked his drain out during the night, so the doctor was on his way to re-insert the drain.
He is in a lot of pain and they are trying to get control of it. He stayed confused and unsure of what was going on. I ended up staying the night just to help his get through.
Tuesday – 10/23/2018
I was finally able to get through to Dad’s nurse at the ICU, they said that Dad is in a lot of pain, he slept well, but woke up disoriented. They now believe that he has a concussion, he is nauseous, and the light really bothers him. They did a scan and don’t think that he will be needing any surgery on his back or ribs. I spent the
Monday – 10/22/2018
It was a real tough night for Dad, he is in a lot of pain and he doesn’t really know what is going on. His head is really bothering him, and the doctors are working to find a solution to managing the pain. He has some pain in his right arm, which they didn’t check because all his major injuries are on the left side. He is still nauseous and hasn’t eaten since Saturday night at the club.
Charlie went over to the tow yard and saw Dad’s truck – I think that he was lucky
Sunday – 10/21/2018
As most of you know Dad was in a one car accident driving home from the Duck Club on Sunday Morning. He has no memory of the details leading up to the accident, he remembers driving past the fairgrounds in Vallejo, then being pulled from his truck by the firemen.
After hearing that Dad’s truck was seen on Highway 80 and not being able to get a hold of him for a couple hours, we were all relieved to hear that he was in a minor accident and being taken to the hospital to get checked out. As we were on Highway 680 Dad’s Cell called my phone, we thought that it was Dad calling to get picked up, it was a nurse calling to tell us that he was in Northbay Medical Center, in the emergency room that he is stable but has broken ribs and a broken back. WTF? A minor accident? In to get checked out?
We don’t know the whole series of events leading up to him arriving at the hospital. Charlie left the house immediately and got to the hospital just as they were taking out of the emergency room and up to the ICU – we arrived just as they were setting him up in his room. He looked so bad, he had blood caked around his mouth and nose, blood clotted in his hair. There was bruising around his face and neck, he couldn’t catch his breath, had oxygen hoses in his nose, and had multiple IV’s attached to him. We had just a bunch of information coming at us from a bunch of different sources.
Bottom Line: 5 fractured ribs, 4 crushed vertebrae, a concussion, a punctured and hemorrhaging lung and a cracked sternum, the prognosis is still in question but one thing is for sure, he has a long road to recovery.