Sunday, December 7, 2014
Just when I thought that Todd could not be any more awesome - him being at the hospital with me every day from 8-5, becoming completely involved and immersed in everything that was going on with my health care during transplant, taking care of meds and tube feed duties at home, waiting on me hand and foot some days, doing extra cleaning around the house, and of course having the amazing patience and talent to bring me back from my various break-downs - I just now read his chronicle of my hospital stay.
Wow. It is so thorough, covers so much of what the experience was like, it's just what I wanted to have to remember this experience. I am more impressed than words will express - and feel so so lucky to have him.
In truth, it is hard to imagine myself as the person he's talking about. I don't see myself as a champion of transplant recovery. To me, it was just moving forward, always trying to move forward, toward home. This was the hardest thing I have ever done and on the hardest days, I had to dig deep to have strength...but the alternative was stagnation, decline, maybe even death. And none of that was an option for me.
I hadn't known what I was going to write about today before I read Todd's transplant entry. I was maybe going to give some half-assed account of my perspective of the hospital experience. But the truth is, I don't remember nearly as much as I wish I did. I remember virtually nothing but snippets from ICU - the aunts whispering about not believing how good I looked; Todd smiling like I'd never seen him smile the first time I saw him; mouth swabs, lip moistener, wanting water like nothing else.
The first step-down room I was in for the next few days is also much of a blur. There was a brief day that I was allowed ice from the ice machine before the nurse assistant was told I wasn't allowed anything - it was pure bliss, chomping on that ice. I think I went through three cups of it in one night. With the benefit of all the pain meds I was on the cold didn't bother my teeth like it normally would have. Sad as it may seem this was one of the highlights of my entire stay! I remember a friend unexpectedly coming to visit and being so super excited about what I'd done, saying how good I looked, and the light up buttons on my bed being extremely complicated. :)
The room in which I spent my final two-plus weeks just seems like a prison cell to me lol. I was lucky to get one of the largest rooms on the floor but I hated being confined, and feeling like shit and being forced to walk, and constantly being on someone else's schedule. The being woken up at all hours, incessant beeping and other hospital joys go without saying.
But what I hated most of all was needing help with all my five zillion tubes and cords to get to the bathroom. And every day I spent in the hospital my back pain increased from the awful beds and I could feel my muscles (legs and core especially) getting weaker. The biggest surprise from all of this, besides how much energy it took from me, and how that seemed to go on and on, is how weak I got so quickly. In the hospital, stagnation really is the equivalent of a set-back. That was another reason I knew I had to keep pushing.
I was so fortunate to have either Todd, my mom or my brother there with me almost all of the time. And every night except for the last two when I insisted my brother sleep in a regular bed since I had few enough attachments to maneuver myself. I cannot thank my mom and brother enough - my brother who flew down from Michigan for two weeks and spent half of that time sleeping in an uncomfortable hospital chair-bed - for staying overnight with me. It was such a comfort to have a familiar face around and to help me so that I didn't have to page the nurse every five minutes. 'Cause trust me, I needed a whole lot of help.
Anyway, I had thought that I wanted to write to chronicle a lot of this experience myself but between the fuzzy headed-ness from the drugs and the side effect of having eye trouble (reading, typing) that was not possible. I guess this is a good start for now.
Photos: donatelife.net; rock star, zazzle.com; shoes, walkarlington.com; donatelife.net