I need some help from you experienced ICU nurses. My 49 year old dad is in the ICU with severe pneumonia and COPD. It all started one week ago on Thursday.. he had flu like symptoms you know throwing up, vomiting, fever. Then he didn't get better over the weekend and developed a bad cough and was coughing up mucus so he went to the dr's on monday. We would have taken him to the hopsital over the weekend but he does not have health insurance. So he went to the doctors and they said taht he has a viral respiratory infection and gave him vicodin and told him to take tylenol. Dr also said if its not better by thursday to come back. So he did all of that. Then on tues he started to feel better. He stopped smoking while he was feeling sick but then on tuesday started up again.
Well tuesday night he didnt sleep much because he was up all night coughing and sweating. Then on wed i went to school and thought everything was fine. Well i came home and my mom says that he is delirious and has been hallucinating all day. He thought he was having conversations with me even tho i wasn't home, he thought there was strings in his ssandwich, was taking cobwebs off the walls.. all kinds of weird things. I really wanted him 2 go to the hospital but he didn't because one he doesn't have insurance and 2 he insisted it was just the flu or something. We do not have a thermometer and we didnt realize until then we didnt have one. He was up all night coughing and sweating and having trouble breathing.
My mom took him to dr's thurs morning and dr said to take him to the hospital. So my mom did and when he got the hospital his o2 sat was in the 80's, and he had a temp of 102. The chest x ray showed pneumonia and the doctor said it was the worst case he'd seen in 10 years. 4 out of his 5 lobes were congested and only one lobe was functional. They put him on an oxygen mask at 6 liters and his o2 sat went into the 90's. He was still delirious and hallucinating. They started him on an antibiotic. His heart rate was in the 120's and the EKG showed only tachycardia. He ended up getting moved to the ICU and my mom was there with him for a while and came home later that evening.
Then she gets a call around 10 that they are putting him on a ventilator, his temp was 104, and he has a 50/50 chance of surviving. This really scared my mom and I. My mom ended up going down there that night and staying with him. The doctor also said that he has COPD, and his liver enzymes were elevated. They put an NG tube in him as well. He was also put on an ice bed to decreas his temp i guess. I dont really understand this ice bed. How is he not freezing to death? How are his tissues and skin not getting destroyed from it?
Anyways, on friday i was at the hospital all day and his temp was 102 in the morn and decreased to 99 throughout the day. They found out what kind of pneumonia it is ... its legionella pneumonia so they started him on the correct antibiotic. Not sure what it was but the liquid was neon yellow/green. They have him sedated so he can't talk and pull the tube out. The ventilator is on assist control. At first it was on 100 during the day fri then they decreased it to 50. I guess this means that he didnt need as much help to breath right? When we talk to him can he hear us? The nurses say he can but i dont know if they just say that to comfort families or what. He seems to make facial expressions sometimes but i dont know if his face gets all red and stuff because hes trying to cough or what. On friday doctors were saying he was a very sick man and it would be a long road to recovery. So i'm assuming this means hes going to recover. It was never mentioned again that he had a 50/50 chance of living or whatever. Now it was only said about recovery. This is good right? THey aren't just giving us false hope are they? Would they tell us if its not looking good?
Last night his temp went back up to 102. This scared me because i thought he was getting better and now its up again. Does this mean he's getting worse? Or its not working or what? Today (saturday) his temp was 102 in the morning and i dont know what it is now because i am at work and my mom is at the hosp and i havent talked to her lately. His liver enzymes are still elevated. Dr said this could be from his copd or something? He drinks alcohol so im wondering if he has cirrhosis or something?? He is a drinker and smoker. The nurse told my sister something this morning (my sis is a nursing student who will graduate in 7 months like me) that the infection looked like it was getting worse. Is this bad? Or is this expected?
Soo i'm wondering from you guys here. Has anyone seen a patient like this? Should i be worried and concerned and at his side every minute? They are teling us that he will come home.. thats what they said yesterday. I am trying to work and go to school and when im there he doesnt even seem to know im there. Is it common to die from pneumonia? Was this dr full of crap that he went to on monday? Should the doctor have caught this before then? I'm just wondering if im going to lose my dad. I know you guys cant help me too much because you dont know him or much about his condition than from waht i tell you but i just wanted some encouragement. Maybe you could tell me stories that youve had patients like this and they have lived? I'd also like to hear bad ones as well maybe. I just dont know what to think. Thursday night when the doctor called and said he has a 50/50 chance of living all i did was toss and turn in bed and cry and think about life without him and how upset my mom would be. I slept 3 hours that night i believe. I guess im a negative thinker.. i think the worst but hope the best happens. I was thinking really positive until i heard about his condition today. IT just doesn't seem good to me. I never had a patient with pneumonia that i can remember.
Thanks in advance for listning and helping if you can i really appreciate it!!!
Dec 2, '06
I am so very sorry for your father's illness. How horrible for you and your mother!
However, your questions would best be answered by the MD taking care of your father. Get a list of questions together and then corner the MD and make sure both you and your mother get the answers you need so much.
Please take care.