Monday, December 19, 2005

Two laps, Five stairs steps, Cold feet, The bath story

For some reason, this blog showed only a blank white page for several hours today. I republished the blog, reloaded the web page, and everything seems to be back to normal. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Denise used her walker to complete two laps around the rehab corridor today. Her therapist also had her take five steps down and then back up the stairwell, using the handrail. All the food stayed down again today. In fact, we found a new snack that she loves. At Dollar Tree I found a wheel of Tiger Gruyere (pasteurized processed cheese food) and a bag of Bacon & Cheddar 'Tato Skins snack chips. She really liked opening up a little foil triangle of wannabe gruyere and spreading it on the 'Tato Skins chips. Loaded with protein, fat, carbs, and sodium... what could be better at packing on the pounds? By the way, her weight did dip under 100 pounds today. I've been told to not let a variance of a pound over a couple days bother me.

You're not going to believe this, but I've been having increasingly cold feet about her coming home this weekend, if it's a full-on discharge, anyway. Yes, after looking forward to the day that she leaves the hospital for so long, I'm wondering if a pass each day for a couple days to see how she does would be better... possibly a little longer in the rehab unit to get that much stronger and more confident, would be helpful after all, whether Huntington or Casa Colina. I definitely see the benefits & drawbacks of each scenario. Denise & I were talking about if she'd like me to ask about easing into life back at home starting with a pass this weekend instead of an outright discharge. She wants to come home PDQ, no doubt about it, and she has been working hard to that end. I know that past improvements followed by a few sudden crises definitely play into my uneasiness. I related those events to Denise (who didn't remember them or was unaware) and then she began to understand where I was coming from. It's just interesting that my uneasiness has concurred in one way or another with several concerned family, friends, and a doctor, all that wonder if this is the right time for the planned big step. It's been pointed out that in the insurance game, insurance might be playing the "home for Christmas" card in order to get Denise off the dole. Home for Christmas is definitely enticing. But I also like the security blanket of a more gradual transition from 24-hour professional care to little ol' me. The only thing we want more than Denise home is to make sure that she's not home TOO soon. What a balancing act, huh? I'm meeting with the PT tomorrow to start a crash-course in how to help Denise. In spite of not being sure what I think would be a good move right now, I look forward to learning the tricks of the trade so I can help her get better. Her ability to get around hasn't presented much concern in my mind. In fact, she's making tremendous strides, and for that I'm thankful! I'm more concerned about the medical things that I usually associate with staying in the hospital... the bedsore, the PICC line, the IV supplements on occasion, all wrapped up in the stress of everything she's gone through these last five months, and a seizure a few weeks ago. The wonderful thing is that, though she sees why there's some concern, she is in good spirits because of the increasing amount that she can do each day. The therapists & staff are awesome about encouraging her in her every accomplishment. Denise & I need wisdom, as well as her team of doctors, nurses, and therapists that will have a conference to decide what to do and when to do it.

And now for something completely different... The kids were having a wonderful bath time, playing with new toy boats that a neighbor gave them (thanks!). I put too much bubble bath in, so the kids had plenty of bubbles with which to give themselves beards, hats, etc. Keep the beards & hats in mind. The bubbles took forever to fade and clear. And when they did, (insert images from "Caddyshack" here), Gracie pointed & yelled, "Daddy! There's a poop in the tub! Look there's another! Eew" Yes, Jacob had dropped the deuce. And because of all the bubbles, there's no telling how long it'd been there. I got the kids out lickity-split, dried 'em (at arm's length), drained the tub, removed the foreign object, flushed, bleached, threw the kids into the *other* tub for another bath (an antibacterial liquid hand soap bubble bath this time), and things got back to normal. Tonight at bed time, after prayers & stories, the lights were off. Everything was quiet for a few minutes. Gracie was snuggling into me...
"I love you."
"I love you, too."
...silence for a few seconds...
"Can Jacob not take a bath anymore with me?"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that I agree with your concerns about Denise coming home. In fact I have been thinking that maybe I should ask whether you had considered the idea of a pass for a few days before discharge to see how things go. Its very natural for some anxiety to set in, and perhaps a pass would help to slowly break in the transition to home. I certainly don't know all of the details of how Denise is doing, so will pray for you and those involved to make the best decesion. From Diane a nurse in Washington that has been praying daily for you all.

December 20, 2005 1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't help but laugh at all of the poop stories. My husband especially enjoys them.
In all seriousness of the situation at hand, you sure know how to lighten the mood. :)
Praying for you always,
Debbi (Deming) Lowther

December 20, 2005 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Phil, for sharing your concerns. I, too, agree with your concerns about Denise coming home. I have felt this concern for awhile...a trial run seems to be a wiser transition.

God has blessed Denise, in so many precious ways, with His healing touch. I will continue to pray for God's leading in making the wisest decision.

Athens, GA

December 20, 2005 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Phil - Just want to let you know that I can certainly understand your anxiety about Denise coming home "cold turkey." Maybe we need to trust our father to make that decision. I am an PT and have equipment you guys are welcome to have; wheeled walker, commode, cane, bath chair or transfer bath bench. It's yours - just give me a call. Praise God for all the wonderful improvements happening. Carol Berglund

December 20, 2005 5:35 PM  

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