Sunday, May 07, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0165 - Healing at Home

Since March 28th, I have spent 31 days hospitalized, under 3 separate admissions, the last of which was for 18 days and by far the most serious in terms of potential harmful consequences. The pulmonary embolii meant I could have died, suddenly.

But the cardiac care specialist who coordinated my last stay in hospital had me discharged on Friday, May 5th. Since then, I have been engaged in the very important and physically and emotionally draining business of healing.

This time, I have home care nurses visiting me regularly and monitoring my vitals. They have also been involved in educating me about intermittent cathaterization. Although it is definitely an unpleasant experience to self-catheterize, it means I can be at home with my family, eating home-cooked food, listening to music and watching NBA playoff action, and discovering patterns of pain management more readily than would be the case in a hospital room.

Given all the complications I have experienced, I have wondered whether this blog may unnecessarily frighten others about to embark on a similar treatment protocol. But this is reality, for me at least, and I do believe it is better to be informed of all possibilities than to encounter some situations for which you are totally unprepared.

My job, as the home care nurse explained so simply this morning, is to eat, rest, and allow the body to heal, something which, given the complications I've experienced, requires a lot of calories and a lot of time, a positive attitude, and a willingness to set aside expectations for the rate of recovery both I and others have had beforehand. Right now, I figure I'm about 3 weeks behind my preliminary expectations as I was released for the first time from hospital after surgery. Doing useful work for my employer will simply have to wait until I can do useful work for myself first, things like walking, going to the washroom, showering, sitting down for more than 1 minute, and being awake for over an hour at a time.

It's a beautiful Sunday here in Kitchener, Ontario. I can enjoy the view through the patio doors and watch my family outside doing things which seem like remote possibilities for me right now - pulling dandelions, mowing the lawn, and trimming the weeds from the patio. Unfortunately, writing this blog entry is the most ambitious task I can consider.

I will recover and I will regain optimism slowly.

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/pd said...

Hey Don, Nice to hear that you back and enjoying the weather :)-

Wishing you a speedy recovery !

Lisa said...

Don, so glad to hear you're back home. Some of the best healing can be done on your own couch. Believe it or not I'm still at Pano. Long story. Do what the doctor says and get better! We all miss you here.


gentleascent said...

Marg and I are happy to hear you are home recovering. Last year Marg had a serious condition called C. Diff. that meant she was to be hospitilized and given medication that cost over $1,000. Fortunately, we had insurance coverage and Marg being a nurse was able to treat herself wiht IV meds prescribed by the docter. As her primary caregiver, though finding it difficult to see her so sick, I found it a lot easier to provide the resources and assistance she required at home. Perhaps the most important role I played was the empathetic listener, while knowing at times even that seemed inadequate for my wife.
We wish you a time of rest my friend. It is a small word, but it is an important state of being while you heal.
Remember, we are only a phone call away if you or your family need anything sane or crazy.

P. S.
Marg and I are celebrating our 33rd Wedding Anniversary this weekend. Do you and Marg have one coming up to? If so, best wishes.

Your friend,

Don Spencer said...

The C-difficile was what the CCU attending physician thought I might have had initially, thus the contact isolation protocol.

I agree that even medical procedures that appear intimidating when first anticipated seem not so tough after a few successful applications. I've become quite adept at self-catheterization, for instance.

My Marg is very protective...sometimes that irritates me, but most of the time I understand exactly what she is doing. The communications issues related to medical conditions are a hornet's nest though, aren't they? It is difficult to explain how I am feeling sometimes to Marg, but the exercise helps me clarify what it is that is bothersome. And, of course, having someone with whom to share your most intense worries and concerns honestly and fully cannot be overestimated.

Thanks to you both for your friendship and willingness to help in whatever way is possible.

Yes, we just celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary on the 4th. I had to ask a friend to purchase a card for me and print a "eugoogaly" which I wrote the day before going to hospital for surgery. That entry from my personal memoirs said more about my feelings for my partnership with Marg than anything else I could have put together.

Take care, Ron. My best to Marg as well.