Link to KansasPrairie.net

1/31/2005

PICTURES OF DAD!

Filed under: Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 1:04 am

Hey everyone! The other day Lisa took some pictures (and a video!) of dad with her cell phone and we thought we would post them for your viewing pleasure so you can see that dad is doing well and looking good! All of these were taken while he was on the tilt table. BTW, his hair is so short because of the surgery when they shaved his head. He looks kind of good with the balding look, in my opinion :)




And lastly, a movie of dad telling me happy birthday… this really made my day. You will need QuickTime to view this which is free and can be downloaded here. Click here to see the actual video of dad.-Mackenzie

1/30/2005

A BUSY WEEKEND

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:26 pm

Dane had a couple of busy days this weekend. He seemed to feel much better, was more alert and slept less than usual. His temperature was mainly in the normal-low grade range and that helps him feel better. He had visitors that made him feel good; Mikki and Randy, Lisa, Mark P., Greg and Little Duke aka Dwayne, Rachael C., Linda D. and Todd for most of the day Sunday. I hope I didn’t forget anyone.

Since Todd was here today to stay with his brother, Ginger and I went to the Good Egg for brunch then to see “Million Dollar Baby”. It was a good break for both of us.

Last night we went with David and Martha to have dinner at Stroud’s on north Hillside. It was my first time there and I really enjoyed it, their crisp pan-fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans that aren’t just ordinary green beans, great chicken noodle soup, salad and home-made caramel rolls. Ginger and I are going back again sometime. We saw Rose Stanley as we were leaving. I haven’t seen her for ages, well, since we once watched her delivering the news on TV.

I left a suggestion for Dane’s admitting doctor to see if he can kick up his bedside PT, OT and speech therapy. If Dane could only sit up, he could be doing so much more, but that just isn’t going to happen until his bedsore heals. Meantime, we’ll make the most of the tilt table and the other devices we have available to us. Maybe I’ll have to turn into the mean coach and try to get him to do more for me, but that’s a tough one for both of us. He’ll respond to other people better then look to me for other kinds of comfort. It’s important he have both.

I had a wonderful visit tonight with my friend Sandra Z. in Chicago. She’s always such a bright light for me.

Mackenzie is coming back to see her dad on Friday and will be here a couple of nights. That will be very nice.

Life is good. Thanks to all of you.

1/28/2005

YEAH! RACHAEL CAME TO MY RESCUE.

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:21 pm

Knowing how particular you are about such things I have a few correct spellings for you……Lasix, Dilaudid, Vancomycin, Lortab………………………….Hoping to see you soon…………..Rachael

Becky B., wife of the famous deer hunter, also wrote to help me out with my spelling.

Yes, I do like to have words spelled correctly, but medical words escape me as I never see them written down. So now you know what Dane is taking and how to spell it.

On Friday at Select everyone is geared up to get going for the weekend. I don’t blame them.

Mark Parsons was going to stop by tonight. That’s good. Dane was looking forward to seeing him. Lisa spent several hours there today helping me out. I appreciate that. Linda D. is arriving in the morning so that will be nice for both Dane and me.

My mail is bouncing and I’m sorry about that. I don’t know why it is but I’ve been told by enough friends to know that it is. Keep trying and maybe I’ll get it eventually.

John Elway led the way to David’s house again tonight. He is such a funny dog. He just tears out of the house and down the street leading the way for us. We follow him in the car. He runs like he’s out of alignment which makes it even more humorous. His little legs just churn and he barks continuously until he gets to David’s house where Sophie is waiting for him.

That’s all for tonight. Time to call it a day.

1/27/2005

ANOTHER GOOD DAY

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 8:51 pm

If Mackenzie can figure out a way to post a picture of Dane and me, I hope she will. It is her 22nd birthday today so a friend took a cell phone type picture as Dane was standing on the tilt table sending her birthday greetings. He had some orange sherbet and apple juice to celebrate the occasion. He stood for about 12 minutes which was his best performance yet. The bedsore hurts so much. He takes it as long as he can then asks to be put back in bed.

If it weren’t for the bedsore, he would be all over the hospital in a wheel chair and on the side of the bed doing exercises. As it is, he is limited to only the tilt table until the sore heals. It is doing better, but it’s an angry looking thing.

My friend Susan Howell came by and we went to Piccadilly’s for lunch. We had a wonderful visit and the food was great. That’s only the third time I’ve been out for lunch since I got here. It’s just easier to stay at the hospital and hover over Dane to make sure they do what they’re supposed to do. I don’t worry so much when he has a good nurse, as he did today, but some of them are lazier than all get out and don’t do anything to make him comfortable. They all have too many patients on a busy day, but that’s the same in about all the systems. I’ve been there long enough I could sure do a good evaluation of their personnel.

John Elway is better. He will only take his medicine if I give it to him wrapped in a surprise and let him eat it out of my hand. Ginger says he’s never eaten out of anyone’s hand before and I can’t leave until he’s had all his antibiotics. I like that idea. He’s a funny dog. We went to Ginger’s son’s house tonight, which is two blocks away, to run their dog, Sophie. Elway ran in front of my car the entire way, except to cut through the yard at the corner. He’s a case. He has to be brought back in the car or he’d never come home.

Mackenzie wrote to say there is a special program on strokes on Larry King Live tomorrow at 8, if you are interested.

The weather is supposed to be bad tomorrow. If the streets are icy, I won’t go to the hospital until they are better. I may even have to park in the dreaded parking garage. We’ll get Ginger’s car sometime tomorrow that was in for a repair of a bad ignition switch.

Thanks for following my blog about Dane’s progress. He’s doing better each day, but it is very slow. He needs more mental stimulation and bed exercise so I’m working on that with the PTs speech therapists.

Rick Mark gets to go home tomorrow. I will be there to tell him goodbye. He’s a nice man.

PEG LEG MOMMA

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:49 am

JoJo, the head physical therapist, (I think he is from Thailand) calls me Peg Leg Mama since I’m the one in charge of Dane’s legs when we move him from the bed to the tilt table. JoJo, Lorene, Heather and Steve get in position to slide Dane then they say something like, “Yo, Peg Leg Momma, get his legs!” They have a system.

Dane did very well on the tilt table yesterday. He had some cranberry juice, apple sauce and one of his meds. Swallowing is still a concern so a speech therapist is there to help. Dane has regained his strong cough and can talk if he will. I read a lot of his cards and letters again to him yesterday.

The infectious disease doctor said she was reducing the amount of one antibiotic he is receiving. I suggested we increase the amount of antidepressant as it’s not very much and I think he needs more. Depression goes with strokes and certainly he has a lot of reasons to be depressed. He’s seen nothing but the ceiling of one hospital or another since last November. That won’t change a lot except for being on the tilt table until his bed sore heals.

Rick gets to go home tomorrow. I’ll miss seeing him every day. He will miss all the people he gets to visit with in the hospital as that is very different from the isolation of his home. He’s a fine man and 11 days younger than Dane.

Dane’s feeding tube got plugged yesterday and they had trouble getting it fixed. Finally they poured some Coke down it and let it set for an hour or more to get it cleared. Coke isn’t fit to drink but it’s fine for cleaning plugged pipes, imo. I hate to think what Dane would have had to go through if that thing plugs up…and because someone didn’t flush it enough after shoving something through it.

My friend Susan is coming by to pick me up for lunch today and I’m looking forward to that. Usually I just stay at the hospital all day long and forget lunch. Yesterday I was there from 8 until 5 and that’s a very long time in that hospital where there isn’t a comfortable chair to be had. I slept the clock around again last night. Now I have to zoom to the hospital.

1/25/2005

ANOTHER GOOD DAY

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:39 pm

When I hit the floor to see Dane, I try to find out from the nurse about what kind of a night he had. This morning I was told his had delotid, or whatever that pain killer is that I thought everyone knew not to give him. It sets him into orbit. Well, he got some last night and I hit the ceiling. He won’t be getting any more of it without me approvingit first. The charge nurse and I have become very good friends. They are good people there. It’s just hard to stay on top of everything and Dane is pretty high maintenance right now. I’ve come to believe that everyone in the hospital needs a full time advocate.

Dane was on the tilt table today, drank some water and had a couple bites of applesauce under the supervision of the speech therapist. He did very well, but it really wears him out. I’d like to see him sitting on the edge of the bed as that would help him a lot, but the wound doctor doesn’t want him sitting. We’re in a catch 22 about everything. But, he had a good day today and he’s doing fine this evening under Patty’s supervision. I gave him a manicure and pedicure. He’s still wiggling the toes on his left foot. He has good looking hands and his feet, after weeks of my attention, are improving.

Now I’m off to visit with Ginger.

HAND ROASTED COFFEE, JOHN ELWAY AND GALUSKIES

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton, recipes — Peg Britton @ 8:26 pm

Every morning when I walk from the Critical Care Building to Building 1 where Dane is situated, I pass by the Java City Coffee Bar. They advertise “hand roasted” coffee on the sign that lures you their way. I’ve never tried it. I don’t intend to. It’s “hand roasted” coffee and I don’t know what that means. I just invision all these little hands full of coffee beans roasting away in some oven in South America or down the street in Wichita. It gives me the creeps.

Ginger went to Pet Smart last night to take John Elway. Mr. Elway is a small type dog that likes my lap. He’s a dandy with a personality of his own. He was experiencing some “problems” so Ginger took him to Pet Smart last night. Between 4 and 8 each Monday night, a vet is on duty and will look at your pet and offer suggestions as to what you should do. He diagnosed Mr. Elway right way as having a rather ordinary male dog problem, gave her meds and instructions. The cost of the whole thing, doctor, antibiotic and all, was $12. What a bargain.

Galushkies. My friend, Dorothy in Manhattan, wrote and said she’d poured over all kinds of websites looking for whatever galushkies are. They are a German dish that is a tradition with the Kippes family and all those other Volga German folk in the Hays/Ellis/Victoria area. Ginger made a big batch of them yesterday. You generally make them in big batches like one makes big batches of hot tamales. Simply speaking, it’s a combination of lean beef and pork ground and mixed with rice, special seasonings etc. rolled into small logs then wrapped individually in cabbage leaves. They are placed in layers in a large kettle where liquid is added, with more seasonings, then topped with sauerkraut. The whole thing is simmered slowly a long time. They are wonderful. I had them the first time at Lake Wilson with Ginger and Don many years ago and will love having them again tomorrow night. I tried to fix them once, but they didn’t turn out like Ginger’s. My sister married a Kippes, a first cousin to Don, and she didn’t do well with hers either. Actually, I don’t think it was anything she wanted to try. Ginger has the knack and prepares them for all the family gatherings. They are a mainstay along with the turkey and trimmings for the Kippes Thanksgiving dinner. Ginger’s an excellent cook and I’m loving all the good things that come from her kitchen.

I’m experiencing problems with Dane’s cell phone, which I am using reluctantly. I hate the things, but I need a way to stay in touch with family and friends. I think the battery must be dying as I charge it every night. Maybe that’s the problem. Lisa is coming tomorrow so maybe she can figure out what is wrong. If you can’t reach me through Dane’s cell, you can call another family member for directions for finding me. I thought I was returning a call to grandson Rod last night and got someone who barely spoke English. Either Rod has lost his phone, changed his number or someone accidentally dialed Dane’s number. Cell phones are fine when they work. They just seem to not work too often to suit me.

Just so you’ll know.

1/24/2005

GOOD REPORTS TODAY

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 4:17 pm

Dr. Ramsey, the infectious disease doctor, was just in and said Dane “clinically looks good” and that she isn’t changing any meds. She isn’t sure when Dr. Roman will be back but she will cover for her in her absence.

Dr. Conrad, the plastic surgeon was in and tried to figure out why he was there. He was very cute so I didn’t mind talking with him. He said Dane’s scar looks just fine to him; he was going to call Dr. Goreki and pass along the information and try to figure out what it was he wanted him to see.

Dr. McDonald, the wound specialist, stopped by to see Dane’s bedsore and said it was doing what it was supposed to do. He comes on Monday and Thursday and his nurse checks it every day, takes a picture when necessary, etc.

Dr. Fearey was in before I arrived.

Laura, Dr. Goreki’s nurse practitioner, was in to check his scar and the swelling in his head. They are just letting it drain as that’s what the doctor ordered. The swelling is caused by a buildup of spinal fluid between his bone flap and his scalp.

They had Dane back on the tilt table today. He sipped some water and ate some apple sauce so we’re on a roll again. When they gave him the applesauce he asked if they could put some pain meds in it for him too…and grinned.

He looks good, clinically he’s okay so we’re moving ahead. He is talking when he wants to and his voice is deep and clear. I think I’ll see if it is possible to get him up twice a day as it helps his lungs and everything else to have him vertical for a few minutes each day. We’ll do what he can tolerate.

Ginger and I might go to Spangles and have two for one hamburgers tonight. She and Don did that a lot and it sounded like a good idea to her when I suggested it. She bowled this morning and made galoushkies this afternoon. Yum. She makes the best ever and I haven’t had any of hers in years. That is something I’ll look forward to. Wednesday we’re taking her car in early to have the ignition checked. Something isn’t working right about it. She can use my car as I don’t need it during the day anyway.

That’s the report for today. Thanks to all of you for all your help and well-wishes for Dane and our family.

Lessee. I think that’s the full doctor report.

MONDAY MORNING IN SELECT

Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 10:32 am

Last night I faded with the sun and almost slept the clock around. It was a busy day. My friend, Ginger, came to see Dane, view his surroundings and the traffic in and out of his room and could see first hand why I feel like I’ve been wrung out at the end of the day. You’d think I’d be a shadow of my former self by now, but all the physical activity doesn’t seem to phase my weight, only my energy level.

Dane had a good day yesterday and is off to another today. Everything is looking good for him. His system tends to collect a little fluid, which they monitor closely, so they gave him something for that this morning. He had his bath at 7:30 and was fresh as a daisy when I arrived after that. He’s snoozing away so I’m using the Wesley computer for an update. Nurse Susan said he had a good night. He required a little more suctioning than usual, according to his RT, but the laysics? should help that. It’s something that just happens.

Brit, Todd and Drew came to spend part of the day with Dane yesterday, as did Lisa, Ginger, Dave and Cheryl Brownback. Dave gave him an update on everything going on in the business world in Ellsworth and Salina and I know Dane really enjoyed hearing that even if he wasn’t quick to respond to all of it. I could tell he was interested in what Dave had to say. It was very nice of everyone to come see him yesterday as I know it helps him to have someone here other than me. It’s good stimulation for him and as he gets better, he will enjoy it more.

I haven’t heard the results of his heart sonogram or the spinal tap, but I figure no news is good news. Dr. Ramsey, the infectious disease partner, will be in today with the results of the spinal tap, and Dr. McDonald will be in today to take a look at his bedsore, which is healing nicely. Dr. Goreki’s nurse practitioner, Laura, will be here to check his head incision. The plastic surgeon is also due today for a consult. Dr. Fearey has already seen him today. They are taking good care of him and I’m sure we are in the right hospital for his care.

They do a good job at Select. I might add that there are only about 20 patients here and many have been here a very long time; one woman has had her husband here since 10 September, others almost as long. Usually, they are here for about 3 weeks and move on to rehab or another facility. I won’t speculate how long Dane will be here as I haven’t the faintest idea, but I hope he can remain here until he is substantially better. Everything is driven by his insurance, not by what the patient needs. When I look back at where he was a month ago, I can say with certainty that he has improved substantially.

Thanks so much for your cards and emails. He enjoys hearing from his friends very much.

1/22/2005

DANE IS BACK TO WHERE HE WAS EARLIER THIS WEEK

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 11:25 am

It’s Saturday and a slow day at the hospital but not for Dane. Dr. Goreki and his assistant, Laura, have been in and Dr. Roman, the infectious disease specialist has also been in to see him. Dane told Dr. Goreki that he could feel his head swelling again. It’s not a concern and the solution is to be up and walking. Well, we know how long that will be, and it will eventually go away. That’s also the solution for healing the bedsore and getting his lungs and general physical health in better shape. Dr. Goreki has asked a plastic surgeon to consult on the incision and what Dane might want to do about it in the future. Dr. Goreki is very young. Very. He was not what I expected. He enjoys an exceptional surgical reputation so his age matters not.

It was a good call on Dr. Rolhman’s part to continue with the spinal tap last night. The (ures ?) are not back but something is going on they want to watch. She is not changing any meds at the present time and said he is doing fine. The vancomyacin is kicking in and will kick butt, we hope. He should be feeling better within the week from its effects. We know it will take a long time to get rid of all the infection and it will require him remaining in a hospital setting to get the meds through iv’s.

Other than that, I don’t have a lot to add today. Dane obviously feels much better than he was when they gave him the pain killers that wiped out his memory. I certainly feel better that he is not getting any more of it. He’s still on Morphine and Loritabs and they don’t kill the pain, and he has a lot of it. He could get Tylenol for the head pain but Dr. Roman doesn’t want him to have any at the present time. His temperature is remaining in the normal range.

Dane has yet to complain or yell about the pain. He just takes what comes his way and seems glad I’m there to question and approve what is happening to him. Brit and Todd will be here tomorrow to spend some time with him. He did a up when I told him they were coming.

Ginger and I plan to go out for dinner tonight. She knows a little Italian restaurant where she and Don used to go that is a family owned, fun but with food that isn’t the best. She likes the people and enjoys going there so that is fine with me. Ginger and I are having a good time together as we both enjoy the same things and have a lot of fun in the few hours we spend together each evening. She’s having trouble with the starter on her car so we need to get that figured out soon. We need to find a “George Grogg!”

If words or parts of words are missing (as in ures), overlook it. I don’t know if it’s Graymatter or just this computer. I can’t fix it from here.

1/21/2005

OKAY, LET’S FACE IT

Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 4:14 pm

Yesterday was pretty frightening for me as Dane just wasn’t responding the way he should when I arrived in the morning. I attributed some of it to fatigue as he’d had a high fever and hadn’t slept much during the night. But, as the day progressed, he worsened. By 5:00, they were doing another CAT scan and shortly after that, his surgeon at St. Francis, called to tell me the results of the scan were good. The swelling of his head is also a non-issue. Dane just wasn’t responsive in any way that he had been the night before. At that time, I asked him to name 5 heads of state and he could, but last night he couldn’t name a single fruit or follow simple commands.

I came to the hospital at 6:30 this morning so I could catch all the doctors and Dr. Goreky’s nurse practitioner. He was still out of it and sleeping all the time, which was very out of the ordinary for him. So, because of my growing concern, they rechecked everything and found everything that they were treating was being treated appropriately. They ran more ures and did another heart sonogram. His admitting doctor assured me Dane was in the appropriate place, and I agree with that. They cannot do any more for him in ICU than they are doing in Select. They are very thorough in what they do here.

Then Mary, bless her heart Mary, who had been his night nurse said she suspected the new to him pain killer they were giving him was the culprit. It was Delotid, or something like that. I just don’t think he can tolerate it. So now, as Mary predicted, he’s returning to his more normal, but getting better routine and responding. He knows where he is again and why he is here. Speech and physical therapy are in there now working with him again on less strenuous exercises. His voice is coming back. He couldn’t begin to tolerate the tilt table yesterday and couldn’t today either, but maybe by tomorrow he will be able to handle it again. They still have a spinal tap scheduled to check for meningitis, which they didn’t suspect, but wanted to rule out.

So, all is returning to normal healing again and I’m going to catch up on my sleep tonight. I called Ginger with the good news. She’s making chicken salad for our dinner tonight. Yay! I will be more relaxed tonight. I can’t help but worry, as those of you who know me are aware.

Dane hasn’t been able or interested in his mail for a couple of days, and there is a stack of it. I will start reading it to him tomorrow. Some of it is pretty funny and he will enjoy it a lot. Thanks so much.

Oh, I have neglected to mention that I met Vanessa Salyers the other day. B.J. was one of Dr. John Terry’s internist residents in NCCU at St. Francis so we had opportunities to visit with him, as I mentioned. His wife, Vanessa, works in the pharmacy in Select so I visit with her almost every day. They are returning to Ellsworth in 1 1/2 years so that B.J. can go into practice with Witmer, Slomka and Kepka. They lived in Ellsworth for several years before B.J. entered medical school and that is home to both of them. It will be wonderful having them back in our community again. We are most fortunate for that.

P.S. 9:00 pm. Dane got through his spinal tap just fine and is now back in his room. Everything is going well, according to nurse Patty. He’s talking more and reacting much better. I’m sure it was the pain killers that were the problem but both the surgeon, Dr. Goreky, and the infection disease doctor, Dr. Rohlman, wanted to make sure. They don’t want to leave any unanswered questions hanging out there. I should get the results tomorrow morning.

The Ellsworth Bearcats beat Sterling today and Drew was high point man with 22 points. I couldn’t be there to see him play, but I am proud as punch.

1/20/2005

MORNING REPORT

Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 1:00 pm

I want to thank all of you who are referring to my blog to stay abreast of Dane’s progress. I sincerely regret that it is impossible for me to write each of you individually for two reasons, lack of time and lack of access to a computer to do my mail. I also have to sort through my mail off the classicnet server which is cumbersome and time-consuming. So, having you check here instead of writing me helps me very much. I know from all your comments in e-mails and cards to Dane that you are doing that. I do enjoy short personal notes that require no immediate answer. Thanks so much for being so attentive and concerned about Dane.

Dane had a pretty rough night. His temp was over 102 so they alerted the infectious disease doctor but she didn’t want to give him anything for it. This morning it has dropped below 100 so I’m more comfortable about it. He is sleeping a day, which is unusual, but I think he is just exhausted. They take ures at 4 am so they are back for doctor evaluation when they make early morning rounds. They keep taking ures and running tests so they are staying on top of his various conditions that need watching. I can’t complain at all about the attentiveness of the physicians who are looking over him.

Yesterday Dane did well on the tilt table, better than the previous day, or so I thought. We also managed to get the speech therapist there at the same time and her presence is necessary for him to get some water and work on his swallowing. It seems to be fine, but she has to be there. He had several sips of water and three small tastes of applesauce. They are still tube feeding him as they can’t let him sit up because of the wound and he can’t be allowed to swallow lying down because of the trach, etc. Eventually that will all change as he can stand up more, the wound improves and he can be allowed a few minutes a couple of times a day to sit more upright and eat real food.

The wound doctor and his nurse were in this morning and asked my permission to do a small surgical procedure to speed up the healing of the wound. He now has nothing but good red tissue to heal from the inside out and that is good. The wound is getting better daily so we’re happy about that.

The surgeon’s assistant, who must be his nurse practitioner rather than a surgeon (who’s to know?), said she has no doubt but that the vancomyacin ? they are giving him will work for the staph infections. She said she’d never known it not to work, but the downside is that it has to be administered in the hospital in iv’s and it takes 4-6 weeks. You can’t go home and take pills. So, that will take time along with the wound healing and other things that just take time. This is a very slow process of healing.

A friend of mine sent me an article that was in the Topeka CJ last weekend, I think, about Select Specialty Hospitals in Kansas. It’s an interesting article if you want to search their archives for it. I brought it to the hospital for others to read at the front desk.

For my friends who are concerned about my well-being, just know that my friend Ginger is proving me with a wonderful home away from home from about 6 pm until 8 am. She is a good, good friend, we’re having a lot of good laughs and fun and she finds I’m not a pain in the butt, at least she told her daughter that this morning, with a laugh. She loves to cook and hasn’t done much since Don died, so she’s having fun in the kitchen again. We both love anything to eat so whatever she fixes pleases me to no end. Last night she had avocado dip while we had a short toddy, homemade bierocks, sauted portabellas, and Celebration cranberry sauce. It was wonderful. We got her new microwave up and running after laboring over getting the inside tray thingy working right. I watched the KU game and she fiddled on her computer and talked with some friends. Then we chatted until 10:30 and she worked on the fun fur scarves she knits. I slept for the first time in a long time like a box of rocks for 9 solid hours and didn’t move a muscle until morning. Finally, I got a good night’s rest. So, you can see I am doing fine and not to worry. Ginger is helping me pace myself and keeping me on balance.

Now back to Dane. I’m on the Wesley computer and happy to have it available right now.

1/18/2005

WESLEY PATIENT E-MAIL FOR DANE

Filed under: Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:43 pm

Click here to send patient mail then click on “Send Patient E-Mail”. That should get it. Where it says “patient room”, put in Select Hospital. He should get it.

LONG DAY

Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 8:31 pm

Today we had some ups and downs. Dane has pneumonia again in the right lobe and two different types of staph infection in his lungs and trach. They are treating it aggressively. They moved him into a room where another patient has the same bacteria so that Rick won’t chance getting it too. We will miss sharing a room with Rick. Dr. Roman is his infectious disease doctor and she comes to see him daily, as do his other doctors. I met her today as she isn’t on the early morning rounds routine.

Dr. Gorecky’s assistant came to see Dane today and said the fluid draining from his head is okay but he has to be careful not to get it infected. She hadn’t seen him in a week and remarked at how much better he looks than he did a week ago. So, no more cold wash cloths for his forehead. The ice pack is okay so we’ll continue using that. He’s got a lot of pain in his head, his hematoma, his backside etc. We’re trying to get that under control. He just never complains but I can read his discomfort in his face.

He did really well on the tilt table today although he was mighty uncomfortable on it. He managed much better than he did yesterday. But the really good news is that he can move his left leg and knee as if he were walking. That brought a cheer from all of us, and a questioning look from Dane like…”What’s the big deal?” I just feel he is going to get the use of his leg back as he’s showing lots of movement in it and stands on it with all his weight.

We work around the distractions and keep moving ahead. He’s looking better each day. His color is very good, he’s responsive with his conversations (he’s tight with his words) and talks a little over his trach. He’s awake a lot when I wish he were sleeping more. They are going to try to do a better job managing his pain. In this day and age, they should be able to do that.

Karen just called and said the EHS Bearcats lost to Little River tonight by three points in the Sterling tournament. Bummer.

More tomorrow.

Yesterday

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:45 am

Dane felt better yesterday and last evening. He still had his headache, but his temp was down and he was feeling somewhat better. He still likes his ice pack and cold wash cloths on his forehead. When Dr. M was examining his head, he hit a soft spot and “sprung a leak”. They were consulting with his surgeon, Dr. Goreky, about that and the results of the CAT scan with Dr. Terry, both at St. Francis.

Mackenzie headed to Dallas mid-afternoon and arrived home safely. Todd and Karen were home in time to “feed the boys” after their basketball practice. They both wanted to see Dane on the tilt table before they left. It’s hard for him but he put on a good show. Betty and Pete Peterson arrived at that time and give him a handshake while he was standing up. Roger and Mary Alice Novak just missed the show but spent a few minutes with Dane. Lisa came for the evening and he was glad to see her. She relieved me and I went to Ginger’s and called the nurse later so I could give an update to Kenz when she arrived home. We all have our routines.

I forgot to mention that Sunday when Kenz and I made a quick trip to Sam’s the first person I ran into there as I walked in the door was Rachael Welk. I hadn’t seen her in years, probably since she moved from Ellsworth to Wichita. She looked great. We didn’t have time to inquire as to the whereabouts of Harold Jr., Gomer and Gertie, but Dane grew up with all her sons and was happy to learn I had seen her. It was a strange coincidence as I know so very few people who live in Wichita although I suppose sooner or later you’ll meet everyone you know at Sam’s. That’s not a good thing for any of us.

I arrived here at the hospital at 9 this morning and will stay until 6. Ginger has white chili made for our dinner. She has perfected the recipe so it’s the best I’ve had. She is having fun cooking again and I am enjoying the products of her kitchen as she is an excellent cook. Last night she fixed the best stuffed green peppers (she uses ground ham instead of beef) and salad. We are thoroughly enjoying our visits and time together. This afternoon she has having her group for a round of bridge. She’s still high over her bowling score yesterday. She’s team captain over three men and they do have fun. She bowled just short of 600 yesterday and bought home lots of fifty cent pieces for her wins! Yay!

More on Dane later.

1/17/2005

MLK DAY

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:46 am

The last couple of days the swelling in Dane’s head has become much more noticeable. They consulted Dr. Terry at St. Francis and he wasn’t concerned about it. They are going to do a CAT scan today and have Dr. Terry view the results. During the night, his fever broke and when the nurse called us early this morning before leaving her shift, she reported he was feeling better. High fever and head pain have really bothered him the past couple of days, but he never complains. He has a bacterial infection somewhere in his body, they think possibly in his blood as he had previously, so they are having the infectious disease people take a look at him today. Mackenzie and I conjure images of the “infectious disease” workers arriving completed enclosed in outer space type garb.

Last night Kenz and I tried to cool him down with cold wash cloths and the ice bag we got for his head. We asked that they lower the temperature in his bed so all those things must have helped. He didn’t lose his sense of humor and was taking cute pokes at Mackenzie and me. Kenz asked him, “Did grandma do this to you when you were a kid with a fever?” “Yes, and that’s not all”, he quipped with his crooked smile.

Kenz has to return to SMU today…sometime. She’s a night person so my guess is, unless I give her a good prod, she won’t leave until later today. An 8 am class tomorrow morning is looming ahead for her tomorrow. She’ll be able to talk to her dad a little over the phone now as his speech is returning more each day. She’d like to see him on the tilt table before she leaves, but that will depend a lot on how he feels today.

Last night I had a wee birthday party for Mackenzie’s 22nd which is the 27th. The invitees included Kenz, Ginger and me! We had a delightful time over dinner “out”. Ginger has been cooking for us and it was time to give her a night off. After we came home from the hospital, Kenz opened her one gift I managed to get for her…four Knorks. They’re the new forks you can cut with, thus eliminating the need for a knife, that were invented by someone in Wichita and manufactured here as well. They are pretty neat. It was a nice, quiet celebration for her. We had a good time.

We must dash. Todd and Karen should be arriving at the hospital soon to spend the day with Dane and bring me a change of sweatshirts and another pair of shoes. Those hard hospital floors are hard on this old body.

1/16/2005

DAD CONTINUES TO IMPROVE - NOW SPEAKING MORE!

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 4:23 pm

DAD CONTINUES TO IMPROVE - NOW SPEAKING MORE!

Last night and today dad was in a lot of pain due in part to a headache and also his wound. Finally yesterday he agreed to take pain medicine after denying it all day long. However, by that time the pain was such that the medicine didn’t even make a dent in the pain. This morning he said the pain was still just as bad but they’ve been keeping him on a steady dose of Morphine and Loritab. Around 1PM they gave him both of those and he started drifting so grandma and I went and ran errands around town. We went back to the hospital around 3:30 and he was still very asleep so we decided to come back to Ginger’s house to relax. Right now sleep will do more for him than anything else so it’s important that he get some since his nights are often very restless.

Lisa and the Salina Rotary Club president (sorry, can’t remember his name) both came to visit this afternoon but dad slept through both of them, more or less. We have a new favorite nurse - Kimberly. She’s excellent, not only does she do well with her medical duties but also spends a lot of time making dad comfortable and talking to us about how he’s doing. Today she informed us that he had a temperature last night and they ran some tests and said he has a bit of infection in his lungs - they’re not sure of the exact cause or what kind of bacteria it is, but we’re not terribly shocked since he’s been flat on his back for so long. They continue to give him breathing treatments and to suction him so hopefully it will prevent another round of pneumonia.

On a better note, he is talking a lot more than previously. I am really trying to get him to stop with the hand motions and instead speak. Finally he agreed when I told him that the more he talks the quicker his swallowing will improve and then he can have food. He immediately said “Chicken Fried Steak” :) He told the nurse that he’s a stock broker at AG Edwards, and more stuff. Anything just to get his mouth open. He’s still cracking jokes a lot and that is really good because we know his sense of humor remains intact! Through all of this he has yet to complain about anything or to get discouraged and upset. I know it will happen but he sure has a lot more patience than I would!

Anyway, I hope this entry wasn’t too much of a “downer” because he really is doing very well, if that silly wound would just hurry up and heal then his lungs would improve and he’d be doing even better. He has a bit of side-to-side movement in his left leg, as found by the physical therapist last night. That made us happy because any movement in the leg basically means he will walk again (possibly with some help). We can’t wait! He appreciates all the emails and letters and phone calls, and now he can talk on the phone (very shortly) so that’s nice for his out-of-town friends too.

-Mackenzie

1/15/2005

ANOTHER BIG YEA!

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:03 am

ANOTHER BIG YEA!

Sorry about not getting around to posting last night, but Kenz arrived late from Dallas and we didn’t leave the hospital until 9:30. I arrived there at 8 yesterday morning so my day was very long and tiring. We ate and visited with Ginger when we got home (away from home) and crashed.

The big news is that Dane has some use of his left leg. It is responding. When we lift and support his leg and ask him to push it back on the bed he can, with good force. That is very good news. The physical therapists are discovering new things every day that he can do. His time on the tilt table is reaping rewards, but difficult for him. I thought that standing would give him some relief from the pain of the bed sore, but it apparently doesn’t.

Dr. Fearey, his primary physician, was not taken back about his inability to sit. He said the therapists would work with him in other ways until such time he can sit. Keeping him clean and turned every two hours and the wound dressed is a full time job. I think Dane and I each need a loud police whistle, if you know what I mean. Keeping up with the nurses is a chore. He had three different ones during the time I was there yesterday and they aren’t all qualified to do the same things. Some nurses suction, most don’t. He needs his dressing changed, I say. “I don’t do that, you’ll have to find the wound nurse.” He needs suctioning, I say. “Find an inhalation therapist”, they say. I worry about him strangling. His beard is growing so Kenz is going to try today to find someone to shave him. I had no luck with that or a bath for him yesterday. I’ll start using an electric razor on him once we get him shaved. Kenz could suction him in an emergency she’s watched so often. So, now I’m going to pay better attention to every thing they do.

Dane looks good, is starting to use the Passey-mur so he can speak. The speech therapy gals are really good with him and let him have some sips of water while he’s on the tilt table. He’ s so thirsty all the time and tries to bribe everyone into giving him a “small sip of water”. That led to a terrible incident the other night when a repiration therapist did give him water when she should not have. I posted a sign above his bed so that won’t happen again.

Ginger and I are off for the day. Kenz reports that Dane has had a bath, his bedding changed and that they were talking a bit. It’s hard for him since he hasn’t used those throat muscles for a long time. She’s working with him with his therapy. He’ll like having a new coach!

Thanks so much for your continued thoughts, cards, and e-mails.

Kenz is giving me a break today so Ginger and I are going to scout around town, run errands and have lunch. We’ll gather up Kenz later today and the three of us will have dinner together.

1/13/2005

IT WAS A VERY LONG DAY

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:47 pm

IT WAS A VERY LONG DAY

Dane was involved in a lot of activity today. Some evaluations were good; some were not what we had hoped.

The good part is that they did a barium swallow test and he passed. Not with flying colors, but sufficiently to start getting some liquids under the supervision of a speech therapist. He has to do a chin tuck for awhile to swallow. I go with him when they take him for tests.

Dr. M, the wound specialist, stopped in on his Thursday rounds to see Dane’s “bed sore”. Unfortunately, prognosis for healing is not what we had hoped and it will take two to three months for it to heal. It requires that he spend 23 of 24 hours a day flat on his back or on one side or the other during this extended period of time. A new bed was to be delivered tonight that will help with the weight distribution and such. I think it is the same kind he started out with at St. Francis that was too short. You’d think they’d have long sizes. They come from a supplier. The nurses will be turning him from one side to the other every two hours 24/7. I hope he learns to sleep through it.

This is all counterproductive to his therapy which is directed to having him sit up. Since that puts pressure on the sore, that activity has been curtailed indefinitely. The doctor said not to be optimistic that it will heal before three months. He needs to sit up for his lungs, breathing etc. I suggested that if he could have the tilting table three times a day, that would give him an opportunity to stand and if he got it at meal time, then we could feed him while he is standing up. He agreed with that. The problem with that is that there is only one table that must be shared with all the patients who need it. I suggested they might not need it when they are eating so that it possibly could be available to Dane. They were going to work on that. Nutrition is very important to the healing of bed sores.

A friend is coming by tomorrow to help me devise some physical therapy I can help him with on an hourly basis ie. facial exercises, hand and arm movements, hand squeezing, mental tests, neck exercises, leg movements and anything that will help strengthen his muscles. The therapists don’t get in that often and he will need more than they can ofter, especially since I don’t want him backsliding because he can’t sit up and do many things that position would offer. So, tomorrow we’ll work out a routine and I’ll probably be viewed as the worst football coach he ever had. It will be tiring for both of us.

After talking with several people who know far more than I do about such things, and having friends inquire, I’m convinced we are in the right hospital. Dr. M, who is a well-known wound specialist said it is the best for the kind of help he will need to get the wound to heal. Others have said that it is the best place for the kinds of therapy he needs right now. So, although I’m always apprehensive, I’m settling in to the routine, the personnel and very happy to be where we are.

Dane and I just take it day by day. I spend from 9 or 10 in the morning until 5 or so in the afternoon. If I want to see the doctor, I need to be there at 7:00. I go to bed with the chickens. So, if you are going to call me, do it before 8 pm, please.

Ginger is a life-saver. I don’t know what I’d do without her friendship and many kindnesses. Mackenzie is driving up tomorrow to spend the long weekend with her dad. Ally and Ruby are also coming to visit. That will be enough for him considering his hourly drills I have planned for him.

I wish he didn’t have to deal with the bedsore, but he does. One wonders how he could get it when he’s been flat on his back for so long. Maybe that’s the point.

Thanks to all of you for caring about Dane. He does have a world of friends and knowing that helps him a lot.

1/12/2005

ALL SIX FOOT 2 1/2 OF HIM WAS UPRIGHT TODAY. YEA!

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 5:00 pm

Dane had a big day today and starting out, he didn’t feel all that well. He felt a tad nauseated, his head and belly hurt, he said. But through it all, they took X-Rays, took him downstairs for a CAT scan as I trailed along, and put him on a tilting table that allowed them to upright him. He did really well, his blood pressure remained good and they said it all went very well. He actually stood up while strapped to the table for…well, I don’t know. It seemed like a long time to me. They intend to do it again tomorrow, and everyday, so it sounded.

He was on and off his bed frequently and that is a chore for him and those who help move him. His breathing is better and he’s doing very well they tell me. Speech therapy came in again and intended to do the passey-mur thingy and swallow test, but the fact that he felt nauseated made them back off until tomorrow.

I left a little early tonight as they gave him morphine for the pain which should allow him to sleep an hour or more. They know where to reach me.

One interesting thing happened today. A friend of Dane’s came to visit today and I introduced her to Dane’s roommate, Rick M. She said, “Not Rickie M. from Attica?” Sure enough it was. She worked in a nursing home one summer during high school when she was there visiting her grandmother in the early 80s, and Rickie was one of the patients she became well acquainted with. He painted beautifully then and created a picture especially for her, which she told him she still had. They had a good visit. It seems they had often thought of each other but didn’t know where the other was. Small world.

The fog this morning was thick as soup and I couldn’t even see Wesley Hospital from half a block away. McDonald’s is just across the street from Dane’s room and I couldn’t see the building, but could see the brake lights of people going through the drive-thru. It’s better now but I expect more of the same tomorrow. I haven’t ventured any place else. I just drive between Ginger’s house and the hospital and back. We may go out to eat tonight, but I’ll let Ginger drive. She bowled this afternoon. She’s a very active lady with bridge, bowling and her other activities.

More later. Thanks for tuning in. I pass your messages on to Dane.

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