Monday, December 12, 2011

Progress

Mike was up a lot during the night, but now is on oral pain meds for the first time and those have pretty much knocked him out. He'll get a about a 10 minute nap before the Surgical Team shows up. The first Med student showed up around 5:30 and then a group of about 6 more students showed up at 6:30. The surgeon is making his way down the hall now with his entourage.

If the oral pain meds control his pain OK then the epidural will be removed today along with the catheter. Full liquids are next on the meal plan and if that goes well, he can also get rid of the IV. Things are definitely heading in the right direction.

Our personal goal was to be out of here on Wednesday. So far so good. It helps when Mike has such an amazing attitude about the entire thing. He is so upbeat and positive about the process and has kept his sense of humor in tact. He continues to amaze me, although after 18 and a half years I shouldn't be surprised.

Yesterday he was joking that I had wanted a few days away just the two of us - laying around in bed, room service. I added that the tropical air was a nice touch too since he has the thermostat set to about 78 in his room.

Going through this together has brought us closer, I think. Just when I think things have never been better, it gets better. It's funny how love grows and gets deeper even when you've been together as long as we have. Much of the last two years has not been fun, but even more of it has been amazing. Mike supported me during the death of my Mom while dealing with his own grief. It's give and take, but there's no keeping score. I once read something about how in a relationship one person always has to love the other person a little bit more. I don't think I agree with that, but there has to be a willingness to love the other person enough to put your own stuff aside because they need you more than you need them at that moment. Although, I'm not sure "need" is the right word either.

Mike's recovery will be slow. Although his visible wounds will heal and the pain will go away, it will take much longer for his digestive system to find it's new normal. Like everything else, we'll deal with things as they come and know that while there may be some set backs and more than a little frustration, we will come out of this stronger than ever.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

One step forward, two steps back...

What a difference a few hours makes following major surgery.  Yesterday morning Mike was wowing everyone with his determination to get out of here by walking to the end of the hall and back four times before mid-afternoon.  Besides preventing blood clots, walking will help get his bowels working.  Let's just say it worked.  It's one thing to have an idea of how things will progress, but it doesn't necessarily make things any easier when it happens. 

Along with getting aquainted with his new plumbing, Mike had issues with low potassium and was running a fever.  The potassium caused his arm to swell up and he had a severe burning sensation in his hand and arm., which we were told that it is an unfortunate side-effect for some people.  There were also issues with his pain meds and trying to find a combination of things that would work best for him. After much trial and error I think he's back to what he had in the first place.

It's difficult to see Mike in pain and know there is so little I can do to help.  When I left the hospital at midnight he was doing better than he had earlier in the day. and he was sleeping again when I returned to the hospital this morning at 6, but he said he had a rough hour between 4-5.  His night nurse has some concern there may be an infection because Mike also had some cramping so they will have to do some labs to check for that.

I am trying to keep all of this seperate from the experience we had with my mom three months ago, but sometimes it's difficult.  Getting some sleep last night helped, but I know I'm still distracted and find myself having to push some of those less rational thoughts away to deal with later.  I know I still need to deal with the feelings & thoughts that I have pushed down over the last few months in order to function in the present and be fully available to Mike and the kids. 

Today though the kids will go back home with Mike's mom and do all of the things 6 & 7 year old kids should do, like Scouts, school, ballet, play with friends.  My Dad will head back to Minnesota today and I will stay with Mike.  We wanted the kids to be able to see Mike this weekend and know that he is OK, but it will be good to not have to worry about them.  Hanging out in a hospital is no fun for anyone and they've had more than their fair share of it.