Saturday, November 05, 2005

Asking questions, Rehab field trip,

Yesterday when my dad was visiting, Denise asked lots of questions about losing the baby (he was on hand with me for that ordeal). Today she asked me questions about what happened to her during the time that she was sedated. Part of what I told her was that a few times during the months that she was at Arcadia Methodist, everyone thought we were about to lose her, but her doctor & the team were able to help pull her back every time. Just for the record, her doctor at USC said that she was probably just ready to get better at the time of the transfer, so he was going to get out of her way & let her do it. I think he's selling himself short, because she's getting better by massive leaps & bounds. Anyway, it was hard for her to digest the gravity of her situation. I haven't wanted to talk about these things with her just yet, because I don't want to stress her out. But she's starting to ask, so we're letting her take the lead in finding out how much she wants to know, and when. When I visited again tonight, she cried (she thought it was the first time, but I've seen tears before) as I was reading her emails. She couldn't understand why the outpouring of support, especially from people that she doesn't know (yet!). She said she was just being sick, not trying to do or able to do anything... how could she be any kind of witness? She said that she's just been numb to everything; not mourning or really thinking about losing a few months of the year. I guess that yesterday & today would be markers that things are starting to hit her.

Yesterday morning I took a field trip with Denise's parents and my aunt the nurse to Casa Colina, the rehab facility. I can hardly wait until Denise goes there. It's lacking very little, and there's a ton to like about it. It looks brand spanking new. I thought it looked like a fancy hotel inside. The grounds are landscaped, and every room has a view of one of the courtyards. It's got a great reputation (emails from some of you attest to this), and I'm confident that a better place with a more intensive regimen would be hard to find. When she starts there, she'll have to think of it as a job. Breakfast, then physical & occupational therapy all morning. Lunch. More PT & OT in the afternoon. Even though the patient-to-nurse ratio is less than what it is now, it won't matter... add the PTs & OTs into the mix, and she'll seldom be left alone. Finally, between 4 & 8pm, visitors are allowed. 8pm seemed kind of early to cut off visiting hours, but she'll probably be even more exhausted than she is now from all the work (and she's nodding off by 8 or 8:30 already). They have a cafeteria that looks like a nice restaurant, and one of the reps at the hospital said that patients are encouraged to eat meals there. We're looking forward to finally having Mommy back at the dinner table with us!
I asked about helping with the rehab therapy. I found out that for Denise to concentrate on her "job," it's preferred that we not be involved until it's closer to discharge time (and that'll be soon, right, everyone?). When I thought about that, it made sense... if I'm working out, it would be distracting to have someone watching me. Anyway, it looks like they won't need my help during the day, nor would (or should) I be allowed to visit, as that would in effect "interrupt Denise at work." Bittersweet, though. The faster she can get out of the hospital and into the rehab facility, the better. I'd love for the visiting hours to be closer to what they are currently. But Denise needs to be allowed to "get to work." I found myself saying yesterday, "It's about Denise getting rehab, not visiting." I should make a little sign to remind myself.
Speaking of Denise getting to work, I've got to get back to work myself one of these days. I've used up all my sick days and am now going through days donated by the people I work with. There isn't enough paper to write all the thank you notes I'd like to write to the people I work with (teachers, staff, etc.) and work for (admin, board, families, etc.). It seems there isn't enough time, either (I owe lots of people outside of work a lot of thank you notes, too). I guess I'm a little sick in the head, but I actually do like working at my school. I've felt bad about being gone for so many weeks, and all the related issues that a school has to deal with in a long-term absence. I called our HR person the other day to start talking about "what next." She said that they were working up some possibilities. Perfect timing, made even more perfect by the anticipated move to rehab and their posted visiting hours & policies. I'm encouraged by the way that I see things starting to mesh together. At the same time, I am a bit intimidated by the looming challenge of stepping up to the plate at work, maintaining optimal normalcy & security for Gracie & Jacob, taking care of myself, and doing so in a way that fits within the 4pm-8pm visiting time with Denise. Pray for me, my family, and my school on this one. Again, encouraged, but biting my nails.

I almost forgot the stats & such for the med-heads that are rooting for Denise. Tonight I will blatantly plagiarize an email that my nurse aunt Jackie sent me. She came up to visit for a couple days. Denise told me today that she wishes Jackie could be her nurse all the time. Anywho, the following refers to yesterday, Friday Nov 4:
Temp went to 100.7 so blood cultures done times 2, Urine analysis and 
culture and PICC line was removed (no IV access at the time). She was
started on an antibiotic Levaquin. Her temp at 4pm was 98.4
Her liver enzymes are normal (AST 29, ALT 40),CBC was normal (WBC
8.2,HB 10.2, HCT 30.5,Plt 359,000), Her protein is low (Albumin 2.5
norm 3.2-5) kidney function normal (creatinine 0.3). PTT was 49.6 - too
high so her anticoagulation meds lovenox was held and coumadin was
being decided weather or not to hold. BP 104/63 HR 103.
She vomited after breakfast. She complained of nausea today. Fleets.
Her feeding tube was to be connected only 8pm
to 6am at 60cc per hour.
She was connected up at about 9 pm.
The wound therapist changed her wound dressing and vac in the
evening. No one on staff was able to get her up for the evening meal
but Denise and I were able to position her comfortably enough in bed
to visit with the kids and eat only a little something. I
stayed to be sure we got her comfortable back down and on her side in
the middle of the bed.
A cardiologist saw her for a few moments just before 9pm.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you print out the entire blog it is as thick as a book. When Denise is feeling up to it, you can have that opportunity to for her to read it and she will fully understand the love that is it all. This has truly been a testament of your faith and devoton to a wonderfull women and family. I praise God for your progress!
P.S. We could donate sick days! I didn't know that! Cool.

November 07, 2005 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're friends with a friend of yours. We've been praying for your for months now. Thinking about how God has brought you through this, well, the tears just won't stop. I'm amazed and grateful. As for the rehab, the pain is all about the gain. If you are hurting - well, that's when you've just started to work hard enough. Learn to love it because it is the signal that you are getting stronger and healthier. When your brain and body reject what you have before you, just keep on going because that is when you are achieving. We'll keep on rooting for you, praying for you, and reading the updates. GO FOR IT!!!

November 18, 2005 7:50 PM  

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