Saturday, April 28, 2012

We Have Started the Countdown

Five days and counting until "freedom day" and it can't get here fast enough for John. He is doing very well, but getting anxious for the disconnect surgery and the outcome. The doctor couldn't X-ray the thumb last week when we saw him because it is still attached so we still don't know how well the bones are meshing. We have been walking each day - about 6 to 8 blocks are his limit. Still waiting until we can do the beach trail. All in all everything is great.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

John is back in HMB

We are all back in HMB and John got to sleep in his own bed last night. Not as restful as he had anticipated as last night was the first time he slept under covers. Only got up once, but was able to sleep in until 9:15 a.m. That's my boy!! I'm always given a rough time when I get up late and this time I beat him out of bed. Probably the only time that will happen. It continues to be difficult for him to find a position sitting up that keeps his thumb in the proper alignment. May 3rd can't get here fast enough for him, but he is such a trooper and never complains. We just move around until we find one that works. Please keep those emails, phone calls, visits and notes coming. They ate a real boost to his spirit.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Decision Made

John has decided that Tuesday is the day he will be heading back to HMB. He has a doctor's appointment on Tuesday morning where the drain will be removed and some of the staples. I think he is ready to break out of jail and head home to his own bed, shower and a different meal plan. The p.t. at Lytton Gardens was great, but not great enough to warrant 23 more hrs. per day there. He said that he learned a lot and that he can do what he needs to do at home or we will head over the hill to the club. I can't wait to have him home. Mom

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Decisions Decisions

Another day at Lytton Gardens. John is so enjoying the p.t. there, but reevaluating whether one day of GREAT p.t. is worth 23 hours at "God's Waiting Room." He is constantly saying "I don't want to get old and end up in a place like this" even though the staff is caring and very kind it's still been very hard on him seeing people in wheelchairs sleeping and his roommate who is 92 talking about wanting to go home. He is talking about coming back to HMB after the. drain is removed on Tuesday. We can take him up to the club each day for p.t. and he will definitely have some input on food when I am cooking. Bernie and I have been bringing lunch each day and Jane and Mike from O.C. have brought dinner the last two nights. After one dinner we decided that lunch and dinner will be provided by family and friends. We can't get in early enough to bring breakfast, but at least he is getting two edible meals. Guess old folks don't care what they eat but we care about what he is eating. All in all it's not as bad as I thought it would be and they really trying to accommodate his needs. Part of the problem is that the population is at least 35 years older than John and their needs are different. Tomorrow is another day and John will be making his decision about whether he will stick it out or vote to go home - hopefully the later. Mom

Friday, April 20, 2012

From the Ritz Carlton to Motel 6

John survived his first night at Lytton Gardens. After being at Stanford for 7 days this is definitely a step down, but it is very clean, the staff is great, but the food certainly leaves a lot to be desired. Stanford is certainly the Ritz Carlton of hospitals and we all got spoiled. He went to p.t. today and said that the therapist is great. Worked a lot on his range of motion on this right arm and had John riding on some kind of special bike that allowed John to work on building up his left leg (where they removed the bone)and also working on his gait. He goes to the doctor on Tuesday to have the drain removed and then 10 days later will be "freedom day" when the thumb will be removed from his groin. Then lots and lots of physical therapy-which I think he is actually looking forward to. His spirit is great and he is very positive. Thanks for all the text messages and emails to him. He so loves hearing from friends. Mom

Thursday, April 19, 2012

John taking the skilled nursing facility by storm...


John got settled today at Lytton Gardens in Palo Alto. It seems like a nice place near University Ave. It has a nice courtyard area and after being stuck inside the hospital for almost a week, John is happily hanging out in the courtyard!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On to a New Home-away-from tomorrow

John will be leaving Stanford Medical Center tomorrow for his "new digs" at 11:00 a.m. He will be driven there in his own "limo" - a hospital transport vehicle. He is moving to Lytton Gardens described as a "senior community" but they have a skilled nursing wing which is where John will be for the next two weeks. It is located about two miles from Stanford. I think he will be happy to get out of the hospital, but I'm not too sure he is going to be loving his new place. Time only will tell.
He is up and walking around without assistance and only has one drain that has to go with him. We will be seeing the doctor on Tuesday for the removal of the drain and some of the stitches.
Both his primary surgeon and his associate were in today and they are super pleased with his progress and so are we. More tomorrow from the "new digs". Mom

Monday, April 16, 2012

John wanted me to share these pictures....


For those of you who are interested in what the doctor's have done to John's hand, and how it is attached to his groin with a skin flap, click on the link below. These pix are pg-13 and yes the skin flap has been formed to look like a tube.

John is in good spirits today... He is a little frustrated by how he can't get his left leg to work right (consequence of the bone graft donor site in left hip - it should get better) and a little anxious that he is now in charge of positioning the flap/tube so that the blood flow continues. The blood flow through the flap/tube is checked every hour and thus far there have been no show stopping issues.

Everyday John gets a little better, a little stronger, and with the doctor's telling him everything is looking good, a little bit more at ease with the decision he has made.

Monday 4-16

John had a great day today. Dr. Chang was into see him last night at 11:00 p.m. and told him
everything looks just the way it is supposed to be. Hearing it from the primary surgeon was just what John needed to hear. This afternoon they got him out of bed and he walked to the door of his room and then back to a chair at the bedside. He was much steadier on his feet today. Even was able to get up and walk a bit more later in the day. Spent about 3 hours out of bed which was huge. The doctor removed all of the sutures holding his hand to his body so now he just has to work at keeping the tube straight. This is a it of a challenge but he is working hard to comply with instructions. Doctor did tell him last night that he will be in the hospital until at least Friday which is fine with me. He is getting incredible care there and I'm not suffering from anxiety when we leave in the evening - a true blessing.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A New Day

Much better day today. It's amazing what a good nights sleep and a visit from his sister Jennifer and her husband Brian can do. They drove up last night, spent several hours with John and then headed home. Talk about a "turn-around trip". PT and the nurse got John up again today and he was able to shuffle about four yards and then back to bed. Getting him up and down is the worst and he was sweating by the time he was back in bed. Think he felt it was one big step toward recovery. Also a nice long chat with his friend Bill in Arizona really helped. Thanks Bill! One of the doctor's came in just as we were getting ready to head back to the house and he said that the flap was looking much better, but added that it wasn't bad to begin with. This really helped as well. Tomorrow is another day. We have faith that each day will be better than the last.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tough Day Today

John slept well last night, but today was a different story. PT tried to get him up and walking only to realize that he couldn't stand up straight due to the placement of the sutures holding his hand in place. Very disappointing for him. The good news is that standing wasn't as painful as he thought it would be. After some readjustments from the doctor and having several sutures removed he is much more comfortable. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. Comments are appreciated as John knows I am trying to update this daily. Thanks. Mom

Second Day

Mom here - John didn't get much rest last night as they are waking him up every hour to check the blood flow in the flap with a Doppler. It is very noisy but only takes a minute or so, but enough to wake him up. They are going to every two hours on Saturday so that should give him a bit more time to rest. His pain continues in the area of bone harvest, but they have hooked up a button by his toe and he can get his pain meds on demand. Also put a pad by his right shoulder and he can call for a nurse by tapping it. Sure makes it a lot easier for Bernie and I to leave him for a few hours during the day and at night. Still is on liquid diet, but hopes for some "real food" on Saturday. All in all life is good. Keep the good thoughts and prayers coming his way.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Surgery a Success

Mom here - John had his first of three surgeries today at Stanford Medical Center. Surgery took 5 1/2 hours and doctor has deemed it a success baring any unforeseen problems. Dr. Chang removed a piece of John's hip-about as long as his pinky finger and attached it to his left hand. He then made a tube out of skin in his abdomen and attached the "new thumb/post there. It will be attached for approximately three weeks. The doctor will then remove the thumb/post from his abdomen. It will be covered with skin and have it's own blood supply. This is what we are hoping will happen.
John is experiencing a lot of pain in the area where the hip bone was removed and the doctors say that this is to be expected. They will be keeping him in bed until at least Saturday in a part of the hospital that is semi-ICU. Only two visitors are allowed at any time, so please call me before if you are planning on making a visit. I will try to update this on a regular basis. Thank you for all your prayers and good thoughts sent John's way.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The sound of one hand clapping

I had my pre-op appointment yesterday and the surgery will be the first on the list for tomorrow. 
That sounded pretty good until they said the check-in will probably be 530am.

The surgery is expected to take 4-5 hrs which should give them plenty of time to dig out a couple of inches of hip bone and graft it to what remains of my thumb then tie the whole thing to my lap.

The hope is that this surgery will provide more bone and skin to create a better base for a future toe-to-thumb procedure.

The surgery will be at the Stanford Ambulatory Surgery Center in Palo Alto and I will be at Stanford for a couple of days before being transferred to... most likely Lytton Gardens off of University in Palo Alto, but that's not confirmed.

I will not be posting for the next month but I will make sure info and PG pics are posted by my family or friends.

Wish me luck.