Saturday, May 24, 2014

Update from the VA Hospital

Well, here I am again, back in hospital. I was doing better for the four days before my bronchoscopy on Thursday, 5/22. Breathing better, FEV numbers (air I can blow in one second) up each day, hit 1.3 litters Wednesday evening, highest in 2 weeks. At Bonnie’s volunteer awards lunch on Wednesday, I was bored so turned off the oxygen (O2) to see. Stayed above 90% saturation (sats), the safe level for 15 minutes on room air, until I started coughing and it went down.

Felt okay after the bronch, and when we stopped for dinner. At home, dropped to 82% O2 sats. Cranked the O2 from 3 lpm to 8 lpm, had to add another concentrator to take it to 13 lpm to get to 90%. Had chills, went to bed. Up and down. Bonnie called the number on the discharge paper and got a nurse who was out of the loop. She went to default mode—I’m-not-doing-the-paperwork-if-you die-on-my shift-call 911-and-go-to-the-nearest-ER.) I suggested a large Scotch and see how it was in the morning. We compromised on calling the on-call Transplant Coordinator at the VA. After some back and forth, I went to the VA and was admitted. I’m in CCU as the hospital is stuffed.

They put me on a lot of O2. Friday morning I was at 94% on 4 lpm. Then used the nebulizers and O2 dropped, put me on high flow at 60% to 80%. (Room air is about 21% if you didn’t pay attention in science class. Still struggling to stay up. I had a lot of mucus, coughing a lot, couldn’t bring it up. Two Respiratory Techs (RT), with four students watching, stuffed a cath down my nose and sucked a lot out. It was fairly unpleasant. I believe I confessed to giving bedbug-infested blankets to NVA soldiers to get them to stop. Helped the breathing and coughing a lot, but not the O2.They determined that I have pneumonia again. Third time. The problem is that the slough (sluff—dead cells) and the mucus provide a buffet for bugs in a warm, moist, dark place. And each time I get it the bugs get more resistant to antibiotics.

The bronch had some good news—there is less slough—and some bad news—I’m still having dynamic collapse when I exhale. They ballooned it and some areas went right back to collapse. Some small tubes were too closed to get in.

They think using a CPAP or BiPAP will help, by keeping it open, and hopefully letting it heal. I slept with a BiPAP Friday night and stayed at 100% sats, no problem. They also want me to use it an hour every four hours during the day, which takes the last of my free time. Without glasses, I can’t read, use the computer or watch TV; can’t eat or talk. But needs must.

Hopefully the antibiotics will kill the bugs and theO2 needs will drop. Meanwhile, Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

For those who called, I’m keeping the net free for medical and CO (wife) traffic. And I have no time here. Sorry.

As always prayers and support much appreciated. I get limited computer time and my time is heavily taken with med stuff, now including the BiPAP. Will post when I can.

Semper Fidelis,



  1. Wish you could just slough it off. Keep hanging in, friend.

  2. Prayers you get through this. I can't imagine what this is like. Though your sense of humor still keeps coming through in your posts. I guess it's one of those "if I don't laugh, I will just cry" moments. Keep laughing my friend. I will keep praying. Hugs!!!

  3. You are so AMAZING Bob. Of course, you are a Marine....never going to let a bit of dynamic airway collapse keep you down. Prayers continue....hugs,

  4. Prayers and good energy continue to flow in your direction.

    Please take care of yourself and as Mike said, slough it off!

    Can't afford to loose the only admitted politician that I ever had confidence and trust in :-)!

  5. I'm sorry that you are having so many problems but you are tough and you will make it. Bev

    1. As always---still thinking of you here in Massachusetts. best wishes Bob and Semper Fi---it ain't over til the fat lady sings and I ain't heard nutt'n yet!


  6. Thoughts and prayers my friend


  7. Thanks for the update, Bob. Keep soldiering on. Kate

  8. Keep the faith Brother! Semper Fi and God Bless

  9. My prayers are with you Bob. Just one more hill buddy.

    VA Lung TX #155

  10. with strong feelings of affection and admiration, hang tough

  11. God bless you, Bob, and continue to fight the good fight. We need you.