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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The rest of my life

Besides not running last week, a whole lot of other stuff was going on in my life.
I spent all week worried sick about my grandpa. My grandfather is 81 years old and naturally in declining health, although he is as sharp as ever (just two weeks ago I received a typical email from him - a clever, amusing, charming, and well-written page-long letter full of good scientific information. He's a retired engineer with his doctorate from Yale and hasn't lost his luster). A ureter anomaly has left him prone to urinary tract infections, and he was taken to the ED last week with a severe one (it had been treated unsuccessfully with oral antibiotics at home). To my horror I learned that he was admitted in septic shock. He was put on a ventilator and dialysis, as he was in renal, vascular, and respiratory failure by that time. Given the severity of the illness and his age, I started saying my goodbyes to him. This was pretty tough for us, as we lost a dear friend to sepsis just last year. I couldn't believe I was facing it again.
I kept my phone by me that night, expecting him to pass when his heart rate dropped in the early morning hours, but instead I was surprised to learn that he had been taken off his pressers (to increase blood pressure) over the night. His BP maintained 100/60 on its own. To everyone's complete shock, the next evening he pulled his vent out (he was lightly sedated on propofol).
So astonishingly my grandfather recovered from sepsis. The survival rate of severe sepsis is only 50 or 60% in any case, but in a man of his age with underlying health conditions, survival is rare. However, he is not out of the woods yet. While in vascular failure he suffered a massive heart attack, and examination revealed that he had arterial blockage. He underwent triple bypass just yesterday, and we're kind of holding our breath for his recovery. That's a lot of intervention right after a near-death illness.

Besides that, my job has had some unexpected twists and turns. Despite the fact that I run the best pharmacy in the city (What? I do. It's amazing. Takes pharmacy to a whole new level), I've had a whole lot of turnover. My part time pharmacist quit to open his own pharmacy (I'm happy for him, but it was a little under-handed: he scooped up a lot of inside information on our company while he worked for me, knowing he was opening his own place), and I had to hire a new one; I hired an additional tech, who left to work for another company after just three weeks; now I'm in the process of hiring yet another new tech. Unfortunately these changes coincided with the planned launch of two new initiatives I've had to pull back on due to lack of staffing, so I'm a little behind on my self-imposed schedule. It doesn't look like I can catch up anytime soon, either: I have a business trip in June that will take me out of the office, and I will also be training the staff at 20 - YES I SAID TWENTY - new HIV stores in my market. That's no big deal if you are a trainer for a living, but I still have a pharmacy to manage!

So, it looks like I'll be getting into some busy weeks coming up.
There is actually more to the hiring new pharmacy employees story. Much more. So, I'll get back to you on that later when I think you could use a little more boredom.
Happy hump day!


  1. I hope your grandfather continues to defy the odds!

  2. You are your grandfather are in my prayers.

    And good luck with the pharmacy changes and training. I wish you could come train some of the pharmacists up here! :) With the health of three of our kids we are regulars at the pharmacy.

    Have a good week!

  3. First of all, I hope your grandpa makes a smooth recovery. Sounds like he is quite the fighter!

    I had no idea you had so much responsibility with your pharmacy job! Lots of changes and stuff going on there. I hope things settle down and you are able to relax a bit.

    How's your hip/ groin? I'm afraid to start running. I just don't want to do it and my knee bother me again... :-(

  4. I'll be thinking of your grandfather. He sounds like a real survivor. I hope all goes well with the new hirings and the training...that is way more than I could cope with!

  5. So sorry about your grandpa. He sounds very much like mine- except that mine didn't have any formal education past 8th grade- still was sharp as a tack to the end though. Praying he completely recovers from the surgery and that you have some more good times with him.
    Hopefully work will slow down for you! That's a lot to have on your plate.

  6. Glad to hear your Grandfather is on the road to recovery... He will be in my prayers. Good luck on the job front!!

  7. I am so glad your grandfather beat the odds... I hope he continues to improve and gain strength each day. How scary!

    Ugh, the job stuff does not sound fun. Turnover is tough as it's so much work to hire and train someone. Good luck with it - if anyone can handle it, you can!

  8. I hope your grandfather beats this...he is clearly a's to hoping you get a lot more time with him!

  9. I wish the best for your grandfather! It seems like he's got a fighting spirit! Your job sounds like a lot of work! I hope that it goes well!

  10. This post has a lot of big science words and management ideas...don't you know blogs are supposed to be: picture, simple sentence, picture, simple sentence? We're stupid.

    Anyway, go grandpa! 81 is young. I hope you have at least another 10 years of his fun emails

  11. i'm glad grandpa pulled through! hang in there with work. mine's been pretty demanding too, though maybe not as much as yours (and that's ok by me)

  12. Oh my gosh Gracie, I am in AWE of the story of your grandfather. I'm in a surgery-trauma ICU and when I see someone your father's age suffering from sepsis, multi-organ system failure, on CVVHD, the vent, pressors, etc it's almost never a great that's amazing that he made it over the hump, I am so happy for you and your family!!

  13. wow! so impressed with your Grandfather. I hope he continues to improve. Sounds like one tough dude!