Dear Andy's Family,
It is the end of the day on Monday. It was a bit of a rough night last night. They called me about 1:30am at the hotel and said that Andy was somewhat confused and agitated. They asked if Donna or I could come back to the hospital and reassure him.
I was in the process of getting ready to go when the hospital staff called back and said it would probably be OK. But, at that point the only thing that would make it OK for us was "eyes on." So, I grabbed a cab and headed out.
Andy was hallucinating again. He explained to me the other day that these times are not exactly nightmares. He is just still working in the battle zone in his mind. He is just still mentally doing his job as a medic. So, he barks orders and fixes problems and makes it happen in his mind just like he did on the battlefield.
That was what I found him doing when I arrived at the hospital. Then, his present reality merges with all of that and it becomes very confusing to him and it robs him of very needed rest.
Andy also told me the other day that sometimes at night he had problems of one kind or another just being comfortable but he said he had trouble communicating the problem. It is not unlike what a stroke victim sometimes goes through. He know what he wants to say but other words or ideas substitute themselves. And again, it's frustrating.
So, because he had given me that information when he was lucid earlier, I knew that what he was dealing with might not be the actual problem. He was asking me to remove a pulse lead that was lightly taped to the end of his finger. It could not possibly have been a source of discomfort so his nurse (Xavier - a great nurse) began checking the leads on his other arm. Sure enough, his IV had gone bad and the fluid was collecting in his forearm. it was hard to seen in the darkened room. Xavier replaced the IV quickly and and Andy calmed down a good bit after.
However, we have had concerns about the psychotheraputic medicine that they are using for a couple of days. It is supposed to help with the dreams etc, but observation seemed to indicate that it makes things worse. So, when I came into the room at one point this morning Daniel was having a serious though gentlemanly conversation with the doctor and the word I heard him use was "unacceptable" concerning the drug in question. The doctor changed the drug shortly after. I cannot say enough about the sensitivity and pro active demeanor of this staff. If it needs fixing, they fix it immediately.
And I cannot say enough about the heroism of my other son. Daniel has been amazing. When he first arrived here, he discovered that Andy did not have the dexterity to push the button on his pain medicine. He immediately got with some of the hospital staff to get him some supplies and he built an assembly that held the pump and only required Andy to bump it with his hand, which he could easily do.
He has entirely plugged into the hospital staff and environment. We are constantly hearing from one staff source or another when they meet us how impressed they are with our older son. He actually has a bit of a reputation here in his own right, and rightly so. He seems to be daunted by nothing and stays constantly ahead of the game, whether it is administration, checking on Andy's needs, dealing with hospital staff, or navigating this huge facility to discover new resources. And always the kind gentleman. What a blessing to have two heroic son's.
Tomorrow is surgery day. The big event is at 8:00 AM. They have scheduled the operating room for 8 hours, but the doc said it could take as little as four. The main issue is of course to fuse the damaged vertebrae, but they will also do some other less serious things to basically tie up "loose surgical ends."
Thanks so much for your enjoined faith during this time. We are bound in Christ through Andy. It is a wonderful thing to experience this level of human kinship. It is a high plane of existence.