Gordy Day 5… and the rain

First, to Gordy – he’s got pneumonia.  Thursday night was not good – Eunju was exhausted and very upset that the antibiotics weren’t working as quickly as she’d hoped, and Gordy was frustrated that he had to go back to using a big oxygen mask instead of the smaller nasal tubes.

But in GOOD news – he’s talking, he’s able to give directions (to the Korean food shops at the Central Markets in Adelaide so Mum and Dad could pick up some bibimbap (also seen on the cover of this month’s SBS “Feast” Magazine)  for Ju- because comfort food when you’re exhausted is a Good Thing.  Gordy can move his arms and legs, too, which is a Big Thing. These are amazingly hopeful signs, given what the outcomes could have been.

Latest report I had this morning, he was slightly better, having had stronger antibiotics overnight, and was able to clear some of the muck from his lungs.

So he’s still in the ICU for now.

And now to the rain.

It’s been wet and miserable for a few days now.  And we do get nervous when the weather bureau starts issuing severe weather warnings… after the floods in January last year, nobody believes any more that “Toowoomba never floods (it’s on top of the range).” So as I’m writing this in the warm, dry shed/studio, poor Mr Beloved is out in the pouring rain ensuring that it stays that way: he’s installing a “make-do” sandbag system (an old tarp and lots of dirt) and some big pieces of timber which will help to divert water away from the doors.

Not pretty, but should do the job...

(The rain is already pooling in the short time between getting this far and Mr Beloved having a break while I took a photo…)

Paranoid? Perhaps.  We like to think of it as being prepared.  Places not that far to the west and south of Toowoomba have already had rainfalls in excess of 200 mm this week.  The ground is already soggy, and that’s exactly the sort of conditions last year that lead to all the run-off from what felt like the entire hill ending up in our yard…  The Bureau of Meteorology reports Toowoomba had just over 25mm of rain (that’s an inch) overnight, and even though the official rain gauge at the airport is currently showing only 0.8 mm since 9am, we know that’s not an accurate measure of how much rain OUR house gets.  I can guarantee that the dog got more rain on her than that in the journey between house and shed!

Let’s hope we’re being overly pessimistic, and that the rain stops soon.  There are very few days when I wish for a clothes dryer – weeks like this though…

Gordy, Day 3

Hard to believe that it’s only the third day since Gordy’s cardiac event… here’s the latest update.

He’s still in the ICU, but is breathing without the respirator.  He broke his partial plate when he fell and aspirated a tooth (ouch!) BUT luckily has managed to cough it up!  He has a chest infection (not uncommon after a cardiac arrest and CPR and all the hospital intervention that is so necessary afterwards, not to mention the tooth) and is still very groggy (understandably!) but is responding well to commands.

Eunju is very pleased with his progress (and she knows her stuff.)  It’s very early days yet, obviously, but he’ll move from the ICU to the cardiology ward soon.

Far too early to know what’s happened neurologically, they’re not even sure if he can swallow on his own yet.. but we’re hopeful.

Not much of an update on Gordy, but…

He’s holding on.  Last update I had, the ICU doctors had warmed him back up from the therapeutic hypothermia, and were considering reducing the sedation this afternoon to see if he could breathe on his own.  Eunju (Super Nurse!) was very pleased to report to Mum and Dad this morning that the doctors had reduced some of the medicati0ns Gordy was receiving through drips.  (We’re all a bit worried about Ju’s lack of sleep but of course she wants to be by his side – who wouldn’t want to be with the person they love?)

So now we just wait.  Have I mentioned that their son, 20 year old university student Huneal Hanneul[sorry, kiddo, your Aunty can’t spell!] (he’s studying mining engineering and is doing very well, we’re so proud) is being brilliant – driving Mum and Dad to the hospital, going housework, and so on?

I wish I could be over there to help, but there’s really not much I could do.  I am determined to get over to Adelaide SOON to see him, but only if it’s not going to make more work for everyone.

Gordon in Leeton in May, 2009

We’re all very grateful that there were at least two doctors who are fans of The Hillbilly Hoot  (a weekly gathering of musos and fans at Adelaide’s Community Radio Station 3D). From the reading I’ve been doing (I’m certainly no expert) the sooner CPR is done after a cardiac arrest the better the chances of the patient’s survival and recovery.  And he had GOOD CPR – but even lousy CPR is better than none. (Do you really need me to provide the references? I can – study after study has shown it.  If you have ANY doubts, and someone is not breathing and has no heartbeat – START CPR.  Get help as soon as you can because the breathing part is hard to keep up on your own, but just do it!!)



Hoping for good news….

“Caity? It’s Mum… I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news about your brother…”

Those are the words I woke up to at eight o’clock this morning.  Swimming up to the surface, fearing the worst, but so relieved to hear “He’s in the ICU…”

Gordy had a heart attack heart failure last night. [updated after  I spoke with Mum and Dad this evening.  The difference is – his heart just stopped.  Not a blockage – just STOPPED.]

Fortunately, he was somewhere where there were a couple of doctors (if I heard Mum right on the slightly fuzzy connection [yes, I did, two doctors!]) who started CPR straight away; the ambulance only took five minutes to reach him, and he was admitted to intensive care in one of the best hospitals in South Australia [Royal Adelaide].  He’s in an induced coma [on a ventilator] and they’re keeping him cool; they don’t know yet if there will be any brain damage. [The ICU doctors are going to start warming him up again overnight, about 24 hours after they started cooling him.

A quick Google search shows why the ICU cooled Gordy: “The American Heart Association (AHA) issued recommendations for cooling cardiac arrest patients for up to 24 hours as far back as 2005. However, critical care physician Peter Marshall, MD, says only about 10 percent of hospitals offer it even though it is proven effective, more patients recover function than in the past and spend less time in the hospital.”  That was from a 2010 article from the Yale School of Medicine, “Putting the patient ‘on ice’ can make a lifesaving difference”.]

He is reacting to the sound of his partner, Eunju’s, voice, so that has to be a good sign.  I refer to her with great admiration as “Super Nurse” because she trained as an Intensive Care specialist nurse before she took on an echocardiography traineeship when Gordy was diagnosed with heart issues a few years back.  And apparently she was planning on studying mental health and diabetes specialisations this year – see what I mean – super nurse!  So there’s really no one better to have by your side.  And I know she’s a HUGE comfort to Mum and Dad.

I’ll fly to Adelaide if I’m needed but at this stage there’s really not much anyone outside the ICU can do.

Just hope for a good outcome.  He’s 39.  He’s my brother and he’s a very cool bloke.