Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 11 (depending on how you count)

Finally up to neurology acute care. She's de-hooked from all monitors. Blood draws every eight hours to check her sodium levels. But all the medications to reduce brain swelling seem to be working. She'll still be on a fistful of pills each day even after discharge but she has no problem with downing them.

She gets evaluated by a therapist today. If she gets the thumbs up she could be discharged Friday. They will be evaluating her capabilities around balance, independent walking and strength as well as home conditions and support. If they feel she needs more time then they'd evaluate on Monday and we'd likely then get her discharged Tuesday. Discharges don't happen over the weekends. This all presumes her sodium levels are stable and her surgeon gives the ok.

A big thank you to all who have and continue to support us during our stay. We had dear ones drop off high sodium items as needed - Odwalla juices, smoothies, French fries, portabella mushroom sandwiches with yam fries, and carrot cake. Amazingly the hospital has no high sodium drinks that are thirst quenching, and only milk as a reasonable option. Kinda tough when you are under doctors orders for water restriction and high sodium. I'm also grateful for those who stepped in to spell me on short notice. As she got out of the woods I felt more comfortable leaving her in trusted hands.

She's in much better shape to receive visitors, particularly if we are stuck here over the weekend. She tires easily and may need to drop off for a power nap but other than that she's regaining strength rapidly. She's making great progress on her speech, you'd hardly know she has aphasia. She does lose her train of thought from time to time and she has lost memory of some events and has some short term recall issues - hopefully all resolving in time.

Our "room" at the hospital is small and shared. We have a curtain for visual privacy but there is not much space for anything beyond her bed and two chairs. So please, no flowers or gifts. When she's home the best gifts will be your support through the network Bobbie Baker had set up. We will need support.

I've learned a lot through this stay. The value and importance of friends clearly at the top, along with their willingness to augment our supplies here. It's true about hospital food, it's pretty bad. The need to be your own advocate, but most importantly for the caregiver to be vigilant and questioning. There are too many opportunities for slip-ups in transitions. The importance of being right by her side day and night. She's needed the trusted companion there, because stroke victims can be confused and even if you are not confused due to brain injury or sedation you need to be the one she looks to. So it's a lot of sitting or "sleeping" by her side. Hospitals are noisy places, you don't really get sleep. Last night she (and therefore I ) were awakened 4 times from 1am on for blood draws, pills, vital sign checks, and a bathroom visit.

There are many more things I'll write about eventually. Once we are outta here. And once I've recovered myself. I really do look bad, hahaha.


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