07/10/2012, Kingston, Ontario
Despite the circumstances I had a lovely birthday. My day was full of birthday calls, cards and gifts. My Sister arranged for us all to meet at a down town restaurant (Pasta Shelf) for a dinner and I finished my meal with a huge slice of decadent chocolate cake ( I shared it).
Al's room mate and his wife had tickets to Mamma Mia but because Harold was too sick for a pass I was offered the tickets at a hideously reduced price. So after supper my friend Donna accompanied me to the KROCK to see the production. I fell asleep singing Abba and woke to SOS this morning after a sleep that would rival the dead.
Funny how the best gifts come in such non-tangible form. Yesterday Al sat bedside without incident. And he struggled a bit to find his new center of gravity, but Lisa his Physiotherapist talked him through where he needed to place his hand and what to work toward. After sitting up several minutes he was air lifted into his chair and we strolled to the sunroom and Al had a couple of visitors. We have now moved into goal setting, so the goal is to start sitting bed side once a day and get into the chair for longer periods, building strength and endurance. Lisa was very pleased with today. I was also excited and deemed the sitting success a highlight and my best birthday gift.
Al has developed an infection in his blood which is being treated with intravenous antibiotics. Seems there is a continuous circus of small things to overcome. His sodium and electrolytes are remaining stable and that is great news.
07/09/2012, Kingston, Ontario
I took the weekend off from blogging. Al did a lot of sleeping and resting. Not much therapy happens during the weekend. The high light seemed to be the new Phillips shaver I purchased for him, it works well. Al was agitated during Saturday night and mucked around with his catheter which is irritating him. The sodium levels are where they should be and he is responding appropriately.
I was treated to a pre-birthday brunch yesterday at Aqua Terra, it was lovely. I am optimistic this week will shape into something good.
07/07/2012, Kingston, Ontario
The brain is such a complex piece of machinery. If one thing is out of balance it creates a domino effect.
Today was a better day, Al was responsive and puckering for a kiss and was back to using some words. It turns out that Al's blood pressure was up so he was given a drug to help that but the choice of drug made the sodium levels in his body go very low. This was absolutely the cause of his lack of a willingness to engage in anything over the past three days. The drug was stopped and changed and this morning the improvement was mind-boggling. To quote a good friend, former employer who happened to have been an endocrinologist "Yes low levels of sodium can really cause great changes in brain and body function. Getting it back to normal will be a big help, and yes the pituitary and all parts of the brain do not like surgery. There is every reason to expect that as the swelling subsides and healing occurs, the gland function should return.". Charles just really confirmed what Dr. Wallace was telling me.
Asking about bringing in Miss B had become moot and I know once Al gets to rehab. she can visit. The day was sailing along smoothly until his physiotherapist Lisa with the aid of her assistant tried Al at sitting at the bedside again. Unfortunately he suffered a small seizure and so physio was aborted just for theday. He is fine now and seizuring is very common post surgery. This should not be taken as a set back. With the weekend on us again Al will rest and keep healing. The weekend will no doubt whiz by faster than a teenager past curfew with beer on her breath and we will be into a new week of therapy and progress.
07/06/2012, Kingston, Ontario
Two floors below Al this is what you get. A floor that is full of cheer and hope for the future. It was a nice reprieve for me to go down and welcome little Fiona, her proud parents have been friends with my daughters since childhood where they all met as youngsters attending Camp Hyanto.
Al showed no signs of progress yesterday but he did get his PEG tube inserted which by days end he had managed to pop the cap off of spewing gastric fluid worse than a BP oil spill. Today I am determined to stay until I get to see Dr. Wallace, my list of questions is growing. Question number 5 is to ask if Miss Bridget might be allowed to make an appearance, I'm desperate to evoke some kind of emotional response. I had truly hoped I would be that stimulus but supposedly a "dog is a man's best friend". And I would concede that honour to |Bridget, if she could just get the ball rolling.
07/05/2012, Kingston, Ontario
The last week has been quite a ride. I did not ride the bike yesterday because I stayed over at Kiley's. Bridget and Charlie both slept with me. For a 32 pound dog Charles can take up a lot of real estate. And I did not get a good sleep. I was already wiped and the heat would likely have put me over the top had I rode my bike. Briget has become quite close with Charlie and she does what ever he does. They are just hanging out on the bed together.
I arrived at the hospital to find Al had removed his own feeding tube during the night. A physician had been called to re-insert a new one. I was upset by this. Today he gets his PEG tube put into his stomach. It seemed a shame to put him through this insertion.
Yesterday was my unraveling day. I was quite emotional and losing my grip. I walked to SMOL to check on Al's consult request and then melted down in a good friend's office. My dear friend offered me a ride home. I had a good cry, a wee nap, ate some lunch glued myself back together and took the bus back to the hospital.
Al was more alert by the time I returned but would not communicate only by shaking yes or no, but not verbally. He went off to have a CT scan. The physiotherapist was trying to get him to participate in his physio as this is a requirement to be admitted to rehab. He was lifted into the chair and I took him to the sunroom for about 40 minutes. This was tiring. When he got back in bed he seemed to be trying to place his left leg out on the floor and was pulling up on the side rails. I rung his nurse to see if we could try to sit him bedside as this is what I thought he was wanting to try. The nurse was not keen to try but Dave, his strapping PCA (personal car assistant), supported trying just to keep Al motivated. So Al was sitting for a brief time, legs hanging down. He was not well balanced but he did help by hanging onto the rails and tried supporting himself. He is extremely weak after all he has been out of it for 7 days now. I felt this was a tiny step in the right direction.
This morning he is to have his feeding tube moved directly into his stomach (PEG). And I should hear today what the CT scan showed from yesterday.
Any one wanting to visit should hold off, really he is not visiting material. It is hard to tell if visitors perk him up or really just make his situation worse.
We are in a new day, lets see how this one goes.
It takes me 20 minutes to ride to the hospital, 30 minutes to get home. Going home is a bit more up hill and by days end I'm not quite so energetic. This morning my calves and thighs are not in a civil speaking relationship with me.
It was confirmed Al indeed has a urinary tract infection and his chest xray is clear. Pneumonia would most certainly be a set back.
He was bathed yesterday and had his hair washed. The nurse said his head/incision was still tender in spots. When they were done he most clearly said "I want some aspirin". I am grateful every time he uses his words. Because of the fever he is not very enthusiastic and he is grieving his situation. Of course I am being encouraged to be patient and its all still early. Physio was by yesterday. No attempt was made to get him sitting up at the bedside. He is just too weak at this point.
I have to take a step back and not compare his stroke to my own. Sometimes knowledge can be a bad thing. It has been agreed that they will not try a swallowing test yet. With his fevers and weakness he would most likely not pass. So now the game plan is to get him to the Rehab Hospital ASAP to start more formal and frequent physiotherapy on his limbs in the hope of getting him sitting up and maybe standing to transfer to a chair. He will keep the feeding tube but before Rehab accepts him it will need to be moved from his nose to an incision in his side directly into his stomach. I am hoping Rehab will assess him today. A dear friend and former co-worker has given Dr. Bagg and crew the heads up about the consult and the connection to me. The Rehab hospital formerly known as St. Mary's of the Lake (SMOL) was where I worked when I had my stroke and where I spent 4 months being rehabilitated. Al will be having many of the same health care providers I had.