Log inskip to content

May 31st, 2009

The Fight of His Life

As I am writing this, my beloved grandfather - Riley Claude Prestenback - lies in the Critical Care Unit of a local hospital fighting for his life.  Since he was rushed by ambulance to the emergency room last Wednesday, our lives have become a roller coaster of bleak distress and hopeful trepidation.

On Wednesday, May 27th, around 9:30am in the morning, my brother, Johnnie, called to inform me that our Pa-Pa Riley (pronounced "paw-paw", btw) - my mother's father - was en route to Our Lady of the Lake hospital via ambulance.  My stepfather, Tommy, was in the ambulance with him and Mom was in a tearful panic trying to finish up what she was working on so that she could rush to the hospital herself.  Thankfully, my sister - who my brother called just before me - had already left work and was rushing home to pick Mom up and bring her back to Baton Rouge.  None of us wanted her driving as upset as she was.

What we thought was a simply intestinal blockage turned out to be much more.  At some point in the past couple of weeks or so my grandfather's colon had ruptured.  Being his usual stubborn self - and not wanting us to worry - he had kept how bad he was feeling to himself.  Mom only knew that he was "constipated" and bloated.  During the initial surgery Wednesday evening, the doctors removed nearly 50% of his damaged colon.  He was very ill from the toxins, and all of the other waste the body normally eliminates through stool, that had leaked into his abdominal cavity from the rupture.  His very wonderful doctor, Dr. Kleinpeter, also informed us that several nodules were present on his colon and a few other organs.  Biopisies - to date - have showed them all to be benign, but Dr. Kleinpeter is still worried that cancer exists somewhere and is causing all of these problems.

By the end of Wednesday, Pa-Pa Riley was lying in the Critical Care Unit on a ventilator; his stomach "left open" from the earlier surgery so that the surgeons could easily go back in when he was more stable and they had the results of the initial biopsy back.  That night, his future was uncertain.  He has high blood pressure and diabetes, and the damage from his ruptured colon and the surgery had been almost too much for his body.  His blood pressure was in unsafe territory and his heart rate too high.

Just before his surgery, I rushed to the hospital from work to see him.  As we did not know he would need surgery when he first brought in, I hadn't left for the hospital as soon as he got there.  When they called to tell me he was being scheduled for emergency surgery, I feared I would be too late to see him beforehand.  However, as I pulled into the ER parking lot, my sister, Amber, told me on the phone that I still had time.  She met me inside and led me to the small prep room where my mother, my stepfather, Tommy, and my mother's brother, Uncle Keith, stood around a hospital bed that held my normally sprite and healthy grandfather.  He smiled when I rushed into the room and I thanked all the gods I could think of for letting me get there in time to see him.  Since he has not regained full consciousness since that time, I know now - more than ever - how blessed I truly was.  I had about ten minutes with him, wherein I joked around and made him smile and even a share in a few small laughs.  He was weak and in pain and, I know, embarrassed to be "in public" without his teeth in; even if that public was no more than us and the nurses and doctors who swarmed around, taking notes and asking questions.  Mostly, I could tell that he was scared and, though we all put on a brave front for his benefit, we were, too.

Since then, it has been a day to day - and often, hour by hour - vigil.  He is surrounded by kindhearted, competent nurses and astute, compassionate doctors who encourage us to continue talking to him and keep us wholly informed of his changing condition.  They talk to us personally when we come in and call us on the phone every morning or in the event of any sudden difference that occurs in his care or with his vitals.  We've told them all that when he gets better, he'll be busy making his infamous bread pudding for each of them.

When visiting hours arrive, always a couple or more of us are there to be with him.  We hold his hand, talk to him, put on his favorite TV shows (he will be so miffed about missing Days of Our Lives).  We know he can hear us.  In fact, last Thursday afternoon they tuned the television to his soap opera and his heart rake spiked a noticeable bit.

Presently, his condition is as follows:  He runs, off and on, a low-grade fever and his white blood cell count is slightly elevated as his body attempts to fight off the infection that still lingers from the ruptured colon.  A pocket of pus near his liver was removed in an emergency surgery Friday afternoon; one from which we were advised he might not survive as he was rushed into it with a fever of 104 degrees and dropping vitals.  Since then, his fever has been either non-existent or low.  Right now, a low-grade fever - along with the white blood cell count - is a good thing as it means his body is still fighting.  As I mentioned, around 50% of his colon has been removed and more may - as yet - have to come out.  If he survives this ordeal and is able to come home, he will be doing so with a small bag on one side of his body for his small intestine to drain and a colostomy bag on the other.  Being charmingly vain and always conscious of his appearance, we know he will abhor this aspect of what will be his new life.

He is, sadly, in acute renal failure and the doctors have spoken to us of his undergoing dialysis.  Currently, he is too unstable for the procedure, and his kidneys are producing just enough fluid on their own so that emergency dialysis is not yet needed.  Since yesterday, his kidney output has nearly tripled, and so that is good news.  His kidneys were already weakened as a result of his being diabetic, and the extra strain of trying to purge the toxins his colon could not caused the failure.

For the past couple of days his blood pressure has been holding steady.  While it isn't anything to write home about, it is considerably better than it was late last week.  None of his vitals are good enough for him to be labeled "stable"; he is still in critical condition.  While those numbers fluctuate - sometimes dropping enough for alarm - he is holding strong, for the most part, and his body is still fighting.  Not too surprising for anyone that knows the tough, stubborn, old goat we all love so much.

All of your thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes have been so very appreciated and I ask that you, please, continue to keep Pa Riley and the family in your affirmations as he needs all of the help he can get.  So, too, does this weary family; I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tomorrow morning I start work at my new job - wish me luck!  I regret that I could not be going into this with a lighter heart and a less burdened mind, but life is rarely such a walk in the park.  However, I intend to be my best, give it my all, and shine as brightly as I can for that is what my grandfather would want.  He was always proud of my accomplishments at my old job, and I want to make him even more proud in this new venture (regardless of his ribbing that "state workers never actually work").

Once more, thank you all; I will keep you posted.

No tags for this post.

No Responses to “The Fight of His Life”

  1. Maritza
    Maritza says:

    As the admin of this site is working, no doubt very soon it will be famous, due to its quality contents.

  2. Dianne
    Dianne says:

    What's up friends, its fantastic post regarding cultureand fully defined, keep it up all the
    time.

  3. Cliff
    Cliff says:

    whoah this weblog is fantastic i love studying your posts.
    Keep up the great work! You realize, a lot of people are searching round for this information, you can aid them greatly.

  4. Aja
    Aja says:

    great issues altogether, you just gained a new reader.

    What might you suggest in regards to your post that you just made a few days ago?
    Any sure?

  5. Margareta
    Margareta says:

    You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation but I to find this topic to be really one thing which I
    think I might never understand. It seems too complicated
    and extremely wide for me. I'm looking forward on your subsequent publish, I will try to get the dangle of it!

  6. Vera
    Vera says:

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was really informative. Your site is extremely helpful.
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Alica
    Alica says:

    It's the best time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or tips.
    Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I wish to read even more things about it!

  8. Gabriele
    Gabriele says:

    What's up, yes this piece of writing is genuinely
    good and I have learned lot of things from it regarding blogging.
    thanks.

  9. plenty of fish dating site
    plenty of fish dating site says:

    Hi to all, the contents present at this web site are really remarkable for people experience, well, keep up the
    nice work fellows.

  10. Nereida
    Nereida says:

    Appreciation to my father who stated to me regarding this blog, this website is truly remarkable.

  11. Larhonda
    Larhonda says:

    These are really fantastic ideas in about blogging.
    You have touched some good things here. Any way keep up wrinting.

  12. Leon
    Leon says:

    My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post's to be just
    what I'm looking for. Does one offer guest writers
    to write content available for you? I wouldn't mind composing
    a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write related to here.
    Again, awesome website!

  13. Edwin Lavalley
    Edwin Lavalley says:

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

  14. Glenn Kollen
    Glenn Kollen says:

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say great blog!

  15. Frederic Cleghorn
    Frederic Cleghorn says:

    You made some clear points there. I did a search on the subject and found most people will agree with your site.

  16. pof
    pof says:

    At this time it seems like Drupal is the best blogging platform available right
    now. (from what I've read) Is that what you're using on your blog?

  17. Delmy Defiguero
    Delmy Defiguero says:

    Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I'm not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I'm thinking about making my own but I'm not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Appreciate it

  18. Hector Mulligan
    Hector Mulligan says:

    Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

  19. pof https://natalielise.tumblr.com
    pof https://natalielise.tumblr.com says:

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though
    you relied on the video to make your point.
    You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

    natalielise pof

  20. Tyson Elfering
    Tyson Elfering says:

    Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic however I'd figured I'd ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My site discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to send me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by the way!

  21. Shemika Jaeschke
    Shemika Jaeschke says:

    Admiring the time and effort you put into your website and in depth information you offer. It's good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same old rehashed information. Wonderful read! I've saved your site and I'm including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  22. Marty Scharber
    Marty Scharber says:

    Please let me know if you're looking for a article author for your weblog. You have some really good articles and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd absolutely love to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an email if interested. Thanks!

  23. Franklyn Sevier
    Franklyn Sevier says:

    Hi! Quick question that's totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone. I'm trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share. Many thanks!

  24. Trent Gurule
    Trent Gurule says:

    This design is spectacular! You obviously know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost...HaHa!) Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  25. plenty of fish dating site
    plenty of fish dating site says:

    If some one wants to be updated with most up-to-date technologies after that he must be pay a
    visit this website and be up to date daily.

  26. plenty of fish dating site
    plenty of fish dating site says:

    I am genuinely thankful to the holder of this website who has shared this fantastic post at here.

Leave a Reply

Gravatars are enabled. Don't have one? Go grab one!

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree



Calendar

August 2019
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031