Dreaded Purple Master

Medical Her Story


Hi, folks. This is not Daniel. This is Oreta, his wife. First things first, Daniel is okay.

Second things...Well, let's define okay....

Daniel had a heart attack on the way to work Monday afternoon. He parked the car and called his boss who called the ambulance, which took him to the closest hospital, Kennestone. Kennestone stablilized him and sent him to Crawford W. Long. They did a heart catheterization and found the clot. They did the angioplasty and put in a stent then and there. Daniel did ask for a room with an internet connection but the nurses just laughed. :-)

Late last night they moved him to a "regular" room". He may be coming home today. Maybe. There are some tests they want to run.

There is some possibility that he may have type II diabetes. His blood sugar is very high and they were certain he had diabetes but his blood sugar has been going down so it may be a stress reaction. They are running a blood test to try and determine that.

Daniel should be back to blogging soon. 

Media Minder email | website
I hope you're feeling better, DPM. Get well soon!
06.06.pm | July 11, 2002

susanna email | website
Daniel, I miss you, but I'm grateful for your presence of mind and the skill of your doctors. My thoughts and prayers are with you. And I expect a full accounting on your return, complete with details on the horrors of waking up in an internet-free zone.

Oreta, you're a strong woman, and a kind one to think of us. Thanks :).
10.10.am | July 11, 2002

Page email | website
My thoughts are with you, friend. I wish you a quick and complete recovery. I shall wait with bated breath for your return. Take care and get well soon.
09.08.am | July 11, 2002

Bill Ewing email | website
Get well soon!
05.58.am | July 11, 2002

Ken Hahn email | website
Get well soon.
02.57.am | July 11, 2002

MR2 email | website
Speedy recovery and best wishes, the web will be a poorer place until you come back.
02.21.am | July 11, 2002

timekeeper email | website
Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Thank you, Oreta, for letting us know.
12.19.am | July 11, 2002 ban delete

Pris email | website
Get well soon, and may the angels (docs/nurses) who are helping you to recover, work their marvelous magic in that you come back 150% better!
:-) Huggles!
11.56.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Glenn Reynolds email | website
I see my link brought in some comments. Get well! And start lobbying for DSL in every hospital room!
10.54.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

andrea email | website
Get well!
10.06.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

redsugar email | website
take care of yourselves, both of you. we'll be here when you're ready to come back. *hugs*
09.45.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Darmon Thornton email | website
Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
08.30.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Darmon Thornton email | website
Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
08.29.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

kayjay email | website
Woah. I am sorry to hear that it happened at all, but glad to hear that he is doing okay. I am also quite gald that he had the presence of mind to pull over and call someone. I've heard of way to many people that just kept on driving till they crashed.

Be well!
07.55.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Andrea Harris email | website
Take care of yourself and get well soon!
07.42.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Kat email | website
I'm sorry to hear that. Thank you, Oreta, for letting us know. My best wishes for a speedy recovery.
06.24.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Sledge Hammer email | website
Best wishes to you and Dan, Oreta. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery and an equally speedy return to good health.
06.05.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

N.Z. Bear email | website
Dan -

Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery. And hang in their, Oreta ! If you're nice enough to the doctors, maybe you can convince them to tell Dan he's got to cut down on blogging and spend more time with his wife... good for you, but bad for us!

05.00.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Jen email | website
A speedy recovery to you, D. And thanks Oreta: it was kind of you to keep us in the loop when you're probably pretty stressed out yourself. Take care of yourself. :-)
04.58.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

The Dodd email | website
Hope you're recovering all right. I'll be thinking about you.
04.00.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Mike Jackmin email | website
Hey, we are all pulling for the both of you. Please keep us posted and let us all know the good news.
03.54.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Kevin McGehee email | website
Dan, you obviously need to blog more -- great way to reduce stress. Get well, looking forward to your return.
03.34.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Ron Butler email | website
Thanks for posting this, Oreta.

I was gonna gripe to our mutual friends about being stuck in Minneapolis for two days, waiting for a plane, but -- Daniel! You win! (Now quit!) :)
03.26.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

PhotoDude email | website
Now that's a bad Monday. Daniel, I'm glad to hear it sounds like you're going to be OK. Do what the doctor says, or I'm sure you'll face the wrath of Oreta. We all look forward to your return.
03.03.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

RoboDruid-bert! email | website
Hope everything turns out well.
03.01.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

charles austin email | website
Get well soon!!!
02.56.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Damian P. email | website
Good luck!
02.50.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Ith email | website
Best wishes and get well soon!

And all the best to your family too.
02.48.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Martin email | website
Get well soon!
02.40.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Dave email | website
Daniel... best wishes, big guy. I always enjoy reading your blog, and hope you get well soon so you can dish out more purple goodness.

Get well soon!
02.39.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete

Moira email | website
Oh my. I'm sorry to hear this. Best wishes for his rapid recovery.
01.19.pm | July 10, 2002 ban delete


Oreta here again. Daniel says thanks for all the concern. He is still doing well. His color is good and he is moving around on his own two feet, albeit a bit shakily. He doesn’t bend over well, but that’s because of the location of the incision to do the cardiac catheterization. They will be releasing him on Friday. Apparently he is supposed to relax for a couple of weeks and then get to work reducing his weight and exercising.

Daniel should be back to blogging soon. (Actually if the laptop hadn’t died a few months ago, he’d already be back.)

Thanks, everyone.

Anita email | website
Had one of those recently (heart attack followed by angio followed by stent). Horrible experience, as you know. The no-fat diet is the worst, but do it for 4-6 weeks and then go see a nutrionist. You'll find it's a negotiable thing, after all. And do the post-cardio workout classes! They're usually for about 4 months but they set you up for the lifestyle change which is going to be with you forever. Easier to swallow and get over it right off the bat.
Three weeks out you feel much better; five weeks out you feel generally fine but touchy; seven weeks out you feel almost like nothing happened. We're heading into our eight/nine week period now, so I don't know what lies ahead, but so far all systems are GO. People live with this and we sure intend to, given the alternative. Best of luck to you in adapting. It's work, but what isn't?
02.13.am | July 16, 2002 ban delete
oreta email | website
Well, Daniel's back at home, and I can go back into work and catch up on the paperwork that's backing up! (ugh) Such time as I won't be at work this weekend I will be spending researching his new diet!

Sigh. And Saturday was a Japanese embroidery day.

Susanna, I had to laugh at your idea of putting the laptop further and further away from home. That would be quite a carrot, indeed. But I think the "stick" he's experienced might be enough.
06.04.pm | July 12, 2002 ban delete
Andrea Harris email | website
Glad you're home!
05.14.pm | July 12, 2002 ban delete
Daniel email | website
Daniel here, with a short note to let you know that I'm back home and feeling pretty well. I am far from back to normal, if only because this is the kind of event that forces you to redefine "normal."

I am expected to recover fully, with the assistance of the finest pharmeceuticals insurance can buy. There is now a stent in place, and thanks to modern angioplastic techniques my recovery time will be measured in weeks, not months.

I hope to post later with more details than anyone would ever want to know.

With Blogger publishing down for now, this was the only way I could tell you how much I appreciate the well-wishes.
01.45.pm | July 12, 2002 ban delete
Kevin McGehee email | website
Terrific news, O Dreaded One! We're all going through Purple withdrawal.
10.02.am | July 12, 2002 ban delete
Geoff email | website
Get well soon, purple master!
06.19.pm | July 11, 2002 ban delete
Denise Howell email | website
Hoping you're both holding up. Thought Susanna had a great idea, and of course we won't mind the bumps in the text ^ a bit if you make Daniel blog from those Web enabled stairmaster thingies at the gym.
05.28.pm | July 11, 2002 ban delete
Liz Le Mond email | website
Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
03.19.pm | July 11, 2002 ban delete
Jack Rich email | website
as a new, overweight blogger with heart issues (going in hospital tomorrow for some Frankenstein (shock) treatment on the ticker), my empathies and best wishes.

Keep on keeping on.
02.21.pm | July 11, 2002 ban delete
susanna email | website
Thanks, Oreta, that's great news. Sounds like the doctor's ordered a couple of weeks of blogging - a man after my own heart. As for exercise, tell Daniel to get a new laptop and place it further and further away from the house. Possibly you could help him with this - drive the laptop 1/4 mile from the house, then make him walk it before blogging. Gradually increase the distance until he's walking a mile to and from his blogging sessions.

It's that carrot approach.
01.30.pm | July 11, 2002 ban delete



Hi. It's Oreta again. Yes, that means what you think it does. Daniel is back in the hospital. I took him in early (0400) Saturday morning. He has a small hemmorhage in the right temporal lobe of the brain and a somewhat larger one in the left occippital lobe (People who know something about medicine please forgive my spelling.) The situation does not appear to be life threatening and so far does not appear to be severe enough for surgery, but it is serious. I'll know more today after they run the (third) CT scan.

I'll try to post further news, but the ICU room has neither phone nor internet connection, so my postings will be somewhat spotty.

I hope you will have Daniel back and typing soon.

page email | website
Daniel: My thoughts are with you. Be sure to take care of yourself -- before you take care of the blog. Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery.//lp
09.34.pm | August 13, 2002 ban delete
Andrea Harris email | website
I'm sorry to hear that this has happened -- please get well soon. Good luck!
05.27.pm | August 13, 2002 ban delete
Kathy K email | website
Oreta, thank you for taking time to let us know what is up.

Daniel, I hope you get well soon! Otherwise we'll have to make them pull a T-1 line into your room in the hospital. ;)
11.46.am | August 13, 2002 ban delete
Jan Yarnot email | website
Get well soon, and Oreta, make sure you get some sleep.
11.24.am | August 13, 2002 ban delete
Darmon Thornton email | website
Daniel: Best wishes for a swift recovery, and thank you, Oreta, for keeping us informed. Best wishes to you for strength and courage during this time.
09.31.am | August 13, 2002 ban delete
Bill Quick email | website
Daniel, my profound hopes for a speedy and complete recovery. And of course strength and courage to you, Oreta.
12.29.am | August 13, 2002 ban delete
Leguleius email | website

I wish you a speedy and comfortable recovery, followed by some good old R&R (blogging optional). Seriously, man, get well.
11.02.pm | August 12, 2002 ban delete
Misha email | website
My prayers and best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery. Hang in there, Daniel, the 'Net needs its "dreaded purple master" back and quick too
10.55.pm | August 12, 2002 ban delete
Paul email | website
Daniel, you have my hopes for a speedy recovery.

Damn that sounded impersonal and sterile. I sincerely hope that you fight past this and fully recover.
10.46.pm | August 12, 2002 ban delete
Daniel Frank email | website
Daniel, get well soon.
10.40.pm | August 12, 2002 ban delete
Glenn Reynolds email | website
Daniel: Please get well soon. And thanks, Oreta, for posting this.
10.27.pm | August 12, 2002 ban delete
Ith email | website
All the best to you and Daniel
09.30.pm | August 12, 2002 ban delete
andrea email | website
I hope he feels better soon, I hope you feel better soon, too.
09.14.pm | August 12, 2002 ban delete
kayjay email | website
My prayer are with him.
08.31.pm | August 12, 2002 ban delete
Ron Butler email | website
A note to bystanders: I am given to understand that Daniel's condition is *not* the same as a stroke (but I'm sure we would all welcome any additional input from the more knowledgeable).
02.39.pm | August 12, 2002 ban delete

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Oreta here again. There is not much to update. The third CT scan shows no more hemmorhages and not much change in the two that are there.

While I admire much about modern medicine, I find that I am increasingly frustrated with its ability to communicate. If I may be blunt, the doctor-patient relationship frequently reminds me of the auto mechanic-automobile relationship. The mechanic does not explain to the car what he or she is doing; neither does the doctor explain to the patient. Hospitals are even worse, because of the number of medical professionals involved. Furthermore, there seems to be no one person who pulls all the strands of care together. Certainly there does not seem to be a person who communicates to the patient, or the patient's family.

So, I'm still a bit puzzled by what is going on and I may be using the medical terms incorrectly. Daniel has had two hemmorhages in his brain. If I understand correctly this is a kind of stroke, just not the blood clot kind that is most common. The problem is not that there is not enough blood getting to the brain, but that a combination of high blood pressure and too much anti-cougulant has caused blood to leak through the blood vessels.

At the moment he has some trouble speaking and lacks vision in his right eye. This is not the kind of stroke where one side of the body doesn't work -- it's really mostly a software problem not so much hardware. Think "corrupted files." Daniel is extremely weak and his heart is not happy, but they have him on medication to control the way his heart beats and to control his blood pressure. They ran one kind of a heart test yesterday and will run another kind today.

He's very weak and still in what is called the "acute" phase. They will wait a few days and run another CT scan. (A CT scan is a series of x-rays of the brain taken from multiple angles and then put together by a computer into something that tells a doctor what is going on in the brain. The whole set up looks very much like a science fiction movie set. But it is x-rays and they don't do those casually these days.)

The problem seems to be that the blood in the brain puts pressure on the brain and irritates it, which also causes swelling. The nurse tells me that the maximum swelling occurs around 72 hours after the hemmorhage. Depending on whether or not the first one happened Friday morning when his headache started or 0300 Saturday when it became bad enough for him to wake me up, we should be approaching that point. When the swelling goes down, we'll see what kind of permanent damage, if any, there is.

However, I want all of you to promise me that if you don't have a history of headaches and you ever, ever, have a headache that hurts so much it is hard to think, you will go to the ER. Immediately.

J Bowen email | website
Thanks for the update - hang in there, both of you.
01.16.am | August 14, 2002 ban delete
Lileks email | website
You nailed the medical profession perfectly - alas. Best wishes to you & a speedy recovery to the Master.
09.03.pm | August 13, 2002 ban delete
PhotoDude email | website
Thanks for keeping us informed, Oreta. I empathize with your frustation with the medical "system," it all becomes very personal when a loved one is involved.

But I doubt Daniel could have a better advocate. Keep up your strength, as pass it on to Daniel for us.
06.46.pm | August 13, 2002 ban delete
Janis Gore email | website
Get well soon, Mr. Taylor. Don't forget to take care of yourself, Mrs. T.
03.56.pm | August 13, 2002 ban delete
Ron Butler email | website
OK, that's *plenty* scary. You do what needs doing, Oreta, and let us know if we can help in any way.
12.12.pm | August 13, 2002 ban delete

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Oreta redux.

We are still in a holding pattern here. The fourth CT scan shows no change. No new hemmorhages (good); no increase in the two known ones (also good); and no decrease either (not so good, but not bad either. Expected.).

He still has the visual impairments. Basically he can't see anything on his right side -- the eyes function but the brain is not processing the information. There is a fair amount of aphasia, which is a fancy term for difficulty in understanding and using words.

The hospital is "weaning" him off the iv cocktail of cardiac medicines they have him on. They want him on oral medicines and skin patches so that he can be moved out of ICU onto the regular medical floor. That part of the process is doing nicely, but I have slightly mixed feelings about it. I will be very grateful that he is well enough, but frankly, I've been spoiled by the quality and quantity of the nurses here in ICU at Crawford Long. The regular floor nurses have many, many more patients so they don't have time to do the kinds of things the ICU nurses do. His day nurse has been adjusting his medications in little increments constantly, playing around with all the different ones to get his pulse and blood pressure exactly where the doctors want it. There appears to be as much art as science to this. Eye of beta-blocker and toe of calcium-channel blocker...Wool of nitro and tongue of esmolol.....

Other than that, it's a waiting game.

Thank you, all of you, for your messages. I've been reading them to Daniel and I'm sure he is grateful for them also.

Linda Young email | website
We are thinking of you every day. Passing on well-wishes and prayers from the chat group as well: Mike, Rodney, Dana, Mary, Britt, Rita, Emma, Diane, Neena...
07.48.am | August 15, 2002 ban delete
Kathy K email | website
Dan, my best wishes for a full recovery.
And I also hope you will take care of yourself, Oreta. Get some rest (and yes, I DO know how difficult that is when a loved one is ill).
08.10.pm | August 14, 2002 ban delete
Ith email | website
Keeping both of you in my thoughts and prayers.
04.56.pm | August 14, 2002 ban delete
Mike Rogers email | website

I pray for you and the entire family that you may be restored to full health.

You're the second person I know with a cerebral hemorrhage. One of our computer professors, a lady about my age, had one this summer. Just major headaches beforehand. She came back yesterday. She looks and sounds like nothing had happened. Of course she's taking it seriously.

Take care and keep fighting.
04.20.pm | August 14, 2002 ban delete
Peter Salomon email | website
Godspeed to you both! Get well soon.
03.32.pm | August 14, 2002 ban delete
Ron Butler email | website
One of the greatest -- if quietest -- of joys is to come home from the hospital and bring the *whole* family with you.

May you get there soon.

10.33.am | August 14, 2002 ban delete
Kevin McGehee email | website
Dan is in my prayers.
09.24.am | August 14, 2002 ban delete

Thursday, August 15, 2002

It's still me, Oreta.

Daniel's aphasia is much improved but his heart is not happy. He still has an elevated blood pressure and pulse rate. The cardiologists would like very much to put him on blood thinners; the neurologists are vetoing that. He is, however, off most of his IV medicines and being treated with oral and patch medicines (A lot of them -- he had to take seven pills at lunch). He is beginning to eat, but not a lot, so it looks like we are going to be in ICU for another couple of days.

Thank you very much for all your messages.

Oreta email | website
Well, yes it certainly would be possible to send a card. Crawford Long Hospital, Room 3108, 550 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia.
08.34.am | August 16, 2002 ban delete
Phil Carter email | website
Pass on my best wishes to Daniel too. It really twists me up inside to see things like this happen to gentle people like him.

I hope he gets better soon.
12.46.am | August 16, 2002 ban delete
kayjay email | website
BTW, would it be possible to send a card?
07.29.pm | August 15, 2002 ban delete
kayjay email | website
Thank you for the updates.
07.28.pm | August 15, 2002 ban delete

Friday, August 16, 2002

Oreta here.

Nothing much to report. Daniel's pulse and blood pressure continue to be elevated. His aphasia is about the same and he still can't see to the right -- it's not that the right eye doesn't work -- it does. But the brain simply isn't processing the information it receives. They will be doing another CT scan today to see how well the two bleeds are being absorbed.

His pulse and blood pressure continue to be elevated.

He is still not eating well. Part of that is being ill. Part of it is the hospital food. They used to cook it on site and it was okay. Institutional food, but well-prepared institutional food. Now they bring the meals in from outside and the food is simply not edible. IMHO, the executive who made this decision should be forced to eat the same food the patients get for a week. The policy would change.

Many years ago when I was in college at Clayton Junior (now Clayton State) the campus was considered to be one of the most "accessible" campuses in the Georgia system. Why? The student government association had a policy -- one day a year they rented a truckload of wheelchairs and everybody from the college president on down tried to go through their daily routine in a wheelchair. I tell you, this event had far more impact on accessiblility than any amount of government regulations.

Well, I'm wandering off the subject here. Y'all take care. thanks for the comments.

Daniel email | website
Actually, for a few days there I did NOT have "all my marbles." I consider it a blessed gift that I don't remember that time at all, and that it didn't last very long.
03.01.pm | August 28, 2002 ban delete
Bill Peschel email | website
You may not know this, but James Lileks mentioned your site on the radio recently. He was on MPR's "Midmorning" show this past Friday, talking about blogging. A caller said something about how readers connect with particular bloggers, and Lileks brought up as an example DPM and its readers' reaction to your heart attack.

I hope your health gets better and you get yourself some good food soon.
08.10.pm | August 18, 2002 ban delete
Ron Butler email | website
Y'know, 'Scott,' writing to a woman whose husband is in the hospital with cerebral bleeding and asking her if he 'still has "all his marbles" ' may be the least-tactful thing I've seen anyone do in a long while. In a publicly accessible comments section, yet...

I'm sure you meant well, but -- to save Oreta having to deal with this -- yes, Daniel definitely still has all his marbles.
04.47.pm | August 18, 2002 ban delete
Scott Layman email | website

I have faith that Daniel will recover completely and continue his creative writings. One question: With his brain not allowing him to see on his right, are there any other problems? In other words, does he still have 'all his marbles'?
If the hospital food sucks, take control and bring him decent food. The doctor shouldn't care as long as it's nothing he shouldn't have. Best of luck to both of you...

Ft. Myers, FL
10.59.am | August 18, 2002 ban delete
Dave email | website
We miss you, Daniel. And Oreta, you both are in my thoughts. "Get well soon" seems rather... I don't know, almost flippant under the circumstances... but it's all I've got, and it's heartfelt.
08.58.am | August 18, 2002 ban delete
Ken Hahn email | website
Get well Daniel. Stay well and strong Oreta. We look forward to reading your blog for a long time.
08.42.am | August 18, 2002 ban delete
Kathianne email | website
Certainly hope Daniel is doing better. Please take care of yourself, he'll need you. I know how hard this must have been, I've been taking care of my mom who had her first stroke in 1995. Luckily, like Daniel it sounds, it wasn't paralyzing and more or less her cognitive abilities were not damaged too much. She was able, with therapy, to regain most of what she had lost. My prayers are with you both.
07.13.am | August 18, 2002 ban delete
Britt Graves email | website
Those of us on the WENN chat have been keeping Daniel in our thoughts and prayers. I know it's hard for you to keep posting updates when I'm sure you've got 1,000 other things to concentrate on first, but we do thank you for letting us know how he's doing. Tell Daniel that we want him to get well and out of that hospital very soon!!
02.39.am | August 18, 2002 ban delete
The Dodd email | website
I've been thinking about you both. I'm sincerely hoping that Daniel makes a full and complete recovery.
12.38.am | August 18, 2002 ban delete
Paul Stoufflet (MD) email | website
Heard of Daniel's stroke via Glenn Reynolds. I realize this is a trying time. an insult to a brain is especially threatening to a person who actually uses the thing. FWIW, I agree with the neurologists who are vetoing the idea of blood thinners. be it ASA, heparin, coumadin, or whatever. I have a patient who has had recurrent intracranial bleeds and we have completely given up on the thought of anticoagulants. I'd maximize the use of endothelially healthy medicines, specifically ARBs or ACEIs, as well as beta blockers. These medicines have been shown to prolong life. I'd add on CCBs as necessary to keep Daniel's blood pressure at an acceptable level.

Believe it or not, I realize what you mean by the inability of modern medicine to communicate well. I believe this is partly from uncertainty as to what is happening now, as well as uncertainty as to what will happen in the future. We don't have all the answers, as much as we'd prefer it otherwise.

I've gone on too long. Anyway, I wish the best to Daniel.

12.01.am | August 18, 2002 ban delete
Joseph Britt email | website
I join Daniel's other readers in sending you both my best wishes and hope for a full recovery, and my admiration for your fortitude in a very difficult situation. BTW, Oreta's description of hospital food is consistent with what I remember. Airlines do a better job, and that is saying something.
11.24.pm | August 17, 2002 ban delete
Glenn Reynolds email | website
We're all still thinking of you, Daniel. And you, Oreta. Please keep us posted.
10.18.pm | August 17, 2002 ban delete
Elaine Normandy email | website

I am so sorry to read of Daniel's illness. I only read DPM sporadically, so just learned of the stroke. My thoughts are with you, Daniel, and your kids, and I hope for Daniel's speedy recovery.

Elaine, formerly of Myriad
05.12.pm | August 16, 2002 ban delete

Monday, August 19, 2002

Oreta here again.

Gosh. Thank you, all of you for the comments, especially yours, Dr. Stoufflet.

Daniel has weathered the weekend well, with his aphasia getting much better and his pulse and blood pressure responding to the oral and patch medications. He can move around on the bed without it sending his pulse through the roof now. I don't believe I have mentioned it, but he also has a staph infection, so he has been running a low-grade fever. They've been giving him tylenol, which controls the fever but doesn't do much for his continuous headache.

Friday's CT scan was good and they will be running another one today. Today should be a big day. As well as the CT scan they will be putting in a "picc" line. This is a special IV which can stay in longer and which can be used to deliver the intrevenous antibiotics that they want to use on the staph infection. For what it is worth, the doctors seem confident they can lick the staph infection. The plan was to start him on some aspirin today, cautiously. Since he had another mild "cardiac incident" one night last week ("angina" is the word I pried out of the doctor) the cardiac doctors really, really, really want him on some sort of blood thinner. The neurology doctors, of course, have a different opinion.

You know, I could have cheerfully gone the rest of my life without learning the difference between a "C-line", an "A-line" and a "picc-line".

Because they work the nurses in twelve hour shifts and because we've been here for over a week, I'm getting to know the nurses. I can't tell you all their names because they persist in wearing their badges wrong side out. :-) The nurses all have their different styles. Some are in and out of the patients room all the time; some vigiliantly sit at the nurses station staring intently at the monitors. Some are comfortable with patient families; others less so. The older nurses are comfortable asking me to hand them stuff and to do things; the younger nurses not comfortable with that. Some are sticklers for rules; others not. All of them are less hard-nosed about rules then they were the first few days.

Communication continues to be a problem. The doctors come when they can, which is usually when I am away and in Daniel's case there are a lot of doctors. One of my frustrations is that there is no central place or person to ask a question of. This may be a function of being in the neurology/surgical ICU where there are a variety of reasons a patient is there. Daniel's needs are very different from the patient three doors down who had a tonsilectomy a month ago which has started bleeding uncontrollably. (He's doing okay and moved out of ICU three days ago). This is different from the cardiac ICU where there were a variety of problems but they were all cardiac problems. It is possible to get different answers from different doctors -- some are optimists; my favorite is a pessimist. And some come in to talk to me after only a cursory glimpse at his chart. Then after giving me some generic information they go out and go over his chart in depth with the nurse. It would be nice if it were possible to schedule a daily briefing. It doesn't have to be with a doctor; it could be with a "patient advocate", say a nurse practioner, who could review the results of yesterday's tests with me and talk to me about the what to expect. So far I am getting some of my best explanations from my priest (it is very convenient to have a priest who was a med student before deciding to become a priest.) It would have been a great deal of help if someone had turned to me last Saturday and said, "He's going to get worse before he gets better." It's not difficulty in understanding the doctor -- it's difficulty in getting the information. I should not have to ask for the results of his CT scan or blood cultures.

Again, I'm not really dumping on modern medicine, because I know very well what state Daniel would be in even twenty years ago. But my concern is -- if they aren't talking to me, are the doctors talking to each other?

Well, it's time for me to go back to the hospital since visiting hours will be starting again. I've been shuttling between work and the hospital and home -- fortunately they are all 10 - 20 minutes from each other depending on traffic.

I'll post more when I can get back to a computer. Thanks everybody.

Oreta email | website
Mike, the priest in question is Father Warren Tanghe at Church of Our Saviour. He was going to be a pathologist, and would have been a good one.

Sydney, I've left a message for our Primary Care Physician, but he has not contacted me.

Thanks, all.
08.58.am | August 20, 2002 ban delete
db email | website
As an internist who mainly does hospital care, I understand your frustration. As sydney smith points out, each patient needs a coordinating physician - who can, will, and wants to communicate with the family and the patient. Unfortunately, our medical system does not reward those interactions, therefore many physicians do not focus on them. If it is a teaching hospital, try to start communicating with one of the medical students - they can become the portal to the entire team.

I hope he continues to make solid progress.
08.32.am | August 20, 2002 ban delete
Andrea Harris email | website
Hey, hang in there! I am sorry to hear that Dan's back in the hospital again. About that headache -- strange to say, the last time I wasin the hospital for a few days (many years ago, for a kidney stone), I had a continuous headache too. I don't know why; they had me on some sort of anti-inflamatory _and_ Tylenol. But nothing helped except leaving! Maybe it's something about being in the hospital... ;/

Anyway, I hope the doctors get together with you! Chase 'em down -- don't let them disappear!
12.16.am | August 20, 2002 ban delete
Sydney Smith email | website
I'm so sorry to hear about Daniel's illness, but glad to hear that he's beginning to turn the corner. I'm also sorry to hear that you've had so much trouble getting information from the doctors. Do you have a primary care physician, a family doctor or internist, who could run interference for you and pull everything together? I know in larger hospitals they are often shut out of the ICU and so find it difficult to act as interpreter for their patients, but it might be worth approaching him for help if you haven't already.

Best wishes. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.
10.43.pm | August 19, 2002 ban delete
Mike Rogers email | website
A quick question for you, Oreta: when you refer to the "priest" who was formerly a medical student, is this a hospital chaplain or someone at your parish?

On an unrelated note, how are you and the family holding up through this ordeal?

May God bless all of you and heal Daniel.
04.32.pm | August 19, 2002 ban delete
Suman Palit email | website
Thank you for the periodic updates.. I hope your experience with the doctors and staff gets better.

It's good to know that at leas the is getting the best care that can be given to him.

My thought are with you and Daniel
01.58.pm | August 19, 2002 ban delete
Elaine Normandy email | website

Thanks for the update. My thoughts continue to be with you.

10.30.am | August 19, 2002 ban delete
Ron Butler email | website
'Peripherally-Inserted Central Catheter.' (It was a week after Colin got home from the hospital that I learned what PICC stood for.) It's infinitely more convenient and comfortable than the needle in the back of the hand, if you're going to have an IV for more than a few days. (Intravenous antibiotics, in particular, seem to erode the input vein badly.)

Colin says it stings coming out (but you don't need to tell Daniel that yet). :)
09.53.am | August 19, 2002 ban delete

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Still Oreta.

What a difference a day makes! Let's see, first, Daniel is out of ICU and in a regular room. It's a "telemetry" bed so that they can keep track of his vital signs, but at least he's not hooked up to the IV tubes and the wires. Everything that goes beep is at the nurses' station now, which makes for a much quieter room.

Second, they have pretty much decided he does not have a staph infection, so he doesn't need the picc line after all. They ran four blood cultures(two each day) and there was staph in only one of them, so they think it may have been a contaminant.

The cardiologists are still negociating with the neurologists and the current plan is one aspirin every other day. They will also be running an MRI which the neurologist says will give him an idea if Daniel is really susceptible to this sort of brain bleed and that should affect the medications as well. Although I am frustrated by the communication I am receiving from the doctors, I am confident, from various comments they are making, that the doctors are talking to each other, which is really the most important thing at this point.

Daniel has been seeing a speech therapist for several days now, and he should see a physical therapist today. I hope the physical therapist will say that it is okay for him to get up out of bed to perform various necessary bodily functions, because Daniel is really, really tired of the alternatives.

The aphasia continues to improve.

He's not getting much rest -- he sleeps but doesn't remember falling asleep, so he doesn't feel rested, and of course he is awakened every few hours by someone doing something; taking a blood sample; checking his blood glucose level; checking his blood pressure....

Things continue to improve. Thanks for the messages and comments.

JLawson email | website
Glad to hear Daniel's getting better. How are YOU doing?

11.45.pm | August 20, 2002 ban delete
Page email | website
So happy to hear Daniel is improving. Y'all are still in my thoughts. Oreta, you be sure to take care of yourself, too! Warm wishes for all.//lp
11.40.pm | August 20, 2002 ban delete
Henry email | website
We hope the progress continues. Keep your own chin up too. My prayers are with you & Daniel.
09.42.pm | August 20, 2002 ban delete
Kathy K email | website
I'm glad he's getting better! I know those 'alternatives' are a pain (literally sometimes). But tell him to have patience.
Yeah, I know...
12.54.pm | August 20, 2002 ban delete
Ron Butler email | website
Oreta, please let us have Daniel's room number, if you can. I know he's not much for flowers, but at least we can send a card.
12.40.pm | August 20, 2002 ban delete
Media Minder email | website
That's great news! I hope Daniel is up and about (and blogging) again real soon! You all will continue to be in my thoughts. Take care and God bless.
12.00.pm | August 20, 2002 ban delete

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Still Oreta, but we are working on finding a laptop for Daniel to type on.

Daniel continues to improve. The aphasia is better, but still there. The speech therapist is very encouraged. Today he picked up the breakfast menu and read it. Big step. His vision is coming back -- there is a noticeable improvement from when the nurse checked him last night and the neurologist checked him this morning.

I was wrong, he isn't seeing a physical therapist, but an occupational therapist. Occupational therapists make sure you can do things like brush your teeth and take a bath. She is very pleased with his progress and let him sit up in a chair today for about ten minutes. He is still quite weak though and took a long nap afterwards.

They did an MRI last night but I haven't heard the results (except that the technician commented that he still has blood in his brain which was no surprise.) The neurologist says they'll run another CT scan in four or five days so it sounds like we are going to be here for a while.

Daniel stayed up a little late last night listening to the election returns in the McKinney-Majette race. Go Majette! I've heard some folks complain about the Republicans crossing over to vote Democrat, but honestly, the Democrats gerrymandered that district to such an extent that there is no hope of a Republican ever being elected. So the Republicans decided to make their votes count and vote in the Democratic primary. This is not what the Democrats intended, but is sort of poetic justice. "Photodude" has been following this story very intensely if you want more details.

Sigh. I realize that in the above paragraph I should have put two links, one to a map of Majette's district and another to Photodude's blog, but I don't know how to do that yet. I promise to learn as soon as I can.

Anyway, Daniel is getting better each day.

Thank you all of you.

Bill Quick email | website
Still thinking about you, Daniel, and wishing both you and Oreta the best.
03.23.am | August 26, 2002 ban delete
MommaBear email | website
Thanks to Ron Butler [next down] for bringing all of us that update; hopefully the next new thing on this site will be a post from The Master himself.

We all wish him continued progress and full recovery; our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.
09.03.pm | August 25, 2002 ban delete
Ron Butler email | website
Oreta has not had time to add to this, but: Daniel had improved sufficiently by Friday to move from Crawford Long Hospital to the Emory Rehabilitation Center to do further physical and speech therapy. Depending on his rate of progress, he should be there about a week. And then -- I presume -- home.

Best of luck to him.
09.27.am | August 25, 2002 ban delete
Elkit email | website
Daniel, we here in Wonderland are rooting for you, wishing you a great recovery!
Oreta - thanks for taking the time to let us know how Daniel is doing.
Love and good wishes,

from Elkit
01.11.pm | August 23, 2002 ban delete
Clair email | website
Glad to hear Daniel's improving--we all missed him at rehearsal last night and hope he's able to go home soon. Thanks for the bulletins, and don't forget to take care of *yourself*.

03.31.pm | August 22, 2002 ban delete
N.Z. Bear email | website
Oreta -

Wonderful to hear of Daniel's continued recovery. I wish I had a laptop to give to get him online again!

12.22.pm | August 22, 2002 ban delete

Monday, August 26, 2002

Well, it is still Oreta.

Thank you, Ron, for posting an update in the comments section. I'll just repeat it here.

Daniel is out of the hospital, but not yet home. They moved him to the Emory Rehabilitation Center at 6:00 pm Friday.

Daniel is doing much better. He is recovering his strength and he is able to move around. His aphasa has improved to the point that very few people will notice it in a casual conversation. His vision has improved, but although he can see clearly, he has trouble making words on a page make sense. He can do it, but it is hard work. Think of it like a form of dsylexia.

With any luck he will be seeing a therapist who will help him today. Since he came in so late Friday, he is not yet "in the system". He has seen several physical therapists and occupational therapists and a speech therapist, but apparently nobody trusts anybody else's data because they keep putting him through the same evaluations over and over again. I would have expected that they would be having him walk longer and longer distances each day, for instance. Instead they do the same evaluations over and over again. Each person exclaims over how well he is doing, but no one asks him to do anything more difficult. Ditto for the occupational therapist. The upshot seems to be that he can walk around okay and do basic things like brush his teeth okay, although he has a little trouble with co-ordination and balance. Since he has been in a bed for two weeks this is not surprising.

As well as the frustration of "When do we stop testing and start therapy?" the nurses and therapists are not communicating with each other or us. Each nurse, therapist, or technician has a different idea of what he is allowed to do; so we have to choose between constantly getting into trouble or lying in bed being bored and listening to the guy across the room discuss his incontinence problems every five minutes all day and all night.

I appreciate and approve of the need to keep Daniel in a medical facility until they are sure that he is not going to have any more cardiac incidents, but I'm hoping they will send him home and let him do his therapy on an outpatient basis soon. The contrast between this and Crawford W. Long Hospital is rather spectacular. Crawford W. Long is a gorgeous hospital. Even the Emergency Room lobby looks like a hotel lobby. There are pocket gardens everywhere. There is even a small aviary. The rooms are painted in attractive colors. Emory Rehab is functionally ugly and there is no effort expended to make the wards attractive or pleasant. Personal possesions are discouraged despite the fact that the average stay is 19 days.

When the nurses leave the room the patients' primary conversation is about when they will be able to escape,er, go home.

Now, I understand that things should get better today. That part of the problem is that he came in on a weekend and is not in the system yet. I hope so, or Daniel's stay here will be much shorter than they bargained for.

I take back everything I said about modern medicine and its communication practices.

But really, Daniel is much better. We just need to lick the visual perception problems.

kayjay email | website
Glad to hear of all the improvements. I really hope they open up the informational channels to include you. I'd be going nuts.

My get well card (which should be in the mail tomorrow) has the address of the hospital on it. Will they forward it, or should I get a new envelope?
11.40.pm | August 26, 2002 ban delete
Kevin McGehee email | website
I second MommaBear: you're the only person who cares more about Dan's well-being than anybody, except maybe Dan himself. Any doctor, nurse, or administrator who doesn't listen to you deserves the worst you can give him/her.
07.01.pm | August 26, 2002 ban delete
MommaBear email | website
Dear Oreta,

You keep on fighting with all your might to get what Daniel needs. Your job is not to win a popularity contest, but get what he needs and deserves!

Having been through a great deal of the that same kind of difficulty on behalf of PoppaBear, MommaBear can speak from bitter experience. Just keep 'squeaking' for Daniel to get everything to which he is entitled, and don't take NO for any answer.

Continured Best Thoughts for you both!
11.37.am | August 26, 2002 ban delete

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Still Oreta.

Just a quick note, because I am on the way to Emory Rehab to observe his therapy and to hear the results of the staff meeting about his condition (which I am forbidden to attend.) Grrr.

Yesterday, for the first time since he arrived, Daniel actually received therapy, rather than just assessments. They worked him hard and the Physical Therapist and the Occupational therapist say that as far as they are concerned, he can go home. Speech and visual stuff can be handled on an outpatient basis.

We'll see what comes of this after the meeting. With luck I may have good news for you this afternoon.

Daniel is still very weak. His perception problems get better each day. Oddly enough, Daniel can read small print better than large print. He makes noticable daily improvement. (His improvement is noticable even to himself, which is very cheering.) He would be making even better improvement if he could get a full night's sleep. But the Rehab Center does not seem to care about that (they moved a very noisy patient into Daniel's ward last night. The new gentleman is confused enough to need restraints and aware enough to fight them constantly, and to call for help.) It is difficult to watch.

Ron Butler email | website
Hah! I get to scoop Daniel on his own blog, again! :)

Emory Rehab decided that Daniel had made enough progress that he could complete his therapy on an outpatient basis. So Daniel Taylor is home tonight.

10.59.pm | August 27, 2002 ban delete
MommaBear email | website
Guess you'll just have to squeak even louder to get their attention! Do get him home as quickly as possible; in addition to better sleep, familiar surroundings make a huge difference!

Hang in there...getting the attention of medical staff takes loud persistence.
08.54.pm | August 27, 2002 ban delete
Ith email | website
Best wishes for his continued recovery!
02.42.pm | August 27, 2002 ban delete
Phil Carter email | website
Seconded. Tell Daniel from me that if he does this to us again, I'll kill him myself. :)

Again, my best wishes for a massively speedy recovery for him.
02.07.pm | August 27, 2002 ban delete
Ron Butler email | website
So glad to hear this. Take him home and keep him there a while. We'll see him at the D'Con performance.
09.14.am | August 27, 2002 ban delete

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Oreta again. But Daniel said he would try to get online later today.

Yes, he is home.

I went in yesterday at 0930 to observe his therapy, but they had taken him over to the neuro-opthamologists (and abandoned him there) so I tracked him down there, where we spent three extremely interesting and useful hours finding out that he does still have visual problems (Duh), pinpointing the exact nature of those problems, suggesting some strategies for coping with said problems, and being assured that the problems will get progressively better. All in all, the most fruitful three hours we have spent at Emory Rehab. (At some point, every medical person we have met will say, "For someone who has had (fill in the blank) he's doing remarkably well." and this place was no different "For someone who has had multiple brain lesions....")

However, I am under no delusions. Left up to their own pace, Emory would have eventually gotten around to the neuro-opthamologists. About a month from now. The only reason he saw these folk now was because I kept insisting that he was having trouble seeing. I even wrote a note for his file, so they couldn't ignore it.

After the neuro-opthamologist appointment we returned to Emory Rehab to eat lunch and to wait to be discharged, which they did at 1500. The moment the discharge papers were signed we left. John brought the children home from school shortly afterwards and Daniel spent the evening in bed, with both kids sprawled around him on the bed doing their homework.

There are a great many loose ends to tie up, but they aren't important. Daniel is home.

Clair email | website
Glad you're home! Rest up and feel better so you can enjoy D*C!
04.16.pm | August 28, 2002 ban delete
Geoffrey Barto email | website
Good to see you home. Here's hoping for a strong recovery.
03.32.pm | August 28, 2002 ban delete
Jlawson email | website
Happy homecoming, Daniel...
03.00.pm | August 28, 2002 ban delete
Dave K email | website
welcome home
12.45.pm | August 28, 2002 ban delete
Ron Butler email | website
As I said (what now seems a long time ago): "There are few greater joys than going home from the hospital -- and bringing the *whole* family with you."
12.21.pm | August 28, 2002 ban delete

Before I was so rudely interrupted…
Daniel here. I’m home. Brief pause for a virtual happy dance. A real one is beyond me, but I don’t care. I’m home!

I still tire easily, and I am experiencing significant visual impairment -- although noticeably less so every day. (I am able to type this for myself, for example, although my typing speed is slowed to a crawl, and I am much more dependent on Mr Gates’ spellchecker than previously.) This is going to be a longer convalescence than July’s, but my doctors assure me I should recover fully in a matter of two to four months.

The phrase I hear from every nurse and doctor is that I am doing very well for someone in my condition. I find this phrase hilarious, but I can’t seem to explain to the doctors why. Perhaps it bears too much resemblance to the World’s Worst Encouraging Thing To Say, “Well, it could be worse.”

And, indeed, it could be. I am able to walk, unassisted, without any version of wheels, canes or crutches, and without any noticeable limp. Although my stamina is not what it was, I am experiencing no particular weakness or disability on either side. I am alert and aware, able to follow and participate in conversations, and speak with clarity. Every now and then I experience a brief bout of aphasia; I lose a word (usually a noun). On the other hand, I know plenty of people who do the same thing, some to greater extent than I, some with much less reason to do so. Mentally, I am pretty much myself.

Well, there does seem to be one relatively trivial exception. I’m a bit more emotional than I was.

Yes, for someone recovering from two heart attacks and two strokes, I’m doing pretty darned well. I’m a very lucky man, and I thank God for that.

Thank you all for your continued well wishes. That seems such an inadequate thing to say for something that meant so very much to me.

The Dodd email | website
Great to have you back, man!
04.06.pm | August 30, 2002 ban delete
Jerry Dorethy email | website
I've been reading you log for a little while and then the difficult times of Oreta and yourself. Glad your feeling better, especially the 'mentally yourself' part.

A purple cheer arose across the land with purple hats thrown high.
01.04.am | August 30, 2002 ban delete
Andrea Harris email | website
I'm glad to see you're back and doing better!
07.12.pm | August 29, 2002 ban delete
Kevin McGehee email | website
About time. ;-)
07.09.pm | August 29, 2002 ban delete
fritz schranck email | website
Welcome back, and glad you're feeling better.
BTW, the increased emotion you feel is something that at least one heart attack victim in my family also experienced./f
01.23.pm | August 29, 2002 ban delete
Christopher Kanis email | website
Welcome back, man!
07.51.am | August 29, 2002 ban delete
Linda Y email | website
WOOOHOOOO! Welcome home! There was great cheering at our house last night. Take care.
07.48.am | August 29, 2002 ban delete
Michael Waters email | website
Wonderful news...great to hear from you again, Daniel.
01.15.am | August 29, 2002 ban delete
Rodney W. email | website
"Oh, Auntie Em, there's no place like home!" Happy to read you are home and improving steadily.
10.52.pm | August 28, 2002 ban delete
JLawson email | website
Virtual happy dance? I'm going to do the real thing with Aaron! Welcome home!

10.38.pm | August 28, 2002 ban delete
Ith email | website
Welcome home!
08.11.pm | August 28, 2002 ban delete
Jen email | website
Good to see you back!
07.53.pm | August 28, 2002 ban delete
kayjay email | website
Welcome back.
07.40.pm | August 28, 2002 ban delete

Paul Stoufflet (MD) email | website
Glad to see you're back. I look forward to merciless dissection of stupidity. Don't let the doctors grind you down, if there's one thing I've learned, it is that will can overcome considerable obstacles. You just have to learn to use those parts of your brain that still work. They'll serve you well.

01.31.am | August 30, 2002 ban delete

Jen (formerly of Planet Jen) email | website
I think the experience of your emotions being closer to the surface sounds entirely normal under the circumstances. Glad to see you blogging again, Daniel! :)
06.10.pm | September 02, 2002 ban delete
Suman Palit email | website
Very glad to have you back.. and blogging as well..!
03.23.am | September 01, 2002 ban delete
Bill Quick email | website
Welcome back, Daniel, and good luck on your speedy progress to a complete recovery.
09.02.pm | August 31, 2002 ban delete
Kathy K email | website
Welcome back home (to the blogosphere, I mean). It's great to have you back!
08.07.am | August 31, 2002 ban delete
Andrea Harris email | website
Welcome back! Wish I could go to Dragon*Con, but Atlanta is a little beyond my reach right now. Have a good time!
11.38.pm | August 30, 2002 ban delete
Linda Young email | website
So good to see you today!
10.11.pm | August 30, 2002 ban delete
PhotoDude email | website
What you say makes perfect sense to me. I went through a bit of it myself, and my Dad went through it in a big way when he had some serious health problems that brought on a slightly early retirement. "Closer to the surface" describes it pretty well.

Don't fight it, or worry about it. If what you've gone through isn't a life-altering experience, then what the hell is?

Anyway, I'm glad to see you're back, and thanks to Oreta for keeping us all up to date about your progress. You are a lucky man, in more ways than one.
12.49.pm | August 30, 2002 ban delete
Just Sayin' email | website
Daniel, it's such a pleasure to see you back and sounding so upbeat. I've been keeping tabs on you regularly here, and admiring your wife's strength and goodness. It was very kind of her to post for us, because we were worried and praying. Now it's prayers of thanks!

And I'm sure that your wife thinks your improving health is her reward. What a blessing she is to you. And, I think, you to her.

Welcome back :) *hugs*
12.12.pm | August 30, 2002 ban delete


: Monday, October 07, 2002