We are still being as patience as possible while Dad is back in the hospital. On Christmas Eve afternoon, Dad began to have a slightly higher fever and then suddenly had some shortness of breath. My mom took him (quickly) to Moses Cone ER where they found a blood clot in both lungs and another abscess (fluid build up) right next to the previous abscess below his liver. Additionally, he was dehydrated and running a high fever indicative of an infection. I know that Meryl sent out an update on Friday and we were asking for prayers to take care of him with this new complication. God answered them and my dad has been stable in spite of the new diagnoses of pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in his lungs) and new abscess near his liver.
He was transferred (on Christmas Eve night) back to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and was admitted to the ICU there. When I spoke with the ICU doctor on Christmas morning, he remembered me and was familiar with my dad. It was comforting to know that they knew his history, as complicated as that is. As of last night, he was still in the ICU, but just waiting to get a room on the floor. Due to the blood clots, he has been receiving blood thinners (heparin drip) that have to be at a specific therapeutic level before discharge from the ICU. He was not on any type of blood thinner while at home because his doctor was concerned with his history of bleeding. The main artery that leads to his liver bled and is what started this complicated course back in November. The doctor told my mom yesterday that he is confident the risk of bleeding out again is very slim, so the plan is for him to be discharged on oral Coumadin to continue making sure that he does not develop more blood clots. Yesterday, via Doppler, they found another blood clot in his calf area. They will be watching to see if the medication helps prevent it from traveling to his lungs. They placed a replacement drain in the abscess near his liver on Christmas and so far it is draining appropriately.
He is on a small amount of oxygen and doing well with that. He is still taking a PO diet, but has lost an alarming amount of weight and is still not really keeping all of his nutrition down. We are concerned that his body will not heal as well with the decreased nutrition. However, his doctor told me that they will continue to check his albumin levels. This will help them know if he is getting adequate nutrition and if his liver is continuing to function appropriately.
Very slowly, he is getting better and the doctor is hoping to send him back home tomorrow. Olive and I are flying down tomorrow evening and Josh is coming in on Thursday. Charlie (my husband) will be joining us on Friday. We are so sad that Meryl is going to be working in CO, but she will be with us in spirit and via Skype! :) It has been a pretty rough holiday season for our family. It is amazing how little you care about previously important things when you have such a life changing event occur. Even Aaron did not want to open presents on Christmas day as he sat at home with Colin waiting to hear how my dad was doing that day. For all of us, our Christmas was spent focusing on what is truly important. I have never been so comforted by the gift of Jesus Christ on Christmas before. I knew that God was with my dad and that He has been taking care of him over the past few months. And although we have been occasionally frustrated and upset about things over the past weeks and months, we will never forget this Christmas and it has certainly changed the way we will think about the holidays for many years to come. We are comforted by our enormous network of prayer and support that has surrounded us during this time. The "power of prayer" has a totally new meaning to me now. We are so blessed to have so many people helping us pray for my Dad. Thank you.