Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Special Prayer Request

I've been trying to update my blog but just simply haven't had the energy.  Shortly after arriving home, my mom developed severe back pain.  After visiting a doctor near our home, an x-ray revealed a compressed disk.  Because her pain has been increasing, Ma and Pa left this morning to return to Florida where she will see her family doctor tomorrow.  Please pray for Arlene that God protect her and put the right people with the right solution in her path.

Most days of my recovery are a bit better than the day before, but not always.  I recently discovered that the stabbing rib pain that I've had for several months in the lower right rib area is completely gone.  I can actually lay on my right side hugging a pillow in comfort.  The front of both sides of ribs feel as if I've been beaten with a baseball bat.  That was caused from having to lay on my stomach during the surgery.

I'm completely weaned off one of my many narcotics and am working on weaning of a second one.  Pain starts to increase in the afternoon, like now.  I really dislike being on narcotics so I am doing the weaning process slowly and am listening to my body.

I still don't have the courage to look at pictures of my back, but Jeremy continues to take pictures for me.  My sis-in-law came by with my brother recently.  She is a nurse and was so kind to remove the remaining steri strips from the incision.  She said it was one of the best looking incision with the least amount of bruising.  Bruising?  That didn't cross my mind I would be bruised.  Oh well.  I'm able to shower myself which is a BIG accomplishment, but really wears me out.

Running of out steam to wright more, but a nap is calling for me.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

There's No Place Like Home!

What a wonderful moment it was pulling into our garage and seeing my daughter and parents stepping out to great us!  Their eyes were huge with shock at how tall I am having regained the 4" I'd lost this year.  The only pain I'm having trouble controlling is abdomen pain.  I'm eating well albiet very small meals.

Tomorrow is the two week mark when I can take a shower - FINALLY!  Thank God for baby wipes. :-)

I've had a couple of instances where I get up and walk somewhere in the house; totally forgetting to use my walker.  Oops!

Just a short note today, back to sleep and recovery.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Must be Dreaming!

We received the call today from Dr. Lenke's nurse that we can go home tomorrow!!!!!!  I'm over the moon!  We'll start packing today and Jeremy will load up the car tonite.  Tomorrow morning I will get my hair washed and dried at the hospital's salon because I don't have the strength to do that right now.  Jeremy and I have missed Lizzie terribly but are so happy that she's had such fun with her friends and my folks.  Our goal is to drive halfway tomorrow to Clarksville, TN, but we'll need to stop every hour so I can get out to walk and stretch. 

What a remarkable journey this has been.  It is true what veteran scoli surgical paitents say, every day is a bit better than the day before.  This is a short update since we've got a lot to do before we leave tomorrow.



Monday, December 5, 2011

Is that Really My Spine?!

Hi Everyone!

I had typed up a great legible post last night; however, something did not work correctly and I lost the entire thing.  Oh well.  He's my second try.

Here is my before and after x-rays of my back:

Dr. Lenke's nurse said my curves 70/68 degrees are now about 10 degrees!  What Wha??!!  Here are some shots of my rib hump"

Jeremy discovered an big bruise on my arm:
It doesn't hurt, just is a little creepy to look at.

My greatest pain coming from lack of bowel movements.  This may be my most unusual prayer request, but PRAY FOR POOP!  LOL!  Seriously, I have not gone in 7 days and nothing seems to help move things along.  Jeremy has some photos of my incision but I'm not ready to look at them just yet.  I will post later after.


Greetings from the Other Side

It is difficult to write because of the heavy meds. Rec'd a wonderful surpirse yesterdy whe n doc said I could g0kme on Saturdayr Mydays are completely mixed up,k it's hard to talk. R9ight now I"m expeirnceijg horrible gas paijns.

wi;; tpe more when i'm more coherentl.



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Last Guest Post - Doreen is "Home"

This is my final guest update. The last days have been busy. I told Doreen I'd have her post the next one as incentive but we skipped a day so I figured I'd better wrap this up here.

First good news is that her neighbor was moved out and she never got a new one, so for all practical purposes it was a "private" room although I would still go back to the lodge in the evenings. Yesterday Doreen was making a lot of progress with sitting up, walking, brushing her own teeth, getting a bath, etc. Pain was managed really well. 

Then, everything seemed to happen all at once. She got off the nutrition medication for her hypoglycemia, started eating "real" solid foods, had the tubes and catheter removed, and started getting up on her own to use the restroom, etc. Most of this happened between 6am - 8am before I even made it to the hospital this morning (I was playing at Mr. Mom, doing laundry and preparing the room for her return). We thought yesterday the release might be on Monday, but when I came in she smiled and told me they said today would be the release date. I could tell she was doing much better but was still surprised it would happen so soon.
The nurse and I gave her a sponge bath and I got to see the scar for the first time. Doreen let me take a picture but any of the x-ray, hospital, etc. pictures I'm saving for when she is less drugged so she can decide what she wants to share. I can say it amazed me to see how clean the scar was after so few days — it's a long scar but it looks to be healing quite well. 

Occupational therapy came. She'd already been using the bathroom on her own. This time she removed both socks and put them back on by herself using the tools they provide with the spine kit I mentioned earlier.
I received the list of medications so I took them to the pharmacy and it was about an hour to fill them all. I came back and she was in bed eating and told me I missed all of the fun. She had walked 175 feet and then went up and down the equivalent of about 3 flights of stairs or 36 steps. She told me the physical therapist told her if she didn't complete that, she wouldn't be going home, so she did it. Her central line was removed as well. 

I helped her get dressed in her "civilian clothes" and made a few trips to the lodge to get some walking exercise in and remove all of her stuff. Then I came back and the nurse gave me the schedules/instructions for follow up and medications and that was it - time to go! I thought my heart would jump out of my throat I was so excited. I walked back to the lodge, grabbed some pillows, and drove the truck back to the hospital. We have a Honda Pilot. The nurse gave me the number to the nurse station so when I pulled up I could park by the curb and call for them to bring her down.
Here is the happy patient ready to leave:

Transport brought her down and wheeled her to the truck. It was a fairly big step up so she had some difficulty getting in but then she got settled and was fine with just a pillow behind her back. I did notice the seat is a little low for the 90 degree angle she should sit at so we agreed she'll get boosted with a pillow when she rides the next time. We drove back to the lodge and I parked up front. There was a long ramp to get inside and she did great, then sat in a chair to rest. Once she had some water and was rested, I asked her if I should get the elevator ready and she said, "No, we're taking the stairs." Silly me. So we went up a flight of 16 steps (yeah, I counted them) and then into the room and into bed. That really wore her out so she is sleeping peacefully now. 

I took the time to enter the medication schedule into Google Calendar. My Windows Phone synchronizes with it so I get reminders that buzz me whenever the next medication is due. I love modern technology!  So this is it. Husband signing off. It's in my wife's hands now. She has her lap top and her phone so the next one is hers to post! 


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guest Post: Day 4 - Walking and Eating

This may be the last guest post for me ... I'm bringing Doreen's laptop and she may be ready to start hammering out her own updates tomorrow. We'll see!

Last night was exciting as Doreen moved to her first "clear" foods and was drinking some apple juice and all-natural soda (carbonated water and fruit). I waited to have "dinner" with her and then returned to the lodge, where I had my own dinner (organic burrito, organic corn chips, and an orange). 

This morning was 28 degrees but sunny and beautiful. It really felt like the days I started dating Doreen and would get so excited to see her. I just get a lump in my throat and feel more and more excited with every step and the elevator seems to take ages to her floor. Then the highlight of my day is walking in and seeing her.
She was something else today. Had her glasses on, was sitting upright eating jello and drinking water directly. No more ice chips or sponges/swabs. In fact she got cleared for solids and we ordered her lunch ... hasn't come yet but it's a salad which she likely won't eat and some beef stew which we are hoping she can enjoy the broth. She ate more jello and had plenty to drink. 

Physical thereapy came and she did better than any other day with sitting up and then walking. She walked 10 feet the first time yesterday and about 30 feet the second time. Today she walked 80 feet. She then came and sat in the wheel chair.  We had a little bit of concern because the nurse mentioned that transport was coming to take her for X-rays. We decided she should stay in the wheel chair and get transported that way. After about 40 minutes though they were not in sight so I paged the nurse again. My concern was getting her back into the bed and then having to turn around and get her out again. The nurse checked and it turns out the X-rays are scheduled for tomorrow morning. I'll check what time to make sure I'm here to help when it happens.

She got back into bed and that was it - the walk and sitting had totally exhausted her. She passed out and this is the first time I've seen her truly sleep since I've been at her side. It was great ... it's getting close to lunch so I'll wait for her food and eat with her and then go to the cafeteria myself.

Her food came and she had a little bit of broth, some nibbles of crackers and some jello. It's a start. I ate and came back and she was sleeping. She woke up and had some grape juice. Then she fell asleep again for several hours. She hasn't been sleeping at night because her roommate was so loud, but they just moved out ... hopefully we'll have a quieter "neighbor." 

She was sleeping so deeply that when physical therapy came, we had trouble waking her up. The nurse came in and forcibly woke her to ensure the medications weren't overdone, and now she is relaxing and waiting for her session. We're going to try to walk farther of course.  She is due to have catheter and IV out tomorrow. She is also scheduled for x-rays. If that checks out and she does some pre-requisites like going 1 and 2 on her own, then we may be cleared to check her out on Saturday!

We finally got to physical therapy. She did a fantastic job standing up and walking a good distance, then sat for awhile in her chair. I think the first walk wore her out, so we transferred her back to bed and her food came. She is eating far better and had some potato soup and several grapes. Always tough to leave her but decided to head home, get some food and rest and focus on another great day tomorrow!