I said I'd do better keeping you up-to-date on things - and things are happening. So here I am again.
This morning John's oxygen level was still good (sat of 1.00 on .40 O2, for the medical out there), but he was getting worn out with the effort of breathing, and had junk in his lungs that he couldn't cough up. Dr. Grinch (the intensivist) called Dr. Patel (a pulmonologist) in for a 2nd opinion, which was great. We've known Dr. Patel for a few years, he's taken care of John before and knows us, and I have a great deal of faith in his judgment. He saw John and talked to me, and strongly recommended immediate entubation and aggressive treatment of pneumonia, and disregarding of the red herrings (like cancer and congestive heart failure, which are both well-controlled right now). So between the two of us we convinced Dr. Grinch to do what Dr. Dunnick (cardiology) and I have been wanting since Monday, and what John was asking for. (That's what happens when you're married to a critical care nurse for a few decades - you request entubation. Be warned out there!)
They put the ET tube in John and put him on a ventilator, where he can rest, be suctioned to get secretions out of his lungs, and can have some secretions sent to the lab for culture and sensitivity, which will tell us if the antibiotics he's on are right. When they put the tube down they immediately suctioned up a great glob of thick brown secretions that he hadn't been able to cough up (apologies to the squeemish out there, but it's me), and he immediately relaxed. I talked to his nurse a bit ago; she said he's been much more comfortable and is resting much better. He should get a good night's sleep tonight.
And so should I. Today has been quite an emotional roller coaster. Before I talked to Dr. Patel, I was very afraid I'd be a widow by sundown. But Dr. Patel is more optimistic about his prospects. And after all, it's his specialty we're dealing with here. So I'm more relaxed, John is more comfortable, and the dog is still anxious and depressed about where Daddy is. And of course I can't explain things to Jethro; he just knows that Daddy's gone. On the practical level, I did finally get to the grocery store today. Otherwise I'd have been reduced to eating Jethro's food. Which would not help his anxiety. And probably not my digestive system. :)
So to sum up: the cavalry arrived in the form of Dr. Patel, and everybody is better except Jethro.
Thanks to all of you for your love and prayers! Now I'm off to bed. Goodnight, all.