Sunday, July 05, 2009

Good things and things that suck

Hi everyone:

I think this is the longest I've gone without writing an update since Patty's been in here (he says, as though she's serving five-to-ten for armed robbery). I'm so ready for Patty to come home now; unfortunately, her doctors don't share this sentiment as yet. To be honest, I can tell she's not there, either. More on this shortly.

If it's not immodest to boast shamelessly about someone else, I have to say I'm incredibly proud of my wife; she is doing everything they've asked of her, and then some, to make sure all of this is worth it in the end. From the moment she considered participation in this study, she's understood and embraced the "short-term pain, long-term gain" mantra. And, without question, she has endured a tremendous amount of short-term pain. I'm so hopeful that her future will be brighter because of this. In any event, she impresses the hell out of me. She's a star.

Speaking of stars, Edward Hospital posts certain patient-specific warnings outside the doors of the rooms. Some warn about latex allergies, others confirm a nil-by-mouth protocol and so on. I was puzzled, though, by an image of a falling star, and asked Patty if she knew what it meant. She answered, "Don't you remember?" I didn't. She went on, "Those are the people who fall all the time." For some dark reason, this struck me as terribly amusing, so I laughed and laughed until I made eye contact with the scary nurse again (naturally, we call her Nurse Cratchitt...but not to her face). I'm sure some of you are saying, "He wouldn't find it so funny if he was the one who could fall and hurt himself." Duhhhh...

Good things:
  • Patty has lost almost all of the water weight she had put on since the operation. To accomplish this, she urinated a party keg over the past 24 hours.
  • Jeanne, the study coordinator, gets applause from me, from Patty and from everyone else pulling for Patty--she came in yesterday, on an off-day, even though her own daughter was sick, to make sure Patty's upsets of yesterday morning weren't the upsets of her afternoon. Thank you so much. (And am I spelling your name correctly? If I'm subtle, maybe nobody else will notice that I've possibly been diminishing another's identity)
  • Patty is up and walking around; she's using the "bong" to strengthen her re-inflated lung; and she's becoming increasingly independent while using the bathroom, getting in and out of bed and performing other activities. She's not comfortable, but she's trying to get a sense of self-sufficiency back.
  • Neil is here. Kathleen is here. When they're around, things seem safer, somehow.
  • Patty received flowers yesterday from my parents, Bob and Bev (I've nicknamed them Mom and Dad) and from Dave and Flavia. I'm a guy, so I don't really describe flowers, but they look nice, and the vase they're in may one day serve as a very nice, albeit large, cocktail glass.
  • I stopped at Walgreen's this morning to grab a couple of Patty-requested supplies for the Sin Bin. If you don't know what I'm talking about, do a search of the blog for the words "chocolate" or "dangerous sugar high" and you should find some references. While at the checkout, the female employee asked if I was married to "Mrs. O.C." (the name students address her by). I said yes. The girl introduced herself and then said, "She was the best art teacher I ever had." We hear this a lot, and it makes me understand why some people teach; I had always thought it was because of the huge salaries. Personally, I would rather clean up after elephants, but I'm impressed by those who find a passion for it.
  • Patty gets to take a shower today.

Things that suck:

  • The late innings of yesterday's Sox game. Missing Denise's and Kevin's party (take pictures, guys). Being out of touch with Devin and Colin, and fretting about the logistics of seeing them this summer. And Patty, when she's using her "bong" to improve her lungs.
  • Patty has eliminated so much fluid the past couple of days that she is deficient in potassium. To rectify this, she was given a supplement that is roughly the size of a regulation football. We know that what comes up, must come down; in this instance, the opposite was true. Patty tossed the football.
  • Patty is still in a considerable amount of pain, in part because she's following doctors' instructions and cutting back on IV pain medication in favor of oral narcotics, which aren't quite as effective because they take longer to work.
  • The latest whispers, which I've wanted to hear saying, "Monday", sound suspiciously like they're saying "Wednesday".
  • To put it bluntly, Patty sounds like shit. Her breathing sounds more labored than ever, even though she's doing everything she's been asked to, and then some. She coughs from time to time, and this sounds unpleasantly wheezy. I told Patty that I'm hoping this is one of those situations in which things are somewhat worse before they get a lot better; is the correct expression, "It's always darkest before the dawn?"

    On this same theme, the doctor from Dr. Cziperle's team told us something today that surprised us. Apparently, when a lung is collapsed, as Patty's was, it may take a number of days before the lung is fully reinflated. What came to my mind was a new, yet-to-be-inflated balloon, where the walls of the balloon are stuck together and require some force to pull them apart. If my metaphor is at all accurate, this would explain the importance of Patty using "the bong" as much as possible, to be able to pull the last of the lung tissue into action.
  • Patty is feeling quite weak today, more so even than yesterday. Again, I'm hoping this is just a slight decline before a faster incline...we shall see. I thought she would be further along at this point. The good news is that every time I describe a setback on these pages, it's better by the next time I write, so let's hope the trend continues.

Well, I think that catches you up. If anything of consequence happens as the day progresses, I'll write again. Thanks again to all for everything.


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