Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guest Post - Day 2: Leaping Forward by Standing and Sitting

Wow, what a second day! 

I left last night around 10:00pm and caught up on sleep. I walked in this morning (33 degrees, was what I would call a "brisk walk") and had breakfast then came up to see Doreen.
First thing for me was amazement at how much better she was today than last night. She was far more lucid and speaking very well. I was told she had a blood pressure drop in the evening but she has normally low blood pressure so it wasn't a big concern. I was glad to be there with her, the pain was still bothering her a bit but was better with an increased dose and she was mostly thirsty. All vitals were great. The surgeon team had visited her earlier in the morning and cleared her to leave ICU. 

Physical therapy came in and the first leap forward happened shortly thereafter. Doreen "log rolled" to her side, then sat up at the edge of the bed and then used her arms to push herself up and stand. She did it pretty much on her own with us standing by to make sure she didn't fall. She then turned and lowered herself into a chair. Her heart rate jumped quite a bit but blood pressure remained stable. She was nauseous but it passed eventually and she sat for a full hour before getting up again and back into the bed. 

I knew the instant she sat up how wonderful the surgery had gone, she was so straight and I could not see the prominent rib hump she's had nor the diagonal crease from how her waist had been twisted. Then she stood and it literally took my breath away.

I moved to Atlanta in 1996 and was at a social gathering to meet people in the local area (just friends, not a dating scene and in fact had convinced myself I was done with dating for awhile) when she stepped into the restauarant. I still remember how we locked eyes and I knew this would be the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. She looked back and as she approached I remember thinking how tall she was. Before the surgery, she had dropped from her former 5'10" at the time we met down to 5'6" and was looking up at me. Not today! When she stood, I have to imagine she gained every inch back because I was looking up again. 

She was doing great after that and felt much better getting back into bed than out. I think the therapy wore her out because she started to drift off, so I left for lunch. I walked back to the lodge, ate some food there and came back. I was amazed at how much better she looked even after just an hour away. She was awake again and feeling great. 

We were just getting ready to do another one of her breathing exercises (I've been making sure she does these on the hour every hour as needed, along with pushing her pain pump) when the occupational therapist came in and informed us she'd be standing and sitting again. 

Everything was cleared and configured for this when Kelly from Dr. Lenke's team came in with X-Rays. This put smiles on our faces because her spine looks so straight. Literally from a pronounced "S-curve" with 70 degrees in the worse case to something that to me looked straight. It hadn't been measured but estimation was no more than 10 degrees.

We were elated and then went on to have Doreen stand up again and move to her chair. This raised her heart rate again and she felt nauseous again, but was also due for another dose of her anti-nausea medication. I asked her if she wanted to get back into bed but she insisted on sitting for another hour.

I then grabbed a nurse and we helped her back and she it pretty much completely on her own - we just held cables out of the way and were there to support her in case she lost balance. This exahusted her again and she started drifting off, so I took a short break and walked to a cafe to grab a drink (a caffeinated one, not a stiff one). When I walked back the clouds had cleared and the sun was shining - a nice heat wave at 42 degrees F. 

Now she is just resting and relaxing while we wait to hear about moving to a room. It's been an awesome day and God is truly great. Thanks everyone.



  1. wow, Doreen you are a real champion!! Every day will get better. I could not be more thrilled for you both.

  2. What a trooper! So glad everything is going so well!