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just some guy

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Been laughing/crying about what our work loads will be after the stop on non acute medical procedures start.

Stockholm area 44 000 operations and the diabetic wound centre at the hospital has over 700 on their waiting list apparently. (Ran into to someone I know that works there)

Denmark is opening up restrictions faster now as the R value keeps dropping.

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  • Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

    Drummer Boy

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    Some interesting developments on both the local front and personal side of things. I'm bit pressed for time right now but I'll try to share an abbreviated version of the personal.

    Re: my Dad
    For a guy that has, throughout his life, generally defied the norms of health and medicine by having little concern for convention, and mostly doing things his own way with little regard for habits or methods that others might avoid (I'll expand that in a subsequent post), and for someone who has always been extremely stubborn and mostly set in his own ways—the rest of the world, and anyone around him, be damned—is proving to be just as confounding by not adhering to his demise as recently projected.

    I got a call from two doctors last night, one of which is a specialist in infectious diseases. As it turns out, my fathers oxygen levels have been returning to normal, and he generally responding well without having been given any specific anti-coronavirus treatment. Part of that reason being that some the medications simply weren't available to the hospital. Well that has now changed.

    They have started my father on a 5-day infusion of Remdesivir, which Wiki describes as, "a broad-spectrum antiviral medication developed by the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. As of 2020, remdesivir is being tested as a specific treatment for COVID-19, and has been authorized for emergency use in the U.S. and approved for use in Japan for people with severe symptoms." I would imagine that most of you are familiar with it or have heard it mentioned in the news.

    In addition that, they asked for, and were granted by me, permission to enroll him in a Mayo Clinic trial of Convalescent plasma therapy, which involves an infusion from the blood plasma of someone who has successfully recovered from COVID-19, and whose blood contains antibodies capable of fighting off the virus.

    Now, both of these developments are surprising to me on a number of levels.
    1) I barely expected him to even make it to today, and not sure the doctors did either, as of just a few days ago.
    2) A 5-day treatment plan would, at the very minimum, suggest that they anticipate him being alive at least six more days from now.
    3) He is very old, and already in a very weakened and declining state, with a heart that has been slowly fading for several years now.

    But this is the guy they want to try experimental treatments on? :slow

    Okay. For one thing, I know my Dad would embrace this stuff. He loves science (he was an aeronautical engineer himself), generally has a very high regard for doctors and their opinions, and has never shied away from the notion of seeking medication to solve a problem.

    But another thing to understand about my father is that he is endlessly confounding, and easily the most frustrating person I've ever encountered in my life. Nothing is ever easy. EVER. If there's a way to complicate something—anything—he will find a way. So it came as little surprise when the specialist soon called back to inform me that my father's blood type is AB-, which, as it turns out, is the rarest of them all. Apparently only less than 1% of the entire population has AB- blood.

    What this really means is that they don't have the necessary match in plasma on hand, so there will be a delay of a few days before they can acquire it. What I find fascinating about all of this is that I have to wonder if having a rare blood type is somehow tied to the many ways in which he has thwarted disease and outlived nearly all of his friends, while simultaneously ignoring convention and common sense that guide most people's daily habits.

    As I said, I'll try to elaborate further on this in a follow-up, but part of me was actually hoping that having more expert attention focused on my dad would help reveal some aspect of his overall being that might explain his longevity and physical refusal to conform or submit to so many of the ills and pitfalls that have consumed so many others, most of them being much younger than he. I was just not expecting something as, perhaps, clear cut as an exceptionally rare blood type. It does make me wonder.

    So for now, he's doing surprisingly well, although he most definitely requires high volumes of supplemental oxygen. But he has been alert and aware during video calls, and continues to amaze all those who have encountered him. Perhaps he presents as somewhat of a medical mystery to the experts. If nothing else, what they learn from him will most certainly contribute to the greater body of knowledge that's being pieced together surrounding the coronavirus. And I'm confident that he would be pleased by that. 

    I'm not unrealistic about any of this, as I'm fully aware that at any moment he could take a turn for the worse and quickly meet his demise. But he's not in any pain or great discomfort at the moment, so further treatment seems like a logical course of action.

    I'll keep you posted as this develops.
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  • just some guy

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    Sounds like goodish news DB. Been thinking about your Dad and hoping it goes well
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  • Drummer Boy

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    And just like that...

    My father passed away two hours ago. On his 91st birthday.

    It was all incredibly sudden when it came right down to it. The decline was rapid.

    I had dropped off cards and balloons around noon, which the nurses retrieved from me in the lobby, as no visitors are allowed. About an hour later my mother and I had a Facetime call with him, which the hospital staff has been facilitating with iPads. He had two oxygen devices attached to his face, so communication was obviously limited. But he was coherent and aware of things, although obviously massively fatigued. We soon signed off with little fanfare.

    Then a few hours later I got a surprise call from one of the doctors telling me that his condition had taken a sudden turn for the worse, and when she went in to see him, he made it perfectly clear to her that he was ready to go. He'd had enough. He was done.

    He already established a "Do not resuscitate; Do not intubate" policy. He never wanted to be kept alive artificially. He was of sound enough mind on his own to make that decision, so at that point he was transitioned into more palliative or "comfort" care. They would reduce some of the procedures that were sustaining him, and administer morphine along with one or two other medications to ease any suffering. They gave him maybe 24 hours to live at that point.

    My sister then received a direct Facetime call from the hospital, as they knew she had intended to call him shortly after me and my mom had spoken to him. As soon as she took the call, he was immediately saying goodbye to her. He wished her well, and truly left her with his final words. And that was pretty much it. I then called back so my mother could have a final goodbye, but he wasn't really interested in that. I think he was just simply exhausted and could no longer stand living as he was. I suspect that his birthday really drove home the reality of his life: there he was, being kept alive in a hospital bed, away from friends and family, and he knew he would never be going home again.

    He did say goodbye, and there as a bit of a virtual touch of hands from one screen to another between my parents, and then he waved the nurse off who was holding the iPad. About an hour or so after that I got the final call from the doctor saying he had just died. It happened that quickly.

    My own feelings are mostly those of relief. He'd been declining in a number of ways for some time now, and he was no longer truly living but merely existing. It's not a life he ever would've wanted for himself.

    I must also add how incredibly impressed I've been by all the doctors and nurses that we've been in touch through all of this. After the immense burden they've had to endure throughout this pandemic, they showed an extraordinary level of care and compassion towards us at every turn. They were unbelievable helpful, patient, and communicative at every step along the way. They are every bit the heroes that the media has been making them out to be. I just can't say enough about them, and how grateful I am for all of it.

    And thus ends a significant chapter of this particular story, and of my own life's unfolding and ever-expanding experiences. At the start of this thread, I never imagined I'd be contributing in such a manner.

    Thanks to everyone who has followed along, and to all who have been supportive. I've still got more to add, but from a different perspective moving forward.

    It's set to be a beautiful Memorial Day holiday weekend here, and I very much hope to be able to get on my bike in order to clear my head a bit and process all of this.

    Best wishes to all.
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  • Archieboy

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    Condolences to you Drummer..
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  • AG

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    oh DB I am so sorry   :hug
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  • just some guy

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    Thinking of you DB.
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  • Mellow Velo

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     It is so often the way with the very old.
    Condolences, keep the chin up, DB.
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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

    LukasCPH

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    And just like that...

    My father passed away two hours ago. On his 91st birthday.
    My condolences, DB.
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    Views presented are my own. RIP Keith & Sean

    Kiwirider

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    Condolences to you DB ...

    ... but at the same time, I can't help but be impressed by what is, to me at least, quite a beautiful and powerful story.

    For your Dad to be able to have enough control over his destiny to have the opportunity - and to be able to take the time - to say his goodbyes and leave those he loved with lasting messages and memories like you describe is pretty special - and pretty rare.

    All the best for enduring the roller coaster of emotions that you will no doubt ride through (both metaphorically - and no doubt literally) over the coming days and weeks ...
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  • blutto

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    ....condolences to you and yours....

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  • t-72

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    My condolences, DrummerBoy!
    Through your writing here, your father’s story is now more known to me than any of the reported cases over here. I don’t  know anyone that has had the corona personally nor anyone that has had a case in their family here, and because of that all the countermeasures have been feeling more and more like warfare against a hypothetical enemy, even if this is actually the location with the most cases in the country.
    Reading your story it is a reminder that this disease affects real people and real families. Thank you for that!

    Rest In Peace, old Drummerman!
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  • just some guy

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