Medical/Technical My Family

More Good News from the ICU

Although she is still in the ICU, Rebecca is making steady progress, has walked a few steps and is having lots of things removed from her body. Either gone or going soon are: the oxygen cannula, the catheter, the A-line, the pic line, all narcotics and various other medications.

Jerry and I are off in a few minutes to see her—happy visits now. 🙂

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Hop In the Bed with Me!

Hop In the Bed with Me!, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

A happy couple. Rebecca has been extubated and in this picture is wearing a mask with 40 per cent oxygen.

Today, though, she is even better than that, for now she wears only a cannula to deliver the oxygen. I suspect they will move her from ICU today.

Update: 7:00 pm Wednesday Rebecca is continuing to improve, is off the oxygen, doing very well with room air, and when I left the hospital, they had allowed her to sit in a chair. They’re keeping her in the ICU at least through today, just as a precaution. Thanks again for all your prayers and good wishes.

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Nathaniel and Rebecca in the ICU of LLUMC

INathaniel is Allowed to See His Mom, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

For several days, Nathaniel had been asking to see his mom, and once while she was heavily sedated, Rebecca indicated that she wanted to allow him to come into her room. I overruled at that time for she was so sick, and I believed it would frighten Nathaniel to see her in that condition. Yesterday, though, she was so much better and when he came by the hospital, they were preparing to do the blood gas that would prove to be the one that would allow her to be extubated.

I walked him down to the nurse’s station in the ICU for him to meet Rebecca’s team, and we all decided that since she was so much better and he seemed to be handling everything all right, we would take him in. The nurse spent some minutes telling him how his mom looked, and the significance of the tube down her throat. It was an exciting moment. He stayed in quite a while, then the news of the good blood gas came, and we had to leave while they extubated Rebecca.

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Mercy Helicopter

Coming in to LLUMC, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

I had told Nathaniel that from his Mom’s ICU room, the rescue helicopter could be seen quite well. While he was with Rebecca, here came one. He was so excited, he left his mother’s bedside, and moved to the window to watch the landing.

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Helicopter Landing at Loma Linda University Medical Center

Helicopter Landing at LLUMC, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Mercy helicopter coming in for landing as Nathaniel and I watched from Rebecca’s room.

Children Medical/Technical My Family Photography

Hospital Waiting Room Antics

Waiting Room Antics, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Andrew’s four youngsters, and Rebecca’s Nathaniel were all in the waiting room at the hospital last Friday. “Look mean,” I told them. Brady’s too sweet to even try to look mean.

Medical/Technical My Family

Extubation Day!

When I entered the ICU today, Rebecca was a thousand percent better. They had discontinued the Morphine and Versed, she was completely lucid, and was breathing on “blow-by,” though still connnected to the respirator. However, when they checked her blood gases, they were not quite good enough to extubate her, so they again turned on the respirator. Later in the afternoon, they did another draw for blood gases, the lab report was a good one, and she is now extubated! 🙂 We are one joyful family.

I have pictures I will put up in the morning. A happy good night to everybody.

Medical/Technical My Family

Rebecca, Bronch, and A-Line

Before we left for the hospital this morning, Dr. Wilson called and said Rebecca’s latest chest X-ray showed no improvement, and they wanted to do a couple of procedures, and needed our permission. The first procedure they wanted to perform was a bronchoscopy, in the hopes of getting a better understanding of Rebecca’s problems. They also wanted to insert an A-line. Dr. Wilson told me of all the negative side effects, (they are rare, but possible), then when I was satisfied, he had me give my okay to two nurses—for the record.

At her bedside, around 1:40, the doctors did the bronchoscopy, and found Rebecca to have an extremely severe case of bronchitis. It presents as a fiery, angry red, Dr. Wilson told me later. Some portion (sorry to be so imprecise) of her left lung is also very red. The acute bronchitis is aggravating the asthma, thus the serious and lingering problem. Both her large and small airways are now constricted. The doctors are trying to grow new cultures, which, if any are there, should reveal themselves in a couple of days. The inflammation may be viral, in which case, antibiotics are of no use, and the body just must be supported until it can heal itself.

With great difficulty, after two doctor’s trying, they did get the arterial line in, so no more sticks for blood gases. The doctors did not try to wean Rebecca from the ventilator today, but tomorrow they will again make that attempt, if her situation at all warrants it. I believe it will.

Steve flew into San Diego from Houston today and he and Dearrah will drive up from San Diego tomorrow to be with Rebecca for a while. All her brothers call everyday, as do many friends. We have had to restrict her visitors to the ministry, immediate family and Holly. Rebecca just does not need more than that, and of course she cannot talk and is heavily sedated.

Thank you for your words of comfort and for your prayers. We cherish them and hold you dear.


1:00 AM    Rebecca is having trouble sleeping, so they are giving her additional medication.

5:30 AM    Rebecca slept fairly well until now. Since they inserted the A-line, her monitor records two blood pressure readings: one from a cuff, the other from the A-line. Her cuff pressure is now reading quite low, but the nurse believes it just may be positional, but they are closely monitoring this development. Everything else seems fine.

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Mental and Emotional Exhaustion and President Clinton

Jerry and I go down to Loma Linda in the late morning, as the visiting hours begin at 11:00, and we stay at the hospital until after 8:00 in the evening, leaving once for a meal. When we come home, we are exhausted, utterly “wiped-out.”
Because it has been a long time since Rebecca has been this sick—indeed, since anyone in our family has been this sick—I had forgotten how draining is such an event.  Jerry and I talked about it on the way home last evening. This sort of fatigue is not caused by physical exertion, for all we are doing is walking from the parking lot a couple of times, then sitting or standing by Rebecca’s beside or sitting in the waiting room until we can go back to her. This extreme exhaustion is of an emotional and mental origin.

It has certainly, again, made me thankful for the times of good health God has given our family. And in these challenging days, we have Him to lean on and to trust with our lives—in every way. He knows us, sees us and has good thoughts toward us. It’s a great way to live!

An interesting sidebar for you: Jerry and I often listen to XM  radio after we are in bed, using a remote to turn it off when we are ready to go to sleep…or to be truthful…to wake up and hear it still on and turn it off. 🙂 Last night, we heard President Clinton being interviewed on a Fox Sunday Evening Show. As  fiery as it was, I drifted off and was not sure I had heard it all, so I checked it out this morning here.  Worth watching, I’ll clue you.

Medical/Technical My Family

Rebecca and Blood Gases

This afternoon they set Rebecca’s ventilator on “blow-by” so that she was completely breathing on her own, although still intubated. (Edit: Although it is correct to say that Rebecca was breathing on her own, the ventilator often kicked in. Occasionally, she would “forget” to breathe, an alarm would sound, and the machine would breathe for her at that time, After that, she would again be breathing on her own.) After two hours, a technician drew blood, and in the lab Rebecca’s blood gases were analyzed. They were not good, and the nurse told me that in two hours, they would draw blood and check again. Those blood gases were worse than the first ones, so they turned the ventilator back on.

She did start feeling better this afternoon, and when we left the hospital a bit over an hour ago, she was still feeling better. I believe she will rest well tonight, they’ll check her blood gases tomorrow, they will be good, and the doctors will order her to be extubated.


12:30 AM Rebecca is restless. Her nurse tells me she plans to add sedation so that Rebecca will sleep.

4:30 AM Rebecca slept well through the night, and her vital signs are stable. It is her nurse’s opinion that they will be able to extubate her later today.

8:00 AM Rebecca’s day shift nurse tells me she appears about the same as yesterday. Her numbers are good, and she has parameters that call for another try at weaning from the respirator.