Hi everyone. I’m wondering if anyone has any encouragement for our situation.
My dad is 78 but has always been extremely healthy - a marathon runner until his back stopped him from running and now he’s been an avid swimmer for years and has had no real medical issues. He had a stem cell transplant about two weeks ago as the last step in his treatment for multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer). Part of the process is your white blood cells going to zero so the new stem cells can create new ones. This makes you suceptible to infection and my dad ultimately got pneumonia. They decided he needed to be intubated to help him breathe so they put him in an induced coma and put the tube in. That was about 10 days ago and 4 days ago they stopped the sedatives.
He does have lowered kidney function because he went into kidney failure from the cancer about 6 months ago. He was able to come off dialysis but his kidneys don’t work at full function.
So he’s now been off sedatives for going on 5 days (Versed was what he was on) but has barely started to ‘wake up’. Yesterday for the first time he opened his eyes and began to react to pain stimuli. He’s also now breathing 100% on his own, although he’s still intubated. It’s obvious he hates the tube in his throat because he’ll wince and make expressions and cough like he’s trying to get it out. So we’ve been encouraged by his progress but he’s still unable to respond to commands (squeeze hand, move fingers, etc) and the doctors mentioned some concern about brain damage. There’s no reason he should have any that we know of though. It’s just scary to see him opening his eyes but it almost looks like no one is there. He blinks and sometimes seems like he’ll follow an object but it’s hard to tell. He did turn his head towards my mom and I yesterday and his eyes were open...he just doesn’t seem ‘there’ and hasn’t been able to respond in any way.
We’re just really concerned he won’t fully wake up. Tomorrow they’ll probably do an EEG and/or CT scan to see his brain function. I’m just wondering if anyone else has dealt with a very slow to wake situation after an induced medical coma. Any encouraging stories would be so helpful. Thank you!