Roller Coaster: Day 5 (Nov. 8 2008)

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2008 at 5:19 am





Bit tumultuous today, really. I arrived at the Step Down unit around ten. Found out that Alex was on her second nurse of the day. The first had been asked by Alex to go somewhere else (as in, ANYwhere else) as she had shown up for work with a cold. I, for one, am pretty amazed and also perturbed that a person could show up for work in a hospital with a virus. Alex, with a lifetime of constantly attempting to avoid sick people lest she herself gets even further sick,  was understandably freaked out. So she insisted on a new nurse. His name was Nathan and he was a fine fellow.

Alex had a walk this morning and moved some secretions around. She as been experiencing dizziness (perhaps due to lack of solid food or maybe the drugs) so it was not a very good experience for her. But walk she did, with the assistance of the physiotherapist. After the walk most of her morning was spent doing other types of breathing exercises, slowly eating and getting her nutrition (jello and beef broth sort of stuff), and getting her fluids moving. Most of all she was just a little startled and exhausted. I read Alex some more well-wishes provided by you all. This made her feel quite good. Your kind thoughts really do mean a lot to her, especially when the walls of her room keep getting closer and closer to her. She wants each and every one of you to know how much you mean to her. She told me to tell you this.


Alex joked with me that I should call this section of the blog entry “How I am Slowly Killing my Husband”. In short, she had a really rough time tonight, and a lot of it came my way. I got there at 6pm to find out that she’d had a room change. Saturday night. Short staffed. Ugh. The nurses on shift wanted to make sure they could see everyone so they grouped the patients together down one corridor. The rooms have glass walls so that anything peculiar-seeming or requiring assistance could be spotted quickly. Works for the workers, but can stress out already stressed-out patients. 

I tried my very hardest to keep Alex in good spirits but she was overtired and agitated. She was even complaining about the fact she was complaining. Just plain out of sorts and pretty unconsolable, Day 5 snuck up on her and surprised her. Nurse Nathan said its not unusual for patients to go through all manner of physical and emotional discomfort. Also mentioned that the anti-rejection drugs can make people pretty emotional. Well, tonight was the night for that. She even had difficulty swallowing some pills. This coming from a woman whose daily pill regime consisted of about 40 different shaped capsules. 

I worked hard to cajole her into taking all the pills. I’ve never once had to do this with Alex. She has always been self-directed and capable in this regard. Tonight it was if she just didn’t have it in her to get them down. Took a lot of water and encouragement. I felt like a coach a bit, and I don’t think Alex cottoned to the idea of me being her pill coach. Not one bit. And she let me know it. Ah well, I’m sure Elvis’s pill coach probably had the odd off-night too.

We finally got the pills into her and got her tucked into bed. I managed to get her close to sleep as we talked about the last few days, and what an amazing thing was happening to us. We talked about horses, about her pony Gypsy and what a great true friend she is. About how Alex and I will go riding in Camargue in Southern France…wait…no…Ireland. Or maybe Argentina! When I finally put my bag on my back and make my way down the hall she was really close to finally falling asleep….


Tom & Alex - Oregon Coast 2006

Tom & Alex - Oregon Coast 2006


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