Saturday, December 17, 2005

100.3 pounds, 3 stair steps, Ramp completed

Denise *stood* on a scale and was excited to be back up to 100.3 pounds. In fact, she was standing lots today. She even went up and down three steps in the stairwell. She was scared, but she did it! During our visit, she needed to go to the bathroom. After calling the nurse for help, she swung her legs over the edge of the bed, used the bedrail to hoist herself up to a sitting position, pushed off the bed and shuffled (holding the bedrail & wheelchair armrest) & turned toward the chair. For the grand finale, she eased down into the chair... no plopping. She's getting good at this.
Her doctor from USC came by during our evening visit & gave us some suggestions about other things to feed her that will help get her protein & fat stores back up. I guess it could take a year to get to that point, by the way. He had an interesting story based on his training for the rangers: after HARD training in extreme conditions and little food, all the guys got a common craving for Reese's peanut butter cups. When he mentioned that, Denise went "Oooh, yeah!" I guess that sounds good to her, too. His concerns with Denise being at home revolved primarily around nutrition and her ability to walk & use the bathroom by herself. I must admit that I have a longer list (IV potassium, wound care, seizure concern), but he didn't think those were huge concerns while being at home. He also brought up that for the most part, insurance will stop at the hospital door and things will get very expensive once home care starts. When all's said & done, it's apparently up to the rehab doctor to declare her fit or unfit for going home, and he also spoke to Denise and expressed his belief in considering what the patient wants in making the decision. We've all wanted Denise home, but not before she's ready, of course. Denise said tonight that she can't stand being in the hospital anymore, and wants to go home ASAP. And who could blame her, as here home has a few nice new upgrades...

Back on the home front, or the front of the home, a wheelchair ramp was constructed! I've gotta say that even after all the hard work, I think it'd be great if she never needs to roll on it in a wheelchair. I'm confident that the guys that built it would feel the same. Furniture was moved & modified to make it easier for her to get around inside the house. As an added bonus, many little "cosmetic" items on the "honey-do" list were completed, and parts of our house look much better now! I talked to Denise over the phone as everything was going on and she started sobbing. Hopefully it was because of this practical expression of caring, and not because she's terrified of what I picked out to install. The kids had a ball while out of the house, too (playing with friends & neighbors, visiting mommy, Kidspace children's museum, Chuck E Cheese...). Many thanks to Robert, Dave, Mike & Mike, Jerry, Jay, Pat, Sal, Ennio, Deanna, Bobby, Connie, Nate, Stephanie, Margarita & Kelly for the parts they played in making today's mini-Extreme Makeover: Home Edition possible. If I forgot anyone, please charge it to my head & not to my heart.


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