Saturday, August 30, 2008

Finally...Another Update

Sorry it's been so long since I updated. It seemed like the new information has been coming slowly. We spent almost all day last Sunday in the ER again, getting David's seizure medication changed because he was having an allergic reaction to the Dilantin. Once we got that all straightened out his itching and dizziness has improved a lot.

Thursday David has his cath. The information we got from that test is about what we thought they'd find out. They did studies on the pressures in his heart, and they looked o.k. When he had his surgery in 2004 they left hole in his heart, they call it a fenestration (sp?) to allow his body to get used to the new way that his blood would flow. During the cath they wanted to close the hole so that his oxygen level would increase even more. Currently his oxygen saturation runs about 92-93 and with the hole closed it would run about 97-98. They closed it for about 20 minutes and then decided that it wasn't a good idea. With the problems that his heart is having with rhythm it would just be too risky. The doctors are hoping that after he gets a pace maker and his heart is beating correctly they will be able to close the hole. The study has also shown that his heart function has declined, but they are also hoping that this is because of the irregular heartbeats. The hope is that with a pace maker, his heart function could improve.

The other part of the cath was the electro-physiology study. With this test they were trying to find a place inside his heart to pace it. David said that in the procedure they would get it working and then lose it shortly after. The doctors told us that they were not able to pace his heart like they would a normal heart (I don't think they were expecting this to be possible anyways). He is going to have to have a more complicated surgery to put the pace maker in. We think that the surgery is going to happen on Wednesday. Of course it has to be the first day of school, not to mention the first day that Charlie will go to the Spanish Immersion school and Katie's first day of Kindergarten. We are very lucky that the kids have such great Aunts that be taking care of them. They'll have to take lots of pictures for us!

David feels pretty good, he still hasn't recovered completely from the initial problems a couple of weeks ago. He says that he's just more tired and he can tell that his slow heartbeat is taking a toll on him. He's adjusting to the medicine a little better each day. We sure appreciate everybody's prayers and concern. Without our family and friends we couldn't make it through these trials. Thanks for everything.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Another Hospital Visit

David has been feeling tired and dizzy for the past few days. The doctors took him off the Lisinipril to see if that would help. It took away the dizziness, but he was still feeling exhausted. Thursday and Friday he said that he was having waves of confusion and that he was really tired and having a hard time concentrating. I talked to the doctors at OHSU and they just said to go to the ER if he was feeling like he was going to faint. We did not like this answer because there was definitely something wrong, but he didn't think he ever felt like he would faint.

Last night I took him into After-Hours and they said they could not do anything for him, if he needed to be seen he should go to the ER. David felt like he was just tired and if he rested and got a good night's sleep he would feel better in the morning. Charlie and Katie came home from the ward campout with Sam and Kathi and Sam gave David a blessing. I took Katie and Audrey to bed and about an hour later David came in saying that something was really wrong and I needed to call 911. His left leg was twitching and he was halfway off the bed. The Paramedics came in and he continued to have seizures all the way to the hospital. Once we got to the ER, he had one more big seizure and then they were able to give him some medication to stop them short term. During these seizures he was always completely conscious and able to talk through them, the only his left arm and leg would twitch. Bishop Glazier and Brother Hurst were able to come to the ER and give him another blessing. Sam and Kathi and I stayed with him in the ER. They did another CT scan of his head, which of course came back showing nothing. They also did neurology tests (David calls them stupid human tricks). He loses movement and control on his left side during the seizures but seems to regain all of his strength once they are over. After talking to the Neurologists up at OHSU, they decided that he just needed to be on some anti-seizure medicine and then he could go home. I pressed the issue - not sure he was ready to go home. I asked that they at least call and talk to the cardiologists up at OHSU and see what they said. They also said it was ok to go home, with the medication. I warned that if there was any sort of trouble I was bringing him back.

They gave David a super dose of the anti-seizure medicine in the hospital through an IV, and then gave us a prescription to fill today. The IV medicine made him itch all over severely, which he did not appreciate. It also altered his thinking quite a bit. He is finally coming out of that now, but is extremely tired. Once we got home this morning at about 6:15, he was really fidgety and itchy. He kept trying to get up (which he wasn't able to do because he can't stand straight without falling over), and was extremely agitated. Finally I think he's a little calmer and the medicine has worn off a bit. He's actually sleeping at the moment. Hopefully this medicine will do the trick and we can make it until next Thursday, when he has the cath scheduled. I'm making sure that he takes it very easy at this point and we're watching him very closely.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Change of Plans

We've had a sudden change of plans. Because of the doctor's schedules David's cath has been postponed until Friday, August 29th. I told the nurse that called that David had been feeling dizzy and tired. They said to stop taking the heart medication that they had started immediately. We need to know if he is dizzy from the medication or if his heart is causing it. If he's still dizzy tomorrow and Friday we are supposed to call the doctor immediately. I asked if they know how big of a hurry they will be in to put in a pace maker and he said it depends on the symptoms that David has. So for now I guess we're on hold.

Monday, August 18, 2008


We've been home all weekend, David's feeling pretty good. He's having a little bit of a hard time adjusting to the heart medication they put him on. It makes him tired and a little dizzy at times, but overall he says he feels good. We went to church yesterday and he plans on going to work this morning.

The cath has been scheduled for Wednesday at noon, and he will probably have to spend one night in the hospital. We should know more about the pace maker after that. We're not really sure how quick they will want to do that.

Thank you for all your prayers, it's been wonderful!

Friday, August 15, 2008

We're Comin' Home...For Now

We are officially being discharged right now! Things are definitely looking up. We have to come back next week for the cardiac catheterization, and they are saying that he will have to have a pace maker put in. During the cardiac cath they will find out how they will be able to put the pace maker in and how invasive of a surgery it will be. David's our miracle...always has been. He sure is a trooper through everything he has to go through.

We are so thankful for all of the comments, emails, phone calls and prayers. It sure is nice to know that people are thinking of you. We are also extremely appreciative of everyone that has helped out with the kids and various other things to make our load a little lighter. We sure feel loved!

Friday Morning

David had his MRI last night at about 11:00 pm. We haven't heard about the results yet, but his alarms on his heart monitor went off a lot last night. We are just waiting to hear if he's going to have a heart catheterization today. We could possibly going home today. They results of his EEG look great, there looks like there aren't any wierd things going on in his brain.

Another piece of good new - in Eugene they told us that his red blood cell count was too high. This is something that was corrected when he had his heart surgery. I asked the nurse yesterday about his labs and she showed me the report and said that the red blood cells count and his hematicrit (sp?) was all normal. The only thing that was off was his Platlet count, and it is always low.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Afternoon

I'm sorry I haven't updated as much as I'd like to. This hospital is S-L-O-W!!! We finally just saw some doctors and it's almost 2:00.

On the Neurology side - David had a EEG yesterday but it hasn't been read yet. The Neurologists would like to get an MRI done tonight just to make sure there is nothing to be concerned about. They don't think they are going to put him on any medication but there is some REALLY BAD NEWS. They don't want him driving for six months. I don't know how we are going to handle this!

The cardiologists want to do the catheterization. They are going to try to schedule it for tomorrow. If they can't get it done then they will let us go home and have us come back when they can get it scheduled. During the cath they will do some studies on his heart rhythm. They are still talking about a pace maker which is also bad news. Because of the way his heart is they don't know how they will put a pace maker in. They way they would do it in a normal heart is a simple surgery and not a big deal. They have to figure out where they would put the leads on David's heart. This could mean open heart surgery again. His heart is still doing the 3-5 second pauses but then it will just pick back up and start beating again. Except for the pauses his heart rate is stabilizing a little bit. He hasn't had as many episodes of racing or slowing down too much.

David is definitely ready to get out of here. He wants to go home and go to the fair. (I think he's feeling a little better)! They took off his oxygen and gave him permission to go down to the cafeteria. Can you believe this? The ICU does not have bathrooms or showers. They can't find a bed for him on a normal floor so they are going to let him shower in the employee locker room. I think a shower will make him feel like a new man! Today has been good news and bad news but at least were getting somewhere and we're getting closer to going home.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Update on David - Wednesday Afternoon

We finally have a little more information. The cardiologists came by about 3:00 today. They say that looking at the echo-cardiogram David's heart function has declined significantly. They think that we need to keep a better eye on him (or in other words he needs to be seen by the cardiologists more often). They want to do a cardiac catheterization sometime soon and are going to try to schedule it while we are here. They are still thinking about a pace maker the cath will help them decide if that is needed. Because of the decline in his heart function they need to start to preserve his heart, which means medications called ace-inhibitors. These medications take pressure off of his heart and help his heart muscle not work as hard.

As soon as the cardiologists left, the neurologists came by. They say that we have to assume that what happened was a seizure although it may not have been. Since he hasn't had a seizure in 8 years, it's likely that it could never happen again, or it might just happen about every 10 years. Their recommendation is that we take a conservative approach and not use medication to stop seizures. There has been no change in strength in either side of his body, or brain function, which is a good sign. Right now they are doing and EEG test, and assuming everything looks good this is the approach they will take.

They also have a theory about the blood that he threw up. They looked at the laceration on his tongue and said that it was a pretty bad one. Hey think that when he had the "seizure" his tongue bled A LOT!!! He swallowed the blood, which irritated his stomach and caused him to throw up. Everybody seems to think that we shouldn't worry about that issue anymore. What a relief! One less problem to work out.

Everybody is asking what they can do to help. Please pray for us. Pray for the kids that they will handle being away from us well, and pray for David that he will heal soon. Also pray for the Doctors that they will know what to do and how to help David.

David fixed my mom's computer so that we have the internet in his room. This has improved his mood quite a bit. If his tongue didn't hurt so bad he'd probably feel like he did before all this happened.


I thought this blog would be a great way to update people on what's going on with David. I'll try to update at least once a day.

Late Monday night Brett(my brother) and Joey (David's brother) found David asleep on the couch, having trouble breathing and thrashing around. They tried to wake him up but he was not coherent. I was asleep on our bed with Audrey and so they came and woke me up, saying that something was very wrong with David. When I got out to the living room his face looked very blue, his breathing was really raspy and when I tried to wake him up he was non-responsive. He was tossing and turning on the couch and moaning like he was in pain or he was struggling to breathe. I immediately called 911 and asked for an ambulance to come. My dad was staying with us so he came downstairs and gave David a blessing immediately.

When the paramedics came David was still incoherent but very agitated that they were trying to talk to him or touch him. He tried punching one of them and he did not appreciate that we had turned on the lights. He got really mad when they tried to check his blood sugar. They loaded him into the ambulance and headed for Riverbend. I guess on the way to the hospital he was still violent and he started throwing up a lot of blood . He says that this was when he started to wake up but he wasn't fully aware of what was going on until he got to the hospital. They did not want me riding in the ambulance so when we got to the hospital we had to wait for quite awhile before we were able to go back and see him or even know what was going on. David's parents had come to the house while the paramedics were there and they drove me and Joey to the hospital.

When we finally got back to the ER we found that David's oxygen saturation had dropped to the 60's (normal people are around 98-100, David's oxygen is normally about 90-93). His face was still very blue and he had on an oxygen mask. He had responded a little to the mask (raising his oxygen level to about 75 but they had to try a bi-pap machine. They threatened that if that didn't work he would have to have a breathing tube put in because not only was he not getting enough oxygen but he rate of breathing was too fast and they were afraid that he would tire quickly. He did respond to the bi-pap machine. They proceeded to do tons of labs and tests to find out what had happened. While in a CT scan (they had ordered one of his head to see if he had an abscess or maybe they could tell if he had a seizure, and then one of his chest) they had to cancel after just doing the head CT scan because his heart rate dropped into the 20's.

Here is a synopsis of what the concerns were with this event:

He might have had a seizure.
Because he was throwing up blood he could have been bleeding internally.
His heart rate may have dropped too low (causing seizure like symptoms).
He may have had a heart attack.
There could have been a problem with the surgery that he had four years ago (something malfunctioned).

They simply don't know what caused any of this, and are currently trying to figure out what the initial problem was and then what other symptoms it had caused.

He was put in a room in ICU at Sacred Heart, and then it was decided that he should be moved to OHSU as soon as possible.

During the night his heart rate was very irregular. He fluctuates between 25-100. They have also insisted he have oxygen (this irritates the heck out of him).

We were transferred to OHSU at about 11:00 Tuesday morning. The trip in the ambulance went fine. David was actually looking much better and his breathing was stable. As long as he's awake his heart seems to be beating at a good rate. We arrived at OHSU at about 1:00 Tuesday afternoon. David's parents, his brother John and then my mom arrived shortly after we did. At about 3:00 the doctor came to get a history and they started testing. He had an echo-cardiogram, a chest x-ray and an EKG. About 6:00 Dr. Weiss (a cardiologist that has known David for a few years) came and we talked about what they think happened, and what the plan was. They think that he probably had a seizure but are not 100 percent sure. They also don't know what might have caused the seizure and would have to look into that. They are pretty sure that there is nothing wrong with his surgery that he had, because he would be sicker than he is and he has actually improved quite a bit since he arrived in the ER. The plan is to start testing everything starting with his head and working their way down. Dr. Weiss said that worse-case scenario, we would be here about a week. He is planning on starting with a neurologist. We are currently in ICU at OHSU but might be able to move to a regular room soon. The doctors are letting him eat (Finally!). And much to his relief and at his request they removed the catheter so that he can get up and walk around.

Last night at about 10:00 a neurologist came and got a full history again, we are sure getting tired of telling the story. He did some tests to see if his strength is the same on both sides of his body and they asked him a bunch of questions to see if his brain is working properly. He passed all the questions with flying colors. They are going to try to send for his brain scan from Eugene, or possibly repeat it here today. The team of neurologists is supposed to see him this morning.

We also had a little problem with his heart rate in the night. He goes on these 4-5 second pauses where his heart doesn't beat. Needless to say he doesn't get much sleep because he sets off the alarms every few minutes. His heart rate is also fluctuating quite a bit. He seems to be tolerating the rate that his heart is beating (no dizziness or nausea). They say it's possible that his heart may have been doing this for a long time, but it never caused symptoms and therefore was never monitored.

David's spirits are a little better. He hates being in the hospital and so he is always a little grouchy. His tongue is hurting (we think he bit it during his episode at home), so it's hard to eat and talk. We have been assured that tongues heal quickly and so this shouldn't last too long. Other than that he looks good and says that he feels good. Nothing else is hurting and he feels like he can get enough air. We're hoping that they find out what happened and are able to address it quickly so we can get home to those kids!

Thanks to everyone who is helping with the kids. We could not survive without all the help. I hope they are being good! I will try to update again later today when we have more information.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Swordfern Trail

We hiked the Swordfern trail on Monday. It was supposed to be 1.5 miles but ended up being 2 miles. Swordfern trail is off of Rujada campground about 20 miles east of Cottage Grove. Audrey at the beginning of the hike. She loves to ride in the backpack. When we got it out of the car she ran towards it and yelled, "mine!"
This is Audrey in the middle of the hike. As much as she loves hiking, she always falls asleep.
Katie decided to collect wildflowers. She got some really pretty ones, and was quite proud.
This rock that we saw on the trail was huge. I know that the picture doesn't do it justice, but see if you can see the kids in the bottom left hand corner. That kind of put it into perspective.

Sharps Creek

We went camping this weekend with Jed and Amanda, and my mom and Brett. It was a ton of fun. We spent time swimming every day, and then we went hiking and even got to play some cards. Sharps Creek was the best campground. We were the only people there most of the time, and there was a great field in our site for the kids to play in. There was also a herd of cows behind the fence. I must say we have never camped next to cows!

David, Jed and the kids went fishing. This is what they came home with. Here's Jed showing of the catch of the day - a 1-inch minnow!

The kids - eating my wonderful breakfast. I wouldn't suggest cooking bacon on the fire. We tried to lay foil on the grill and all went well until the grease caught fire. Our bacon was a little on the done side.
Charlie has decided that he can cook his own food, and he loves corn on the cob!