07/26/2012, Kingston, Ontario
Below is my sweet Jane's explanation re: P &QF
"Quail feathers are considered among the most beautiful bird feathers...at least here in the South! And Peace, well it just doesn't get better than that!! If only we could reach that beautiful state in our world....
I laughed when I read your blog earlier because I knew that it would be strange to most people. In reality, I have NO EARTHLY idea what the "farewell message" truly means. I do know it is positive because one cannot say it without smiling. So....upon reflection, I think it must wish everyone beauty and peace in their lives.
So, how's that, for invention. ??
Peace and Quail feathers! Jane"
07/25/2012, Kingston, Ontario
I am trying to be sensitive of taking and posting photographs of Al. I believe a year from now he will look at these and not believe how far he has come. I regret not having more photos of me during my process.
Al was not keen to get shorts on or shoes today. He and I had a bit of a struggle over it, but I gently told him the ladies preferred him clothed for physiotherapy and that supportive shoes would benefit his progress. I won in the end and we had time before lunch for a stroll to the sun room and he agreed to a game of Farkle. This is a game we learned in the south. He did well and he stayed focused and was in the lead when lunch arrived.
After lunch he did very well in physiotherapy. He tried out some new transfers, practicing from his chair to a plinth. He seems to be getting the hang of it. Lisa is very good and direct with him. She emphasized again that he is absolutely ready for SMOL. She said there had been much discussion amongst the team about his readiness and there was question as to which service he would be more appropriate for. The stroke program or the ABI (acquired brain injury) program. This was a surprise to me. I personally am leaning toward the stroke program. In any even the rehab team from SMOL will talk with us tomorrow. So I hope we will know more about the where and when.
I think his cognitive issues at this stage are normal and more consistent with stroke than brain injury. I guess the only consolation is that traditionally ABI rehab keeps you longer as an inpatient. I guess time will tell.
I also want to thank people for their kind words and encouraging emails, blog posts, cards and support which takes all forms. We have had some lovely emails from blog followers who(m?) we have never even met before. It never ceases to amaze me the kindnesses of the world when all we hear of lately is shootings and craziness.
Peace and quail feathers to all.
07/25/2012, Kingston, Ontario
As of yesterday Al is totally unplugged from IV and feeding tube. If I am repeating myself its because I am over worked and under paid. The feeding tube will stay for 6 weeks. Al is doing well in his physiotherapy. He does not enjoy it. I bribed him yesterday with a reward of a milkshake and a walk outside. The chairs are hard for me to muscle so I couldn't get him right over to the water, but I elicited some giggles from him when I got us caught between some doors and almost lost control with a parked car. Today my arm muscles still feel the work out from yesterday. Lisa, Al's physiotherapist says Al is definitely ready for the next step which is a move to St. Mary's. I was ecstatic to hear this because I was more advanced when they accepted me. Lisa and I discussed this floor is more focused on medicine and not rehab. Lisa had suggested to staff using the sera lift (a mechanical standind lift)for transfers for Al but they insist on using the sling lift. Really it is because it is less effort and quicker for them. Its like last week I butted heads with a staff member, (not a physician) about Al's catheter. She felt he would be better with it. I was insisting he would be more comfortable having it out. She was a PCA and I know her reasons were because it would make her job easier. I stood my ground, and Al has been much better without the catheter. To ease her pain I have been stepping up and doing urinal duty and diaper changing myself. Its taken a week but I finally can place that diaper in the right position so its no longer looking like a thong. So, I got off track there. St. Mary's is much more rehab focused so I expect to see progress there. I just hope there are no new brewing infections that might hold us back. Fingers and toes crossed.
07/21/2012, Kingston General Hospital
Al had another swallowing assessment by Emma early Friday afternoon. Al excelled two levels by passing puree and cruised directly to minced. I was thrilled and he was pleased. The orange note above his bed was changed to reflect his new diet. All meds crushed by mouth also. His first meal Friday night was anticipated. Al was quite excited to tie into some real food. It was a turkey dinner......minced form, which was barely tolerated with a screwed up face. Dessert was a vanilla pudding. Al fed himself but was not keen on the over minced green beans. All in all he was not thrilled with his new diet but he tried his best tolerance. it's a start.
Saturday he had his first shower. Our PCA Dave muscled him into a shower chair and we showered him, I helped by holding the nozzle and I was hyper vigilant about Al falling forward out of the chair. Turned out I was so uptight about Al's safety Dave suggested I not watch. I decided it best he do his job without my help and left the two of them alone to shower away. I returned in time to wipe Al down and polish him off. I then left Dave alone to muscle Al back into bed. When an HRT chair became available (there are only 6 for the floor) we snagged it so after lunch Tonia and I could take Al out for a walk along the water front. Al seems to be having confusion between reality and hallucination? at times. He was confused about his foot wear and was challenging Tonia and I on his brown slipper foot wear. He has blue slip on pseudo sandals, but he wanted his brown slippers. Al does not own brown slippers. It was quite comical really and he was flustered, as were we. Some giggling ensued between us but in the end he let us take him out with the blue slip ons on his feet. We strolled along the water front and he watched boats, kite boarding and generally enjoyed some sun and wind on his face. When he tired we took him back in and he was ready for a nap. After a short nap his 2nd supper in two nights arrived. It was a beef stew type thing, minced. He downed it pretty quickly and did not want the potatoes or green that was minced. He did eat his rice pudding though. This seemed exhausting for him. His nurse had given him some pain medication just before supper and it seemed to be kicking in and he was sleepy. Tonia and I left him to come home for our supper and it was Tonia's intent to go back for the evening. I stayed behind to have a wee break. All in all it was a good day. First shower and Al is staying up longer and longer and interacting more as his energy allows. He is confused at times and has some difficulty in word finding, but I know these things get better with time. Tomorrow is another day.
Yesterday was one big piece of crazy pie. From the moment I got on the bus the craziness started. A man named Carl boarded with his baseball cap on and feathers out the top giving him an Indian flair. He never stopped talking, to everyone who got on the bus. There was more craziness on the bus, but I digress.
Al's new room mate is an elderly gentleman in a neck brace and he thinks I'm his personal assistant. Despite me trying to be quiet when I arrived, as soon as he heard my voice he started his ritual of asking me for water, to get him some wipes, to get the phone AND dial numbers for him. He arrived on Monday and I have not seen one visitor or a wife. Maybe if I quit dialing her for him she might actually come and help out. Yikes. I have shown him repeatedly his call bell and shown him how to summon his nurse and not me.
After I finished attending to Rodney I got caught up with Al. I was upset to see he had his catheter back. My craziness was amplified by the fact I had missed 4 days of my own crazy pill and had not gotten to the pharmacy for my script. Before I had tracked down Al's nurse , Lisa his physio asked if Al had told me his news. I told her I had not had much chance to talk to him yet and she filled me in. She said Al had been much chattier with her in my absence and he wanted to stand, so she made it happen for him. With the help of her assistant Al stood up. And yesterdays plan was to do more of the same.
Unfortunately Al did not participate in physio yesterday after all because he became increasingly distressed with the catheter. It had been re-inserted because of bleeding and clots so he was hooked back up for irrigation. And Al will now be visited by Urology to sort out this newest problem. Crazy Pie. The irrigation itself was going well flushing out his bladder but he started having painful spasms again. I cornered the nurse in charge and asked if he couldn't have something for that pain. She returned after consultation with the charge Doctor and Al was to be given something for pain and it was decided to remove the catheter again until Urology sees him.
So yesterday was a whole lot of craziness. My sister came by and took me for my drugs and helped me make fresh beds. And Bridget came for an over nighter. Nice to have her home for a bit. My sister will come for coffee and breakfast this morning and give me a ride to KGH and take Bridget back home with her. Al's daughter Tonia will come for the weekend to visit.
Oh I forgot to report War Horse was OUTSTANDING. I enjoyed my day away although it was tiring and a long day. I snuck in a wee bit of power shopping, scoring three new skirts. I brought Al back a new War Horse Tee shirt.
A year ago we were making our way north from the Florida Keys and we spent most of our summer in Harbortown Marina at Cape Canaveral. Who would have know Al was growing a tumor. It was confirmed yesterday, the tumor was in fact benign. We will start with yearly MRI's to monitor.
Yesterday was the best day yet. We figured out yesterday why Al has been feeling so miserable and disinterested in participating in his physio. He was having frequent and very painful bladder spasms caused by his catheter. It was decided yesterday to remove his catheter. Within a half hour what a difference it made in his mood. So we are in a learning curve on managing a hand held urinal. It is clearly going to take some time for Al to master this tricky job. Fortunately his care givers on K7 are top notch and super patient. During this transition time Pampers for big boys are being used. After the catheter was out, Al was bathed and put in real clothes, real clothes people, first in 3 weeks. Shorts and a tee shirt and he shaved himself with his new electric Phillips. When Lisa arrived for physio he was not only ready but she was surprised to see him dressed and ready. We are still working on and struggling with balance, but each session there is improvement. Lisa showed me some things I can do with Al when he is in his chair for learning balancing and that are safe. It involves me removing the back rest by putting it in a recline position and then working with Al on balancing. I took Al for a spin for a scenery change and he had an applesauce and a gingerale. And Al most definitely is showing some voluntary pushing of his right leg. It was a most wonderful, heading in the right direction, kind of day. Dr. Wallace said he felt Al was on track from the complications and he is pleased.
I am taking the day off today. My sister and sister in law and I have had tickets for 4 months to see War Horse in Toronto. I have had mixed feelings of going and leaving Al, but I really need a re-charge day. Plus Kiley has agreed to pop in so Al knows he has support around and he understood and remembered I had these tickets and told me to go.