almost breathing again

Yesterday was, well, low-level insane. All kinds of things to deal with. First, the home care nurse, Kathy, called and asked if the drugs were here yet. Huh? Wha? It was, what, 9:30 am? Me: “No.” Kathy: “What did they tell you at the hospital?” Me: “They said a visiting nurse would be coming today, but that’s all they said.” Kathy: “Ok, let me call the hospital and find out what’s going on.”

Heh. The hospital, it turns out, did not discharge Stanley on Thursday night. According to the hospital, he was still there. In a little while, Muriel, our Oxford case manager nurse, called to see how things were going. I filled her in, and asked her some questions about things I was still confused about, and that was mainly who was supposed to be following the Coumadin. I also called Dr. Robinson’s office to set up the follow-up appointment and ask if the order for the internist to follow the Coumadin, instead of the cardiologist, was correct. No, it’s not, according to Dr. R’s staff and they sorted it all out. S goes back to see Dr. R on Wednesday afternoon.

I also set up the follow up appointment with infectious disease, in this case Dr. Zane Saul, for the 28th. At least we don’t have to travel so far to see Dr. Saul since he has an office in Southport.

Dr. R’s office called again to see if we wanted the visiting nurse to draw the blood for the Coumadin check so we didn’t have to go to Qwest twice a week for it. Sure. But we ended up going to Qwest on Friday anyway because it didn’t look like anything was going to get resolved in time, and we are both terrified of the Coumadin level skyrocketing again.

Muriel, from Oxford, told us that she was told on Tuesday that S would be discharged on Thursday, so she had already put through all the orders for the visiting nurse, etc. She was surprised that the hospital screwed up the discharge.

So off we went to Qwest to get the level done. Then home to await Kathy’s visit. She arrived here around 2:00 or so. I liked her immediately—she strikes me as extremely competent, smart, and has a sense of humor to boot. Plus Ginger liked her. Stanley too.

I was feeling wigged out that the house has gotten so out of control, dog and cat hair turning our navy blue rug this weird mixture of red and gray, monster dust bunnies stalking us from everywhere, mail and newspapers and magazine stacked haphazardly, and Ginger’s shredded paper all over the place. I meant to clean up some before the nurse got here, but there was so much I had to do and I was, am, just so exhausted. Kathy just gave me a “Don’t be silly” look when I apologized for the mess, said, “You had more important things to deal with.”

Kathy asked tons of questions for the medical history she has to take, talked to us about what’s going on and what will happen. She took S’s blood pressure and oxygen level etc. and listened to his lungs. She said his lung is not sounding clear by a long shot, and asked us whether S is using his incentive spirometer. We assured her that he is. She asked to see it, and when she saw what it was, she said, “They must have gotten a good deal on those,” explaining that the one Bridgeport Hospital gave us is a piece of crap. Not in those words, but we got the picture. She suggested we go over to Connecticut Surgical Supply on Wall Street and get a real incentive spirometer.

Then she showed us how to hook up the Rocephin IV to the PIC line. Taught us to remember SASH—saline, alcohol, saline, heperin. The first saline injection primes the PIC line, the alcohol we use to sanitize the ends, then comes the Rocephin, which is in this container that looks like a small baby bottle, then saline again to push it all through, and then heperin to keep the PIC line from getting clotted with blood. Sounds like a lot, but it’s really pretty simple. The Rocephin takes about 15 minutes to infuse. We just have to remember to take it out of the fridge around 1:00 pm so it’s room temperature.

After Kathy left, we went to get the good incentive spirometer. The one CT Surgical Supply carries is the same kind my dad used after his bypass, so I knew it was indeed a good one. We managed to make it home without my seriously maiming Stanley for being such a horrible, godawful passenger. A little yelling back and forth and we moved on. When he got home and tried out his newest gadget, he was just shocked at how difficult it was for him to move the piston. Now he has a real goal to work toward, and I hope his lung will actually clear up now. And I can’t wait until he can drive again.

Last night I think we just watched tv—yeah, we did. Medical Investigations and then the new Law and Order with Bebe Neuwirth, which is really good mainly because she is so good. I did a little bit of catching up on odds and ends for work throughout the day, but boyo am I falling behind.

Today, Saturday, I slept until 1:00. Stanley slept in until after 2:00. My goal was to start cleaning up the house and get to the library, but I just couldn’t do much more than fix a blog entry for a client, answer some email, check a few things, make sure S got his drugs and change his bandages for him, and make dinner. Making dinner was really cheating. Last night we had poached salmon with edamame and corn. Tonight I just nuked a couple of boca burgers and made some nachos out of flax/soy tortilla chips (from Trader Joe’s—they’re wonderful), black bean salsa, and low-fat cheddar cheese. I liked it. I am so tired still I am numb. And S still hurts when he coughs and I just want him to stop hurting all the time.

I found the description of one of the complications Stanley was hit with: acute pericarditis. This was the condition that caused the fluid build up that had to be drained. And the crises he had while waiting for the draining is called cardiac tamponade. Shit. What really bugs me is that Dr. R. said the Coumadin most likely caused Stanley’s pericardium to become inflamed, which led to the fluid buildup—yet S is supposed to be on Coumadin for another couple of weeks. It makes S nervous too, plus it’s been messing up his eyes. So we will ask Dr. R. if there is some other anti-coagulant he can use—maybe aspirin?

So it goes. I am so tired. Stanley is a lot better today, not coughing as much, a little more color in his face and hands than yesterday. So I’m happier.

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