"Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others." Ayn Rand

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Hospital....part 3.

Ok, now where was I. Ah yes.

Wednesday. Still in the hospital, and not one doctor has said "you can go home today". But the catheter is still in...we're hoping it'll come out today.

Appearance wise, he's looking better.

Not his hands, though. The broken wrist was wrapped up in bandages, but his fingers were swollen to what appeared to be a painful size, and were shades of greenish black. (Honestly, the picture really doesn't do them justice, they were much greener, dark green.) They have made me cry, several times. I look at them and cry a bit.
We settle into our "morning routine", tea (with no milk for Richard, due to the liquid diet), the newspaper and the morning news. Get Richard washed up, change the bedding, change the hospital gown. A few hours pass...

Great news...the catheter is coming out today! The catheter comes out, the liquid diet goes out the window, he can get out of bed to pee....things are starting to look up. OK, this is a bright spot, and we're both encouraged. Removal is short and sweet. Lunch is ordered up, and the physical therapists come again to work with Richard.

That was the plan. But he still can't put any weight on his ankle, and only a bit on his other knee. They are both swollen, and he really can't walk more than a few steps. Sitting up in the chair is too painful for him to bear for more than 10 minutes. Lunch comes, he eats a bit, and can't keep it down. (Actually, I used the term "lunch" very loosely. These pictures are of the PRMC version of "Hawiian Chicken" and "chocolate pudding". As you can see, it was a big hit with Richard.)

This is obviously not going according to plan. The longer he stays in here, the worse he's getting.

Dr. Cuomo comes in in the afternoon, to talk about Friday's surgery. It's obvious now that Richard won't be coming home until at least Saturday. But we both know that there are so many questions that need answers, and he's in the best place to try and get these answers.
Diane and Joe come; Mom and Dad Demers are there, the kids, Maggie and Roger and Max pop in and out; Barbara and Randy come from Milford with a huge basket of fruit and candy from the Guiding Eyes Delmarva Region. Linda K. comes to visit. Vicky and Larry come in. The phone rings, people from his work are calling to see how he is doing; his secretary, his bosses. I try and keep everyone updated via text messages...the blackberry has been a godsend. I can send one text out to ten people at a time...everyone is so worried, and I think that having "morning updates" and "evening updates" are helping to ease their minds. I truly don't think I could have made all those phone calls to all those people. I just didn't have it in me. (Actually, if I had to, I would have. But I wouldn't have been able to convey all the information I could texting.)

For the two days that follow, basically not too much happens; we wait for Friday. We find out the surgery isn't until 2:45 pm, which stinks. Waiting all day for anything is hard, because theres no food, no drinking all day. We pass the time as best we can. Richard doesn't really improve at all during these two days. He's not getting a whole lot of rest though; he's had a series of roommates that are pretty hard of hearing, plus most of the hospital staff feel the need to TALK VERY LOUDLY and move the furniture all around when they come in to take care of him. Plus he can't remember how to work the television, so he calls the nurse once every twenty minutes or so. We chuckled about it in the beginning, but at this point, there's not much we can laugh about.

At about 2:00 pm, the transportation department comes up to get him; he'll be coming back to the same room, so everything can be left; that's one thing I don't have to worry about. Richard is on a special ICU bed, so there is (once again) great trouble moving him out of the room without hitting everything in the path of the bed. (Actually, the hospital now has a uniform color code for all their workers. Transportation workers wear beige scrubs; doctors wear white, nurses wear white and blue. But I didn't need to identify these transportation girls by the color of their uniforms. I could tell right away that they were nowhere near rocket scientist level, and were well suited to wear beige.) Poor Richard with his broken body is being taken down to surgery, and he's being banged off the walls like he's in a pinball machine. At this point, nothing is funny, we're both nervous, and this is finally getting underway. I walk down with him to the OR prep room, and then they tell me I can't be in there; I have to wait in the waiting room, and they'll call me when they've prepped him. So I go and sit and wait. After about 15 minutes, they call me back and I get to sit with Richard while the anesthesiologist comes in and explains everything (they aren't going to give him general anesthesia, they are going to just keep him unconscious with drugs; he won't be on a ventilator. This is due to his heart condition, and they just don't want to put his body and his heart through any unnecessary trauma.) He gives Richard the preliminary valium (jealous, what, me? Hell yes!). I kiss him goodbye and tell him I'll be right outside. It's about 2:40. The doctor tells me it will be about 1 1/2 hours for the surgery, but don't worry, it could go as much as an additional hour, since they don't know what is happening with the wrist; they can't decide how they are going to repair it until they open it and see how bad it is.

I go outside to the waiting room, find a seat, and look around. There's a sign on the wall "No food or drinks in the waiting room". I put my stuff down and head down to the cafeteria for some food and drink. I'm a rebel.