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12/31/2004

GET-WELL-O-GRAM: DANE BRITTON, ROOM #12 NCCU, VIA CHRISTI/ST.FRANCIS HOSPITAL WICHITA

Filed under: Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:02 pm

If you care to, here’s the site to send Dane a Get-Well-O-Gram: www.via-christi.org, then at the top of the page where it says “patients and families”, click on Wichita. That takes you to the page where you can click on Get-Well-O-Gram. He’s in room #12 in NCCU at St. Francis. They are colorful and delivered each day…and an easy, inexpensive way to send him a greeting.

NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS

Filed under: family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:42 pm

As Dr. Terry told Todd today: “No news is good news.” We are fortunate in so many ways. Our lives have changed with Dane’s. We still have our son, father and brother and there is so much to be thankful for…especially for a closely knit family and all our friends. Together we can bring Dane back.Dane had a good alert day and is feeling better now that he doesn’t have a fire hose in his mouth. He was sedated most of yesterday following all the scoping and surgery. Today he played wet wash cloth catch with Kenz and Ally and did very well. He throws a little to the right, but still in pattern. His eye-one-hand coordination is good. Ally turned around at one point and he threw it so it landed on top of her head. Like I said, it’s a big room.

It is only normal that he should be depressed. I think any of us would be given his situation. He’s been flat on his back for weeks. They are going to start working on his desire to get well. I’m sure he thinks he never will as I can see it in his eyes. He won’t have physical therapy until Monday or later. They want his incisions from surgery to heal first.

The watch family went to the Olive Garden for dinner tonight…Mackenzie, Luke, Todd, Ally and Ruby. Everyone is a cell phone call away. Lisa stayed with Dane while they went out. They have eaten cafeteria food for so long they need a change…and it is New Year’s Eve. There is reason to celebrate: Dane has made remarkable improvement since he was flown to Wichita. I’m glad they are all together and getting away from the hospital for awhile. Brit, Karen, Drew, Tyler and I are holding down the home fort.

When Mackenzie was very young, and always thereafter for many years, she always spent New Year’s Eve with us. I would invariably fall asleep and right before the Time Square ball would fall, she would wake me up and we would cheer together. Now she has a partner, dear to us all, with whom to share the evening! She’s all grown up!

John and Judy Sherman stopped by to visit. Dane’s neighbors are coming to see him tomorrow. They always get together on New Year’s Day so he will enjoy being with them this year. It’s a good omen! I hope to convince Todd to come home so I can take over his watch. If I disappear, I’ll try to get Tyler to blog for me.

Tyler and some of his friends came by tonight to visit. Good kids all. My good friend Sandra C.W.Z. and husband Kirk are coming to see me tomorrow. Yea!

The “striper” article I wrote a couple of months ago about Josh Bahr and his family ended up this week in the INDY. If you’d like to read it, Click Here! At the time, I was in physical therapy with my bum knee and Jeni Bahr and I got had plenty of time to talk during sessions. She and Paul have a wonderful family and I was fascinated with her stories about their fishing trips. I know nothing about fishing, but I loved doing the story. Linda said she didn’t change one word although they run all the paragraphs together when they post stories. How about that?

NEW YEAR’S WISH FOR 2005

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:53 am

My New Year’s wish is that you pass safely and gently through 2005 in good health, with good fortune and with added contentment for good measure.

12/30/2004

DANE LOOKS SO GOOD TODAY

Filed under: Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:56 pm

They had to do some surgical procedures on Dane today but once done, he really looked good. He got rid of the tubes in his mouth and several elsewhere. He’s now kissable.They put the trach in, inserted a feeding tube from his side into his small intestine, and scoped his heart, which is strong and good. The trach and feeding tube are required in some rehab centers where he might be sent. He has a blood clot in his left leg from the hematoma , but none of these things are in any way considered a step backward, according to Dr. Terry. He said they are all part of the process that they deal with routinely with cases like his. Some happen, some don’t and he’s very happy with the way things are going. Dane is moving forward each day. Bev and Rich commented on how wonderful he really looks. We all thought so. He was clean shaven, without hoses and just looks great.

Dane wasn’t out of surgery yet when Mark and Kathy Guilfoyle took Todd and me to Old Town for lunch. I think it was the River City Brewery, but I’m not certain. I just followed along. I do know that their dark beer and Rubens were excellent. Kathy had lasik surgery yesterday in which the surface of her cornea were reshaped using a laser to correct certain refractive disorders. For the first time since the 4th grade she can see without thick glasses. Before surgery she couldn’t even see the clock on the wall while only a few minutes later she not only saw it, but could see the numbers as well. We had her read the menu to us! She is so happy.

Betty and Pete Peterson visited the watch group again. They have been so very helpful and wonderful. Lisa visited Dane again today. We missed seeing her three delightful young girls. A variety of faces help.

The NCCU waiting room personalities have changed and new faces are emerging. The Cockings have moved to another floor and Machelle gave Todd, Kenz and Luke a quart of Stoly to usher in the New Year. The children of Larry and Rhonda Cline brought plants to them from his funeral.

It was nice to see Dane today and let someone else do the driving. Bev and Rich have been our close friends forever. It was a wonderful day.

Bev and Rich went to visit Loren Schultz who is in a room on the floor above Dane. He has pneumonia which has to be carefully monitored since he had a heart transplant about 8 years ago. I’m sure he’d enjoy email greetings too.

The email greetings are coming in droves and are a lot of fun for family to read to Dane. Thank you for them and all your get well thoughts for Dane.

12/29/2004

QUICK UPDATE

Filed under: friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:53 pm

The patient is doing well. His highlights today included physical therapy while sitting on the side of the bed for 15 minutes and a trip down the hall for a cat scan of his lungs. They are doing the tracheotomy tomorrow so he should be much more comfortable after that.He had visitors to brighten his day: Jeanie Grothusen, Larry and Sarah Soukup, Kathy and Mark Guilfoyle, who I know of. That was nice of them to stop by. Todd and the Guilfoyles went out for dinner so that was a good thing, particularly for Todd who rarely leaves the hospital.

Bev and Rich Connally are going tomorrow to see Dane so they’ve room for me too. I love not having to drive down and back and being with Rich and Bev will be nice. While they shop, I will spend time with Dane. Maybe the nurses will be lenient and let me sit in his room instead of the waiting room. It’s worth a try.

That’s about all the news from today. He’s just getting better each day.

12/28/2004

TUESDAY VISIT WITH DANE

Filed under: friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 10:22 pm

My day riding to and from Wichita with Cindy and Meredith was a kick, as I knew it would be. They visited Dane and chatted with him and us before heading out for a day of shopping.Dane was awake more today, especially this afternoon, than the past couple of days. They were working with him so he never has much chance to sleep and I’m sure he finds that annoying since he can’t seem to sleep at night either. He is forever sliding almost off the end of the bed so they have to pull him up again which sets off a cacophony of alarming bells and whistles.

They have him scheduled to do the tracheotomy on Thursday. That should free his airway and eventually he’ll learn to speak with it. It’s a safety measure. It will be some time before he gets to eat or drink. They are putting in another feeding tube at the same time, I think. The “watchers” are on top of all that. This should make him much more comfortable.

He knows what is going on. He had Mackenzie read something to him today that he wanted to know. He likes to have a cold wash cloth on his head and he tossed it to her across the room and she caught it. After rinsing it off, she tossed it back across the room and he caught it. It’s a big room! Later the doctor told him to make a fist with his right hand, which he did easily. Then he asked him to do it with his left hand. I can imagine what Dane was thinking. He took his right hand, lifted his useless left hand and made a fist with it. The doctor asked, “Do you always think outside the box like this?” and laughed. Dane gave him a thumbs up.

We’ve made new friends in the NCCU waiting room. That didn’t include a prisoner from El Dorado they brought in, but Todd said “hi” to the guards. The prisoner’s extended family made a huge ruckus, individually and collectively. They come in groups of 10 here and 10 there and just strut in the patient room whenever they want. That leads to confrontations. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them ejected, but I don’t want to be around then. We all avoid them as they are loud, obnoxious, demanding and threatening. It’s an interesting place and right now there aren’t many patients, but they maintain a full staff.

Brooke was working today and she is Dane’s and our favorite nurse. She pampers Dane and gets him to do whatever she asks. She made a hair cut appointment for Todd with her hairdresser. She gave them instructions to the church where they attended the funeral of one of the patients whose family became friends. She does everything imaginable to make families and patients comfortable. We know Dane is getting the best medical care possible and are comfortable with that.

A former patient stopped in yesterday who had been in Dane’s shoes a year or so ago, same history, same operation. He gave Mackenzie his card and said he’d talk with her anytime. He’s back to work full time and shows no sign of having had a couple of strokes and surgery. He says he watches his stress level carefully and does all those other good things he know he must do to stay healthy. That was encouraging.

One friend of Dane’s brought a CD player and some CD’s so he can have some easy music to listen to. I think Frank Sinatra was on the docket tonight. Thanks for your visits and letters to Dane.

12/27/2004

BLOG TIME!

Filed under: friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:49 pm

The hospital report from Todd about Dane is very good. All things are looking up. The only thing now, according to the doctor, that is holding Dane back from moving up and on is his breathing device, the respirator or whatever that tube is called. With his long history of pneumonia, they need a way to keep his lungs clean and get air to him if needed. For several days he’s overridden the respirator and it is unlikely he will need it, but they don’t want to have to reinsert that tube again so they are going to do a tracheotomy (that’s not the permanent kind) on Thursday. That way, wherever he goes from NCCU, and a situation arises where they need to clean out his lungs, they can. The doctor told Todd that if he’d had a tube down his throat for even two days, he’d grab every chance for a trach as they are so much more comfortable. I’m sure Dane will be more comfortable too.Dane had company today and really seemed happy to see them. That comes from his one hand wave! His old friend, Eddie Jilka, appeared from Silverton. He and Eddie have been pals since Dane was 12 and got his first job at Camp Brown as quartermaster. When they hired him, they thought he was older since he was quite tall for his age. When the junior staff was picking tent mates for the summer, Dane was standing there alone. Most others had buddies who were friends from home. Dane had gone alone. It came out some how that Dane was only 12 when the other boys were 16 and no one wanted to tent with him. Eddie stepped forward and claimed him with pride. He’s been in our family ever since and we have always remained close friends. Eddie lived with us, years ago, when he managed the swimming pool here for a couple of summers. Eddie, a confirmed bachelor and mountain man, has lived everywhere in the world and is one of the most interesting, well-read members of our family. He surveys and maps mines, tracks grizzles, surveys in the wilds of Alaska, was a medic in Desert Storm, etc. “Eddie” tales would fill volumes.

Ginger Kippes stopped by and she’s always a delight. Ginger and her late husband Don, Brit and I, and lot of other wayward folk boated together at Lake Wilson for years. We have many good, good friends from those many weekends we spent together at the lake. Don Kippes and my bro-in-law are cousins. Ginger has offered me a bed and bath when the other “watchers” move on and I am alone with Dane. She also got a new Scrabble set for Christmas. She’s a no-kidding pro at Scrabble.

Doug and Tammy Stefek also stopped in to see Dane. That was very nice of them to share some time with Dane.

Tomorrow I’m hitching a ride with a couple of my best buds to Wichita…Meredith and Cindy. They’ll stop to see Dane and drop me off for the day. I’ll ride home with them if they don’t get to talking too fast and forget me. They’re the kind who would absentmindedly leave you at a rest stop! And it would be funny. I will enjoy my day with them enormously.

I have a load of clean clothes from Karen to take to the watchers and some homemade veggie soup that I stirred up today. There is a kitchen in the waiting room so they can use the microwave and have something different for lunch tomorrow.

All in all, things seem to be going very well. Dane will feel and look a lot better when they rid him of some of those tubes. Thanks for checking my blog for updates about Dane. You’re all very kind.

12/26/2004

FROM FRIEND ANN IN COUNTY DURHAM ENGLAND

Filed under: friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 2:30 pm

Hi Peg
As is usual for me I just read your blog,I got to the part where it says you keep running out of things to say while visiting Dane,well that brought a smile and a tear to me. On one occasion when me and the rest of the family were visiting mam we kind of ran out of things to say to her,after about 15 minutes of silence mam said,I donno if I have died or gone stone deaf, maybe one of you can say something then maybe I will know one way or the other,anyway Peg pleased to read that Dane is continuing to improve and getting a little better each day.

Ann

IT’S PARTY TIME!

Filed under: family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 1:49 pm

“It’s party time!” That’s what Dane wrote to us when we were all gathered around his bed yesterday. We just wish it could have been a party. He was pretty tired with the flurry of activity from family and trying to open packages with one hand. Karen gave each of us a pillow…strange but really neat things that feel wonderful to the touch. We latched on to them like there was not another one left in the world. Dane has his under his head and won’t part with it. Kenz gave him some new K-State polo shirts and he got some squeeze toys to strengthen his hand.During the night, the tape holding his breathing tube came unfastened and his tube came out part way. They had to sedate him and reinsert it again. Third time. He’s breathing unassisted, but since he has pneumonia, they need to have a passageway to clean out his lungs. He’s doing fine through all this and getting stronger each day. They are pondering alternate airways and feeding tube to make him more comfortable, and to protect from having to go through this again. They’d like to see him eating real food and sitting up soon.

They only shaved that part of his head necessary for surgery so Kenz and Todd were going to shave off the rest today with Todd’s beard trimmer, if he wanted them too. I think he will. I took him to see Liz at the Mane Event to cut his hair after he got out of the hospital in Salina, and since it grows fast, he might look better if he is bald all over. He’s still a handsome guy. Dr. Terry said he is no longer concerned with his head, the surgery went fine and the healing is continuing as expected. It will take months for the swelling to subside.

He’s enjoying his Card-O-Grams, so it would be nice if you could send one to him if you have a minute.

Thanks again….

THE MIDLAND HOTEL AND DESTINATIONS BY DESIGN

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:25 pm

The article in the INDY this week about the Midland Hotel was interesting in several ways. I’ve already said that they “fired” Ally so that is no secret. It was fine with her. She turned that place around from where it was when she walked through the front door, and the owners acknowledge that as do all her patrons, and made it a showplace for Central Kansas. Take a look at the centerfold in the recent issue of Kansas! magazine.When they fired Ally, they also lost Jamal and Ruby who are part of her team. They lost 60 years of executive chef culinary experience, something that is mighty hard to come by in Central Kansas. They lost an excellent bartender in Ruby who, along with Ally, also kept a sharp eye for every single item that came in or left the hotel. There is not another team in central Kansas, or maybe the entire state, that can equal theirs. I can name you half a dozen places like the Midland in the state that now are failing for that very reason; they have no skilled management team. Since Ally left, several places similar to the Midland have called and requested her management services. She’s helping with her brother now so she is not interested.

The skills she utilized at the Midland during her tenure from Oct 2003 through Nov 2004 are recognized as being in severe shortage throughout the hotel/restaurant industry in Kansas. All of us in this area enjoyed some excellent fine dining, casual lunches, parties, evenings in the tavern and family dinners while she was there. Always, the food was excellent! That’s now gone. It’s not gone totally, but the quality is not there and probably won’t ever be there again. The reason to go is gone.

They are placing their emphasis now on the “hotel end” of the operation, they say. Food quality is no longer a priority with the owners. Someone close to the operation said they “threw the baby out with the bathwater”, when they fired Ally.

We all need the Midland to flourish. We had such high hopes for it, but the demographics are all wrong. Just because it is “there” doesn’t mean people are going to drive miles out of their way to stay or find a lot to do in Wilson after they get there. Without putting a ton of money into advertising, I wonder how they are going to attract travelers or groups for retreats in Wilson Kansas to sustain the place? Retreats require nice rooms, quality food and meeting rooms. Two of those are missing at the Midland.

The Midland, which opened in 2003 in time for the Czech Fest the last weekend in July, has gone through three different managers and three executive chefs. The first was Steven H. Boehmfeldt General Manager and Executive Chef CHA-CEC-RCA-CFE the “high flyer” from back east; Marian Vaughn, General Manager, lasted a month; and John Eichelberger, executive chef, didn’t last much longer. There is an interesting book here.

Gary Everett was quoted in the paper as saying, “We’re not going to close but our hours may change for the winter. We’re not managers of hotels and restaurants, so we’re kind of struggling. But hopefully, with some professional help from this consulting firm (that would be “Destinations by Design” aka Lisa Weigt, lweigt3@cox.net of Scottsdale AZ), we’re going to get re-started on it.”

Lots of luck! It will be most interesting to see who Lisa Weigt recommends to serve as the new manager and where they go from here. The best person is right at their doorstep, but they’ll never notice! What ya wanna bet?

There is nothing to lure us to the Midland anymore, but it was sure a wonderful ride while it lasted!

12/25/2004

ST. FRANCIS AND CHRISTMAS

Filed under: family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:15 pm

All eleven of us converged on the hospital today expecting it to be overflowing with visitors. I think they must have sent all the patients home that they could as there were very little activity in the hospital. There weren’t many in the cafeteria for Christmas dinner and only two other families were in the NCCU waiting room.Dane was a little overwhelmed with all of us there. He has a left side deficiency so too many people are confusing to him. That should correct itself in time. We’d take turns seeing him, but it was still tiring for him. The nurses and respiration therapists have their routines every few hours and that is enough to exhaust him. He was glad to see us and we were very happy to be there for him. The three grandsons had a lot to tell him so that was good. The rest of us are running out of things to say.

Anne G, and son Mike stopped by to see us and Dane. Racheal came and brought wonderful things from her kitchen for the watch crew and Brit and me. That was so nice of her. The Christmas tree that Betty and Pete Peterson brought for the waiting room helped with Christmas cheer for everyone who wished they had their loved ones well and at home. They also had a pair of lined, leather gloves for Dane for Christmas. People have been very kind to all of us.

Dr. Terry gathered us all in his room and said Dane’s head seems to be doing very well and that there isn’t anything of real concern there. He still has pneumonia, but his white count is going down and the antibiotics seem to be working as they should. They need to maintain an airway of some kind as added protection for breathing and to clean out his lungs. They are pondering their options. So, we just wait until Dr. Terry decides what needs to be done. Dane is showing improvement every day. He was very much more alert today than two days ago. He looks good.

Dane, Todd, Mackenzie and Luke signed Christmas cards for the doctors and nurses and Mackenzie put them under the Christmas tree by the nurses station. Todd said Dane seemed more at ease after all of us left.

We still take it just one day at a time.

Thanks to all of you who are sending good thoughts to Dane.

12/24/2004

WE HOPE YOU HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

Filed under: family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:21 pm

Tomorrow our entire family will gather around Dane at the hospital, grateful that he is alive and improving daily. Life is full of uncertainties so we take it one day at a time and do the best we can. The food at the cafeteria at St. Francis is just fine and we will gather around a bunch of tables enjoying a good meal together. No dishes for a change! We couldn’t ask for more than to be together. We are so very fortunate to have each other. Our security comes from family and friends.We have some gifts of food to take to the “watchers” from Linda K. and Linda D. My friends Rachael and Susan are going to try to stop by. Anne G. and son Mike are planning on seeing Dane. It will be a good day. I’ll post more tomorrow night.

Get-Well-O-Gram. Dane’s in room #21 in NCCU at St. Francis.

Filed under: friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 10:48 am


If you care to, here’s the site to send Dane a Get-Well-O-Gram: www.via-christi.org, then at the top of the page where it says “patients and families”, click on Wichita. That takes you to the page where you can click on Get-Well-O-Gram. He’s in room #21 in NCCU at St. Francis. They are colorful and delivered each day…and an easy, inexpensive way to send him a greeting.

12/23/2004

MACKENZIE’S UPDATE

Filed under: family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:34 pm

The physical therapists are giving Dane a workover and Kenz says it’s a bit hard to watch. They quit just when she’s about to say, “Don’t you think that’s about enough?” They’ve had Dane on the side of the bed three times now and that’s good. All normal they say. It helps him improve and I suppose all his physical therapy will be very difficult, particularly at first.He has the trapeze to play with and pulls himself a lot with it. He tries to pull himself up with it so someone can rub his back.

He received a lot of your Card-O-Grams, cards and letters today and really enjoyed them. Mackenzie reads them to him. He had a nice letter from Tedi Kasper with pictures of Lindsay. He wanted to see them and took each picture and studied it. He hasn’t seen them in a long time and enjoyed the pictures, and all his mail.

His eye movement has improved a lot too, Kenz said. He’s looking around the room more, watching a little TV, but nothing very sustained.

That’s about it for tonight. I asked what the watch crew ate for dinner and Todd said they made ham sandwiches from food the hospital brought to the area that was leftover from their Christmas party. Then they went to the cafeteria to get milk shakes. They are doing fine.

They are still raving about Linda Kohls rolls!!!

SO YOU WON’T BE LEFT HANGING…

Filed under: friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:25 pm

The young girl I mentioned who had her skull removed and electrodes implanted so they could map her brain for a week before her second surgery, is doing very well. The surgery took only six hours and was proclaimed very successful. She’s the only one on the block who’s been there longer than Dane arriving two days before Dane. She will be leaving NCCU for a less critical care unit in a couple of days. She’s a very happy young lady to be free of epileptic seizures. Amazing, no?

ANOTHER UPDATE

Filed under: family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 5:40 pm

Todd called with the latest update:Dane’s temperature is normal again, his lungs look better. He is prone to pneumonia and had a pneumonia virus in his lungs. It goes with the territory, I think. They got on it early with strong antibiotics and his lungs look good. They are making him cough and it is very tiring for him. His head hurts a lot. The physical therapists had him doing exercises on his right side, which is strong and has he has good motion. They are always doing “something” to him and that makes him tired and interrupts his sleep. They hope they can wean him off the the respirator in a couple days…maybe.

He’s very alert. He received several emails and cards today so Mackenzie read them to him. Dane also started signing Christmas cards today for his doctors and nurses…”Thank you for all you’ve done…Dane Britton”. She only has him sign a couple during each visitation.

Pete and Betty Peterson stopped in for 30 seconds and gave him the “thumbs up” that Pete is famous for. Dane returned with a thumbs up of his own.

If they call with other news, I’ll add it later. Progress is slow but going the right direction. He’s doing better each day. He’s 100% better than he was when they air lifted him out of Salina.

12/22/2004

THANKS FOR PASSING THE WORD AROUND ABOUT WHERE TO GET UPDATES ON DANE’S CONDITION

Filed under: family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:02 pm

More and more friends are searching out my blog to get information on Dane’s condition and that is helping me a great deal. I do appreciate calls and letters but I just can’t keep up with them. There are about 150 hits today so far and that is a lot to keep up with any other way.If you care to, here’s the site to send Dane a Get-Well-O-Gram: www.via-christi.org, then at the top of the page where it says “patients and families”, click on Wichita. That takes you to the page where you can click on Get-Well-O-Gram. He’s in room #21 in NCCU at St. Francis. They are colorful and delivered each day…and an easy, inexpensive way to send him a greeting. He can’t manage them himself quite yet so Mackenzie reads them to him.

The NCCU waiting room number is: 316.291.7501 No one is there to answer the phone during visiting hours which are from 9-10, 12-1, 4-6, and 8:30-10. Families are with their patients at that time. Otherwise, plenty of people are hovering around the waiting room. No calls can go through to patient rooms. They can’t have flowers and they are very strict about visitation.

Todd said Betty and Pete Peterson brought a small decorated Christmas tree for the waiting room. That was very thoughtful of them. It helped remove some of the beakness at this time of year.

Our thanks to all of you for caring.

GROUNDHOG DAY

Filed under: family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:31 pm

The “watch group” compare their days with the movie, Groundhog Day. They say it is exactly the same, day after day. And they say it with big smiles and a lot of humor. They are staying at a hotel right by the hospital where their room is cheap. They wake up each morning, have their usual routine taking turns with the shower etc,, have a bagel and orange juice, compliments of the place, then get to the hospital at 9:00 a.m. for the first visitation. From then on, they are in the NCCU waiting room until the next visitation. They go downstairs for lunch and dinner in the cafeteria and stay through the last visitation that ends at 10:00. They are devouring books and have put two 2,500 piece jigsaw puzzles together. Mackenzie has rewritten my address book. They talk on their cell phones a lot. Every day is exactly the same.Dane looks better to us. His color is better and he’s moving his head more. The swelling in his head will take 2-3 months to go away. He still has pain and they medicate for that so he sleeps a lot. He has great hand signals and still writes when the hand signal doesn’t work. He’s been in the same position for 10 days and it is really bothering him. We try to scratch and rub his back for him, but when he’s lying flat, it’s pretty difficult. They have a physical therapy hanger thingy that he can grab with his right hand and pull on. His left hand is useless, but he can wiggle toes on his left foot, which is encouraging. He’s so full of tubes and pipes that about the only free things on him are his feet and his right hand. He gets lots of foot rubs with lotion and Mackenzie gives him a daily manicure.

He’s had an infection in his blood for several days that they are treating with high powered antibiotics. They keep doing cultures to try to identify it. His temperature is elevated, but they don’t consider these things serious. They are going to scope his lungs again in the morning. They did a sonogram of his lungs and heart this morning as he had a couple of heart flutters after some treatments yesterday and they wanted to check that out. They say everything is fine.

His nurse is Brooke and she adores Dane. I think she feels that way about all her patients…the nice ones, she says. She speaks to him so endearingly. She is the employee of the month which is quite an achievement, considering the size of that place. She works three 12 hour days then is off for four days.

Dane’s surgeon, Dr. Goreky, operated today on the 24 year old woman who has the room next to Dane. It began at 10 a.m. and was scheduled as a 12 hour operation in an effort to stop her serious epileptic seizures. It takes two surgeries. On the first they removed the top of her skull and then did extensive electronic “mapping” of her brain 24/7 to identify the area that needs removing. She was swathed in bandages. She had doctors/nurses sitting with her 24 hours a day while they monitored her and initiated seizures. They also video taped her 24/7. This was going on when Dane arrived so they did that first surgery over a week ago, maybe much longer. Today they will remove that portion of her brain that is causing the seizures. Everyone is pulling for her.

Todd is the NCCU waiting room monitor and communicator for all the families. He’s such a good spokesman and answers the phone and passes information on from families. Everyone is getting to know Todd and love him for his patience and many kindnesses. No matter where we go in the hospital, someone always calls him by name like he was an old friend. That’s Todd.

Unless something changes, Brit and I probably will wait until early Saturday to return to see Dane to spend Christmas with him as a family. That’s what he likes for Christmas…good food and family. Mackenzie bought him a Santa hat and we hope by then he’ll get a real milk shake that he’s been asking for. That would be the best Christmas ever if that happens. We’ve scoped out the cafeteria for their Christmas day menu and it sounds fine to us. The food there is good and the variety adequate. We don’t mind that at all. My friend Susan invited us to join her and John, but there are way too many of us and I wouldn’t do that to her. We’ll be fine. We just want to be there for Dane.

According to the head of the NCCU department, Dane is progressing as expected and normally. That’s very good news to us. Mackenzie and Luke now understand all the machines and how they operate, what the normal ranges should be. They concur! We’re doing fine. Our lives have all been changed forever, but we’re not objecting. Things happen for a reason, Kenz says.

12/21/2004

BETTER DAY FOR DANE

Filed under: family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 3:45 pm

Dane was having a little trouble breathing yesterday due to some gunk in his lungs so today they put him back on the respirator, scoped his lungs and pulled the stuff out. Better. There was a slight collapse in the lower part of one lung, nothing significant, but enough to make breathing difficult for him. All is well. He just needs some good sleep more than anything. He wears a C-PAP machine at home to sleep and it’s hard for him to use the kind they have in the hospital considering they have to work the head strap around his incision.They brought in a larger bed with more physical therapy bells and whistles.

So, that’s the news for today. The respitory person said he’ll have the tube in tomorrow and maybe part of the next day. They want to leave it in “long enough” but not “too long”. Meantime, the rest of us are resting too.

Brit, Tyler and I are heading out early in the morning in order to be there at 9:00 for the first hour long visiting period.

And to Linda K: The Christmas breakfast rolls were excellent, report the “watchover” crew. Top of the Line, said Todd. Thank you so very much.

I resigned today from the PEP executive team (I’ll remain on the board), from the National Drovers Hall of Fame Board and from the DVACK/VDAY Vagina Monologues committee. I will have too much to concentrate on with Dane’s rehabilitation to do those jobs justice. It’s time to turn them over to someone else. There are a lot of willing people with good ideas and energy to serve. I’m sure they will step forward.

I probably won’t have anything additional to post until tomorrow night.

12/20/2004

OUR VISIT TODAY

Filed under: family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:39 pm

Ally and I made the noon and late afternoon visits with Dane. Unless they ask you to leave, we just stand around his bed while the nurses go through their routines. They pulled his ventilator today, he can swallow just fine (that’s a huge plus) and he had turkey tetrazzini, snow peas and cherry puree for lunch. It only required a small amount of chewing. It was tiring for him to eat. He looked very uncomfortable sitting up.They also removed his “bolt” today…the pressure valve in his head. We were getting rather used to seeing it, but I know he was glad to get it removed. With those two things gone, they untied his right hand so he had more freedom with it.

Todd just called to say they are bringing in a bigger bed for Dane. He keeps sliding off the end and they don’t want any pressure on his feet. It’s the fanciest bed I’ve ever seen with more bells and whistles than you can imagine. It’s air filled and sort of ripples and tilts one way then the other, but so slightly you don’t notice. Todd told him to enjoy his cruise. The department director, Dr. Terry, said he’s progressing normally, and as expected. That is very good news since little things pop up that worry us. Todd, Mackenzie and Luke are right there all the time. I’ll take Brit down to see him Wednesday. Tomorrow I must get my oil in my car changed. All these trips add up pretty fast.

Thanks for all your messages, cards…and most of all, your get well thoughts. Mackenzie and Todd are reading his cards to him. If you care to send a get-well card:

Dane B. Britton
St. Francis/Via Christi Regional Medical Center
Neuro Critical Care Unit
929 North Saint Francis Street
Wichita, KS 67214

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