Special Notice: 2015
CAPT Ronald M. "Mugs" McKeown's latest status reported by CAPT Jack Ensch who was Mug's NFO in Vietnam for his Mig kills. This email was forwarded by West Flight Leader, CAPT Gil Rud and RADM Rabbit Campbell.
Encouraging signs today. 22 August
Mugs was breathing on his own for a little while this morning w/o the respirator. They then put him back on it later in the day so as to not wear him out. His vital signs are all good, the fluid in the lungs is decreasing, he now has two pick lines - one for the medications and one for feeding (eliminating the nose tube). He wasn't as heavily sedated today and they have now regulated the Parkinson's medicine to the proper level to eliminate the dyskinesia (the involuntary, thrashing of his arms). All positive steps. The doctors were encouraged and amazed at the progress he is making. They can see that he is a fighter.
When Kathy and I visited today (about 1 pm) Mugs was alert and recognized us right off. I gave him a hard time about just lying around in bed all day and told him our old corny joke about "everyone down on the farm asks about you". That elicited a big smile, with him mouthing the punch line ("Yeah, the cow's ass, the pig's ass, the horse's ass,") right along with me. His sense of humor is still intact, but he can't talk yet.
Lauee (as usual) was at his bedside when we arrived. She is doing well and getting her rest and not staying as late at the hospital each day now as she did all last week.
A small step forward today, but please keep the thoughts prayers coming - it's still a long road ahead. More info as things progress.
Bad news. 21 August
Mugs has taken another serious setback. So, keep those thoughts and prayers coming.
Mugs is still in ICU - and may now be there for quite some time. He continues to be heavily sedated and was still having trouble with the fluid collecting in his lungs. Additionally, his uncontrollable, thrashing arm movements were inadvertently causing some of the ventilator and other medical device connections to become disconnected. Plus he was unconsciously fighting with and having trouble with the ventilator oxygen mask.
At about 3-4 pm today Lauree and her daughter, Laura, - in consultation with (and on the advise of Mugs' medical team) - decided the best course of action at that point was to perform a tracheotomy procedure to provide the ventilator support, vice the oxygen mask system. The procedure was successful and Mugs' breathing function has improved. Kathy and I were there today shortly after he had the tracheotomy procedure and Mugs was resting peacefully.
His medical team came by to check on him while we were there and told us that Mugs has a staph infection in his system which will required antibody treatment for six weeks or more. He now has a pick line device attached to his body where they can take daily blood samples and administer medicine and antibodies, etc. w/o having to keep injecting him with needles each time. He is also on a feeding tube.
Right now the "long pole in the tent" for Mugs is getting to breathe on his own and get out of ICU. After that will follow time in a recovery ward at Balboa and then a transfer to a special rehab hospital - of which there are two located in SD. Following that, only time will tell - an assisted living facility or back home for in-home care. (?)
The road ahead will be a long one and he and Lauree will need all the support they can get. Again, please keep the thoughts, prayers, notes and cards coming. Lauree (the "Steel Magnolia") is holding up well.
Further updates as more info is available as conditions change.