They were finally able yesterday to get Dad off of the respirator and the dialysis machine. By late yesterday/early this morning they felt comfortable enough to do a CT scan (which is hard on the kidneys) to see what was going on inside.
The results were not favorable. There is a wide area of infection, and Dad will require surgery sooner rather than later. The complexity of the operation—or operations, as they may opt to do it in a series of smaller steps depending on what they find—is beyond the scope of what Salem Hospital can do. It is, without question, a very dangerous procedure, but as Dad will die without surgery, it’s not like there’s much choice in the matter.
He was transferred this evening by ambulance to Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) in Portland, where he can be seen by pancreatic specialists. I suspect that they will do the operation tomorrow or Friday, and we’ll know more after that.
After positive trends and guarded optimism of recent days, all this news has come as quite an emotional and psychological blow to the family, and we’re dealing as best we can. (I spoke with the hospital chaplain this morning for an hour, and while it was no panacea, he offered several good bits of advice and generally said the types of things to me that I normally find myself saying to others.) I think the biggest problem right now is that we’re all close to exhaustion and the stress refuses to abate. I slept six hours last night; that’s the most I’ve had in over a week. Most nights, I get closer to four. It’s not like that’s how I want it. It’s just that for right now—like so many things outside my control—that’s simply the way it is.