Lea had a very rough night last night. She was in such good spirits last evening that she convinced me to leave a little earlier than usual so I could get home while there was some twilight left to water the flower garden. I got busy catching up on some other things, too; cleaning out the refrigerator, doing dishes and laundry, running the dust mop and those kinds of things. I got so involved I didn’t get to bed until too late to call to see how she was doing.

As it turns out, she had been sleeping so soundly the nurse on duty decided that since she was resting she wouldn’t need a scheduled dose of her pain killer. Lea, however, woke up two hours later, a little after one o’clock in the morning, with horrible pain in her leg. She rang for the nurse, and the pain just kept worsening. Lea got herself worked up into a frenzy, evidently, and caused herself to have chest pains as well.

That got their attention. Within the next three hours they attempted to get her settled down, gave her a shot of morphine and a Dilaudid, gave her two doses of nitroglycerin, ran an EKG on her to determine that she was not having a heart attack, and kept working with her to get her pain under control. Finally, between four and five this morning, working by phone with Dr Miller, it was determined that her “chest” pain was caused by sore muscles in her left shoulder, which she is having to use to hold herself up in the walker. He prescribed a heating pad.

When I arrived at seven, she was sitting up in a side chair, and started in on me as though something was my fault. I didn’t grasp what it was, I knew it was bad! She whooped up on me without letup with such wrath I had to leave the room and go down to the cafeteria to get myself settled down. All I knew at that point was that she had been awake since one o’clock, had severe pain that still wasn’t under control, and she thought I wouldn’t let them give her a shot to knock her out.

It wasn’t until a couple of hours later that she told me they had given her nitro and done an EKG. The poor thing had been scared out of her wits and thought she was dying! What she needed was someone to vent on who gives a darn, and I am the one so blessed! I immediately called Dr Miller’s office to get the straight scoop, not knowing if the drugs were causing some confusion. It was his feeling that the missed dose of medication allowed her pain to get ahead of the sedation, and that is a very difficult situation because it takes a while to catch up. It was, in fact, nearly eleven o’clock this morning before the pain finally subsided for a while.

The rest of today was spent watching the clock to see how the pain levels were reacting to the course of pain medications, and adjusting her dosing schedule to keep her pain under control. Finally, by dinner time she seemed to be back on track. We had dinner together in the room. She ordered the vegetarian pizza, which she proclaimed to be excellent. Then she even watched TV for the first time since she entered the hospital.

We talked to the overnight nurse, who came on duty at five o’clock, to let her know that Lea is to be awakened and given every dose of medication tonight. She also has my phone number, and knows that I want them to call me if Lea has another bad night. I can be there in ten minutes.

After dinner I took her for a walk around the nurse’s station, and she did quite well. All of her therapy went very well today, and she is going to be released after her afternoon therapy tomorrow. I am looking forward to having her out of the hospital, but am somewhat apprehensive about making sure she gets her pain medicine on schedule once she gets home. I’m sure there will be mixed blessings, but, it is the course we chose for her, so we will persevere.

The snapshots from today include Lou and Lea, Riverview Pizza (a hit), and the knee 5 days after surgery.

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