Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Things are going well!!

I am FINALLY getting around to sending out and (exciting!!) update.  My dad is still at home and has been there for over a month now.  Don't they say once you hit 30 days you have created a habit....?  We are all CERTAINLY glad to get out of the hospitalization habit!!  He has been going to the doctor 1-3 times a week, so defiantly an improvement from before!
We are excited to announce that he got all of his drainage tubes (3 of them in his abdomen draining the abscesses that formed around his liver) removed yesterday!  He is going to the Infectious Disease doctor later today to find out the status on his infections and antibiotics.  He currently receives IV antibiotics at home and has been for about 6 weeks.  Today he will find out how much longer that will be or, if he might be able to switch to PO antibiotics. 
On Monday (2/28), dad visited the cardiologist and they said all of the concerns regarding his heart are pretty much resolved!  There was some fluid accumulation and consistent high heart rate during his most recent ICU stay.  However, after yesterday, that has cleared and resolved and they will begin weaning his cardio medications as soon as he is done with the antibiotics. 
We are praying that all goes well at the ID doctor today and that he is free from infections as well.  My mom is about to go nuts if she goes much longer without coming up here to visit Olive!! 
Again, I can't express enough how amazing everyone has been with supporting our family through prayer and tangible help over the past months.  Thank you!!!  Although it has been difficult at times, we have been blessed by this experience and appreciate you all so much.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Update 2/1/2011

Hi everyone,
So, I have been super busy the past few weeks, but I really wanted to get out this quick update:
Dad is doing really well!  It has been SO awesome to talk to him over the last few days.  He has so much more energy and seems to be feeling so much better.  Hopefully, the new regimen of tube feedings and IV antibiotics are just what he needed to get over the hump in his recovery.  He is on a closely monitored amount of medication for all sorts of things, and he gets formula for protein and other nutrients through a nasal tube for 10 hours at night.  Happily, he is still able to eat by mouth during the day, and continues to remain hydrated as well.  We are not sure when this regimen will be weaned, but right now it is work really well.  We are so glad to have him "back".  He has been making some jokes, iChatting with Olive online, hooking up a new wireless printer, getting his hair and beard cut (Colin gave him a goatee like his), and he just seems to be recovering physically and mentally now!
The most exciting thing this week was that he attended church service at Friendly Ave Church of Christ.  I was SO excited to see some people from Friendly posting messages on their Facebook page on Sunday that they had seem my dad at church earlier in the day.  I talked with my dad about it and he said it was an emotional time.  To be gone for so long, have such amazing support and encouragement from everyone, and then have the opportunity to return to worship with that family was an amazing experience for all of us! 
Thank you all for your support and prayers!  We all appreciate it more than I can describe!  I am confident that I will be sending out more positive updates over the next few weeks!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Update 1/25/2011

Hi Everyone,
Just wanted to give you all another quick "David Update".  My dad continues to make some small improvements with his overall functioning and health.  He is currently in a regular room at Baptist Hospital.  He is now being followed by his original surgery team, an Ifectious Disese team, a dietician, and a cardiology team.  Last week, I received this email from my mom:
A couple weeks ago Dr. Howerton, with Dr. Zarely, have a  new resident going around with them.  He is very nice.  He went to Harvard.  One day this past week he had come in to see Dad, and told us that Dad and I were the Howerton team's, favorite patient and family.  Dr. Zarely said we are their nicest patient.  We hope it is God's light shining through us.

I sent a message via Facebook to the CEO of Apple, Steve's wife,  don't remember his last name.  She emailed me back, and ask me what complications Dad had, and where Dad had his surgery.

Dad is doing very well.  He just needs to get strength back
So, my dad is doing well and my mom is doing okay too.  Apparently, she is now friends with Steve Jobs wife and they have been sharing their experiences with their husbands simliar medical issues. 
Earlier today, my dad recieved an MRI of his heart.  It was really difficult for him to stay still and quite in the MRI.  He said he got very uncomfortable at one point and had to get out.  It took 45 min and he said he just closed his eyes and prayed the entire time.  We are waiting for the cardiologist to come and share the results.  The reason they wanted to do this MRI is because a few days ago, an echocardiogram showed some decreased strengh and they want to make sure they are not missing anything concerning with his heart.
We are also slightly concerned because he had a slight fever (99 degrees) the past two nights.  The fever returns to normal during the day.  However, that is how the past three infections have started, so we are praying that there is not an infection returning and that if there is, we will catch it early on.
Other than these issues, my dad is feel a bit better.  He is eating small amounts and tolerating the small amount of tube feedings.  He is breathing a bit better is is off of the oxegyn.  He also started PT this weekend and is now walking around a bit with a walker.  We want him to come home, but are VERY willing to wait until some of these medical issues are resolved.  Please continue to pray that he will make continued progress over the next week.  Small steps in the right direction are what we want!  Thank you!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Update 1/21/2011

My dad is now in a regular hospital room at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.  He is stable and the new team of doctors are very proactive and staying on top of things really well this time around.  I spoke to my mom this morning, and he got up and out of bed today and will hopefully start walking and getting around a bit more.
They put him back on oxygen due to some chronic shortness of breath he has been experiencing.  He now has a feeding tube in place and is receiving liquid nutrition into his intestines.  He has had a little trouble tolerating this new regimen, and they are trying to find the correct amount that he will tolerate.  He had some lasix therapy yesterday and today and has responded well.  He had quite a lot of fluids from last weekend still hanging around and there was some build up of fluid in his lungs and other areas.  However, that is improving.  He also received an echocardiogram and the doctor told my mom that his heart is weak right now.  They are planning on giving him some medication to bring his elevated heart rate down, and to help his blood pressure stabilize.  The doctors feel that this is important and will help the rest of his body to heal, and hopefully they will find the reason his heart rate remains to high soon.
So, although he is not near discharge quite yet, we continue to hope and pray that he will continue on this course and recover without any major set backs. 
Thank you all for the amazing support and prayers, once again.  Thank you, thank you!!!

Update from 1/17/2011

Sorry this is posted late.  But, thought I would include it now:

Another update from the Pikett Family.  :)  First of all, if you would like to be taken off this email list, please let me know!  I feel bad that I am constantly bugging everyone.  But...this has been helpful, especially for my mom, because it cuts down on the phone calls that she would be getting. 

So, today my dad looks SO much better than he did when I saw him Friday morning!  Today, when I went to visit, he was sitting up, off the oxygen, drinking and eating breakfast, and watching Fox News.  It was so nice to see, especially since we have to leave today!  He reports feeling better too.  He does have a "happy button" (morphine) right now, so he is feeling pretty good.  

In my previous update, I mentioned that he was going to get a new drainage catheter placed to drain the newest (3rd) abscess that had formed as a result of his damaged liver.  During the procedure, the found a 4th abscess behind he rib cage.  The one hour procedure turned into a 3 1/2 hour procedure and this 4th drainage catheter is placed in a very painful position, going through his muscle and ribs.  Although the pain is getting better, he is still using the morphine to sleep, which is difficult to do in the ICU anyway.  

The other thing that is difficult is that they recently found a new infection in his intestines.  Apparently, this particular type of bacterial infection is dangerous for someone in my dad's case.  They are treating it with a very strong antibiotic (doribax).  They actually had to fill out paper work and get permission from the CDC before using this medication.  Over the past few days, my dad has experienced very low blood pressure (68/45), temperatures up to 106, dehydration, and low blood volume.  The doctors believe that many of his symptoms will cease after getting rid of this new infection.  

There are a few more things that they want to do before he leaves the ICU.  After requesting a dietician consult on Friday, his medical team decided that Dad will be receiving a NJ (type of feeding tube into his intestines) tomorrow.  He is also scheduled to be see by a Infectious Disease doctor tomorrow or Wednesday.  Hopefully this will not only help his current recovery, but prevent more set backs in the future, once he returns home.  He has few other medical things going on and they are waiting for some of them to resolve before moving him.  

We really appreciate (once again!) all the support and prayers over the last few months.  My mom has had food at home to eat every night.  It has been wonderful to come down and not have to go to the store and cook every day so that I can spend time with my dad and be there for my mom too!  My mom, Aaron, and Colin are all okay for a week or so.  Thank you to everyone who has offered to help.  I might call on you in a few weeks when my dad gets home.  That seems to be just as difficult as while he is in the hospital because my mom has to be at home 24/7.  Thank-you, thank-you to everyone who has supported us physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually!  The only reason we are still standing is because of you all.  Thank you!!


Friday, January 14, 2011

About the Whipple Procedure

Info about the Whipple

UPDATE 1/14/2011

Hi everyone,
Thank you so much for the outpouring of prayers and support we have received and FELT over the past 12 hours.  Although this is a difficult situation, we have all been able to smile and remain encouraged by the support we have received.  Yesterady, my dad passed out on the way to a doctors appointment.  My mom said that he was clutching his chest, complain of indigestion, and then began to mumble and slur his words.  Of course, my mom began to drive fast, and "crazy" according to Aaron.  She was honking and yelling at people and yelling at my dad to "hang in there".  After a minute or two, my dad came around and said, "Cheri, I'm okay, don't kill me."  :)  Then, when they arrived at the ER, he wasn't having a heart attack or stroke, but he had very low blood pressure, was dehydrated, and had a fever of 101.8.  Aaron later told me that he has a bruise from banging around in the back of the van when mom was driving "crazy".  :) 

Unfortunately, however, my dad is now in the ICU at Baptist hospital.  He returned to the ICU last night around midnight after his fever suddenly reached 106.  For all you medical people who probably have questions, it was an internal temp and they immediately got him on a cooling blanket, gave him additional fluids, called his doctor and transferred him to the ICU.  My mom decided to go home and try to sleep last night, so she was not here when he was moved.  Typical of my dad, although he was a bit delusional from the fever, he asked his nurse to NOT call my mom.  Believe me, we were all upset this morning when we found THAT out! 

Currently, we have found out that he has another abscess near his fistula wound.  This is what they believe is causing the infection, high fever, and all the other complications.  He is currently on oxegyn, has a central line and is recieving blood (3 units), plasma, fluids, and antibiotics.  Of course, with the ICU and other additional things caused by all this, my dad is very uncomfortable and very discouraged that he is back and in this condition.  Within the next hour, he will be returning to surgery to have another drain (#3) inserted to drain this abscess.  One of the doctors told us today that there is a possibility he might develop some complications from the drain placement due to how weak and de-conditioned he is right now.  With the previous drain placements, they did not mention this.  So, we are concerned for this procedure, and would greatly appreciate the prayers that everyone continues to lift up for us!

Olive and I are here for the next few days, and I will try to keep everyone updated.  I really appreciate the help everyone has been.  Currently, I would like to ask that everyone specifically ask for prayers for me and mom when we speak with the Doctors.  We are hoping to ask for some additional support with some other specialists and we are hoping that more eyes might help.  Please pray that his medical team will be guided while caring for him. 


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Prayers Needed

My dad is back at the hospital today.  After a few days of fevers and decreased energy and low BP, he passed out on the way to an appointment today and my mom decided to take him to the ER.  Once there, he stabalized a bit after recieving some fluids and starting IV antibiotics.  He has another infection and is dehydrated.  They are completing more tests to check for other things such as blood clots.  He was having chest pains before he passed out, so they are checking for other problems as well.  We are praying and would really appreciate the continued prayers from our friends and family.  Thank you so much.  I will try to update more later and hopefully it will be better news. 
He is now at Baptist Hospital again.  He will most likely be moved to the unit later today.  They have already confirmed that he is not going to be going back home today.  I am not sure what my mom needs, she isn't able to pick up her phone while in the ER.  Thanks to you all again!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another Good Update!

I think this will be the first time I have sent out two updates in a row with good news!!  Yay!  We are so blessed to have my dad home and to be making continual improvements!  We are additionally very blessed to have such a supportive network of people helping my mom and supporting her so that she can continue to care for my dad. 
Yesterday morning, I asked my dad how he was feeling.  For the first time in three months he said, "good, I feel pretty good"!!!!!!!!!  Another exciting thing that happened, is that he felt hungry.  If you know about the Whipple procedure that he had, you know that the number one concern is nutrition and eating afterwards.  Over the past three months he has lost about 60 lbs and has had no desire to eat and it has impacted his recovery.  However, at 3am yesterday morning, he woke up and was HUNGRY (!!) and had to get up to get something to eat!  I think he said he ate an orange. 
Josh is still in town and helping my mom with things around the house.  I will be coming back next weekend as well to help out a little bit and so that Olive can keep my dad entertained and motivated!  :)  Currently, I do not think that my mom has any great need for anything.  I really appreciate all the offers of help.  We are still not ready for many visitors, to help with preventing any possibility of infection right now.  Just knowing that people are so willing and continue to lift him up in prayer is such a blessing.  Our hope is that my dad will continue on this path of strengthening and recovery and that the doctor will be able to remove his abscess drains and that the blood thinners will continue to do their job safely. 
Again, we appreciate all the prayers and support.  Thanks so much!