Saturday, October 29, 2016

Doing well, I think....

I’ll just include the day after coming home and the next day in this post.

The evening I came home from the hospital, by the time I got ready for bed, I had broken out in a cold sweat and just flopped onto the bed, and lay there for a while. I knew I had probably overdone - washing my hair and all.  I’m sleeping on the side next to the wall, and there is barely enough room to slip along between the bed and the wall.  So as I tried to get into bed I got my feet tangled up in the recharging cord that I had just plugged into the pump, and I unplugged it.  Between the small space, the dark, and the charging cord plugged into the wall beside the bed (and the long drain tubing), it is a challenge to get into bed when you are NOT weak and sweaty.  I don’t know why this pump is so hard to get plugged in, but it is.  The guy that supplied it at the hospital said that the plug-in was being redesigned because people have so much trouble with them.  So after lying there a bit, I groped around on the floor and found the cord, felt around for a while to find the connection area on the pump and finally got it plugged in again. 

Didn’t sleep much that 1st night home.  They told me to keep my head fairly well elevated because it would facilitate this tube draining.  I had 4 pillows in the bed and went to sleep completely on my right side, but I must have been too low, because I woke up with my head hurting.  I wanted in the worst way to wake Guy up and ask him to get me the crackers, Percocet and water in the bathroom, but I didn’t.  I unplugged my pump, carefully laid the cord across the bed so I could find it when I came back, got my feet over the edge of the bed without pulling on my drain tube, found my house shoes, and very carefully in the dark, stepped over the miles of recharging cord in the very narrow space, and got to the bathroom.  The Percocet helped me go back to sleep momentarily, but I woke up with my head in an awkward position several times.  The challenge is to find a way to fix the pillows so that you are able to lay your head down, NOT putting any pressure on the operative area, but balance on the other half of my head in such a way that you can relax enough to go back to sleep – and not have your back start to hurt being in an awkward position, or your hip, and not have your legs all tightly doubled up so you don’t get a blood clot.  Believe me… can’t really be done.  It kind of takes me back to that short time I was teaching nursing fundamentals, and we were in the lab teaching positioning.  You had to get your patient in good body alignment, with no undue pressure on any body part, and so that your patient didn’t feel like they were having to “hold” themselves in that position.  They needed their whole body in a relaxed position so they could rest.  There just wasn’t much relaxing for me that night.  I kept thinking about that nice hospital mattress that adjusted to wherever my body was.  NOT that I wanted to be back in THERE, understand…..

The next morning (Thursday), Mark and Jeannine left about 10:00 am for the airport.  Mark had to fly back to Canada for a 12-day stint, and Jeannine returned home to Ft. Collins, CO.  It was SO nice to have my family altogether! They were such a comfort to me.

At about 10:45 am, the home health nurse came.  She was very nice and friendly.  She checked me all over and went over my meds.  She said she had no wound care orders.  That was OK; they had told me there would be no dressing changes; it was to stay as is until I went back to the doctor.  She took a close up picture of the area and said there were 4 staples along the edges.  She measured the area and said, "12 cm…. but don’t know how deep…..”  I said, “To the bone.”  “Oh!” she said and made a bit of a face.  (Yeah, I thought so, too!) I did tell her the pump seemed to be leaking just a bit, and I couldn’t see from where.  We decided the disposable container needed to be changed, even though there was very little in it, and we did that.  Well, I did that, under her supervision.  That was easy. I don’t believe it has leaked any since.  There is still very little in the tubing, even though it sounds like a little whistling tea kettle coming out of the back of my head.   She checked my vital signs, and said everything looked good.  She talked to me about the importance of getting LOTS of protein – 80 grams a day.  I’ve often been interested in reading labels for the fat grams, the sodium content, the sugar content, but had never really noticed the grams of protein in items.  She suggested that I get Premier Protein.  This is a liquid that comes in a 4-pack, and it tastes less chalky than Ensure and Boost, and has less sugar.  AND it gives you 30 grams of protein per container.  And we talked about Colace vs. Senna, giving me some tips in that area.  Since I seemed to have everything pretty much under control here, she said she would see me next Tuesday, but I was to call her when I knew the next surgery schedule.

I got on the internet to look up foods high in protein.  I didn’t realize that oatmeal and broccoli are high in protein.  I like both of those.  So I made a list for Guy for the next grocery store trip.

In the afternoon, I had just a delightful visitor – one of my favorite people in all the world – Carol Broadbooks.  She was our 1st Church of the Nazarene pastor’s wife when we lived in Hutchinson, KS in the early 80’s.  If you look In the dictionary under “pastor’s wife”, you will find Carol’s picture.  When they made her, they threw away the mold.  As I look back over my church years, those years with Pastor Bob and Carol, youth pastor Dave and Brooksie Smith, and music minister John and Rena Nance, those are my favorite years!!  When the Lord called Pastor Bob to a new assignment, I just knew I’d never see Carol again.  But, years later, here we are in Alabama, and they show up as District Superintendent of the North Alabama Nazarene district.  We had many all-afternoon lunches, and each time we just picked up right where we left off the last time.  No matter where Carol was or what her title was, she was just sweet Carol, and she had the same concerns and hearts’ desire that I did.  We could just sit and talk and talk and talk for hours!!  And we did!!  When they left Alabama and moved to TN, I was heartbroken and thought there was no way I’d ever see her again.  But, here we are – years later, and we are both in KS!  God is good!!

She came by about 2:30.  She had a vase of flowers and a large bar of DARK chocolate in her hand and a Starbucks muffin in her purse.  (Oh, how I love dark chocolate!!)  After a big hug, I said, “Are you ready for me to turn around???”  She said, “Yes,” and since I had my back to her, I don’t know what her face looked like when she saw it.  We sat on the couch, and she said, “Well….let’s hear all about it!”  And again, we talked for hours, laughing and crying.   She prayed a beautiful prayer for me, and said we would stay in touch.

The rest of the day was rather uneventful.  I did go outside in the backyard a little.  It was quite windy, but the temperature was just marvelous – mid 70s.  After a little, I asked Guy to walk with me down the street for a little ways, just so I could get out of the house.  I didn’t want to sit in that recliner all day!  We did and took Annie with us.  Thankfully, we didn’t see anyone, and I didn’t hear anyone scream along the way, so I don’t think anyone saw me.  There’s just no way to camouflage that big ole tube coming out the back of my head!  It’s just THERE!

In the afternoon, I did manage to get a nap in the recliner.  I rolled up the throw under my head/chin, and slept soundly for maybe an hour or more.  I woke up feeling like I had been run over by a truck, but I got up and walked it off.

Chris’ mom came by to get him and take him overnight to her house.  Dylan stayed behind because he had a Halloween party to go to.  It was at the house of one of his friends from school.  After quizzing him a bit, I stopped short of asking for the girl’s phone number so I could talk to the parents.  It sounded like a legitimate party.  When it was time to go, he came down the stairs dressed as an “Alabama Redneck”!!  He was so cute! 

Before he left, I said to him, “You remember the talk we had about parties…..if ANYTHING out of the ordinary goes on, what are you supposed to immediately do?”  He said, “Call you.”  You got it!

When he got home, I was getting ready to head to bed.  I asked him if he knew where there was a neck pillow.  He told me Chris had two, so I went into his bedroom and took one of them.  THAT was the aid I needed!  It took about an hour to figure out how to get the pillows and the neck pillow arranged, but I finally fell into a deep sleep.  I can’t say I slept like a baby, but I did get considerable sleep through the night – for the 1st time since surgery.  Today, I no longer feel like a zombie! 

Oh, I forgot to say that yesterday, sometime after the home health nurse left, the plastic surgeon’s office called me and said I was on the Tuesday surgery schedule to have this wound closed.  I said, “Uh……that’s IF the margins are clear.”  She said, “Well, let me see if the pathology report has come back.  When was your surgery?  Tuesday?  Let me look.”  She was probably gone about 20-30 seconds.  The LONGEST 20-30 seconds of my life.  I’m sure my BP and heart rate didn’t know whether to race or stand still.  She came back shortly and said the report was not back.  At the time of this writing, Saturday, 7:00 pm, I’ve received no call.

I wanted to show you some of the nice things that people have given me.  They are all SO appreciated.  1st of all, my sister has sent me a card every day.  Bless her heart!  And she sent me this lovely, SOFT, throw – a Dennis Basso throw.  It is really heavy and will feel so good on cold KS winter nights.  This picture does not do it justice.  It is a beautiful deep purple.

 Here are the things Carol brought me.  You can’t see the Starbucks muffin, cause I ate it!

 The day I came home from surgery, Jeannine had fresh cut flowers.

 And a potted plant for when the flowers are gone.

 When Guy went to the grocery store, he got me these almonds (high in protein), and he knew how much I love caramel corn.  Don’t think the caramel corn has a whole lot of protein, but it sure is good!

I suppose I’m going to have to wait until Monday to hear back on the path report.  *sigh*

I remain in His hands…..

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