Friday, December 9, 2011

We're Alive and Well!

     Daily updates were easy when I spent the majority of my time at the hospital.  Now you'd think I was busy catching up at home or something after being there seven days! 

     Monday morning we were given no indication of when we could expect Harris to be discharged from the hospital.  A little more progress needed to be seen first, and because Harris was still only eating a glorified "liquid" diet (meaning things like cream of mushroom soup, cottage cheese, and pudding), we really didn't expect him to go home anytime sooner than Wednesday.  When I called him Tuesday morning to check in before leaving the house, I was shocked to learn that one of our doctor's associates had been in to see him and that she thought he was ready to go home.  She told Harris, though, that the doctor would be in by noon, and then he would make the final judgment call. 

     I think Harris was just as shocked as I was and somewhat concerned with whether or not he was really ready.  Obviously home sounds better than staying in the hospital, but when you're still eating only a few spoonfuls of food a day and you're feeling very full and bloated, you really wonder if it's a wise choice.  He had been running a low temp the previous two nights, and the nurse was slightly concerned about that, so all in all, we just wanted to make sure going home would be the right thing to do. 

     It became a race against time for me to get done what I needed to get done at home and then beat the doctor to the hospital room so we could make a joint decision. 

     When I got to the room, I was surprised to see the bed empty and the IV pole standing there all alone and detached from my husband.  He was not in the room, so I went out and discovered that he was taking a walk all by himself.  I decided he must be feeling better, and maybe going home was a great decision . . . until he got back in the room and shared with me just how bloated and full he still felt.  He rested a little and then took a shower, and then we waited and waited for the doctor to come.  Finally around 1:30, the RN appeared and told us that she had discharge papers and that the doctor had decided that if his associate thought Harris was ready, then he was okay with it too.  Surprise again. 

     We all decided to go ahead and follow through with it but asked if we could wait just a little bit longer to actually leave.  Our company was having a very important conference call at 2 p.m. that we really wanted to be a part of if at all possible, so we agreed to just call her whenever we were done with that. 

     Right smack in the middle of it, our doctor appeared.  Ugh!  Rotten timing!  Harris had been dozing throughout the call, and I had been trying to take all kinds of notes.  Now he needed to wake up and try and converse with the doctor about the wisdom of going home, and I was trying to listen to them but still pay attention to what was being said on the call.  Looking back, maybe we should have asked the doctor to come back when we were finished, but the reality is that we didn't know when that would be, we didn't want to inconvenience him, and we didn't care to sit around and wait again either.  The decision to go home had been made, and there was really nothing keeping us from moving forward other than a bit of fear and trepidation.  Ultimately, it boiled down to the fact that we were just moving from 24/7 skilled nursing care to 24/7 Jacki care.  If we had challenges at home, we certainly knew the number to call for help. 

     Tuesday night was rough.  He felt pretty miserable because he was still so bloated.  We questioned whether or not we had done the right thing.  We questioned his lack of appetite.  We questioned which option of painkiller would be the best.  He was reminded that they affect his sense of smell and make him ultrasensitive, and he was annoyed by all our normal household smells.  He was reminded that they give him horrible nightmares.  He opted to sleep in the recliner in the basement and discovered just how dry it is down there.  All in all, he just felt "mighty low," in his words. 

     We discovered that the old heating pad tucked away in a cupboard was just the trick to helping him feel better.  By Wednesday afternoon already, he was doing a ton better than the day before because the bloated feeling was starting to disappear.  He even asked for a can of chicken noodle soup and ate quite a bit of it, which was a major accomplishment.  His brother Bryce had brought a trailer to the QC, so he parked the semi in front of the house and came in for a visit, and that really boosted Harris's spirits.  We have spent a lot of our time just talking together about everything under the sun, but he sure appreciates hearing from others as well.  He made a few brief phone calls that day, but his voice is still hoarse, so that can tire him out. 

     The TV gets really old really fast, so I found an old Cathedrals CD to pop in and just let that play quietly in the background Wednesday evening.  That sparked a whole new type of healing for him, and we have found music to be a lifesaver!  He can enjoy it while just laying on the couch or sit with a computer and pull up videos to watch.  It's been extremely good medicine for the soul, and we've seen it bring out his very tender side.  He's been the most gracious and loving patient I could ever ask for, and the kids and I have been so blessed by all his compliments and messages of love being delivered face to face or via text. 

     Thankfully he lives with his office manager, and a lot of our work can be done from home.  Yesterday we spent our afternoon tending a few office things, and it was good to see him mentally engage himself on a couple of phone calls.  He even set it up for a client to come by the house tomorrow to sign something, so that just assures me that he is making good progress.  When he had all the complications in April/May, he could hardly think or talk business for several weeks.  The fact that he can have his head in it this much already gives us both much hope that things are going in the right direction.

     All in all, he's doing as well as can be expected.  His appetite is gaining every day, and he's feeling a little bit better all the time.  Very slow but steady.  That's why he needs to be recuperating for 4-6 weeks.  The best part is that he's not experiencing any cramping or gas pains like he did the last time, so we're really hoping that he's healing properly this time.  We know this is a long process, and we just have to be patient.  His worst challenge right now is that he isn't sleeping well at night.  Last night he took ibuprofen instead of a prescribed painkiller, and he was still wide awake already at 2:30.  The rest of the night was very restless for him, but he's sleeping peacefully now. 
     On just another side note, it was a year ago last night that Heath had his last seizure, and it happened the same night he had his last final for that semester.  He and Haley have had the rare opportunity to be in a college science class together, and they are taking that last final today.  We have no reason to believe that he'd have another seizure, but let's just say that those kids are certainly in our thoughts and prayers today.  It's been a long stressful week for them.  If you're reading this and would be willing to say a little prayer for them, that would be great. 

     Thanks again, everyone!  Your love and support of our family has been tremendous, and we appreciate every single ounce of it.  Enjoy your weekend!

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