First, let me say that I've asked Steve politely for no more drama today. (He agrees.) Second, he's OK now, despite a very scary episode.
Melane and I were visiting when Steve took one bite of his lunch and started coughing violently. We rushed to his side, helped him sit up and encouraged him to take big, deep coughs. Then we could suddenly hear excessive gurgling and congestion -- all new.
I realized that we weren't going to be able help him through the episode ourselves and called for help.
A respiratory therapist arrived, assessed the situation and came up with a plan.
She first gave him a breathing treatment. During that time, his oxygenation level was 85 -- very low.
She increased his oxygen from 3 liters to 7 liters.
In the meantime, the remote telemetry equipment alerted medical staff to his rapid heart rate. So his nurse (and the extern assigned to the nurse) came in.
The respiratory therapist began suctioning his mouth and throat, trying to help him expel the building fluid.
The nurse paged the resident.
So there were four medical providers surrounding Steve, who was having great difficulty breathing.
I will spare you all the details, but they eventually were able to force him to expel the food from his lungs.
It was an awful, frightening experience.
He is now NPO, meaning he can't drink or eat anything. Tomorrow he'll be evaluated by a speech therapist to make sure it's safe for him to eat and drink.
I spoke with Dr. M later about this episode and the other neurological symptoms (grogginess, weakening left side).
Based on today's clean CT scan and other information, she's convinced that his worsening symptoms are because of an untreated infection. "Anything that makes you less well in your body affects your brain," she explains.
She thinks that if we can treat the infection, his symptoms will improve.
His nurse is now hanging the bag of antibiotics to treat the infection. (He had to get another line put in his arm, as Heparin and the antibiotic don't mix and have to have separate lines.)
He's remaining on 7 liters of oxygen for now. His pulse-oxygen level is in the low 90s. He's resting relatively well.
Thanks to you all for prayers, visits, meals, caring for Cooper and Katie, calls and more. We never forget how blessed we are.