Deane is being discharged on Friday – 80 days after his hip surgery.
It has been quite a journey: the oxygen masks, the suction tubes, the abduction wedge, the knee immobilizers, the physio, the NG tubes, the minced food, the pressure sore, the in-house school and the recreation; Christmas, New Year’s and my birthday; the endless hours of the dry, recycled air of institutional buildings and the nights on vinyl day beds and foldout chairs.
I’m not sure who will be the happiest that this chapter is coming to an end.
Of course, just because we are going home doesn’t mean we’re finished and done. There is still discussion about whether he will go home with an NG tube. As of the discharge meeting last Thursday, his liquid intake was still not at the level the dietitian wants it to be.
Looking at a food study I did before surgery, she seems to be willing to accept that he never drank the Recommended Amount of upwards of 1.5 litres. His baseline – what he drank at home on our schedule – was about 1 litre. As of last week, he was drinking 500 mL.
He was drinking that much while, on the dietitian’s orders, he was getting almost a litre of water plus 500 mL of calorie-enhanced liquid meal replacement pumped through the NG tube each day.
That is, he was getting all that liquid until his NG tube came out in the middle of Thursday night. (We had nothing to do it!) A senior nurse tried three times on Friday to replace it without success.
So it was decided that we should see how much Deane could drink without getting all that liquid pumped into him. It has been a weekend of encouraging him to drink with nurses hovering around asking how much he has drunk and waiting to measure his output.
The verdict of whether we go home with an NG tube and a community dietitian following our progress will be made tomorrow morning.
And then there is the physio – the real reason we are here for in the first place. Deane has been working incredibly hard. His progress – from having a leg that had been broken and surgically re-arranged to holding himself up to transfer from the bed to his chair – is amazing to watch.
Despite all that hard work, though, he is still not back to where he was before his hip started to dislocate. He is not standing as straight as he did. When he pushes himself up, he is still in a slightly crouched position. His maximum in a stander that forces his legs straight is about 30 minutes.
But there doesn’t seem to be an option for a continuation of physio on an out-patient basis. Perhaps I should have been more explicit when, on Christmas Eve with very limited sleep, I was asked to set our goals.
It has been suggested that we are good at doing his exercises so we don’t need any more professional help. I guess I should have been just a little less attentive.
Regardless of how these issues are resolved, in five days Deane comes home and we get to make the decisions – for better or for worse.