The Floor!: Day 9 (Nov.12, 2008)

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Well I am happy to report that Alex is now on “The Floor”. The 7th floor of Toronto General Hospital to be precise. This is where the majority of the post-transplant patients are at any given time. Interestingly, it is also where those brave souls who donated a kidney or part of a liver to a loved one rest up and recover. So lots of stuff going on down here.

This is the place where we really start to get a move on. The nurse/patient ratio is very different, so family members and the patients themselves need to be a lot more self-reliant. Alex has her own room with a big window so she can finally look outside and see the House of Commons as well as some pretty impressive cranes that are working on a new wing for Toronto General. This room is twice the size of her last. Much less claustrophobic, and has a real wooden door instead of a sliding glass panel. I now have her all set up with the requisite CD player, DVD player, notepads etc for when she is resting. But of course, most of the hours and days here are not about rest as much as they are about movement and healing. With this in mind, I must say how proud I am of Alex for refusing TV service in her room. She is going to use the odd DVD as a reward for her hard work, but the rest of the time it’s time to giv’er! And that’s a big thing for her because over the last couple of years she has relied more and more on TV to keep her company when she is not feeling well.

Gary the physiotherapist came by this morning and listened to her lungs. He pronounced that she didn’t need to be manipulated today. That’s a good thing. It means her lungs are less clogged with post-operative gunk, and that the excess fluid is passing from her body. He wanted to go straight to walking. And he gave me the green light to be her designated walker! Henceforth I can take care of all the IVs and drainage tubes and oxygen tank and breathing apparatus and the walker, and I can accompany her on her walks. As many walks a day as Alex can do. The goal is to titrate her over time, to lower the oxygen needs so that she is eventually breathing completely on her own all the time. Alex walked 200 meters. Started out on what I compared to a peppyish walk up Queen West, finished as a gentle summer stroll eating ice cream on College Street. I think I will keep this up, this imagining, as an incentive to think about where we are headed. We haven’t been able to go on walks per se for a couple years now. Ah…imagining.

When we returned we watched a DVD someone sent Alex. It was copied form a videotape that was from 1990. It showed a 16 year old Alex describing her CF for her friend’s high school biology class. The pills she took, the physiotherapy, her horseback riding. She was so darned sweet. Really, really touching to see images of her describing her life. She was a plucky little gal back then too! When the video was made they’d only been doing lung transplants for five years. Probably couldn’t even consider transplants at that time. Astonishing to watch these images and then look over at this woman who is now all grown up and my wife. She had such fun watching this little Alex. sitting there with a smile on her face. Still plucky, that’s for sure.

After we watched this a different physiotherapist came in and gave Alex some acupuncture to relieve some soreness in her back. It worked. After the therapy Alex conked out for a while. In a good way. She’s comfortable now that she’s on the 7th floor. It feels like everything is coming into place. I’m even going to get to go and play an early gig @ the Cameron House down the street when Connie comes to hang out with Alex. After the show I’ll head back to the hospital with guitar in hand. Can’t wait to sing a little song to my gal. Ah…a little normalcy begins to return to our life! 


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