Steppin’ Down: Day Three (Nov. 6 2008)

In Uncategorized on November 7, 2008 at 1:15 am

I am pretty sure that our dog Henry is clairivoyant. Or if not clairivoyant then simply very sensitive. He is clearly curious about what is going on over the last couple of days. The comings and goings. The fairly radical change to our habitus. 

I’ve just returned home for a brief head shake and dog walk. Okay…a couple of shots of Maker’s Mark as well. Had to have a little tete-a-tete with our pup, as I can tell he knows something is up. I sat down on the floor with him and gave him a pat. I said “Alex…home…soon” twice. He bowed his head and leaned into me and I swear he let out a big sigh as if to say “Good”. My time with him over the past couple of days has been not only a welcome distraction from the beeps and monitors of ICU. It’s been a time to walk slowly, take in the unusually beautiful weather, and just relax a bit. That pic that I posted below is taped to the end of Alex’s hospital bed. Henry, like Alex, has been through an extraordinary series of medical interventions as of late. It’s no wonder the two are such close pals. It’s as if they’ve been through the trenches together. 

So. Alex walked this morning. I didn’t have the good fortune to experience it firsthand. But she told me all about it when I arrived this afternoon. (In her own very strong voice, by the way). She walked around her floor with the aid of a physiotherapist, a walker and an oxygen tank. Said it took a lot out of her, but that she did it. 

She did not sleep much last night. Every thirty seconds or so she would slumber, then slow her breathing, then her new lungs would kick into gear and breathe a big fat breath and wake her up. This pattern was repeated throughout the night. There is obviously a bit of a disconnect between her body and these new lungs. She is well aware that she will need to get use to this new rhythm. But for now it’s a source of exhaustion. Oh yes, the added component of an itch-inducing morphine supply is pretty much guaranteed to keep her from rest. Did I mention her extremely active mind as well?  The nurses told me that some patients can’t sleep for days on end and develop “ICU psychosis”.  I told the nurse to stop right there. If anyone is gonna get ICU psychosis, it’s gonna be me.

3:30 pm – Step Down

Alex has been moved from her one-nurse-on-one-patient ICU room to what is called “step-down”. That means that she is now sharing a nurse, and is on another part of the ICU floor. She still has her own room, which is essentially the same set-up as before. Difference is they feel confident enough to get her into a slightly less critical and dependent situation. A little like moving from kindergarten to Grade 1. 

Alex was nervous at first. She constantly worries that she will suddenly stop breathing, and that no one will notice in the new room. I am no pharmacist, but I am pretty sure that the drugs are exacerbating her fears. After much petting of her head and the sweet voice of reason she is ready to move on. Sort of sad to leave the super fantastic nurses on this end of the floor, but I promise to return bearing Alex’s Christmas CDs, which makes everyone happy.

Most of the next couple hours involve a fairly stoned Alex wanting to be scratched and given sips of ginger ale in her new room. I oblige, and with her new nurse Alan I watch the monitors as they flash her vitals. An oxygen saturation rate that moves between 95 and 100 (great), pulse of 90bpm (great) and a normal blood pressure 120 over 65 (great). She needs some rest, and much as I love to hang out with my sweetie I figure it’s time to go so that she can rest and revitalize. I tell her that she needs to think like a soldier. Rest while you can, and when the time comes to go, you go girl. A kiss on the forehead and I am on my way. Home to walk her little mind-reading comrade-in-arms.

I know all...see all...smell all

I know all...see all...smell all

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