Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Limiting visitation, and how serious is this?

Kevin here.

Michael is in Intensive Care, as he has been since Sunday. This means visitors are restricted; in addition to 4 hours a day when they enforce Quiet Hour and kick everybody out who isn't a nurse or doctor, they want the fewest possible visitors at all times.

If you want to see Michael, call me or Mom or Jen first, and please be understanding if we say no.

How serious is this? Incredibly fucking serious.

His oncologist has no further treatment recommendations. This means no chemo, no radiation, because those things will do more harm than good at this point. He's in ICU because he needs a huge amount of oxygen - 15 liters/minute on the "oximizer" which is the one that looks like a snowy white mustache. For contrast, his home concentrator maxes out at 5 liters/minute. His first night, he was on the BIPAP, which is a forced air system. That's not something he can use at home, since they only do it here in the ICU. Until his oxygen needs go way down, and he can get up out of bed, he can't go home.

This is terminal cancer. That means his life expectancy is limited - less than 6 months. There's a big difference between median life expectancy and reality for an individual, though. Since he's allergic to the contrast dye and has kidney issues, the doctors aren't ordering scans that could assess the progress of the cancer. So we don't know how long we have.

I'm hoping like anything that we have a long time left, and that he gets to go home and enjoy his new back yard, and play music with his friends and have visitors. But the reality is that we don't know how long we have, so we have to make the most of the time we do have. He's in and out of consciousness, between the pain medications, anti-anxiety medications, low oxygen level and exhaustion, so texting or emailing him is the best option. He may not reply right away; please don't be offended. You can also comment here or on Facebook if you are connected there.

Thanks for all the well-wishes and prayers. They mean a lot.

 -Kevin

15 comments:

PointyShoeLibrarian said...

Please know that my thoughts are with your Mike and the entire family. Holding you close in my heart. Lynn

John Slade said...

I've got well wishes, AND prayers! For you both!

prettymuchpeggy said...

It is good that he has so much dear support in you all. My hopes and wishes are with you all.

Laura said...

Thinking of you all pretty constantly right now. Much love..

Laura

Emily said...

Blessings for all of you. Reading this makes it hard to breathe for me, too.

Watch out for hospital delirium. Here's an article specifically about preventing delirium in the elderly, but it's important for younger folks, too: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/11/preventing-hospital-delirium/

Here's hoping he can be home soon.

Dantharr said...

All my hopes well wishes to your whole family

Kelly McCullough said...

Sending love and hugs from halfway around the world. You're all in our thoughts.
.

lsikora said...

Thanks for the update, and waiting to hear good news after the surgery.

Modhran said...

I so wish the news were better. I'm glad you're there making sure that he's getting the best treatment possible.

Thank you for taking such good care of him.
-ken

Jodyth said...

He's in my heart and in my thoughts. I'll let him know.

TootsNYC said...

When I visited, I didn't get to hug Michael because of my cold. I wish I had.

Please give him a big, long, "Norma" hug for me? And one for your mom as well.

Anna B said...

I wish I could gather you all up in my lap and rock you like a small child and tell you, "it's okay, it will be better soon." Sending warmth and healing to Michael and all in his circle of family and care givers.

Wendy said...

I feel selfish sitting here and crying, but that's all I got. This sucks beyond all! Does Michael have music in his room? I keep thinking he needs to be surrounded by good music.

On another topic, Jack rolled over today. Here's hoping that Michael will be up walking soon. And I hope he is up to seeing me tomorrow.

I love you all!
Wendy

Chaplain Dave said...

Francine's and my thoughts and prayers are with Michael and family.

Unknown said...

Holding all of you in my heart and praying like a mad woman! Get better soon Mike, so you can go home to Jen and Boo and the new backyard! Love you all sooooooooo much.

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