The day after the surgery, Wednesday, after they took out his breathing tube, his heart basically blew a gasket--blood flooded the sac around the heart--and they had to rush him back into surgery and rip him open again. This all came down just as my mom and I arrived there for visiting hour, so we came into the ICU hearing people calling my dad's bed number and rushing to him in full hospital show drama form--very, very scary. At first they didn't think they would be able to move him and would have to operate right there in the ICU, but they got him stable enough to wheel him to the OR. It took a couple of hours to get out of surgery and a few hours to get him stable.
The next day, when my mom and I came to see him in the morning, he came down with terrible shivers as his temp raced up to 103 and he came down with an infection. We held his hands as they got him medicated and his temp under control. He was stable and asleep when my mom, brother and I came in that evening, but still ill, and they were still running tests on what it was.
Friday morning, he looked a little better, but they found the infection had gotten into his blood and was in his kidneys and had my mom sign to put him on dialysis and another procedure to put in a tube for it. The worst case possibility was brought up that the dialysis could be a permanent thing--something we didn't think my dad would want to live with. They did the procedure that afternoon, and he was hooked up and resting quiet when we saw him that evening.
Saturday the dialysis machine clogged up. His blood was clotting but they couldn't use the normal thinner heparin because of his condition. The nurse banging on the dialysis machine did not inspire confidence, plus watching her chew on her pen, then handle his lines with the same hand she was holding it in. I was fit to be tied. The ICU just seemed very empty of staff on the weekend--until then we felt very confident about the staff and care he was getting--and the weekend staff seemed pretty sub-par as well--it was maddening. the nurse finally explained to us that he would be fine off the machine while they worked out with the doctor what substitute they could use.
Today was the first good day without a setback. They took his breathing tube out this morning, and he wasn't able to talk yet, but it definitely brightened his spirits, and ours. He could respond more, and welcomed our staying around for the first time. He wasn't allowed to drink yet to protect his lungs, but I was able to swab his dry lips with an ice stick so that seemed to help him and it was nice to be able to do something.
I had to leave after the morning visit--go to work tomorrow, take care of my cats, take care of my deteriorating foot, take car of me, but mom told me this evening that he was able to talk when they visited, and though he tired and needed to get back to sleep in 20 minutes, he seemed the best yet. Plus it was looking like he may not need to the dialysis machine anymore.
So cross your fingers for us that there are no more set backs and we can get him out of the ICU by midweek. I really think we're not going to lose him now--this is the first day I can feel fairly certain of that. And this is only the first operation. But it's going to be some time before he's healed enough to get his spinal surgery.
When I went to the gym this evening to use the exercise bike, Moo and Tuxie followed me all the way there, once again, even though I chased them back a few times. They waited for me outside the building until I came out, then followed me back home, much to the amusement of another bystander. It's good to be reunited with my fuzzy escort service, as well as my fuzzy housemates, though there's some projectile vomit from the top of their kitty condo to clean up before bed--it's been a stressful time for them, too.