Friday, February 11, 2005

The Roller Coaster

Yesterday was a good day. Sort of. It was a good reminder AGAIN of the virtues of patience, patient advocacy and a Thermarest.

So, super good news first. Mom was WAY more awake yesterday. She could keep her eyes open for a long time, was trying to talk back to Roland around her ET tube and pursed her lips to kiss him back when he kissed her bye for a bit. She definitely knows Roland and is feeling pain more (good in that she probably wasn't feeling it as much before because the thonk on her head was interfering with processing). Her face is better yet and I was able to sneak a few more pictures so you can see for yourself!

They didn't try and wean her yesterday because she went for her IV C filter. That requires that she get some sedation and they figured about the time it wore off it would be too late in the day for safely weaning. The procedure went well (based on her quick return to 9300) and it is a very good preventative measure. But we did have to go through Informed Consent with a new doctor (as Sievers was tied up at that time). As some of you know, Informed Consent is where you are told that (insert procedure) could cause bruising, tiring or death. It pretty much doesn't matter what the procedure is- haircut, car wash, invasive surgery- there is always a risk of sudden death. Being a doc, I expeccted this and yet it was still traumatic for us all. A reminder that we're not out of the woods until we are.

Yesterday morning was rough in that we have now entered the land of complications. You know the old saw about how being in a hospital will make you sick... Yesterday morning when we went in, Mom's left arm from just above the elbow had swollen up to 3 times its normal size and over double the size it was the day before. The swelling was so severe that the skin was blistering to try and let water out. This is probably the result of a clot in one of the veins in her arm secondary to all the catheters. And she still HAD a catheter in that arm, to make things worse. We had a new nurse, again, and brought up our concerns but she blew it off, saying it was because Mom's hand had been hanging down.

Yeah. Whatever.

As many of you can imagine, knowing me and patient care, that didn't go over well. I was already feeling weepy and tired and overwhelmed (like knowledge, a little sleep is a dangerous thing) and came UNGLUED. It was the first time I have really lost it and, as there is no quiet space at the hospital, it was quite a public affair. Mari, Mom's nurse from the day before, turned up in the midst of everything and asked what was wrong. When I explained, she volunteered to take a look as she knew what Mom had lloked like the day before. The new nurse wasn't happy about this but caved.

Next thing you know, Mari is back to assure us the catheter is coming out, Mom's arm is being elevated, they are getting warm compresses for it and everything will be alright. Mom also got a triple lumen jug cath placed so that they can remoged the other peripherals and let her other arm rest (it is starting to swell too). They took chest Xrays to confirm catheter placement and evaluate her lungs but we don't know those results yet. Once she knew us, the new nurse Daniella warmed up quite a bit and really allowed us to hang with Mom. This was positive in a trillion ways of course, but it also meant that I got to meet one of the orthopedists and got an update from Dr. Brown as well. The orthopedists are raring to go to fix the ankle, merely waiting for an all clear from neurosurgery. They don't even need or necessarily want to wait till Mom is extubated. But they also can wait another week or two if necessary. As it is an intraarticular fracture, my suspicion is that that would increase her long-term arthritis but who knows.

Dr. Doucet gave us a little update and, more importantly, Dr. Sievers came out while I was still quite distressed. This led to me expounding on all the strains of new nurses every shift and new rules with the front every day and on and on. Which led to a distressed Dr. Sievers (it is very painful to watch me be upset I think...) which led to hugs and two bonus visits with Sievers during the day.

In other news, two more packages came- a wonderful teddy named Tucker that I have borrowed from Mom so I something to squeeze out the fear into at night, and a great kit from Cafe du Monde. If Mom isn't careful, we may break into the coffee for her! We also received a whole slew of cards for Mom and a great sign for her room with some morale money. We read all the cards to Mom and taped them to one of her walls (all the walls are glass) and put the sign up on another wall.

Today we get to hang the map and stickerize it... We are going to have to get a second world map as there are too many countries praying for Mom to cut out! Speaking of which, we are up to 42 states and 16 countries. The states we are officially missing are: Wyoming, North Dakota, Idaho, Delaware, Nevada, West Virginia, Alaska and Montana.

Well, almost done but thought you would like a fun story.

To get into 9300, you press this intercom button and wait while they look at you on a camera and decide whether to open the doors. As they are not always at the desk, sometimes you wait A LOT for the door to open. We have become very good at catching the door and waiting INSIDE while someone gets up to take your place so that they can get in. But, especially early on, we weren't this wise and spent a lot of time staring at the doors, wondering if someone was there. Roland got bored one day and started dancing a little jig for the camera. When they let him in, they said it wouldn't have taken so long but they liked the dancing... All in all, good peoples.

Well, it is past time to go but I got more sleep last night so hopefully I will be able to post again tonight. Keep the cards and letters coming. They are good for us all.

When I get back, I will try and tell you all about the moose with the hat.

With love and hope-



Blogger Mary said...

Add West Virginia to your list. Tom's sister is now living there and probably has her whole church praying for Pam.
This blog is a great idea and really appreciated. I check it often. Thanks so much for keeping it updated.
Our thoughts and prayers are constantly with you. We love you all dearly.
Tom, Mary, and Ali McIntire

12:20 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

You have prayers coming from Idaho, and Nevada. My parents have been praying and thinking of Pam since I let them know. We are all thinking of you. Love Dana

1:42 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Well, These guys took all of my offerings except for Wyoming. Jen, is Jacqui still sleeping naked? If so, my heart goes out to you- at least Tucker is there now for comfort:) Between Jacqui's heat stress and my night sweats, we made quite the bed fellows. Jacqui, having seen you upset, I can assure that it is painful to watch- but you were upset with good reason and you continue to be a wonderful advocate for your Mom. Those there with any sense realize and appreciate that- perhaps Dr. Use... can now see that your knowledge is not a threat but rather what you draw from now to protect your mother, you and your family. You go girl!!! Show em what you've got. You are a powerful woman, and it is becoming increasingly obvious where you get that strength from. Tell your Mom again you much I admire her and how proud I am of her. By the time I see her next, she may be running circles around me. Let me know if you need me out there again or if you need anything from back home. I had to go into the hospital today and EVERYONE stopped me to ask about you and your Mom. There is so much love for you here that you simply cannot fathom it. I love ya, honey. Hi to Roland, Brian, David, Kelly and Jen. Love, Nicole

1:52 PM  
Blogger Annika said...

I sang in the VCC in fall 2003 right before I went back to Germany. Right now I am in Nashville just for a short visit before again returning to Germany and I heard about the accident.

Singing in the chorus was such a great joy for me! The music that Pam performed with us made my hole stay even happier.

I wish you all the best and include your family every day in my prayer.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Dave & Nancy Estes Park said...

Hi Jacqui,
Thought Nicole's post was pretty funny. I'm glad you are not taking any stuff from anybody, sometimes you just have to insist in these situations - been there done that. Thinking of you all everyday. Could you let us know who the team members are? We know Roland, but everybody else?
Keep making strides Pam, baby steps are just fine too.
Thinking of you all
Dave and Nancy Rocknichd

2:56 PM  

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