Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Latest, Greatest Hospital Happenings

Thursday night
     Yesterday was a long day of ups and downs. 

     The morning felt wildly successful after a couple of walks around "the block" up here on the third floor of the surgical specialty unit.  Harris was told that if he sat on the toilet and got his body in that position, the colon might start waking up a little bit more, and therefore, progress might happen a little more quickly.  To be blunt, farting is the goal.  Food cannot be attained until that feat has been accomplished, and food needs to move through successfully before he can go home. 

     By the time the doctor came in, Harris's interpretation and my interpretation of what happened on the throne were just a little bit different, and it felt as though it was a good thing for me to be here.  Harris is the voice of optimism; I'm the voice of caution.  Yes, I want him to get that popsickle just as quickly as he can, but I wasn't 100% sure his body was ready for it.  The doctor ended up okaying it, but I was skeptical.  Nevertheless, my healthy body was ready for some food of its own, so off to the cafeteria I went in search of something to eat.  It all looks pretty good down there, but it's always a little disappointing once it enters the mouth. 

     Anyway, I came back up to the room to discover that in my 30-minute absence, his catheter had been removed, which was another request of his, and a tray full of clear liquid goodies had been delivered to my man.  There he sat with his lips next to a spoon full of chicken broth, and he was happily indulging himself on the first thing he had "eaten" since Monday night.  My happiness for him was squashed by my own uneasiness of how things, in my mind, were truly progressing.  The look on my face and the words that came out of my mouth were enough to scare him into not eating anything more, and there we sat for a while trying to figure out what was the right thing to do next.  Maybe he truly was ready for some sustenance more than what the IV bag was giving him, but maybe that would irritate a freshly sewn-together colon a little too much.  I finally went out and said to the nurse, "Define passing gas."  I felt a little stupid because who really asks a question like that, but hey, when you're dealing with the whole digestive system, it's a valid question. 

     On top of that, Harris remembered at some point during his April and May hospitalizations that he was told that painkillers can prohibit the passing of gas, so yesterday afternoon he decided he'd try and push that little painkiller button a little less than what he was doing.  That decision did not serve him well.  He was in a little more pain than he had been, and he told me at one point that he didn't need to walk again the rest of the day.  The real challenge here is that we've had a little too much experience with colon issues, and it's hard to remember correctly what has to happen when and why.  It was a frustrating afternoon for both of us. 

     He had just gotten settled in for a little nap, so I slipped away to make a couple phone calls, but when I came back, Haley and his brother Vance were here.  I was afraid that he needed some rest, but the visit was just the perk in the day that we both needed.  Company is a very nice distraction.  After they left, I suggested a walk, and he decided he was ready.  The painkillers had kicked in.  We settled in for an exciting hour of the news and "Wheel of Fortune" and knew that Heath and Jenny were on their way.  He was feeling pretty good, and it felt like we had turned a corner. 

     But then some heartburn and nausea started making their ugly appearance.  The CNA put the blood pressure cuff on the bottom part of his arm by his IV for some crazy reason, and that caused a very unpleasant burning sensation in his arm for a little while.  The fun light was off for the rest of his evening, and he dozed through most of it.  He never did get up again, and we all left him sleeping very soundly at 10 p.m. 

     Today has been a much more stable, even-keeled day, but we're still awaiting the passing of more gas.  It's been a rainy, dreary Saturday afternoon, and we've definitely both had some time to snooze.  He's in the recliner, and I'm in the bed.  That's been his preferred location all day.  He's waiting on me to take him on the 4th walk of the day, and then we're going to lose the hospital gown and put on a button shirt instead!  Exciting stuff around here!!

     Thanks again, everyone, for your prayers and checking up on us.  My small group has been keeping our family fed, and we will be forever grateful.  God is good, and we are just thankful to be this far.

Friday night

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