Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Weekend Recap . . . And We're Home!!!

     Saturday was a day filled with progress.  The doctor had been in bright and early Saturday morning, and by the time I got to the hospital, Harris's NG tube was still in place in case he got sick to his stomach, but the tube was detached from the vacuum portion of the canister on the wall.  The doctor just wanted to see if Harris could get along without it before removing it from his throat.  Good call!  At 11 a.m. Harris was more than ready to just get the thing out of his body, but he was supposed to wait till noon.  When the nurse hadn't been in yet at 12:30, my man was getting mad, and I knew it was time for me to find the nurse on his behalf.  As soon as she saw me walking down the hall, she felt terrible, but she had simply gotten busy in another room.  Totally understandable -- but 72 hours had been enough!  The tube came out with relative ease compared to going in, but his throat was very sore the rest of the day.  It still hurt to swallow, but he was ready for some groceries.  They started him on a clear liquid diet, so a couple of popsicles were the extent of his intake. 

     All the nurses have really been great, but one in particular has stolen our hearts.  She was on duty both Friday and Saturday night, and she spent a lot of time with us when she made her rounds.  She seemed to have the most sensitive, caring, and sweet personality of all, and we just loved her.  We found out that she'd only been a nurse since the end of January, and we were very surprised.  Then at one point she shared with us that she had been rear-ended 20 minutes before her Friday night shift.  Again, we were shocked because she never once seemed frazzled or hurting.  On Saturday night Harris must have seemed a little down to her, so she was encouraging him on the importance of staying positive.  She had shared with us that every night before she goes to bed, she prays and is thankful for the day she's had and for the days she's going to have.  Then she gave us the final whammy and told us that her husband of 13 years had just left her an hour before her shift.  The tables were turned, and it was our turn to minister to her, even though she remained exceedingly calm and positive.  Harris offered to pray with her, and there we were, the three of us, holding hands in the hospital room, praying together.  It was a really special night, and I find myself thinking of her a lot and praying for her and her four children. 

     When I arrived on Sunday afternoon, Harris had a tray full of clear liquids in front of him, and he was so delighted!  Granted, the items weren't all that exciting, but they were a whole lot better than ice chips!  Tomato soup, Jello, ice cream -- anything was better than ice!  Then when I pulled out some shorts, underwear, and socks for him, he was almost giddy.  First he had to soak in the smell.  Then he changed and proceeded to tell me just how awesome it felt to be in "big boy pants!"  He'd been feeling pretty frumpy in his hospital gown and was really tired of always having the tie straps between his back and the bed.  We enjoyed a peaceful afternoon together, and we did a little reminiscing. 

     On Mother's Day of 1976, he and his dad were both in the hospital with broken legs in traction because of a motorcycle accident.  There is a picture of the event that had been coming to my mind all morning, but it must be at his mom's because I can't find it anywhere here.  Harris and I grew up on farms 2 miles apart from each other, so we've known each other most of our lives.  I remember our family going to visit them in the hospital, and yep, I'll admit, I had a crush on him way back then!

     At the tulip festival in May 1982, we bumped into each other after not really seeing each other in a long time, and after a short conversation, he asked if I'd want to go on a motorcycle ride with him sometime.  Little did I know, his girlfriend was sitting across the street, so he had to break up with her first, but he finally called me a month later, and we had our first date on June 13, 1982.  Just five days later, he survived this and spent 12 days in a hospital bed in Liberty, Missouri, dealing with a broken leg and having pins put in his ankle to put it back together . . .

Days before Tulip Time in 2006, he spent a couple days in the hospital because of an emergency appendectomy. 

     Fast forward to Tulip Time/Mother's Day weekend 2011, and here he is, my man in the hospital again but at least a somewhat happy man finally able to consume some groceries!  It all comes from a menu of soft foods, and even the smells of everything were almost enough to satisfy him.  We knew his dinner was to arrive at 6, so the kids brought pizza for the rest of us, and we had a little party in room 3223!  Don't worry -- he didn't consume all of that, but he sure had a good time grazing over the course of the evening. 

The kids have grown a little in the last 5 years, haven't they?!?

     We all enjoyed a rousing game of Scattergories, which was perfect because Harris was the timer and could close his eyes and rest every time we went into serious thinking mode for the game.  We ended the night with prayer together, and another Mother's Day went down in history. 

Harris had been told by the doctor that there was a chance he could be dismissed on Monday, but after a couple little setbacks throughout the day yesterday, it was decided that he should spend at least one more night.  I'm happy to report, though, that Harris came home this morning, and he is now resting here instead!  He still needs to take it easy, and his bodily functions all need to get totally back to normal, but at least we can somewhat function as a family again from home base.  I'm thankful to be here so that I can catch up on things, and he's thankful to be able to get some fresh air and start resuming some sense of normalcy.  He's been feeling a little clammy and bloated this afternoon, but he's resting peacefully on the couch at the moment. 

The doctor did share with us that he's pretty sure that because the stent has not been approved for long-term use, Harris will more than likely have to endure another surgery where it will be removed, and the colon will need to be repaired.  This is definitely disappointing news, but at least we avoided a surgery and temporary colostomy this time.  We're not sure yet when we'll schedule that surgery to happen, but he told us that we should plan on doing it within six months.  Harris needs to follow up with the doctor in two weeks, so I'm sure we'll learn more then.  Please continue to pray for him as he continues to heal, and thank you for all the prayers you've already offered!   

In the meantime, it hit me today that there are only 20 days until Haley's graduation party.  20!!!  Harris gave me the best advice he could have given me today:  "Just enjoy it.  It will never happen again."

And with that, I'm off. 

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