Sunday, August 7, 2016

Day 6 - We Have Work To Do

Saturday started with some encouraging circumstances.  When I arrived at the hospital shortly after 8:00, I was greeted by Susan sitting in her chair having her breakfast.  This was the first time she has "really" eaten.  I've been trying to bribe her with some treats, up until now, but she would only nibble on things.  Seeing her polish off her tray was a welcome sight and an obvious sign that she was feeling better.
Susan's Homework:  Her Spiro-meter to practice breathing and
to help her lungs get rid of her congestion.
With Susan feeling a bit better, we quickly were assigned the day's homework.  As has been the them of this trip to the hospital they haven't really given us a break.  Susan was given a whole list of tasks today.  4 - walks, 10 sets of breathing exercises on the spirometer, getting rid of all of the fluid they inundate you with during the surgery.  While doing this she has to keep on top of her pain medications.  The key with managing pain is to stay on top of it.  You can't be a hero and try to go without and attempt to be tough.  If you let the pain break through you will be on a roller coaster of ups and downs with your pain and the meds etc.  Today Susan is trying to go without the opioids, which make her feel awful.  Today we are trying things with just extra strength Tylenol.
Susan's Whiteboard: Complete with her homework assignment
for the day.  

This is all normal surgical follow up and part of getting yourself back up and moving again.  Susan chastised me a little this morning.  Now that she is a little more coherent she has been reading my blog.  Yes, she does have editorial privileges.  The one thing that is difficult in writing about this experience is trying to accurately capture the mood of what is going on.  The difficulty is that the patient perspective (Susan) is quite a bit different than the caregiver perspective (Me).  From my point of view, the results of the surgery were fantastic, in fact I was almost giddy on Wednesday afternoon after I talked to Dr Ross and he shared the results with me.  Susan however, is the person who feels like she was run over by a bus.  Open heart surgery is no minor thing.  Although, I know she is aware of the results her priorities are a little different right now. She just wants to feel like a normal human being again.  In her words, she just wants to fast forward to two weeks into the future and skip all of the aches and pains of early recovery.  On Friday, we had a real hard time managing her pain.  They would give her an opioid which would make her feel nauseated.  To help the nausea they give her an anti-nausea med which makes her feel dizzy.  This is not a great scenario for trying to get someone eating and walking.

This is why today was such an encouraging day.  The pain was managed with Tylenol which gave Susan a chance to feel a little more normal today.  She actually had some energy and "wanted" to go for a walk.

With all of the right things happening, we began to talk more seriously about the "D" word...."Discharge."  This has come up in several discussions over the past few days but only in hypothetical terms.  Now this was real.  Our intent was to fly Nicole and Russell to Edmonton for a couple of days.  With Susan progressing so quickly we have cancelled our plans.  That is a disappointment but a small price to pay for getting home early.

There is talk about discharge on Sunday...with a flight home on Monday.  This is early in the discussion stage and can change but this is pretty exciting stuff.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  Too good to be true?

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