Monday, April 11, 2011
Monday Update For Ben
Ben was awake and watching TV when we came into his room. He was much more alert this morning than yesterday. They had started him on the breathing trial at 8:00 AM. I asked for the nurse to call the physical therapist. I guess they came in at 7:00 AM and Ben was asleep so they did not work with him. Also asked to have the doctor come in to give me more information about Ben's condition and recovery. They are going to run tests again for C.diff. I spoke with Dr. Shin on the phone who is the floor doctor right now. Kaiser has a team of floor doctors and they alternate every 7 to 8 days. There is no primary doctor who oversees Ben's case or the reports that the floor doctors turn in, but any member of the team can see the reports online. Dr. Shin said they are doing everything possible to keep Ben's vitals, fluids, body functions, etc. stable. He said he had spoken to the surgeon who has been on Ben's case since the first day he was bright to Kaiser about Ben's distended belly. The surgeon says there may be a blockage still, but Ben is too weak to be a candidate for surgery at this time. If he improves, they will consider exploratory surgery and even if he doesn't, they may have to opt to do exploratory surgery if they cannot get him stronger but it would be risky. I was told that I could ask for a second opinion from another doctor but that it would have to be a Kaiser doctor and since at least 4 or 5 Kaiser doctors have worked with him so far, I've actually had that many "second opinion". As for his physical therapy…because Kaiser Insurance pays the therapists per visit, if they come in to work with Ben and he is not awake enough or too weak to work with them, they leave and report that to Kaiser Insurance. If this continues, Kaiser Insurance tells the therapists to stop coming to work with him unless his doctor at the time determines he is strong enough to cooperate with them during the therapy and then the doctor would put in an order for them to start coming again. So this is why he is not getting the physical therapy he needs. The kidney doctor came in today and said that Ben's kidneys were better today and seem to be improving each day. She is still trying to lower his sodium levels but she said things do seem to be improving very slowly. They have now suggested that we wear surgical masks when we are in his room because they are thinking he may have C.diff again. As I stated yesterday, it is just one big vicious circle. They try to fix one thing and it messes up something else, then they try to fix that and something else goes wrong. My social worker came by and suggested I try to find a support group for "care givers" because she says that's basically what I am now since I'm taking care of everything at home for Ben. My friend Linda told me there is such a support group at our local senior center so she is checking into it for me. By 12:00 noon today, Ben was non-responsive again. He had been on the breathing trial for 4 hours and I think it was wearing him out again. I'm thinking if they find that he has C-diff, they'll send him back to ICU. Marla and I went to lunch at 12:00 and when we came back about 12:45, Ben was asleep and still on the breathing trial. We decided to leave and let him rest. I just get more and more frustrated.