Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wow -- been awhile!

Our patient is doing so well I've nearly forgotten he's still a PATIENT!

Alan is still on the big gun drugs but not nearly so big and not nearly so often. He made it to FOUR HOURS of church this past Sunday. Still on crutches, of course.

Physical therapy folks are very complimentary on his progress as well. I still take him three days a week (then I drive about two miles away to the fitness center for a water workout -- never realized I'd have the entire pool to myself in the early afternoons. GREAT time slot for me!) He thinks he'll be able to drive himself to PT starting next week maybe.

We have a checkup appt. with his physician next week and we'll get a date then for the other knee. Alan keeps saying, "It's hard to believe that my new-still-painful knee will soon become my GOOD knee." That's why he's so diligent about getting better so fast. (I'm just jealous -- my own recovery last year was MUCH slower!) I'm thinking the other surgery will be around Easter. That's how far out his surgeon is booked right now.

Then it will be SSSV -- same song, second verse.

Gretchen's breast reconstructions will begin about then as well, we're thinking. Her postponed ankle reconstruction will follow the breast surgeries.

Two-thousand-nine will end up as a l-o-n-g year of surgeries, nursing, and recoveries for Alan, Gretchen, and me. But you know what? I'm thrilled to be serving.

Who knows? We three may just gather up some appropriate age-group-friendly friends and take a cruise during Christmas this year to celebrate all the healing that will SURELY be done by then!

Huggies to all,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Injured Patient

Sniff, sniff . . .

As if a bum knee weren't enough for this guy to heal from, now he has additional injuries.

Yesterday, prior to going home, Suzi took Alan out for his last PT. She tried the elbow crutches on him this time instead of the walker. Maybe he wasn't ready or maybe it was just an accident.

Alan caught his toe on a crutch and down he went -- slammed into a chair sitting against the wall. He fell, NOT on his new knee, thank GOODNESS, but onto an already bad shoulder. He's been treated for a partial rotator cuff tear for the past couple of years as it is. He was given exercises to do (which are seldom done) and drugs for pain. Naturally it was the right shoulder he landed on. It wouldn't surprise me if he completed the tear because he sure is in a LOT of pain. Also, that middle toe he caught must be fractured. It's swollen and badly discolored and "hurts like heck" he says. All that can be done for a fractured toe is to tape it to the next one.

He has appts today with both our local doc (for an INR poke to check his blood viscosity -- he's on coumadin for awhile to discourage blood clots) and then on to the outpatient PT place. Between the two we should get an opinion or two, don'tcha think?

Just a little setback, I'm sure. We're grateful he didn't fall directly on the new knee. Then we'd be singing a different tune today.

Poor guy -- we'll just be working hard to get him all healed up and on his own in no time, right????

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Our Patient is Bound for Home . . .

Early Thursday:

Alan called last evening not long after I left him. The hospital discharge guy came in and told him he's going home TODAY! Alan protested -- said he wanted to stick around to get all the PT he could (unlike the rest of us who hate PT!) Protests ignored. Today is discharge day. Troy the PA called and said he was setting up outpatient PT for Alan -- he'll go five days a week instead of the normal three.

So let's just move this anxious guy right along. Hooray for his enthusiasm and determination!

He's been in quite a bit of pain, however, since his over-the-top day on Monday. I fear he's overdoing it, but he won't listen. I'm hoping Seth, my fave PT of all, will get a good handle on it and push him forward but pull him back when necessary.

(And oh, that niggling "kidney" pain of mine? I slipped and fell on the ice in our driveway a couple of weeks ago on the way back from the mailbox. Right out of a comic strip -- mail went flying everywhere. No one around with a camcorder, thank goodness! Landed on my left posterior side -- ouch. Left bummy been hurting ever since. Had x-rays yesterday. Probably just a small rib fracture. No big deal now that I know what it is. It's always the wondering that gets us, right?)

Thursday huggies to all -- must dash to put fresh sheets on my patient's bed!

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Mr. Hurtie" is Cheering Up!

Got to the hospital just in time to wheel our favorite patient into church at ten. We expected a handful of patients in wheelchairs and their families in jeans and T-shirts. And maybe a few hospital workers in scrubs. Boy, were we surprised! There must've been FIFTY people there ALL dressed in Sunday best. Alan was the only patient and there was exactly one hospital worker and of course, me, dressed in pants. Sheesh! Turns out it was ward conference and the entire congregation was comprised of stake officers. The embarrassment wore off after a few minutes as we enjoyed the good spirit there. The stake president spoke as well as the bishop. The latter's name is Harward from Springville. Local blog-readers will recognize his name as the "corn guy" -- you know, he has those dozens of green carts brimming with fresh corn all over Utah County every fall? Yum!

Nice, short meeting.

Alan was VERY cheerful all day today for the first time in a week. He had his first good night of sleep. EXCEPT for one incident. He prefers having his CPM machine on rather than off, even when he sleeps. Gives him needed support. Well, the thing started malfunctioning around three ayem. He called the nurse and she said "I'm not trained how to fix such a complicated machine." So after she left, my mechanic husband unstrapped his leg, used his walker to get out of bed, drag a chair over to the CPM, took it apart and fixed it himself! Dragged the chair back, strapped himself in and resumed his ALMOST-full night's sleep.

Today brought some fun visitors. They included a representative from the administrator's office bearing a big basket of goodies -- popcorn, candy, cookies, chips, salsa. She said it was to apologize for keeping him waiting in the hall for over two hours Saturday. So nice!

Other visitors included a woman, two children and their three DOGS! They are pet therapists -- volunteers who go around to hospitals and nursing homes to visit anyone who wants to pet and play with the dogs. Isn't that nice? Alan had a great time with them.

Another visitor was the social worker, Steve. He asked Alan what his goals are during his stay. Alan said he wants to stay as long as it takes to make him strong. That he has a repeat surgery coming up soon and he wants to be prepared. He'd like to stay at least another week, he told Steve. Hm-m-m-m, and I thought he'd probably come home this Wednesday. It's just as well, I guess -- see my PS below.

Alan had both family and good friends drop by today. He's truly having a good time and getting around well.

The food is pretty okay (if you like tons of salt), the PT-Suzi gal is great and the nurses are just fine. Small hospital -- lots of personal attention.

Alan asked me to tell you all how much he appreciates your good wishes and prayers. They are truly being responded to.

I love you all,
Thank you for your calls and personal emails,

PS -- off the subject. I've been experiencing severe left flank pain for several days now. Been popping aspirin and slugging cranberry juice. Kidney stone? Maybe. Never had one but it feels like it might be. Will visit my doc in the ayem. I asked Steve if they've ever had husband-wife roomies in this hospital. After all, there's an unoccupied second bed in Alan's room. Wouldn't that be something? When someone figures out what's wrong with me, I'll pass the info along. Great timing, right???

Sunday, January 18, 2009

oops --

I accidentally published that VERY long post below before I edited and cut it waaay down as I'd planned. Now you'll have to wade thru it, typos and all.

I need dash to get ready for church with Alan. They hold a 45-minute LDS meeting right at the hospital.

Only in Utah Valley in Utah, USA!

Days Two AND Three!

Too busy to blog? Really, Linda, what have you to do all day but sit around a hospital room and chat up a Sickie? (I guess "Hurtie" would be more descriptive.) Well, just you take a look at my typical busy day:

1) read to Mr. Hurtie
2) sample the food on his trays to make sure they're feeding him properly. Actually, they often bring me a tray too -- nice.
3) rub lotion on his ever-itching back
4) answer the phone
5) look at the lovely view
6) water his flowers
7) read his we're-thinking-of-Alan emails to him
8) walk with him and PT-Brian down the hall
9) turn TV on now and then -- only to turn it off ten minutes later -- searching in vain for something worthwhile to watch.
10) watch movies on the VCR in the room

I mean, does that busy schedule allow me ANY time to blog? I think not!

Anyway, I'm happy to report that the patient is doing, well . . . pretty okay, I guess.

As anyone who' s had major surgery knows, it goes like this.

Day Zero: (day of surgery) La-la Land. No pain. Lots of attendants around making sure I'm comfortable.

Day One: Hm-m-m, this isn't so bad. Someone to bring me food and pain meds and oh, who's that lovely redhead hovering over me constantly requiring as to my comfort? Oh, yes, it's my adoring wife!

Day Two: Reality sets in. This bed is too short! The nurses don't respond fast enough to my calls! You want me to walk HOW FAR? I'm feeling too much pain! What's this itching all about??? Bring me more benadryl! Now! This fruitcake has RAISINS in it! I told the dietician to NOT send me green peppers -- instead she DOUBLED them! Linda, your yellow roses died today! How much did you spend for them, anyway? Too much! Hand me that emesis basin -- I'm going to be sick! Where's my comb? Don't forget to plug my phone in! I need another pillow! Bed-baths, shmed-baths!

(Now you ALL know I'm exaggerating. Alan will die AND be mad at me when he reads this. He's really not a bad patient at all!)

Day Three: Time to transfer, an hour away, from TOSH to American Fork Hospital. His physician comes in the early morning and bid farewell and assures Alan that AF has a bed for him AND that he will be transported by TOSH to AF. Right. Now I ask you, what do physicians know about hospital FUNCTIONS?? Nothing, it turns out. (Dr. Rose, you'd better get back to your operating suite!) And the coordinator was way off as well. Alan was so anxious to get out of TOSH and on his way to a new adventure that he got up and took his first shower BY HIMSELF! I told him to wait for me -- that I'd scrub all those flakey itchy scales off and double the lotion rub-down, but neeeew, he managed by himself and ended up dry and itchy without me!

No transport to AF. That was a myth. But I had Miss Polly with me and she was anxious to see him anyway, so Alan was fine to go by car. And yes, I exited two exits early AND hit my brakes a couple of times AND had my patient howling, He's not a baby AT ALL -- and he tried SO hard to not "back-seat" me! It's the nurse's fault. She wouldn't give him meds before we left -- it was an hour too soon, she said. The drive was fairly hard on him.

But it was the surprise at AF that was the worst. They had NO bed for him after all! He sat in his wheelchair for over two hours by the elevator waiting for some poor patient to leave. And then for the room to be cleaned. And then to move some poor woman out of HIS room to bunk with another woman (of course) so he could have a place. They should have handed him a harmonica and put a cup on the floor with a sign that said, "Will Play for a Room" They did bring him a lunch tray, however.

The actual room is another private! And another lovely view -- Timpanogos this time. Ah-h-h-h. Unfortunately the TV stations are the same! The nurse call button is in a different place and we kept calling her instead of changing TV stations. By the fourth call she just ignored us.

No TV is okay, we're enjoying our books. But the bed itself? No lenghtier than the last! We "tallies" are used to short sleeves, short pants, short beds, no knee space on planes, and dumb comments on our height ("You're so tall!" Oh, really? Hm-m-m, I've never noticed), and many stares.

CActually, they needed HIS room on that end, I believe. No worries. They give him a lunch tray after all!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day One

The PA came in and said that THIS is Day One -- yesterday, the day of surgery is really Day Zero. Hm-m-m-m, okay!

Gosh! I'm thrilled to report that our pt is doing ever so well! If I didn't know better, I'd say this is Day Five! He's up and out of bed to walk with a walker to go potty and to sit up at the side of his bed and eat his meals. PT folks are impressed with his progress. Alan still wants to go to rehab on Saturday, however, because he wants all the PT he can get so he can get better faster. And he wants to stay for as long as our insurance allows. He's afraid I won't push him hard enough! (That's pretty smart, now that I think about it.)

Big gun drugs are sure making him itch, poor guy. I'm about out of lotion to calm him down -- guess I'll go beg some from a nurse.

We just finished watching a great movie . . .

Friends and family have been dropping by all day with flowers and good wishes . . .

Lovely personal emails to cheer him up . . .

Even the food is good around here!

What more could a nice guy ask for?

Thank you so much for your prayers and good thoughts. Alan's across the room telling me to tell you he loves you all and will soon be back in action dancing a tango all the way down Sycamore to show our neighbors how well he's recovering. (Which is strange, because I've never seen him dance a tango before!)

I apologize for not replying promptly to all your nice emails. Will do so tomorrow!