a series of e-mails, all related to John being seriously ill
John woke up this morning not feeling very well. When Elsa took his temperature, it registered 103. Thinking the thermometer must be out of whack, she shook it back down and took it again. Same results. They called their doctor's office and the covering physician prescribed and antibiotic and cough medicine.
Elsa zipped down to pick them up and nipped across to the grocery store for John's favorite staples - cantaloupe and a couple cans of albacore tuna. He came downstairs after she got home and had a lunch of cut-up cantaloupe and almost an entire can of tuna.
By tonight, his appetite was gone and his temperature has hit 104. A second call to the doctor instructed him to take Tylenol to bring down the temperature, to no avail. They are waiting for a call back from the doctor because John is definitely getting worse, not better.
It is all very well and good to say that high temperatures are the norm with streph (sp?) infections, but is alarming to see him and to touch him - he is so hot.
I feel small and ineffective. Keep us in your thoughts. John's M-I-L
Subject: "One Jim Henson is enough."
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 23:37:49 EST
My second posting of the night. It is going on midnight and I am ready to turn in. That is not exceptional. It is not unheard of for me to start for bed after midnight. What is unusual is that Elsa had to come home from Holy Redeemer Hospital ER in order to do her tucking in duties, and will head back when she is done here.
John and Elsa went over to the ER around 9:00 p.m. after the third call of the day to the on-call doctor, who was almost as alarmed as Elsa to hear that John had been incoherent for five-ten minutes. Elsa asked him questions and could not get coherent answers. Because she had years of experience working with managed health care coverage plans, she hones in on diagnostic approaches that would never occur to me. All she had to say was that John had been incoherent and that his chest sounded juicy, and the doctor told her to get him over to HRH pronto.
John has been diagnosed with aspirational pneumonia. If the doctors can get his temperature down to 100 within the next couple hours, he will come home. If not, he will spend at least one night in the hospital.
That would be strange - me going to see John at HRH instead of the other way around.
As the day went on and John's condition got worse instead of better, in spite of taking two prescriptions and Tylenol, Elsa kept muttering, "One Jim Henson is enough."
I could not figure out what she could mean. She reminded me. Jim Henson died of a virulent strain of pneumonia which went untreated too long. He died of a nasty but treatable illness which he had dismissed it as a bad nasty case of the flu.
Yes, one Jim Henson is enough.
John is in good hands. My prayer is that he can come home tonight, where Elsa can keep an eye on her OTB. What a break that John was sleeping, his temperature hopefully going down, leaving Elsa free to hightail it back here.
I had tried to contact Peter to see if he could swing over to do tuck in duties, but we were not able to connect. (The only time I feel truly dependent is at bedtime, since I cannot lift myself up once I am down Curses on you, torn rotator cuff!)
It has been a long, scary day. My thoughts and prayers are with my dear s-i-l.
Nite nite and God bless. Love - Budgie's M-I-L
Subject: my third posting of the night (not a good sign)
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2001 03:29:27 EDT
It is 2:30 a.m. (3:30 to those who remembered to spring their clocks forward an hour) and Elsa just got home. Alone. John's temperature came down just one degree to 103.3, so he will be in the hospital for at least 36 hours of care.
Elsa is beyond bedraggled. She came home before he was admitted because she worried I might need help. (Peter was not able to return my calls, so I was home alone.) I did. If she had stayed until he was settled, I do not know how I could have managed. Just as I was getting anxious, I heard her car drive up. What a day.
Subject: John's fever broke and he had a restful night
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2001 09:20:23 EDT
After giving me a boost out of bed about twenty minutes ago, Elsa called the nurse's station on John's wing for an update. He is doing well. She is going to Contemporary Service, nip back here to get me out of bed (I said in my last posting that Elsa was bedraggled, but I did not realize how bedraggled I was), then she is taking books and a radio over to John. I cannot imagine John without a radio and something to read.
I am glad we have turned the corner out of March and are safely in April.
Thanks for your caring support and loving thoughts - The Gramster
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2001 21:33:44 EDT
Subject: Mindwalkers - what a blessing the Internet is
I have experienced many blessings due to my "cyber circle." It would be difficult to explain how it has felt these 24+ hours. Keeping my cyberspace circle updated on our drama with John's pneumonia has been a remarkableexperience.
I know that being able to post the information as seen through my eyes was a godsend to Elsa, who would have found it hard to share in the first person. For me, it was a release to be able to do something, since there was so little I could do and it is such unknown territory to me.
I am the one - not John - who is normally at HRH. He is the one who is familiar with how to comfort and support Elsa. Being able to compose my thoughts makes me feel like I did my part.
My life was made so much better today through the friendship and caring of Carole Grisin, who brought lunch over so Elsa could be left free to spend time with John without worrying about the homefront. We talked about so many things. She is a special lady. We had a lot of laughs. We walked over tothe Spring Tree, with it's clear ornaments filled with pictures of loved ones and we had a grand time as I filled her in on a who's who.
The gem I would like to share with you has to do with how Carole deals with disagreeablepeople - she changes her attitude by thinking about something the person is good at. One woman was so rude, she almost stumped Carole in her quest to find something positive until it hit her - the woman was good at being rude.
What a good life attitude. What a blessing to have this daughter-of-the-heart. It does not seem possible we met for the first time last week! - What a difference she has made in my life today and what a difference her kindness made to Elsa.
It is an understatement to say that I am heading off to bed a much happier lady than I was last night.
Love to one and all - Grammie Kay (and Bon Voyage! to Julie!)
And now, a word from Elsa - - "Fingers crossed, John should be home tomorrow. His temperature is back to normal, but he still is having problems with getting enough oxygen into his system. His breathing seems fine, but it seems that fluid in the lungs is keeping the oxygen from doing whatever it is supposed to do. He is really tired; every time he drops off to sleep, a coughing spasm shakes him awake. I can't wait to get him home and healthy.
My own thanks to Carole, who is the very definition of friendship. I was able to get in a brief visit with her myself when I took a 2-hour break from hospital duties (John asked me to stay all day and I wasn't about to say no, but did need a small break). I was happy to see her car still outside when I pulled up and happier still to find her all comfy in the visitor's chair close by Mom's.
(Interesting side note - the pink tulips she brought on her first visit last week - she is participating in a discussion circle at our house on the book "The Best Year of Your Life!" - have evolved from looking like beautiful tulips to resembling the palest pink exotic iris. All three of us marveled over the transformation.)
Obviously, Mom had a wonderful time and we have both been well fed by the bounty of Boston Market goodies that Carole brought over. Carole - thanks, thanks and more thanks!"