On the Road to Recovery
I found this memo pinned on to the bulletin board at the nurse’s station in the hospital today and just loved it. It is so true that when people extend kindness and compassion and can care for others in their most humiliating moments – those people are always remembered.
My husband has been to North York General Hospital a few times now for surgical procedures, and a few times in the ER, which ultimately led to another visit in the surgical department. I remember quite a few nurses for their compassion, but it was also nice for a few to come up to me when I was sitting beside my husband while waiting in pre-op. Three of those nurses approached me to say hello. They were the ones who commented on how well I take care of my husband. So you see, it’s not only us finding compassionate nurses, but them also noticing the compassion their patients receive from others.
Even the best of healthcare systems could always use more nurses. I know how much they are relied on, and I had a few 12 hour days where I had plenty of time to observe. As good as the nurses are, they just don’t have the time to give more than the required attention to a patient because they have too many patients to take care of. So I do my best not to bother them for things unnecessarily. And I know how exhausted they must be looking after so many for many hours. But I’m an old pro at finding things in the supply cupboard and pantry without having to ask for things. When we demonstrate to the nurses that one of their patients isn’t as needy as others, they are quite willing to do other little favors for me when asked. It’s all in the giving to receive.
I was so touched by the beautiful comments you all have left me not only here, but on other social media and by email. My husband came home yesterday after a long 5 days in the hospital. They kept him in emergency most of the weekend hooked up to various cocktails to halt the bleeding until Monday’s procedure was done by my husband’s own gastro-enterologist, who happens to be an amazing person and doctor. Only 3 days before he was rushed into hospital we had visited Dr. B in his office for a follow up from the prior 2 week past emergency visit at the hospital, which turned out to be a completely different issue than this visit. Dr. B had scoped him both ways previously and told us all was calm and gave us his blessing to head off to Mexico (supposedly 2 weeks today we’d be leaving for the winter). But after hubby was taken into the operating room to be scoped again down his throat, Dr. B came into the recovery room and announced, “Deb, you guys won’t be going anywhere for a long while.”
Apparently, as my husband’s age progresses, so does his liver disease. With this disease, pressure mounts on the portal vein which runs from the liver to the heart. As pressure mounts, something called varices can grow, not unlike small varicose veins that have a potentially fatal propensity to burst in the lower esophagus, which is what happened. The treatment is a ligation banding where they insert ‘elastic-like bands’ through a scope to tie off and strangle that vein to kill it from further bleeding. The scary part is that it can happen again somewhere else. A most frightening and horrific thought to ever have to experience that again to say the least. He was also put on some other new meds – beta blockers, to try to keep the pressure from surging on that big portal vein.
They say it changes people when they have a life and death experience, in the same way a person who smokes a pack a day couldn’t imagine how a heart attack could change their life until it happens. I remember my own heart surgery to remove a tumor. I was petrified that I may never wake up afterward. And when I did, and realized how close I was to the possibility of dying, and surviving just makes you see the big picture – a little bigger.
We finally came home and had our melt down moment together after he cleaned up, shaved and napped at home. On came the tears with apologies for putting me through these last 5 days, the thank yous for saving his life and being there for him 24/7, and his realization that he was lucky to survive. And out came the emotional sea that had been welling up inside me for those same 5 days. But we are home now. And as Dorothy says, “There’s no place like home.”
Right now we are focused on recovery – getting his strength back, his hemoglobin back up, adjusted to the new meds, and my mission to fatten him up. I also ordered a baby monitor to help give me peace of mind so I can put one monitor in the room he’s in and the base where I work so I can hear him calling. This will certainly ease my ongoing concern I can’t hear him calling from the other side of our condo, saving me with my paranoia from having to get up every 5 minutes to see if he’s okay.
And so begins his road to recovery and me slowly getting back to a mountain of things to tackle to catch up on life that was put on hold this past week. And once again, I want to thank the so many of you friends who left comments and messages for me with love, wishes, and prayers. It has meant the world to me to know how much I was thought of, and that you are all my circle of community and friends, a community I missed being a part of very much. So just know how grateful I am.