Oh, my! This is going to be hard! I was helping Amy bathe Lea today, and then Laura came in to assist with turning Lea over onto her side so her back could be washed, dried and lotion applied. I manned the ventilator, making sure the hoses got moved as she turned, so the tubes wouldn’t get crimped or pulled out of the tracheostomy base in her throat.

She opened her eyes wide when Amy told her that she was going to be rolled over, and she quickly started mouthing words of protest. The nurses rolled her away from me partially onto her left side to get pillows out from under her right side. As the pillows were set aside, and she was rolled back onto her back, she continued mouthing words, her eyes darting from left to right, in a panic. I believe she would have been screaming if she could make sounds.

Then she was rolled over onto her right side, facing me, looked me in the eye, and mouthed, as though yelling, “Larry, they’re hurting me!!”

Oh, my! Break my heart!! I wanted to weep!

I know . . . she can’t focus her eyes, she can’t really string thoughts together, she won’t remember what happened, she won’t remember the pain, I probably imagined what I thought she said . . . . yada, yada, yada. It still breaks my heart. And, I consider myself to be one of the strong ones!

I can see why nurses don’t want relatives under foot all the time, and why they don’t want them in the room when certain procedures are being done. Some friends and relatives would be real problems, and I’m sure there are some really gory stories to be told. From what I’ve seen in my time here in Intensive Care, the nurses are so busy they don’t have time to also be calming down relatives who are upset about seemingly rough, insensitive, treatment.

I can also say that some of the nurses really stand out because of the conscientious, considerate care they give Lea. I don’t know how they do with other patients, of course, but I can imagine that what I see is the way they go about their profession, and the kind things they do are a part of their care giving for every patient. The nurses I know from our life before Hartford are wonderful, caring people away from work, and I’m sure are wonderful, caring people when doing their job.

Being around the nurses has really driven home the importance of one of the points I teach in my classes for folks who are thinking about starting their own business. It is so important to really analyze potential occupations to determine what you can be passionate about. If you can’t derive satisfaction from what you do, you won’t be happy. The nurses really bring that point home.

The variety tasks they have to do, the pace they have to keep, records that must be maintained, the accuracy they must ensure, and the compassion they must possess even when under pressure, is just remarkable. I mentioned in a previous update that I have seen several cardiac “events” occur here over the past several weeks, and it’s remarkable how all the nurses just automatically pitch in to help the ad hoc medical team revive and stabilize the patient.

It is remarkable the things they do, and I greatly admire those who apply compassion to what they do. It is certainly reassuring to know that when you can’t be at your loved one’s bedside they are. Talk about compassion; one of the nurses even brought me a delicious home cooked meal for lunch today! Yummy! It sure did bring to mind the old days. Lea and I used to eat like that ALL the time! 🙂

Meanwhile, Lea did a great job of breathing on her own again today. She did another twelve hour day, and was very tired by the end of the day. She also got out of bed this morning and got in the cardiac chair. Adam and Nick came over to her room and moved her to the chair, although they weren’t assigned to her today. They have both been outstanding care givers, and I appreciate them very much. Lea spent about three hours in the chair, and did very well.

Her dressing was changed mid-afternoon, and then she got to rest. I “showed” her a couple of movies . . . one a home movie of a family Christmas, and the other was Top Gun. I thought the change to a regular movie might be a nice change for her, and besides, she likes Tom Cruise.  Just after 7:00 she was given an ultrasound to investigate whether she has more fluid in the chest cavity that may need to be removed. Dr Mah will get the results of the test tomorrow.

She is doing real well now, and Sharon was planning to get her turned and comfy, make sure all her medications were ready for the night, and then turn off the lights in her room. They are going to begin getting her back on a day and night cycle, as she begins to withdraw from the medications and becomes aware of time again. She isn’t there yet, but they want to get her started on the cycle, which will include scheduled times of the day to be in her cardiac chair.

It’s very exciting to think that she is getting well enough for us to be talking about her emerging from her drug induced coma, but it’s also frightening to think about the things we will have to go through as she withdraws, ranging from delusion to confusion, fear, pain, rejection, and even outright anger. That’s SO out of character for her, I’ll have to take a picture! 🙂