Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Checking in before zonking out

Hi everyone:

Patty fared decently for much of the day, after quite a rough start. A couple of things in her medical condition have rattled me somewhat. First, she is receiving oxygen through a canula (nosepiece); if she takes the canula off, say, to scratch her nose, her pulse oximeter (pulse-ox) reading drops from a healthy 98-100% to a less comforting 80-something percent. Most who are caring for her believe this is simply a function of her left lung (the one that was collapsed for the surgery) not yet fully recovering from the trauma to which it was exposed.

I will say that when Patty moves any core muscle groups, the pain from her incision wound and a surrounding area that takes in much of her upper body causes her enough discomfort that it affects her ability to breathe for a short period, which is quite unpleasant for her. I know this first-hand because, when I helped a nurse move Patty, I pulled more than lifted and actually hurt Patty to the point of tears as a result. Of course, she was not only in pain, but struggling for breath, and all because I'm clumsy. It wasn't one of my better self-esteem moments.

The other unsettling matter is that Patty's kidneys don't seem to be processing fluids as they should; this could simply be a matter of her being dehydrated from vomiting so often earlier today. I would probably worry less about this were it not for Patty's propensity for getting infections in this area.

Patty said today that she wished she had been given the opportunity to talk to someone else who had been through the process. Doctors and nurses can understand and even empathize, but if they haven't been on the receiving end, they can only relate others' stories without much of the emotion. Sometimes the best description of pain doesn't come in words, but in the memory recaptured on the person's face. Patty doesn't think she could have been talked out of participating, and has said that she has no regrets. But there's some part of her that feels like she wishes she had more kindred spirits with whom to compare notes. Having said this, would Patty's description of her pain--that it is on par with, and similar to, the pain from her heart attack--scare people away from the procedure? She would hope not.

I'm going to sign off now, because our patient wants me to read her all of the postings from the past two days. We started to do this last night, but Patty fell asleep seconds into the first entry--it's great to know one's voice is soporific. Patty has had several visitors today, including Kathleen, Neil, PJ, Kelly, Connor, Emily and Kristin. Our neighbor Denise, who is one of our guardian angels, made a ton of Italian beef, which she and Sandy delivered to our home; some people always (and I mean always) have your back.

Okay, I'll catch you up again tomorrow. I think my girl's going to have a good night and a better morning. Thanks for checking in.


No comments: