Monday, June 29, 2009

From the Memorial Service

Below is the text of the sermon delivered by Pastor Holley at the memorial service for Carroll at St. Luke's and conducted by Pastor Stephen Troisi and Pastor Bob Holley:

At the Memorial Service for Carroll T. Smith
June 27, 2009 – John 14:1-6

We gather today to remember, to give thanks and to seek a sure and certain hope in the midst of our grief. We gather to remember, to give thanks and to hope together.

Let's begin with remembering. Carroll Smith was a Georgia gentleman. That is, a gentleman in the best sense of the word. He welcomed you, befriended you, and presented the best of what a loving family and the wonderful state of Georgia could make him.

Carroll had the unusual hobby of homing pigeons. Visit Carroll and he would point out the pigeon coop and talk about his pigeons. It was a life-long hobby until just recently when his health would no longer allow it. You could say he was for the birds, and he would agree. His birds were so very important to him.

There is a lot more about Carroll. He was a great lover of baseball and so many other sports; or, you could say, he simply loved sports. He loved to play when he could and always to talk sports. A baseball player, a pitcher at that, he let his duty to country lead him away from a promising career that probably would have seen him play professional ball. Instead, he joined the Air Force, though he did play a great deal of baseball in Europe during his time of service.

You could say of Carroll that he was definitely a fanatic. After all, that is the word we shorten to “fan” when speaking of folks who are die hard followers of Georgia football and the Atlanta Braves baseball. He was a fan in the true meaning of the word. I am not sure about God's wisdom to allow Carroll to die during the Braves season as Carroll himself told me they were not doing too well. The Braves could use all the fans they can find, and now they have one that will have to watch with St. Peter from the gates of heaven.

Professionally, Carroll worked in what might be called these days, 'human resources.' Employment was his thing and he served as Employment Superintendent and Deputy Director of Industrial Relations at the shipyard. He was good at his job and always tried to find work for those who sought his help.

“The Dawg,” as he was affectionately called, was considered by some to the unofficial mayor of Summerville. I am sure they said that because Carroll was loved by everybody. A loyal son, brother, father, husband, grandfather, co-worker and friend, Carroll was loved by all of us. He will be missed. He will be missed, not because he was somehow perfect or because he was a baseball fan or because he was good at his job. He will be missed because he was a great friend, the kind loved by all.

And Carroll loved all of you. Whether it was a friend to share a good cigar and a mellow drink with, or family he so appreciated, he loved in return. He made you feel comfortable in best of the Georgia way.

It is little wonder that folks say Carroll was loyal to family and friends. You could feel it in his words, his steady and kind focus on you as you spoke. And with all this remembering, we need to add that he was loyal to our loving God who redeemed him in the cross of Jesus Christ. Loyal Carroll was and especially to God who loves him unconditionally.

Thanks be to God for the amazing grace that saves as the old hymn says. It is in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus that God not only forgives all our sin, but graciously gives us life in the kingdom as well. Carroll trusted that truth and as death drew near he loyally kept faith that God gifts us all with life at the kingdom table of Jesus forever.

I remember reading the novel, “Doctor Zhivago.” There is a scene in it where the young doctor, who has just finished his training, has a conversation with his grandmother who is a devout believer in the grace of the cross of Jesus Christ. Zhivago asks his grandmother how she can believe in the resurrection, in the new life given in the cross. Her answer? Wisely, the grandmother tells her doctor grandson that through death we are born into a new life. Let me paraphrase what she says, “I did not know what was happening when my mother gave birth and I entered this life we have now. God can and will give us birth into a new life that we cannot yet even imagine. If God did it before, God can do it again.”

Indeed, we thank God today for the life we have in the cross, the new life at the kingdom table of Jesus. This life began for Carroll at his baptism. It continues now at his death. Thanks be to God for the new life Carroll and all of us have. Jesus is indeed the way, the truth and life as he says in the gospel reading today. Carroll loyally walked that way. Thanks be to God!

And it is precisely this loyalty, this faith, that gives us comfort and hope as we mourn. Our hope is the same as it was for Carroll, in the cross of Jesus. Our hope is in the cross where God is reconciling all through the unconditional love God has for us. How blessed we are that we do not grieve without hope. The gift of God is the comfort and hope of the cross.

Perhaps the final verse of the hymn we sang earlier says it better than I can:

He lives, all glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same;
what joy this blest assurance gives;
I know that my Redeemer lives!

As we give thanks to God and commend Carroll to God's eternal care, may these words give us comfort and hope: “I know that my Redeemer lives!” Amen.

· Pastor Robert F. Holley

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The End

This was a short-lived blog, much as my life with Carroll. It was way too short.
The blog started on May 14th as a way to update family and friends during Carroll's hospital stay at Summerville Medical Center. I thought it would be a short-lived blog because I thought he would recover during that stretch in the hospital and then go home -- and we'd live happily ever-after.

Such was not the case.

His life on earth ended and, thus, so does this blog.

Carroll was such an interesting and multi-faceted person that I could probably write about him for days and days and days. However, I'm shutting down this blog. (Note: A tree will be planted in Summerville in memory of Carroll; I will post that info when the date is set, but it should be posted on this blog as well as on mine.)

I've just added a post about him on my regular blog; that link is below.

Thanks to all of you who have helped care for him, who have prayed for him and who have just been there in so many ways when we needed you. We have appreciated your comments here as well.

God bless!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Synopsis: Carroll's Last Few Weeks

Carroll Tyndell Smith

The Gentleman from Georgia

Over the last several months, Carroll had been feeling somewhat weak and tired, and was frequently short of breath. He thought it was because of a heart problem. After a visit with Dr. Crawford, open heart surgery was scheduled for May 19th to replace the aortic valve.

Just before that date, though, he was hospitalized at Summerville Medical Center with pneumonia and remained there for 9 days, then went home for a few days. During a follow-up appointment with Dr. Handshoe on June 1st, we were told he had Stage 3B lung cancer. It was in both lungs and in the fluid around the lungs. We left the doctor’s office and went to Waffle House for a late breakfast. He said one thing he did not want was to linger. He was not afraid of cancer; he was afraid of lingering. Even so, we all thought he had several months ahead of him.

The very next day, Carroll, Sherry and her mom went to Garden City and spent 5 days at the beach. He sat on the balcony, looking out at the ocean and said it was the best breathing he had done in a long time. He also said it was the best sleep he had had in quite a while. He got to spend an evening with Becky during that time also.

Returning home, he continued to have trouble breathing & was hospitalized at MUSC on June 16th following an appointment with Dr. Steinberg. On Thursday he had a procedure in which he was catheterized and a balloon was used to stretch the aortic valve, making it easier for him to breathe. That afternoon, he was breathing much better. By the next day, though, he was on oxygen. He came home on Saturday the 20th but was on oxygen 24/7.

He had visits and quality time with Lisa, Chuck & Pat, John, Vic & Edie and their family.

At about 2:00 Monday night/Tuesday morning, he said he needed to go to ER. He was transported to Summerville Medical Center and then transported a few hours later to MUSC’s critical care unit. There was a blood clot in his lungs. Because of the cancer, the doctors could not operate. He continued to weaken.

On Wednesday afternoon, there was a prayer service in his room by Pastor Briner. Several family members were present: Vic, Edie, Jeff, Laura, Courtney, Lisa, Susan, Pam, Kelly, Chelsey, Whitney and Sherry.

We all had time for some good-byes; Chelsey even made him chuckle and smile a few times. She’s the one who gave him the name “Poppy.”

Sherry slept in the hospital bed with Carroll Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night. He wrapped his arms around her. Vic and Edie slept in the hospital room also, although Vic said he couldn’t sleep because of Sherry’s snoring.

Thursday morning, at 9:30, Carroll peacefully and gently slipped away, gripping Sherry’s hand as she said “Peace be with you, Carroll.”

Carroll was a friend to many and he was loyal to his friends. He was a classy gentleman who called Savannah and Summerville his hometowns.

His friends are placing an Atlanta Braves shirt with the number “1” and the name “C. Smith” on it and hanging it in O’Lacy’s.

In the near future, a tree obtained by friend John Clark will be planted in Summerville in Carroll’s memory.

Friday, June 26, 2009


If you're in the area, feel free to drop by Carroll's house tonight between 6 pm and 8 pm. Nothing is "planned." It's just a time to share memories of good times with Carroll and it is VERY casual.

Services are tomorrow at 3 pm at St. Luke's Lutheran Church with a reception following in Fellowship Hall.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Dawg's Days Are Over . . .

The Dawg's days are over - at least his earthly days.

Carroll died very peacefully this morning at about 9:30. I've lost someone I loved so very much and I am so grateful for the time we had together. We enjoyed each other's company - playing trivia, working crosswords, being with friends, worshiping at St. Luke's.

I will always miss him but there are so many wonderful times to remember. He is at peace.

Wednesday Night -- Is That What This Is?

Carroll has been surrounded this afternoon. Family members and friends have visited, including Vic, Edie, Courtney, Jeffrey, Laura, Lisa, Kelly, Susan, Pam, Chelsey and Whitney. Pastor Briner came by prayer and a blessing with Carroll and me. She then did a prayer service with the whole family.

There have been lots of tears today and tonight but also some chuckles.

No further measures are being taken except to keep Carroll comfortable.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Afternoon

Docs hope to do a tap around 3:30 or 4 to drain fluid from Carroll's lungs. The estimate is that the procedure will take about 30 minutes. Not sure yet where they will do that - Ashley River Tower or the old hospital. That was one of the questions earlier.

Barely After Noon - Monday

Carroll has been sleeping a whole lot, partly because of the carbon dioxide in his lungs. The doctors were wondering about his stage of alertness. Well, they just did another ABG test (see previous posts about how extremely painful this test is) and found out he is more alert than they thought. It hurt and he let them know it.

Late Morning Update - Wednesday

Carroll is on the BIPAP machine right now. It's much like the CPAP I use at night for sleep apnea. The CPAP is a big help for me and makes a tremendous difference, although I don't like it. I don't think Carroll likes the BIPAP either, but it is making a difference in the sound of his breathing. Of course, he hasn't like anything they've attached to him, put on him or around him in the last 24 - 30 hours.

Because of the level of carbon dioxide in his lungs, the BIPAP is being used to normalize his breathing. This will be used for one hour and then we'll know more. That should be at around 12:15 when they remove the BIPAP. Then the doctors will confer and talk with us later. They have to wait for the results before they confer, so I'm hoping to hear something from them around 1:00 or so.

One of the oncologists came in. They will not start any type of chemo or anything else while he is in the hospital. What they do depends on how he is when he is released.

I got such a good night's sleep in the room with Carroll last night that it's a wonder anyone else in the hospital slept at all. Some of the staff folks have already mentioned me snoring!!!

Wednesday Morning

Carroll got a good night's sleep last night - at least after midnight. Before that time, he was agitated, complaining and saying he wasn't comfortable and couldn't breathe. With the help of Benadryl and Mirapex (the latter for his restless leg problems) he was able to sleep in a recliner. He didn't wake up until about 10 AM and then not completely; he still wants to sleep, which is good - at least in some ways.

There is much more fluid build-up in his lungs. His team of doctors is consulting with the pulmonologists about draining the fluid some time today. This is the same procedure that was done over at Summerville Medical in May. It helps tremendously but only until the fluid builds up again.

A BIPAP has just been brought into his room; this will help breathe more easily. Based on the new ABG test done this morning, he is retaining a lot of gas (carbon dioxide) in his lungs, which is not good. The BIPAP will help him with this. Annette, the RT, said he would feel like he is in a wind tunnel while using it.

That's all of the news for right now. We're still in CCU at 10:45 A.M.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Guess Where We Are??????

It has been a L-O-N-G day. It started at 2 a.m. when Carroll told me he needed to go to the hospital. He called EMS and was transported to Summerville Medical Center (SMC) with me following in the car.

In the emergency room, Dr. Greaves told us it might be congestive heart failure, but he later ruled that out. After some tests and phone calls with Carroll's primary physician, Dr. Bolster, it was decided that Carroll should be transported to MUSC's Critical Care Unit. By this time, it was about 4 a.m., I think. It really scared the fool out of me when I was asked if I knew - just in case anything went wrong - if Carroll wanted to be kept alive by a ventilator! Well, I knew what he and I have talked about, but I didn't want to be the only one to make that decision, nor should I have been. I called Carroll's son and daughter-in-law -- Vic and Edie. Soon, they and their daughter, Courtney, were at SMC also.

We all left SMC around 5:30-ish a.m., with Carroll being transported by the Critical Care ambulance. Vic rode in the front.

I'm not saying any of us drive fast, but Edie, Courtney and I all beat the ambulance to MUSC.

Because Carroll was put in CCU, we had a long, anxious wait before we could see him. Around 8:30 or so, we got to take turns seeing him. By that time, Carroll's grandson, Jeffrey, was also there.

The CCU unit is what we just left a few days ago following his valvoplasty.

It was later in the morning when we learned that Carroll has a pulmonary embolism, or blood clot in his lungs. Because of several other problems, surgery was not an option. He was put on blood thinner to prevent the clot from getting bigger and with the hopes that it will dissolve.

At SMC, Carroll had a couple of things happen that he couldn't stand. For example, an ABG test was done. This is where they test the arterial blood gases or something like that. I can't remember exactly but I've had it done once and I don't ever, ever, ever want to have it done again. It is the most painful thing I know of. I'd rather have 20 children at one time than to have that done again. It's awful. He hated it -- and they had already given him morphine when he had this done.

He was also catheterized. I don't have to tell you whether or not he liked that!

He had a CAT scan at SMC and a chest x-ray at MUSC. He was hooked up to all kinds of tubes and machinery.

After hearing from the doctors, including Drs. Powers, Townsend, Schreiner and Jenkins, I made a quick trip back to Summerville for a shower and to pack clothes for several days and nights at the hospital.

When I returned, I walked in with Pastor Briner from our church, St. Luke's. We had a nice chat while waiting for about 20 minutes to get to see Carroll.

Not long after she left, Carroll had more visitors, limited to two at a time in CCU: Lisa, Susan, Joanne, Kelly, Pam and Chelsey.

Dr. Steinberg came by in the afternoon, as did Dr. Townsend and Dr. Schreiner. They have all conferred with each other and with the oncologists to see what treatment is next.

Surprisingly, one of them told me they are considering letting Carroll go home tomorrow (Wednesday,) That was another shock!!!! The doc said they feel that Carroll will improve within 12 - 24 hours and then stabilize. They will likely keep him on blood thinner for several weeks and have PT at home.

Isn't it wonderful that he might be able to come home so quickly? The biggest problem will be making sure that he doesn't get worn out by phone calls and/or visitors. He will need lots of rest.

He has also suffered a minor vision problem and the cause has not yet been determined. It may be something that resolves on its own.

It's now 9 p.m. They said they would probably give Carroll Benadryl to help him sleep. They must have, because he fell asleep during the Braves game!!!

(PS - If you see a few typos in this post, I'm surprised that there are only a few! I'm only half-awake.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Update: Monday mid-afternoon

Carroll said he is weaker this afternoon than he was yesterday. He asked for a wheelchair. He says he cannot walk to the bathroom or to the bedroom. The last few walks have been with him holding onto me. Unfortunately, the hall is not quite wide enough for him and for my hips at the same time, but we're getting there. I called Dr. Bolster and just received a call back that he is ordering a wheelchair.

Because of the vision problem in his left eye, Carroll says he cannot work the crosswords or read much of the newspaper; he gets frustrated trying to watch TV.

Dr. Steinberg said to let Carroll eat whatever he wants to eat. He had pound cake and milk for breakfast (his request) and half a banana for lunch. I'll probably try to get him to eat something else after he wakes up and has his breathing treatment.

He has had a hard time sleeping. His coughing wakes him up; trying to catch his breath wakes him up; the ringing phone wakes him up (I'm trying to figure out how to turn the ringer off or way, way down.)

There have been 12 calls from people today who want to know how he is. Loads of people care a lot about him, but I just cannot give complete information when he is listening. His vision might have been affected somewhat, but his hearing hasn't been. If I give one-word answers or vague answers, he asks about the conversation when I hang up. Hope y'all understand. That's another reason for trying to keep everyone informed by blog instead of phone.
The good news is Carroll's attitude. Even though he said he is weaker, he tells me he is going to get better and he tells me things he is going to do when he gets better.

Monday Around Noon

Carroll got more sleep last night than he did the night before. He went a little longer between breathing treatments after the one at 4 AM.

Pam called last night and he talked just a bit to her on the phone.

He has still had absolutely no pain in the groin area where the catheter was inserted. That's good news.

Carroll is still really weak. He isn't eating much, but he's eating a little. He doesn't seem to have much of an appetite and prefers food that doesn't require much effort to eat.

He is still having the vision problems he experienced Friday in the hospital. We think it's just the left eye but we know it's on the left side of what he's is trying to see, whether it's the TV, the newspaper or anything else. This has frustrated him a lot.

Note to anyone who calls: I am almost always in the room with him when I answer the phone. If you call and ask how he is or for an update -- especially if there has been a worsening or change -- I am not willing to say those things in front of him. And if I don't say much at all, he always wants to know what the discussion was about when I get off of the phone. In other words, you might not get the whole story on the phone.

Carroll tires easily. He doesn't mind visitors if the visits are relatively short. In fact, I believe visits are good for him, although he would never admit it. Part of his hesitation is that he doesn't want people to see him in a weakened condition. So, if you come visit, please be positive and upbeat -- and know that sometimes it's quite an effort for him to talk.

In the few minutes since a I started typing this, he seems to have gotten better than he was earlier. This is typical, though. Some good times, some that are not so good. He just talked to Vic on the phone and sounded pretty good, maybe the best since he has gotten out of the hospital. That's good news!

We just heard from MUSC regarding his follow-up appointments, so they are now scheduled.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Carroll - Pictures from Days Gone By

Do you recognize Carroll in any of these pictures?

Update: Sunday the 21st

It's Father's Day, and Carroll got to spend several hours with Vic, his son. Vic stayed at the house while I taught Sunday School and went to church, then picked up a few things from the grocery store.
When I got back, Carroll had a room full of visitors: Vic, Edie, Courtney, Chuck and Pat.

Loads of people asked about Carroll at church, some of whom he had known since his days at the shipyard, some relatively new friends and other acquaintances. He's had loads of prayers lifted up for him.
Diane Lyles brought one of her famous pound cakes to us. She must have the best recipe in the world for pound cakes.
Lisa came by mid-afternoon; she and I gabbed enough to put Carroll to sleep.
Becky called this afternoon and he talked to her. It was brief, because he doesn't have much energy.
A little later, Edie brought by two plates of food for us. Yummy, as usual.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


The Dawg is home from the hospital. He's on oxygen 24/7 but at least he is home, out of the dress (hospital gown) and into regular clothes.

This is Mandy. She's the one who wheeled him and the oxygen tank out to my car from his hospital room. It's ironic that she was the last one we saw, because she is a big Braves fan, just like Carroll. So is her husband, Harrison. (My daughter is named Mandy and her son is Harrison.)

I've sorta moved in and taken over the extra bedroom at Carroll's house for the time being 'cause he needs someone around all the time right now.

He'll have follow-up with Dr. Steinberg next week.

Vic, Edie & Jeffrey were at his house when he got back from the hospital; they helped get his belongings inside. Jeffrey hooked up a router so that I could have internet access anywhere in the house -- thank goodness! Edie brought boiled peanuts, one of Carroll's favorites (which I MIGHT share with him.) They live a few doors down and are available and willing any time he needs anything.

Lisa came by and visited for a while. She also offered to help in any way that we needed.

John came by yesterday afternoon at the hospital; he, too, has offered to help.

Tonight, Carroll gets to watch the Braves from inside his own home! Yippee!!!

Carroll and I are both blessed with such good friends and we appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Again, It's Superman - and More of the Wonderful MUSC Folks

Superman a/k/a Dr. Steinberg came by The Dawg's room this afternoon. He says Carroll will probably be released Saturday morning.

Here's Jennifer, the day nurse in his new room.

This is Judy from Respiratory Therapy.

I caught Tarra by surprise - and she still looks nice!

Here's the big smile that brought Carroll's food to him. I think he said his name is Tim, but I'm not certain -- but he certainly was nice and friendly.

Tiffany is Carroll's nurse tonight. Boy, she'll have her hands full!

Tesha is another person with one of those beautiful smiles -- even while she's working.

Charlotte is helping with Carroll's medical care tonight. She has always lived in the lowcountry.

The Warehouse

Carroll has asked me several times today why I put him in this warehouse.
He has also asked if we know the people here.
Then he wanted to know if the doctors do anything other than walk around the halls and come in the doors from time to time.

So, yes, he has been disoriented. There was also a question about a vision problem, which the doctor checked tonight. In fact, he checked because these could be signs of a stroke, but he seems convinced this is still a result of heavy medication, including morphine, given to him and that it just hasn't worn off yet. Let's hope so.

The Day After

I wasn't allowed to stay overnight in The Dawg's room in CCU, so after seeing him twice on Thursday afternoon and after almost-no-sleeping in his room Wednesday night, I decided to go home and get a really good night's rest.

There was a phone call from the hospital at 7:30 am. It was Dr. Jenkins. She said, "Mr. Smith seems confused and agitated. He insists that we have kept you away from him for three days. He is asking for his wife." She asked if I would talk to him if she called back from his bedside. Well, of course I would.

Within moments Dr. Jenkins called back and put him on the phone. He sounded just find to me, and much better than he had sounded during the week before Thursday's procedure.

Carroll asked when I would be at MUSC; I told him it would be this morning but that I didn't want to drive in the morning traffic into Charleston, that I hadn't yet dressed, that I had a few errands to run, including going to the bank, and I needed to pick up something he had requested.
It took a bit longer than anticipated and was late morning when I arrived.

Time I walked in, Carroll asked where I had been; he said they had been treating him like a child and had put him on restriction! He said to please go let them know I was there so they would let him off of restriction and out of there. He was sitting up in a chair.

He said he wanted to get off of restriction so he could go get a beer tonight.

Carroll also said they thought he was crazy. He kept trying to figure out what he had done wrong to make them mad at him and put him on restriction.

I told him that morphine sometimes makes people disoriented and confused and perhaps even agitated. He said he would never take that stuff again. He continued to insist he isn't crazy.

Then he asked again where I had been before I got to the hospital and why I hadn't come to see him yesterday. (I was with him the entire time before the procedure and went into his CCU room twice afterwards. He also didn't remember that Vic, Edie and Courtney had visited.) He also didn't remember watching the Braves play ball, but later said they won, which they did.

When he dozed off, he kept saying "one day" and "restless man."

Hospital personnel told us that all of this could be attributed to the morphine and to his disorientation. Dr. Schreiner said that sometimes coming back to a different room could cause a patient to become confused, especially in CCU with all of the equipment.

Look at these beds and the surrounding equipment. It's much more intimidating than it looks in the photos.

This is Kissia, a nurse in CCU. She patiently answered all his questions.

Sam came in and touch Carroll's blood sugar level so that he could eat.

Becky took time with Carroll also. She's originally from Montana.

Kim is another friendly MUSC employee; she's with environmental services.

As of mid-afternoon, he has moved out of CCU into a room on 3rd floor.
He is still on oxygen; Dr. Schreiner tried to take him off of oxygen, but his oxygen level dropped when he took a few steps in the hall.
As the morphine is wearing off, he is becoming more oriented, but not totally.
Dr. Townsend just came in and said Carroll may be able to go home tomorrow (Saturday) but it will be with a portable oxygen tank.
Dr. Schreiner told us that they (the "team") are very pleased with the success of the procedure and believe Carroll is doing quite well. That's good news, huh?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

MUSC Patient Services, Family & Superman

The Dawg's son, Vic, waiting to see the patient.

Vic's wife, Edie.

Vic with their daughter, Courtney.

All of the folks at MUSC have been wonderful, helpful and friendly.
Here are a few we met today from Patient Services.

John -

Brenda -

Suzanne -

And here is Superman a/k/a Dr. Steinberg!

Important Reminder about Visiting in CCU:

Maximum of 2 visitors at a time

Short visits: 10 - 15 minutes

No latex balloons, plants, flowers, food or drinks in the Unit

No visitors 12 or under

Wash hands before entering unit; then ring bell for entry.

Wait for permission; must always have permission to enter unit.

No visits between 6:30 am and 8:30 am or between 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm.

No visits on the unit after 11 pm (or earlier if patient requests)

Just Saw The Dawg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And he looks so much better. He's watching the Braves game and they're ahead!!!!

Carroll said it worked and they he can already tell a big difference. Hurrah! Isn't that fantastic news?!!?!!

He's talking up a storm, watching the game and breathing.

To go in for a short visit, each person has to wash hands, put on a gown and latex gloves. Look at other restrictions in previous post. They are enforced in CCU!

CCU for The Dawg

We still haven't seen Carroll. He's in recovery. He will spend the next day and night in CCU.

Just FYI:

Maximum of 2 visitors at a time
Short visits: 10 - 15 minutes
No latex ballooons, plants, flowers, food or drinks in the Unit
No visitors 12 or under
Wash hands before entering unit; then ring bell for entry. Must always have permission to enter unit.

No visits between 6:30 am and 8:30 am or between 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm. No visits on the unit after 11 pm (or earlier if patient requests)


He made it through the procedure!!!!!! We'll know how much it helped within hours. I've just talked with Dr. Steinberg. He doesn't know to what extent the valve was causing the breathing problems; it could have been 50%, 75%, etc. He believes it was a big part of it. He also said that, based on yesterday's x-ray, there wasn't enough fluid on the lungs to risk putting needles in to drain fluid.

Thank you, Lord!!! And Dr. Steinberg and team.


The procedure is finished, according to a phone call received by the folks at the desk. The doctor will be out soon. That's all I know. Stay tuned.

Phone Call

Someone from the team working on The Dawg called to the waiting area and said they actually started at 11:14 AM. So, we're all playing the waiting game. I'm glad to have access to the Internet throughout MUSC. I'd go crazy without it.

Undergoing the Procedure

Jen and Ryan seem pretty happy to be taking The Dawg away, don't you think?

Javainta took his vitals. Look at that awesome smile!

Dr. Powers and several other "white coats" came in to talk to Carroll. Behind him is Dr. Schreiner. Dr. Townsend is nearby.

Here's Kelly. She's got a great smile but I caught her by surprise. She has been extremely helpful.

David is a respiratory therapist. He gave Carroll two treatments. The one this morning helped a lot.


Carroll is in surgery. Oops! I'm not familiar with medical terminology; I've been advised this is NOT surgery but rather "a procedure." Sometimes I forget and use "surgery" instead of "procedure."

At 8 AM, we were told it would probably be an afternoon procedure. In fact, all along we've been told it would likely be in the afternoon. In the 8:30 to 9 am range, we were told it might be late morning, that they were waiting on a bed in ICU, because that's where he'll be after surgery. Then, around 9:30 or so, things started moving. I believe we'll know something in about two hours from right now (10:45 am).

Oops! As I typed, Dr. Steinberg walked out and told me they are getting ready to start, so, obviously, they haven't started yet.

Carroll has been extremely uncomfortable for the last 12 - 24 hours. He said he absolutely could not live like he was. He had to have help to even sit up in bed. He is looking forward to the relief this procedure should bring.

Dr. Steinberg, Dr. Timothy and Kelly have said that, if surgery goes well, Carroll should notice immediate improvement. Dr. Powers said it could be immediate or it could take several days.

When surgery is over, and if things go as expected, he will spend one night in ICU, then probably 2 or 3 nights in a regular room.

Once he is out of ICU, he should be able to have visitors or talk on the phone. Because he has been so weak and lost so much weight, he probably won't have much strength, so, if you visit or call, please limit the visit to about 10 or 15 minutes and calls to about 2 minutes. He will still need to rest a lot, so he is certainly not asking for visitors or calls.

Dr. Timothy said Carroll could be up and about some this afternoon but will still need a lot of bedrest for a while.

If you have a moment, please leave a comment under this post for Carroll to read. Since the Braves haven't been doing well lately, he needs cheering up!!!

Relief is Getting Closer

Dr. Timothy is meeting with us right now, going over risks and the procedure itself.

Here are some of the risks he mentioned, while saying it is a moderate to high-risk procedure:

vascular damage or kidney damage
damage to organ
perforation of the ventricle - 1% to 2%
stroke - 2 to 5
death - 2 to 5 per cent
heart attack - 2 to 5 per cent
allergic reaction
needing emergent surgery
needing blood transfusion

All of the risks listed that do not have percentages by them seem to be less than 2%.
This is a bit different from what we had been told before but Carroll says anything is better than the way he is right now.
Here are Dr. Timothy and Kelly; they are going over the risks and such with Carroll.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Late Wednesday Night Update

The Dawg didn't have a real good night last night. He got up around 4 AM and just couldn't breathe. Today he's had a hard time breathing -- but he is certainly where he needs to be. The valvoplasty is supposed to help with this significant problem; if it does, we will know immediately. As mentioned before, it's a medical procedure, and almost all medical procedures have risks. Dr. Steinberg told us there is 5% chance of death, a 5% chance of stroke -- but that leaves a whopping 90% otherwise, so those are pretty good odds, don't you think?

The Dawg is too short of breath to talk on the phone or to talk to anyone. Maybe by Thursday night, he'll be talking up a storm.

Carroll's blood sugar has been very high today, reaching 305 at one point. It has lowered some - to 234 -- but not enough. Everyone believes this is because of some of the medications he has had to take.

Here are the two people who will be putting up Carroll and me tonight. They are Nicole and Chris.

No one has given us an exact time for the valvoplasty, but we've been told it will be Thursday afternoon. It's anticipated that The Dawg will spend one night in ICU following the procedure.

Keep him in your prayers, okay?

Wednesday's Update #2

Dr. Schreiner came by again today. He's the one who is a Cincinnati fan.

Courtney was back today also - "needling" him again. :)

This is Angela. She brought Carroll another one of those delicious meals tonight - pork loin, sweet potatoes, turnip greens and more!

Raven is the one who picked up Carroll's tray. It was a lot lighter after he finished eating.

The Dawg - More from MUSC

Tyesha came by the room last night to get Carroll to sign a whole lot of paperwork. Like all good patients, he signed everything - without reading anything.

Erin was Carroll's nurse today. She's also friendly and helpful.

Christine from Patient Services came by today with information about the valvoplasty and other things.

Carroll had x-rays late this morning. Holly provided his "transportation."

Monique brought Carroll's lunch today. Yummy food at MUSC.

Lisa and Susan visited Carroll this morning. Edie and Vic will be here tomorrow.
Feel free to leave a comment for The Dawg.