Today was a tough day. It shouldn’t have been, as Dave is definitely improving; but, we both were emotional and weepy all day.
When I got there this morning, Dave was looking and feeling better. He’s not in any pain, and the anti-nausea medication that he’s been getting has kept him comfortable. Dr. Koep came in shortly after I arrived, and promptly stated poking a Q-Tip into the end of the smaller incision. That’s kind of disturbing to watch. He is pleased with Dave’s progress. The abdomen isn’t hard and the wounds look good. He did say that the fluid draining out of the larger incision needs to run clear, as opposed to the color of beef broth. Yes. That’s gross, but it’s even worse, considering Dave is on a clear liquid diet, and his only meal choices right now are BEEF BROTH, chicken broth or vegetable broth.
Dave will have to stay on a liquid diet for awhile longer, as Dr. Koep doesn’t want anything disturbing the healing process in the bowels.
Once Dr. Koep left, I got a bit teary. It is very obvious that tomorrow is way too soon to think about Dave coming home. Neither of us want to rush anything, but it’s hard, just the same. It’s so far away…it can take an hour to an hour and a half to get there in the morning, and to get home at night. Throughout the day, his nurses would empty the drain and Dave would say, “There’s not much there! That’s good!” Except that it is still putting out a lot of fluid. They just emptied it more often today, so there wasn’t as much each time. It’s going to take several more days to change color.
Throughout the morning, Dave tried to nap, but that’s almost impossible in the hospital. He’d been without a roommate since early the day before, and I’ll admit, that made life easier. In addition to having more space, the room was brighter. Dave could see the window, and could move more freely. I wasn’t crammed into a small corner. Dave could nod off, and would sleep for small stretches.
Before lunch, a staff psychologist came in. I offered to step out; but, Dave wanted me to stay. At first, he was fairly hesitant to talk. As he got going, though, he really got his money’s worth. It was good for both of us. There is so much to this whole experience. It is hard for Dave to be so helpless, and to have so little control over his body and his emotions. He has always been very meticulous about hygiene, and when you need help to get up and go to the bathroom, when you can’t shower without undergoing a major production, when you’re too weak to make yourself comfortable in bed, it is incredibly frustrating.
After lunch, Dave decided that he wanted to try to shower. We agreed that would make him feel much better. We had to wait, as there was a lot of commotion on the floor…people being discharged, new patients coming in, and unfortunately, a new roommate for Dave. It’s amazing to me. There are signs all over stating that the hours between 2:00 and 4:00 each day are designated as quiet time. You’d never know it, as that’s when things seem to be the loudest and most chaotic.
The new roommate is a man who appears to be about our age. His liver is apparently in very bad shape and he’s going to need a transplant. Immediately upon arrival, I was kicked out, as they had to take some X-rays. With the roommate, there is also a wife, and several family members and friends who all feel that it’s appropriate to camp out, bring in all kinds of food and talk loudly. This set my teeth on edge, and I had to take a break. I find myself, more times than I care to admit, locked in one of the little bathrooms. I’ve cried and cried and cried in there. It just infuriates me to find how inconsiderate people can be. When the last roommate. Jim, left, his daughter pulled over the chair that they’d appropriated from somewhere. It’s more comfortable than the standard chairs in the rooms. She made a ‘gift’ of it to me, and I purposely left my jacket on it when I left tonight, so that nobody would take it!
Once the roommate had moved in, we were able to get Dave ready for a shower. Poor Dave. Seeing his own body is such a shock. He has the great big scar that goes from one side of his body to the other; and, now, he’s got two open wounds…the bigger one has a circular bandage with a plastic bag piece attached. It collects all of the fluid that drains, and has a Velcro close at the bottom. It’s actually pretty ingenious. So much better than pads or bandages that would soak through and would have to be continuously pulled off of the skin. It does make Dave very upset. He keeps saying that he is broken, and can’t get to that place mentally when he will be healed and will feel normal again.
Once he’d showered, and his nurse had redone the smaller bandage, Dave felt refreshed. That does wonders for anyone in that type of situation. I had just left the hospital when Dave texted. They’d gotten the order to discontinue one of the antibiotics…the one that made him feel so nauseated. That’s good news. An order was also placed for some sort of supplement with his meal…maybe an Ensure or something.
It took over an hour and half to get home this evening. I wanted to spend some time with the kids, as I worry about them, too. We ate dinner and talked about their dad, and about school. Thank goodness our kids are older. I can’t imagine trying to do this with little kids.
Later, My mom called. I normally call her on the way home; but, I was perilously close to falling apart, and I didn’t have the energy for that while driving. I can’t tell if it’s sad that I am the age that I am, and still cry to my mommy; or, that I’m the luckiest girl to be able to do that with my mom. Maybe a bit of both. She keeps asking me what she can do to help me. There isn’t anything. We just have to wait for Dave to recover. That is happening…it just takes time.
I think that one of Dave’s coworkers is going to stop in tomorrow. That will be good for Dave. We got a call on Friday from the disability folks for his company. His leave was supposed to end on Sunday and he was supposed to be back at work on Monday. Dave had to call them this morning to let them know about this complication.
I am exhausted. I do a lot of the little stuff for Dave…stuff that nurses could do, but that we both know he’s more comfortable with me doing. I am hoping that sleep will come quickly. The big dog is snoring down alongside the bed, and the kids have settled down for the night.
Here’s hoping that tomorrow will bring progress and that Dave will be feeling that much better.