Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jan 23-27 Quick Update

Wednesday, January 23

Yesterday James had his clavicle set and he is tired and has more pain. He has the nurse call Tracy early to find out when she is coming in. (Tracy has no laundry of any variety and is waiting for the clothes to dry.) She stops at the store and gets a radio and some nail clippers and shaving cream.

 Someone from plastics comes and takes 16 stitches out of his left eyebrow.

They x ray his clavicle to see how the repair went and also took a picture of his knee to see what exactly happened there, as no xray has tried to look specifically at it yet.

Thursday, January 24

The plastic surgeon comes in. He instructs James to smile, growl, raise his eyebrows, furrow them, and suddenly exclaims "Damn! have you got a great plastic surgeon!" and walks out. Later James gets his ratty ace bandage off his right wrist (pins) and gets a molded plastic one that straps on and off. He has lost 25 pounds. His biceps and calves feel "baggy" I think the weight is muscle mass.

After I leave for the day, four nurses attack and traumatize him. He gets the trach downsized to a size 6. They seem unorganized, thoughtless, and inept. He is vulnerable with his collar off, his head being stabilized, and they don't seem to know what they are doing.

In addition, they had been doing this elaborate rotation of the catheter tube, clipping it to a sticker on each thigh and then on his stomach. They have to keep it moving to protect his skin from breaking down from the pressure of the tube. We are discussing the rotation and suddenly I'm like, "He's not sedated, he's been awake, he's remembering- why do we still even have the catheter?!" and the nurse says to me "Sometimes the DRs forget to cancel the order." So we remind them and they take it out in a too-quick and thoughtless way right after they do the trach downsize. Rough day.

Friday, January 25

The plastics person comes and takes out a single stitch- through James' septum (divider in the nose)! which holds two splints in place. (James' nose had been broken when they fixed the facial bones and these were holding it in place.)

The other driver's insurance offers us a great price for the totalled van, even better than what our insurance offered. An answered prayer!!

We faxed an application to the VA requesting a transfer to the rehab facility in either Temple or San Antonio. I do not want San Antonio but we have to apply, the case worker says. We get moved to a new room on the eighth floor- OFFICIALLY OUT OF INTENSIVE CARE!!!! Now James can see the kids any time!



Saturday, January 26

The weekend at a hospital is quiet. James has a good day of rest. He thanks God for saving him from death. He and Tracy talk alot about God's plan and grace. I read James some Psalms (all the ones ending in a zero are so good!) and we listen to KLOVE radio. I am so happy. He has a few visitors.

Of course when I say we talk it really means we lip-read, and sometimes try to convince James to write with a Sharpie or on the iPad we're borrowing. My newest technique is to say what he's NOT saying. He says something and I say, "uhhh, you're NOT saying you hear turnips, right?" Geez.

Sunday, January 27

James and Tracy listen to the latest sermon in a series on marriage that our church is doing. There is a "text in your question" phone number. James is so touched as he has heard details of how we (the kids, his mom and sister, and I) have been cared for when he has been hospitalized, that he has me text in a big thank you to the church.

A prayer request went out that the next trach downsize would be less traumatic. The nurse comes in and has a big intro and says they're ready to downsize again, to the size 4. This is the size where James can talk and try a swallow evaluation to see if he can eat.

He gets very anxious and talks the nurse into doing in Monday morning. She compromises by saying she wants to cap the size 6 and see if he can talk with the cap. As the RT sets out all the supplies and tells James what he is going to do, James is seeing what a big deal it is, so he decides to go ahead and knock out the downsize right then. They give him something to help him calm down and say they'll be back in 20 minutes.

I settle in on the bed on his right side and lean against him and we talk together. He says how hard of a time he was having in November and December, how he was done with life and tired of trying and failing. We talked about God's plan and how all the nurses and DRs are so amazed by his healing and his recovery. He says again and again that it's not him that is so amazing, but God. I tell him it's nice to be near a vessel God is using. I feel like all my Christmases have come at once.

The nurse and some help come in to downsize. One holds his head, another takes off the collar. They set up all the gear and I'm standing there holding his left hand. She prepares the size four, takes out the six, and literally a few seconds later the size 4 is settled in place. It was flawless and simple. Answered prayer!!


He puts the cap on, snap! and James coughs. It's the first noise he's made in 27 days. You have to understand, when he was intubated (till the 11th) he was utterly silent. Violent coughing looked like a seizure- huge chest movements, up and down, with no sound. With the trach he's made some angry hissing noises, and phlegmy ripping noises, but still has been silent. That first tiny cough noise was so beautiful. It was like when I saw his foot and leg in the ER- I knew that noise.

Of course I have stood faithfully by James for 27 days and I expected wanted James to go into a long monologue (like Zechariah) about my awesomeness but instead the nurse asked how the cap felt and James' first words were "It sucks."


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