Well, if there’s one thing we know about Covid, it’s unpredictable. When I last updated you about Tim’s and my brush with Covid in December (not really a “brush,” more like a “knock you over with a sledgehammer”), we were both progressing along in our recovery.
That is still the case with me. I still have to take rest breaks throughout the day, but I’m doing ok, tending the woodstove, writing Gazette stories, and doing a few house chores as my energy allows. Basically, trying to keep myself busy so that I’m not in constant freak-out mode over Tim, who is back in the ICU at Munson.
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To clarify, Tim was hospitalized in ICU the night we took our ambulance rides to Munson on Dec. 16. He spent the first few nights in ICU and as he got better, he was moved to a regular hospital room. In fact, he progressed to the point where he was doing so well that they were planning on sending him home within a few days.
Then he had a setback on Dec. 30 and landed back in ICU on more oxygen, steroids, and even some morphine last night to help him breathe and get some rest. He said it’s just been impossible for him to sleep much, so I’m hoping the morphine and another sleep med they were going to give him last night will help with that.
I’ve been cleared to go see him (we tested positive on Dec. 1, and I tested negative on Dec. 24). So I’m glad to be able to actually go spend time with him and talk to the nurses, doctors and respiratory people to see how he’s doing.
Right now, he has an oxygen face apparatus that helps him breathe. So far, that device has helped to keep his oxygen levels above 90 percent. However, if he moves at all, that number can easily drop into the 80s. I am so glad to see him, but it’s so stressful watching him struggle to breathe.
In the photo at the top of this story, you can see his stats yesterday when I was there. The top number in green is heart rate (I asked the doc if it was high, and he said they consider anything between 60 and 100 normal). The next number in blue is the all-important oxygen level. The number in white is breaths per minute. And the number at the bottom in pink is blood pressure.
One of the doctors told us that many people will continue on this face mask device and progressively get better over the next few weeks, as their lungs begin to heal. I am hoping that’s the case with Tim, but a couple of doctors the other night came in and gave us the “ventilator talk.” We shall call these doctors “The Doom Patrol.”
I think it’s probably standard protocol for doctors to talk with each Covid patient and find out their wishes if they indeed do need a ventilator at some point. But I came home that night and was so traumatized I couldn’t eat for two days (when I’m under stress, the first thing to go is my appetite). After the doctors left, Tim looked at me and said, “Well, that was harsh.”
Later, he asked one of the other docs if there was anything between his current oxygen mask and the ventilator, and the doc said they often will use a CPAP machine that can offer patients a little more oxygen than the face mask. The Doom Patrol did not tell us this.
He is still in a very tough spot. He’s on pretty much the highest dose of oxygen before going to a CPAP, but every time I’ve been there, his oxygen levels are staying mostly in the 90s. I am hanging onto that for dear life. My hope is that he can keep those oxygen levels there for the next week or two with just the face mask and/or CPAP, and pray that his lungs will begin to heal and work on their own.
So all prayers, healing vibes and good wishes are extremely welcome. Help me to envision Tim breathing freely with no effort at all.
Each time I’m there, I read all of your texts and comments on the Gazette and Facebook to him every day, and not only are they comforting, they are a lifeline for both him and me. To know that all of you are thinking of us and hoping for the best is everything. You have been there for us many times over the years, and each time is a tremendous gift that shines a bright light of hope down upon us. Thank you, Dear Readers.
(Note: After my first post, I had a lot of folks asking if we are vaccinated, what kind did we get, have we gotten the booster, etc. I will not be answering those questions, because that is a conversation between you and your doctor who knows your medical history. I am not a doctor. I am just a humble writer.)