Listening Skills

Okay, so we all hear what we want to hear, and sometimes what we hear isn’t what was said. And sometimes, we just flat out don’t hear it correctly.
Dad and I both heard the same thing, at different times, so that at least makes me feel better that I’m not operating in the “hear what you want to hear space”. We both understood the information to mean one thing, and the reality is apparently totally different…
I was under the impression that a good portion of the tests and labs being run were to help get Lee better and a side result was that this would help get him on the transplant list.
Boy, I could not have been more wrong.
Mom took the early morning shift yesterday in order to catch all of the doctors. I had volunteered so that she could get some sleep, but she wanted to be the one there when the docs came in and I totally respect that, I would too if it was my kid in there! I came in and it didn’t look like good news, but operating on the cloud of information I had, I wasn’t prepared, none of us were, actually.
As of right now, everything that is being done is not to help get him on the transplant list, but to just help him survive. To try and keep him alive.
His liver enzymes are looking better, meaning they haven’t gotten worse. His kidneys are doing worse, the numbers are a bit better but that is due to dialysis, not because they are functioning in their own. He is running a fever so he does have an infection somewhere in his body. They have him on antibiotics and will take cultures to see if they can identify who, what, when and where. Okay, they don’t have to identify all of that, it just sounded good!
I know that most of this information you don’t need, but in addition to using this blog as a cathartic release, this is a good spot to document and record Lee’s journey. I do have to laugh sometimes, because I will anguish over my Facebook status update, making sure I only put specific information out and try and keep it as positive as possible.  I need to keep family and friends updated and honestly, FB is just much easier than trying to email and text and call everyone, but not everyone needs to know the nitty-gritty information.  So, aren’t you guys the lucky ones?!?! 🙂
listening skills


I take part in a “daily challenge” that is sponsored by the hospital at which my mom works.  They send daily challenges to my email such as, eat fruit today, do this specific stretch, think about your life this past year – if you wrote a book about it, what would the title be?.  Stuff like that.  I get points for completing the task, posting how I did it, commenting on others, etc.  I’m not sure what the points add up to, but I sure hope it is a giant cake at the end of the year! 

Oh, the point you ask?  Today’s challenge was to “bite your tongue”.  Pledge not to say anything bad about anybody today.  My boss is out sick with the flu.  He has worked part time most of the week, but last night he texted me that it really was the flu and he felt worst than he’s ever felt in his life.  Sigh.  Of all the days for that to be my challenge.  I will admit that I broke it once today. And, it was really stressful to focus that hard on biting my tongue.  

I hit the Advil bottle.  I had 4 pills left out of a 500 count bottle.  I got to thinking, I bought that bottle 6 months ago – I know this because I stopped on the way to the hospital to visit my brother, Lee, (who was admitted, he doesn’t work there like mom does – just to be clear).  Anyway, I was entirely out of meds, and stopped in at the CVS on the way and bought the jumbo size bottle.  I did the math.  This means that I’ve taken approximately 2.5 pills a day for the last 180 days.  The remainder is covered by the pills that Mr. T or visitors took.  

So, at Wal-Mart today I bought another jumbo bottle.  Then mom called.  Yes, normally this could lead me right back to the Advil bottle, but alas, it wasn’t the case today.  Well, not really.  

As I mentioned, 6 months ago I was going to visit my brother in the hospital.  Beginning of July it was discovered that what had been treated as an upper respiratory infection was really congestive heart failure.  It was discovered that it was not something he was born with, but was viral.  Cardiomyopathy is the clinical name.  It means that his heart muscle is deteriorating.  The reality is that his heart can’t pump enough blood to keep his body going.   Just to give you a perspective: if our heart took in 100 cups per day, most of us pump out about 70-80 cups to our body.  Lee’s heart only pumps out about 16 cups. So, he’s on blood thinners and blood pressure meds and diuretics (water pills) to help make it easier for his body to pump blood and to reduce the pressure and strain on his heart.  He’s also on heart failure meds and a couple others.  The heart failure meds are a step up drug, meaning they had to increase the dosage little by little.  He’s been at a full dose for a bit now.  He has to monitor his fluid intake, weigh every day (too much gain in a few days time is a sign he’s retaining water and has to get in to the doctor immediately) and we all watch his salt intake.  Did you know that on In and Out Burger’s secret menu you can order salt free?  And they take it seriously.  Did you know that at Applebee’s you can order a steak without salt; however, it comes pre-seasoned, so you still can’t eat it.  Yup, I know this about several different places! 

Today was Lee’s 6 month check up.  There is no change.  The fact that he is still alive means that the meds he is on are considered successful.  They will not put him on a different heart failure drug.   He has an appointment 3 months from now and they will implant a defribrillator.  Unlike a pacemaker, which regulates the beat of the heart, the defribrillator only kicks in if Lee’s heart stops, and just like you see on TV with an external defribrillator, the internal one will deliver a shot of electricity to try and jump start the heart.  

We go with this until it doesn’t work any more and then he will be put on a transplant list.  

So, I had to go buy more Advil today cause today was not the day to make a pledge not to say anything bad about anybody.  But, it’s 5 o’clock and my last employee just checked in, so I’m free to close my laptop.  I won’t of course, but it’s nice to know that I can!