Friday, March 27, 2009

Back at it...

Alright - its time to get back at the honest blogging...

I've been so busy lately... I'm so sorry for not keeping you all up to date. I know there are many of you who check the site daily for updates. Your commitment and love for my dad means so much to me, but even more to him.

Dad is doing so much better. Now, he's still really weak but here are the facts:

- for the past week, he hasn't been sick
- he's stood up every day on his two feet - once for over 2 mins (that's huge!)
- physio says that he'll be walking in a few weeks
- dad says he's not leaving Toronto 'till the end of May - and when he does leave, he knows it will be for good this time!

He calls me every day! I LOVE his calls! He's in his right mind. He's kinda low - but its more of a lonely low and not a "I'm gonna die" low. I'd post his phone number but I don't know it. Your free to call the Toronto General Hospital (you can find the number from one of my older posts) and ask for patient Brian Bloomfield.

I can't wait for this to be all over - and it will be. But I don't think any one imagined it would take this long. In contrast, my dad's hospital roommate had a kidney transplant 6 days ago and he was being released. Isn't that crazy!?!? I was so happy for that dude. It was nice to share our stories.

Life for me is going well. My check up last week was good. All my parts are working. I feel good. But I'm realizing that I'm pretty out of shape. I mean, I wasn't very athletic before the transplant which makes an already bad situation worse. I told Chel that as soon as it warms up just a little more, I'm going to start my iPod walks again down by the river. So relaxing. Audio book, nature, walking... nothing like it.

The family is doing well. Mom is stronger than ever. Becky and James are doing well.

Not much else to say...

Dad's Birthday is coming up on May 11th. Here's his list:

- hats (he needs to stay out of the sun for the rest of his life)
- blues music
- suspenders
- "book from the Food Channel" (I have no idea what this means)

So keep your eyes open. I'd love to throw dad the biggest B-Day bash ever - even if he's still in Toronto.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How do you hang out?

So sorry its taken so long to post. My life is out of control busy.

Dad's doing great. We had a fun visit last Wednesday... the videos tell it all. Listen closely.

video

video

Just talked to dad today - he's doing good. He's stands a few times a day. But he's too weak to walk. He's in good spirits.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Back to Toronto

Chel and I are just packing and getting ready for our day trip to Toronto tomorrow. I have my 3-Month follow up tomorrow. CRAZY! Its been 3 MONTHS!?!?!?!

I'll post an update with photos and hopefully a video as well on Thursday.

Dad's doing well again, BTW. Eating lots. A little more active.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mom is amazing!

My dads recovery is going so strangely. My mom leaves for a few ours on Mar 10 and all of a sudden he's on a ventilator in ICU hallucinating. Then a day later he's sitting up, eating, talking, etc... just like he was today.

Its so great to hear that dad is going well. He's sitting up, eating, talking, etc. He had some tests that all came back positive.

I hate hearing about these strange episodes he continues to have - where he gets agitated and has a hard time breathing. No one can figure out what the deal is.

Anyway, mom is doing FANTASTIC. Her attitude is phenomenal. She's so strong - and she really believes that we're going to make it through this - and she's going to see dad through the whole thing.

Man - anyone out there need an example of commitment? Linda Bloomfield. She's had every reason to back down... every reason to give up... but no.

Mom... freakin mom. Jeeze louize she's amazing!

Mom - I've never been more proud of you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Update

Just got a call from Linda.

When she got to the hospital this morning and headed to the 7th floor (where she thought Brian had been moved to), she found out he actually was moved back to the 10th floor.

It seems Brian was having respiratory problems, so he is back on full oxygen. On top of that he is very agitated and having hallucinations. They aren't sure whats going on as of now, but his red blood cell count is down which could mean infection.

Will keep you updated.

-Chelsea

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Great visit!

Baaaaaaa - Chel and I are soo freakin exhausted. We got in at 2am... and then lost an hour because of DST... so we really got home at 3am. And the drive home was terrible.

But it was seriously all worth it. Dad is doing infinitely better.

We left Ottawa really late (around noon) and arrived in Toronto at 4pm. Neither Chel or I were looking forward to the drive to Toronto - or being back in Toronto or Toronto General. But we both really miss dad. And especially after what happened this week, we really wanted to make sure we paid him an encouraging visit.

We grabbed a parking spot in the heated, underground parking. Very nice. VIP like.

We headed up to the seventh floor. This is the floor dad was on before the transplant and the floor he was on before he was discharged. Its a good floor to be on - and its the floor I thought dad was on because that's the last I heard from mom.

So, we poked our head into floor 7 and one of the nurses declared, "Wooo! He's alive!" They freakin remembered me - AND dad - AND knew that dad was still on the 10th floor. Man - the nurses at this hospital are phenomenal! They're so caring and they all seem to be in the loop. No rude remarks, no unwelcoming faces... just lots of transplant love.

On their advice, we headed to the 10th floor - the step down unit. This is the floor dad and I were on when we first got out of surgery. Everyone has a nice big private room. And there is a nurse's station with one nurse for every two rooms. That means my dad was constantly being monitored and always had someone to talk to. Usually they give patients a little emergency button - dad didn't get one because the nurse literally works a few steps away from his bed. This hospital is on the freakin ball.

Walking down the hall to see dad, there were some pretty scary patients. One dude was wrapped in towels... another lady was in a ball crying... some other patients were hooked up to every possible instrument available. Really makes you appreciate your health.

Then, there was dad! In the room at the end of the hall. He was too tired to give us a big hello. But he mumbled a few words of welcome. He's color looked great and his arms/legs looked less bruised (from all the unsuccessful IVs). And my dad's urine bag - it was full! Full of (what looked like) lemonade! This was phenomenal news! In Ottawa, his urine bag was never full. And if it had anything in it, it was a very small amount and it looked like Pepsi. Not only was dad peeing on his own, it was the right color. Go yellow pee!

We all got seated and started chatting - reminiscing. Great times. Dad started to wake up a bit more over the hour that we spent but eventually he needed to sleep. So mom, Chel and I headed out for a great dinner - just the three of us. It was so nice to spend some quality time with mom. What a strong woman.

After dinner, it was about 8pm. We headed back the hospital to spend a few more minutes with dad before we headed right back home to Ottawa. Dad was way more awake this time. He sat up in his bed and we had a great chat.

~

For the past few weeks, dad hasn't been himself. The depression - its not dad. He may struggle with it, but there was an element of it that didn't sit right with me. His attitude - his lost sense of humour...

I think it was the absence of some of those key Brian characteristics that was contributing to a general sense of defeat around the family.

~

But that night - dad was right back to being himself.

"Josh - I can't believe what those drugs do to you."

"I know dad! There were so many times when I would get mad at Chel the few days after the surgery for no reason. I wasn't myself. And it was the narcotic pain meds. I hated what they turned me into. My goal was to get off them asap - and I was, 3 days after I left the hospital."

Sometimes, when I get started down a passionate line of conversation, I close my eyes and look down. When I raised my head after my little rant - dad was sitting there nodding his head in agreement.

"Josh - Your my inspiration. Every time I see you I just want to explode!"

~

If your not aware, dad was prescribed way too high a dose of narcotic pain medication in Ottawa. Between the high doses and my dad's history with drug abuse, that's what lead to his episode this week. When Toronto reduced the pain meds, his body wasn't too pumped about it. To avoid the situation from getting worse, dads body was sedated to the point where he needed a machine to help him breathe. Toronto is convinced that the pain meds are the reason why dad's recovery has been so rocky the past few weeks.

Yesterday, dad didn't have any pain meds. I'm so proud/happy for him!

~

It was time to go. Blast! As great as dad was doing, Chel and I are always afraid that its just 'the same old story'. We were afraid that he'd end up sick again or in worse shape a few days later. We're praying that this is the end of the sickness and that dad will be fully restored.

While leaving Toronto, Chel said, "You know... walking through that hospital today and even driving through Toronto, I'm not hating as much."

Chelsea and I both HATED Toronto for the first few weeks after the surgery. We vowed never to go back.

She continued, "The city and hospital actually feels like good memories now."

"I know! Looking back, it was such an amazing experience - so much love. It wasn't as terrible as we thought it was."

~

Today, dad should be transferred to floor 7 where he'll have a TV and a phone. I'll post the number as soon as I have it. The goal is to get dad walking. As soon as he can walk, he'll be out of the Toronto hospital.

I suggested to my parents that they DON'T leave Toronto until they are sure that dad is truly on the mend and that mom and dad can take care of themselves. So, they'll be staying in Toronto (not sure where) for a few weeks after they are released from the General. The last thing dad needs is to be back in the Civic.

~

In all seriousness - The Civic hospital needs a freakin redo. Staff, facility, etc. It all needs to be redone. If you're in Toronto, go and stop in at the Toronto general. The place is amazing. At some points, you forget your in a hospital.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No more ventilator

Talked to Mom a few minutes ago.

Dad's doing better today. He's off the ventilator. They also fed him 'normal' food today through a tube. He's urinating had improved as well.

He's still in ICU, but he'll be transferred to the step down unit (10th floor) tomorrow if his condition doesn't worsen.

The 10th floor is where dad and I were the first few days after surgery. Matter of fact, before dad was transferred to ICU, he was in my exact room from after the transplant... nice private corner room with a great view.

Slowly... things seem to be moving forward.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Just spoke with mom and a nurse.

So, dad was having a tough time breathing this morning and he was really agitated. So, the team thought it best to sedate dad so that he doesn't hurt himself and so that he can be hooked up to a ventilator to breath better.

The doctors did some scans to make sure there was no urgent medical issues. Everything looks okay.

At this point, the doctors think that my dad was on way to many pain narcotic pain meds and that they need to be drained from his system. I guess that's what is happen now.

He's doing better now then he was when he was first placed in ICU early this morning.

Life Support

No joke.

Mom called this morning bragging on how much better dad was doing. He had been cleaned up and was well taken care of. He was sitting up, talking, seemed to have a little more energy. His kidney's even showed some improvement and he was urinating on his own now (no need for dialysis or catheter)

That was yesterday

Mom just called a few minutes ago. When she came in this morning, dad was in a strange room hooked up to a strange machine. Turns out Dad's on "life support". Now, I'm not sure if that's what my mom was told or if that's the terminology my mom is choosing to use. Regardless, a machine is breathing for dad. He can't breath on his own anymore. The nurses couldn't wake my dad this morning and must have noticed something wrong with his breathing

I'm not sure about the details of my dads situation. Mom is supposed to call back as soon as she's spoken with a doctor.

~

So many different feelings right now. Fear of the worst, obviously. Frustration - frustration that dad's prognosis seems to have some bi-polar disorder... fantastic one day, terrible the next.

Hmm... kinda just speechless really. Feels like someone has taken my breath away.

I'm afraid to prepare myself for the worst because I feel like that would mean I'm not "keepin' the faith". But I don't want to get blindsided by it.

Blast - I can't even write it! Because I'm so afraid of it. It. I don't want to spell/speak it into existence.

If I haven't said this yet - I really miss dad. Like really badly. Here's the dad I miss... I haven't heard him laugh like this in (what feels like, and what probably is) years. I took video of when I treated my parents to a trip to the Dominican Republic when I was young, single and overpaid. That purchase turned out to be one I'd never regret...

video

Monday, March 2, 2009

Arrived Safe

Chelsea here.

Just talked to Linda. They arrived safely in Toronto. Brian got there around 5pm yesterday and Linda arrived with her sister around 8pm. No updates other then that yet, hopefully we'll find out more today.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Flight Out

Visited Dad on Friday. No major changes in his condition. But, we did find out that he was supposed to receive dialysis treatment first thing in the morning. This freaked Chelsea and I out a little. So we asked a nurse what the deal is.

First off, for those who don't know what dialysis is... My dad will be hooked up to a machine that will clean his blood for him. It tries to do what the Kidney's do naturally when the Kidney's aren't working to well.

It turns out that Dialysis can be used on very sick patients who are experiencing temporary kidney problems. Just because my dad has started dialysis, does not mean he will be on it for the rest of his life. My dad's Kidney's are simply having a tough time right now and his body needs a break.

~

Chel and I poked our heads into the hospital Saturday around 11:20am just to see dad being wheeled through the corridors. He had just come back from Dialysis. He looked a bit better. When he finally got settled in to his room, we asked him how it went.

Me - "Any pain dad?"

Dad - Shakes his head, no... "They took 2 litres of urine out of me! Dialysis is a good thing."

I was taken back by the amount of waste they removed from my dad's blood - 2 litres! Thats awesome! That will give my dad's body a real opportunity to get better. And I was so happy to hear dad say, "Dialysis is a good thing." Because it is! Its just a temporary measure to help dad get back on the mend.

But what about Toronto? Wasn't dad supposed to be gone by now?

Well, we've been waiting for a bed for a few days... and we found out on Saturday night that dad was leaving first thing in the morning - 9am flight from Ottawa to Toronto General. Because my dad's condition has worsened, it was necessary to make sure a nurse could accompany him during the flight. I believe my mom was supposed to go as well.

Later in the evening on Saturday, we had a bit of a scare. I guess dad was having a hard time breathing and he was getting kinda panicked. Wait a minute... that sounded familiar... back in October the same thing happened when he was put on a certain kind of a pain medication. I mentioned this to a nurse (who was kinda useless) and never really got that resolved. Apparently it cleared up 30min after I left, though.

~

Just got off the phone with mom. She had a few things packed (not all her stuff) and was ready to go with Dad to Toronto. But her and my dad decided that it would be better if mom stayed at home an extra day to make sure everything at home and work got packed up properly so mom doesn't have to come back to Ottawa after they arrive.

Dad left this morning around 9am. No word from Toronto yet on how dad's doing. But mom said that dad looked good.