My son got transferred to a rehabilitation hospital today – two weeks less a day after his hip surgery. I wrote in my last post that this would be a great Christmas present.
After another rough night, the nurse came in at 6:30 and said she was going ot take out Deane’s IV because the ambulance was coming. The early morning sun shone through the back windows of the ambulance onto Deane who was signing that he was glad to leave the hospital because all the suctioning of his lungs had been hard work. He said he was happy to be moving to the rehab hospital.
However, the warm glow of this gift barely lasted the 7.6 kilometres it took to travel between hospitals. The transfer involved a non-stop barrage of visits from our new medical team. It started with the nurse to do general intake and take swabs, the doctor three times because of computer difficulties, the physiotherapist twice, the chair OT to put him in a chair just after he had fallen asleep, the social worker, the therapeutic recreational worker, the regular occupational therapist who then returned with a speech-language pathologist who later came back on her own.
By 4 p.m. I had outlined Deane’s general medical history numerous times, recounted his recent hospital experience, set various therapy goals all the while trying to feed Deane two meals and recuperate from a terrible night’s sleep. My head was spinning.
Dad took over while I took our daughter to a Christmas Eve carol service. Usually one of my favourite holiday activities, but I found it hard without the other two members of our family.
Meanwhile, my husband was having an extensive and ultimately frustrating conversation with the dietitian which resulted in an NG – or feeding- tube being put back through Deane’s nose into his stomach. The new team didn’t understand why the IV had been taken out when Deane was still having difficult drinking. They were afraid he would aspirate the liquids we were giving him to keep him hydrated. All this took on a special urgency because the doctors and therapist are on holiday for the next two days.
Some present. Ebenezer Scrooge had nothing on my mood.
But listening to my daughter say how she couldn’t wait for tomorrow morning, I realized I was missing the point. The NG tube is a precaution – a better safe than sorry measure. Getting out of the hospital and moving on to rehabilitating Deane’s hip is much more important than a small step back to an NG until he regains the strength to control his drinking.
As a family, we gathered in Deane’s room and wrapped up our toned-down Christmas. As I write, the stocking are lying around a tiny fake Christmas tree in the corner of Deane’s room. The gifts are stacked on the floor. Tomorrow, we will all be together, will welcome friends and family and enjoy a picnic Christmas dinner brought to us.
My daughter summed it up as we prepared to leave Deane and Dad for the night: it may be different, but this is the best Christmas ever.
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you don’t get as lost as I did in trying to enjoy the day.