Nathan Charles Pitcher re-admitted to Dartmouth General

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I don't have many of the details yet, but I've just been informed that my father, Nathan Charles Pitcher, has been re-admitted to Dartmouth General Hospital for respiratory problems.

His neighbours brought him into the local clinic a day or so ago; he was dazed and confused, and having trouble breathing. The clinic transferred him to Dartmouth General, and he's been admitted into the ICU.

He is sedated and on a respirator. The doctors are evaluating his condition. While the situation is serious, they do not yet have a prognosis.

I'll update this blog entry as I get more details.
Don't hesitate to call or email me if you have questions.


I spoke with the ICU doctor (Dr. Young) this morning. Dad is making progress, and they hope to have him off of the ventilator on Monday.

They think that he caught pneumonia and that made his COPD worse. His bloodwork shows some infection, which they are treating, and his O2 saturation level is improving.

Patrice visited Dad last night, and will visit again today or tomorrow. Uncle Lew has his own medical problems to deal with, and probably won't be able to visit for a while. I believe that either Patrice or the hospital (or both) have called Ben, so between all the family in Nova Scotia, Dad won't be too lonely while he recuperates. And, I'll get out to see him as soon as I can.

I spoke with the ICU and found out that they still have Dad on the respirator. The ICU doctors want his O2 saturation level to come up a bit more (he measures in the high 80's now) before they remove the respirator and put him on an Oxygen canulla. Consequently, he is still sedated and resting.

Patrice has visited him a couple of times, and tells me that she will visit as often as possible. She has expressed some concerns about his general well-being, and (with what little I know), I have concerns of my own. I guess that we just have to wait and see how Dad responds to treatment, and "cross that bridge" when we get there.

So, no bad news. Dad's resting and in the best of care. We'll see what happens next.

Yesterday, the ICU tried to reduce Dad's sedation, but that just left him disoriented and combative. Today, they tell me that they are "weaning" him off of the ventilator, and have him under "light sedation".

When they wake him, he is conscious, and mildly responsive (as if he were partially awake), which is to be expected at this point.

The ICU nurse tells me that his O2 sat levels are now in the low 90's, which is an improvement from a day or so ago. They think that he'll stabilize soon, perhaps by the end of the week.

Cousin Patrice Gibson continues to check in on Dad, daily. She's gone out to his house to do some housekeeping; apparently, whatever hit Dad over the winter took a lot out of him, and he didn't keep the house up much.

I spoke with Mike and Kittie Trask yesterday. They were concerned about Dad, and have checked in with Dartmouth General daily. I assured them that he was improving, and that they are a big part of his recovery.

I spoke with the ICU nurse this morning, and Dad is not doing any better. They still have him on the ventilator (65% Oxygen), and are having difficulty weaning him off of it.

The last time I spoke with the ICU (a couple of days ago, not blogged here), they were seeing improvement in his O2 levels, but over the last 12 hours, he seems to have drifted back into difficult territory.

But, the last time he was hospitalized (in spring 2008), the story was somewhat the same; it took a lot of time to get his O2 levels back in shape. I fear that this time will be no different.

Still, he's hanging in there. For a man in his 80s (81 last February), and with COPD and Emphysema, he's doing as well as can be expected. I have my fingers crossed that this is just a minor setback and he will recover to his old irascible self again.

Yesterday, the ICU told me that they had to take Dad off of the ventilator; they don't leave the canula on for more than two weeks as it causes issues of it's own. The doctors told me that Dad was still groggy, and was having problems clearing the CO2 from his bloodstream.

Dad hasn't got any better; he's slipping away, and there's nothing that I can do about it.

Today, at 8:15 AM, Atlantic time, my father passed away. Cousin Patrice was at his side.

Nathan Charles Pitcher was laid to rest beside his second wife Barbara (nee Owston) on Monday, April 5, 2010. In the Holy Trinity Cemetary on East Petpeswick Road, Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia, he has a clear view of the ocean that he loved so much.

Rest in Peace, Dad