Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guest Post - Day 3, Several Small Steps

Last night I went to ICU hoping for an early room assignment. I was kicked out at 6:00pm for the shift change and returned at 8:00pm. They had not yet heard of a room but the nurses were kind enough to bring me a recliner with sheets so I could rest. I decided to stay the night with Doreen in case she got a later room assignment.

The room assignment came at around 10:00pm. I was reclined next to Doreen and the nurses got a laugh when I showed them how I could easily access the swabs (for water) and tissues that Doreen needed. They told me she had me trained well and asked that she share her secrets when she was feeling better.
At around 11:30pm we were moved to the new room. Unfortunately it was a shared room. That meant almost zero room for me, so I got Doreen settled and headed back to the lodge. I stopped by the cafeteria first to grab some food and brought it back with me to eat, then pretty much passed out. 

I had promised to return to see Doreen at 8:00am and overslept a bit so instead of cooking breakfast at the lodge, ended up going in to see her first. It was a nice, warm 24 degrees Fahrenheit as I came in. Fortunately I had remembered to bring my bandanna so I could cover my bald head and ears, otherwise I might have lost them on the way. I also brought in her spine kit and other items. She was doing well and I stepped out to have my breakfast. She was already moving to solid medications and taking her first swallows of water. She had really bad stomach cramps but we were told that is normal as the digestive wakes up, and actually a good sign that she'd be moving to more solid foods soon. 

I was able to get a chair squeezed in with a power cord so I can at least do some catching up by her side while she rests. She won't be getting much today as Occupational Therapy was already in. She not only stood this time but actually walked about 10 steps! It was great. She felt really dizzy and nauseous and had to sit. We think it's the morphine doing it so this afternoon they are planning to return after she has her pill-form pain killers so she doesn't have to use the morphine and hopefully won't get as dizzy. The plan is for her to walk some more.

She also learned more about her "spine kit" which is a bunch of instruments provided to help her with doing things without bending or twisting. She was able to take off a sock and put it back on by herself using the tools.
Her friend Karen sent a beautiful arrangement of balloons. It was a nice surprise and helps to brighten the room.
I've also been diligent with helping her do her breathing exercises. The device is pictured here (ignore the goal setting, she's been hitting 1500, I noticed after I took the picture I hadn't set it). She has to inhale and try to get the ball inside to reach a specific level. She's been doing really well but I noticed right after pain medication her lung strength is far less than without it.
I'm going to head to lunch and will share other updates as I can!
Lunch was good, I had a huge salad. I came back and Doreen was getting a little tired. The nurse gave her some anti-nausea medication and some valium to help with nerves and sleep. The therapist came and Doreen sat up and felt dizzy and had a headache. She got a little sick but the good news is her digestive system is definitely awake now so she is cleared to start on clear foods tonight - jello, juice, popsicles, etc.
She sat a bit and then was ready to walk. She stood up and amazed us all by walking all the way out of the room and into the hall. She then turned around and walked back to the bedside, then sat in the wheel chair. She sat there for about a half hour before she told me she was ready to get back into bed. The wheel chair wasn't collapsing properly so she had to walk a bit so I could wheel it out and then sat down. She did great - so two times walking today and cleared for foods. 

She is absolutely exhausted now. I am letting her rest and let her know if she was sleeping when I left for dinner, I'd just let her stay asleep. I'm going to relax a bit myself now and will check in again tomorrow.


  1. Doreen, I am so impressed w/ your progress, and so proud of you. I am with you in spirit all the way.

  2. Good for you! Keep on plugging away. My friend Jamie started with smoothies when she went to solid food-- so that's my suggestion. :) She still likes them, even though she's been drinking them so much.


  3. What an amazing recovery. I am so happy to hear that everything is going well! Thank you Jeremy for all the updates!