Sunday, October 28, 2007

3rd Hurdle: Knocked Down

Well, finally! The first shoe dropped.

When we went in to visit yesterday, we found her looking like she'd been through the wars, and as she was a WWII teen aged refugee from Latvia, that is saying something.

She apparently developed atrial fibrillation in the night, resulting in her third night of no sleep and an amiodarone drip (a yucky drug with a slew of short and long term potential side effects but the best option for short term treatment of this heart arrhythmia). It's a common occurrence and usually doesn't result in any long term complications, so I'm not fussed, but to her it is just one more thing.

She also had another evacuation of the roommate. This one apparently was quite ill and had so much going on that they moved her to a private room so as not to disturb Lilian. (Now, of course, we are all thinking, "Um. How about if Lilian gets moved to the private room and be done with it?" but that would be crazy talk.) So, for those keeping track, she's had 4 roommates since she was rolled out of the ICU, only one of which was discharged (she with the bed-ramming husband). Last night, Charles and I were taking bets on the fate of her 5th roommate. I am betting it'll be a good old fashioned 'Discharge to God', which will be discovered a bit past midnight and result in the creepy bustle if activity that accompanies a hospital death, including the scrubbing down of the room by surly housekeeping staff, because who the hell wants to be mopping a floor at 3am?

This will, of course result in her 4th night of no-sleep. No wonder she looks and feels like she's been trampled by vast herds of bison.

So, for those keeping tabs:
  • Post op day # 3
  • 4th roommate removed in 48 hours
  • First post op complication (a. fib)
  • 3rd night without sleep
  • Spark gone. Last night she didn't even have the oomph to feed herself.

But, on the plus side, no meatloaf. Judgement restored.

They had been talking about sending her home with us on Monday (heh, yes, day after tomorrow), but I can't see how she'll manage that. We're pulling for a short stay in a nursing facility for some intensive rehab so she can come back home with us.

I'll keep you further posted on these General Hospital Days Of Our Lives, because what else have I to write about? At least Charles and I are getting lots of that car time together with our trips back and forth twice a day...

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Kate W. said...

OK, that just plain sucks. Can't you just pitch a fit until they give her a private room? Come on Diana, I KNOW you can pitch a fit! :)

8:44 AM  
Blogger Cagey said...

I do hope she goes to a rehab temporarily. In my family's experience, that works very well. It also helps that it is a stranger (aka nurse or therapist) making the patient get out of bed to exercise. It is a totally and completely different animal when a family member is the one trying to get the patient to exercise.

Hang in there - all of you! :-)

10:27 AM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Getting her out of the hospital sounds like it would be the best thing for Lilian to get her spark back. She must be just absolutely exhausted after surgery and no sleep. That's terrible. Re: refusing the gross hospital food. Can you bring her something yummy she likes from home? I don't know if that is allowed. I know that my dad got really, really cranky about the hospital food. (He was stuck in the hospital for over a week [I think he had some atrial fibrillation issues as well--I'd forgotten about that until you mentioned it.)

I hope Lilian gets some tonight; it sounds like the current roommate is probably at least fairly quiet, given your dire prediction.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Ooops!!! Unintentional humor in that last comment. I don't actually hope Lilian "gets some" tonight. I don't think that would be a good idea. What I meant to say (of course) is that I hope she gets some SLEEP.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Kate- While I can pitch a fit (actually, it's more of a stream of snide comments) I suspect her insurance is one of those where you have to take the double room if one is availiable (there's a price break, usually). I'm sure we could pony up the difference of $500 or so bucks a night but then none of us would eat this year, even hospital meatloaf.

Cagey- You are SO right. Coming from Charles and I, she just sighs and says that she's too tired. The drill seargent aide was the best but Lilian hates her and says she's too rough. I suspect that if she gets to an inpatient rehab with 1-3 roommates and the only means to escape is to start to pull for herself she may decide that she has to buckle down and push herself to discomfort. Or not.

Rozanne- I will take your dad's precident as my beacon. We've offered to bring her anything she wants (within the strict diabetic-hypercholesterolemic-hypertensive-bad-ticker diet regime) but she just sighs and says she doesn't want anything. Feh. You know, Charles said her aide last night was a handsome, strapping Chech (of course she would know his ancestry)...but sadly there was 'no getting any anything', sleep or otherwise.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Christie said...

It's amazing how someone can seem totally normal in the outside world but when turned into your hospital roommate they truly become the freakiest of the freaky. Possibly the hospital should start letting e-Harmony do the roommate matching? 29 levels of compatibility or some such thing?

Here's hoping she continues on the mend and the amiodarone is gone super quick!

8:45 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Here's hoping for some nursing care for a bit before they send her home. It sounds like she could use it.

I've never had a whole lot of luck in hospitals, with the exception of giving birth. Every other time, I've always ended up with a cranky, loud, whiny roommate who had an equally cranky, loud, whiny family.

Good thoughts for Lillian, and the best care possible.

8:47 AM  
Blogger The Rotten Correspondent said...

So has she converted back yet?

I have to say, even with all the ICU psychosis issues (and when it happens it is brutal , it sucks bad to be in a room with roommates. At least in the ICU you get some privacy.

Peace, no. Privacy, yes.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Stepping Over the Junk said...

Wow, I am sorry you are all (and her) going through this!

7:30 AM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

This is a long haul for all of you.

You throwing a hissy-fit would be quite in order, I think.

Kind thoughts to you.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Keep on keeping on, Doctor Fabulous. Sounds like you're doing beautifully, despite all the fun and excitement.

Ech. I do not understand WHY some hospitals still insist upon the roommate thing. It bodes well for no one.

Also, hospital meat loaf reminds me of a great "Family Guy" quote "Iiiiit's food!" (Maybe)

My suggestion to you is to look for the nurse who looks like she'd gleefully stuff her coworker's pockets with day-glo prophylactics and ask about getting Lilian into a private room. They're usually the ones who can make it happen. They also turn a blind eye to family bringing a bunch of goodies to a patient who hates hospital food, for what it's worth. ;)

8:45 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Do you think if you tied sheets together and hung them out the window she would decide to exercise? Escape may be the motivation she needs.

In all seriousness I really hope she can get well enough to get out of there and into the SNF for a bit before coming home with her spark back.

8:51 AM  
Blogger listie said...

I've always thought it's barbaric to make sick strangers share a room. Poor Lilian.

From our experience, rehab is great. It gives the patients all kinds of incentive to do what they're told so they can get the hell out of there.

8:52 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Gosh, I hope she gets some soon indeed. Sleep, of course, but I am intrigued by the orderly. I am reminded of a Frazier episode where the old woman in the nursing home said something about the highlight of her day was the sponge bath by Carlos (or something).

Much love and healing vibes to you all.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Voyager said...

Having been through open heart surgery myself, I think it is harder in many ways on the family members than the patient. So take CARE of yourselves.
V.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Babs said...

Ma went to rehab before she came home when she got the titanium knee. I know it's a LOT diff from heart surgery (and age diffs etc) but it made things a LOT easier on both her AND Trash once she came home.

Also?? Ma had cute therapist/cabana boy [also see: morphine] to inspire her to exercise whilst there, apparently.

I hope things get easier there soon and Lilian gets better and better :)

3:34 PM  
Blogger Udge said...

Yes, what Voyager said: do take a moment to care for yourselves too. (Not that I've had open-heart surgery, thank god)

Re the private room: surely you of all people would need only to raise an eyebrow at the clinic staff to have them jump at the opportunity to give L her own room?

6:21 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

I hope she gets some sleep! I don't thing there is anything wrong with handsome orderlies/nurses to inspire recovery make your stay more pleasant.

My G-ma recently had a rehabilitation stay at a facility after a fall. I think it was good for her and she was able to return to her retirement home, and she is 91.

11:49 PM  

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