Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday, May 20th

Hey everyone! Heidi decided to take a break from the posting so I guess you're all stuck with me for today's update. God forbid, the journalism major has to write a blog post! Haha. So anyway, here's what's new with my dad...

Last night the staff decided to take Dad off of dialysis to better measure if his kidneys were functioning correctly. So far, so good. The kidney specialist came in earlier today and said that the lab numbers on his kidneys looked very good even though he hasn't produced very much urine yet. Apparently it can take the kidneys a little bit of time to kick in after being on dialysis for such a long period of time. They also discussed giving him a dose of Lasix which assists in the flushing out of bodily fluids; kind of like a laxitive for your bladder. Dad's throat is still sore, and understandibly so. He is constantly wanting water to soothe it, however we are still not allowed to give him anything until he gets the trache removed and the doctors feel he is ready to pass a swallow test. Throughout this entire journey, he still hasn't lost his attitude. When we told him today that he couldn't have a drink yet, he replied my mouthing, "bull***t." He's much more like himself today and his eyes are even less glazed over than they were yesterday. You can tell by his expressions that he's sick of laying around and being sick when he has these new lungs to use! Dad still has a low-grade temperature of about 100 degrees today and now that they have the PICC and dialysis lines out, those don't seem to be the source of the infection. His head doctor, Dr. Klesney-Tait said that they're just going to wait things out with the temperature and keep giving him antibiotics and Tylenol. Another thing to note was that for a span of about a half hour they took him off the ventilator and put him on regular oxygen, but his oxygen saturation numbers dropped too much too keep him off it any longer. He's not using the ventilator very much, but he's not ready to go off it quite yet. Dr. Klesney-Tait also spoke earlier today about possibly sitting him up in a chair today, but that's something that we will update you on again tomorrow. So far things are looking up, but it's still a long road ahead for my dad.


Wednesday, May 20th

The background for those of you who don't know...

For those of you who are somewhat confused about Mike's health and what has been going on since his lung transplant in February, I am posting an e-mail that was written by my brother approximately a week ago. I had planned on this being the first post on the blog, so I'm sorry if this seems a little out of order. In case you are way behind, Mike had a double lung transplant on February 26th at the University of Iowa Hospital after waiting for six years. After his initial healing process he was admitted into the SICU due to adverse reactions to medication. He was then released for a short period of time during which he stayed at Karen's sister, Laurie's house in Solon, Iowa. He continued to struggle with back pain and was re-admitted to the University of Iowa Hospital. Eventually he ended up in the MICU, where he still is to this day. The following e-mail will continue to fill you in on his condition, starting on May 5th:

Heidi Miller

(Jason's Email)

To all those who care about Mike,

Mike is currently in the MICU at the University of Iowa Hospital in critical condition. Off and on for the past month, Mike has had a fever originally thought to have been caused by the T-11 compression fracture in his back. The fracture continued to worsen to the point that emergency surgery was required. On April 28th, Mike had two steel rods placed alongside his spine in order to correct the fracture. Following the surgery, Mike was still in a severe amount of back pain, which was fairly typical after such a procedure. However, the fever returned and it suddenly became a chore for Mike to breathe on his own again. This continued getting worse with every passing day. After just over a week of struggling, Mike was admitted back into the Medical Intensive Care Unit on May 6th. Doctors assume it is some sort of infection, but have been unable to pinpoint exactly where it is located. All cultures thus far have ruled out the possibility of a bacterial/fungal infection. The medical staff is now leaning toward this being either a major inflammatory case or a viral infection. In either case, it is up to Mike’s antibodies to fight off this sickness. After being heavily sedated and placed on a ventilator, Mike’s kidneys began to fail due to low protein levels, low blood pressure, and various medications. In an effort to reverse this, he was placed on 24-hour dialysis, which would be gentler on his already fragile body. As you can tell, Mike is fighting for his life and we would appreciate your thoughts and prayers at this time. The current circumstances have greatly extended the amount of recovery time originally expected for Mike, leaving Karen to be by his side andunable to return to her job as quickly as intended. If you would like to send a card to Mike and his family, please send it to Karen’s sister’s house at:

2350 Sugarbottom Road
Solon, IA 52333

Also, if you would like to make a donation to Mike’s transplant fund, please
make checks payable to “The Mike Miller Transplant Fund.” and address it to:

Thomas Law Office
Attn: Mike Miller Transplant Fund
PO Box 101
Coon Rapids, IA 50058

Thank you for your continued prayers, encouragement, and support.

Jason Miller

Tuesday, May 19th

It was a busy day here at the hospital. The head doctor came in today and said that he is making improvements every day, which is a relief after all that he's been through. Dad's blood pressure was normal until after his colonoscopy, when it spiked. We found out that the blood in his stool was caused by two ulcers that developed, which will heal in time. He had a low-grade temperature throughout the day, which they think could be caused by infection in the dialysis line. The kidney team had been wanting to do a trial period off of dialysis to see if he could handle it, so they used today as an opportunity to do that. For the first time Dad was able to mouth words to us. The first thing he said was "pop" but we quickly told him he couldn't have any yet. He then responded to us by requesting water, but all the doctors allowed us to give him were swabs with water on them. The ventilator that Dad had in for a couple of weeks made his throat very dry, but he must pass a swallow test before being allowed to drink anything.